Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween & Blessed Samhain

I did a wonderful ritual tonight. I made a talisman for someone close that really needs healing and comfort. For the altar I used some special things: the glassware from her parents for the cake & wine, a big shell on the west from her mother and incense from her & her daughter's shop. It was the first time I used my new altar chest. The room was lighted by candles and a lamp I bought on a flea market recently.

I meditated and asked her ancestors for their blessing and protection. My mum & dad and my black panther led me into a cave. Behind a massive wooden door with old steel hinges was a space lit by torches. I sat down at a pond. Across the pond were her parents, grandmother, aunt and a lot of other ancestors I don't know. I was a bit nervous because in real life I wasn't exactly their favourite person. I explained my reason for coming. They smiled and said that they really appreciated what I'm doing for her. The atmosphere was friendly. They gave their blessing and promised to keep an eye on her and protect her. I thanked them and left with a good feeling.

In the talisman I did herbs, gemstones, a bindrune on wood (sliced from my big staff and marked by her brother), a goddess image and a fairy coin; all especially chosen for her and her situation. After making the talisman I presented it to the Goddess and God and then I charged it with reiki. I can't solve her problems, but I can try to give her comfort and healing, the arm around her shoulders she so desperately misses. The talisman is still on the altar; this blessed night when the veils between the worlds are thin will charge it with love from her ancestors.

A Good Cause / Een Goede Zaak

Goede zaak
I've been browsing paid blogging sites for something that fits in here. I only want to write paid posts about things I feel good about and support myself. Bloggerwave offered the perfect opportunity: free, easy and for good causes! I explored the Dutch site (logo on top of this post), but I know a lot of my readers are from abroad, so I included all the national sites at the end. is a global partnership between 700 of the worlds most important non-governmental organizations - charities like Save the Children, Red Cross, Amnesty International, OXFAM and many others. Together they want to make the world better, when it comes to animal welfare, human rights, fighting poverty and climate changes etc. And they do this by enabling online shoppers all over the world to support their favourite charity, when they shop online (in more than 5000 online stores!).

Users just have to download a small piece of software called AidMaker. Afterwards, everything works automatically, and your computer is turned into a charitable tool. After having downloaded AidMaker, you can support your favourite charity for free while you are shopping. You pay the normal store price for your product but the retailer donates part of the purchase to the cause you have decided to support. 75 percent of the total purchase price will then go to charity.
Good cause aGoodCause has just launched globally- in 8 countries:
United Kingdom:

What do you say? Let's go shopping!!! :-)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Book meme

Some weeks ago I read about this meme on Books and Other Thoughts. I really liked it, so I saved it to do it at a certain point. Now is the time! :-)

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?
I can’t remember when I did not love books! My parents, esp. my father, encouraged me to read. As soon as I learned to read, I had to have books, magazines, papers… everything with letters! In school my love for books was nourished too. I was a member of the local adult library quite young, because I had read everything in the kid’s library.

What are some books you read as a child?
As a kid I liked Pinkeltje a lot, a Dutch series about a little man as big as your pink. I still collect the old versions of Pinkeltje; I don’t like the new ones!
Somewhat older I liked series by Enid Blyton, Nancy Drew detectives, a lot of non-fiction and so much more. In my childhood the seed was planted for the love of my favourite book(s) of all time: The Lord of the Rings. I read a children’s version first and soon tried the Dutch translation. As soon as I learned to read English I ventured upon the original and I never stopped re-reading it.

What is your favourite genre?
If I really have to pick one I guess it would be fantasy. I like most genres though, depends on my mood.

Do you have a favourite novel?
Lord of the Rings is my all-time favourite, but I have many novels that I read and re-read.

Where do you usually read?
Just about anywhere! A lot when I’m on the toilet, haha! During a long ride by bus or on the ferry, outside in the sun, snuggled up on the coach with a big pot of tea…

When do you usually read?
Whenever I can and want to.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Sometimes I do. Often a fiction and a non-fiction one.

Do you read non-fiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?
I buy all of my books, or get them as a gift.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?
Yes, I keep (nearly) all of them. It’s hard to say goodbye to any book. The result is boxes and boxes full around the house. When my room is finally ready and I have book chests, I want to sort them out. I have to, although I doubt I can put a lot of them away...
If a book leaves my home, it is going to a friend. I also release them through Bookcrossing.

If you have children, what are some of the favourite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?
I don't have children, but I often buy books as a birthday present for kids. I think it's good to stimulate kids in reading books.

What are you reading now?
”Op fluwelen pootjes” (about Dewey the library cat) by Vicky Myron. I noticed it in the Early Reviewer batch on LibraryThing, but it wasn’t available for the Netherlands. When I saw the Dutch translation in the book shop, I bought it right away and I love it!!
I also have various pagan books around, because I’m currently writing two rituals.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?
Sort of. I don’t have an actual list, but I always have books around that I just bought and haven’t read yet.

What’s next?
I don’t know! I have several to choose from, but I haven’t decided yet.

What books would you like to re-read?
Besides Lord of the Rings, you mean? ;-) I re-read a lot of my books: sometimes entirely, sometimes only my favourite parts.

Who are your favourite authors?
J.R.R. Tolkien, Anne Rice, Agatha Christie and W.B. Yeats are the permanent ones, but I also add ones over time like Kit Berry (Stonewylde series) and Jacqueline Zirkzee (Dutch author of history-based novels) during the last year.
Pagan authors: Phyllis Curott, Marian Green, Anodea Judith, Glennie Kindred.

I keep track of my books on LibraryThing. If you have a profile there too, let me know or send me a friend request. I like to explore your library!

If you want to do this book-meme too, please do so! Let me know and I'll visit to see your answers.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Olympia workshop

After a very relaxed week I had another busy weekend. Marian Green was in The Netherlands to give our group Olympia another workshop. The theme was "Ritual". We learned about the outline and construction of a ritual. Not only the basics were covered, but the more in-depth stuff was very interesting too. Everyone that works with magic should have certain subjects covered. It is an ongoing study, there's always more to learn.

We also talked about initiation, self-dedication and working in groups. We shared our thoughts and opinions and Marian hers. I don't think initiation is necessary to follow this path, but it can be a very special addition. What I've heard from others it can be life-changing. Personally I don't like levels of initiation. In the Ara-tradition there is just one initiation. Of course later on you can choose to go further to become clergy, but an initiate is an initiate.

For the first time the group planned a rirual together. Partly to practice what we'd learned, partly because we were ready for it. Because we are close to Samhain, that was our theme. We made a walk around the neighbourhood to collect autumn leaves. In a meditation Marian guided us to a closer contact with nature. We talked about our ancestors, our heritage. Everyone had an active role in the ritual.
On Sunday morning we did the ritual. It was very powerful. The group has good chemistry; everyone felt good enough to let the guards down. When we each took a tarot card I got the Eight of Pentacles, a card for the perfectionist I am... :-) We also talked about the harvest of the last year; Samhain is the witch's new year. For the cake and wine ceremony we didn't have wine. Usually I adjust and take a nip of wine (yuk!). This time the group adapted to me and we had delicious fruitjuice.

We planned dates for meetings to come; in December for a ritual, in April a workshop with Marian. We are blessed to have her as a teacher. She has a lot of knowledge, which she shares with us freely. She is down-to-earth, very friendly and has a great sense of humour.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bonewits seminar

Some time ago I had booked a seminar by Isaac & Phaedra Bonewits in Amsterdam. It was a 2-day seminar, but because of the Tink event (see post before this one) I had to miss the saturday. I found someone who wanted to take my place on saturday, but decided to go to the sunday sessions myself. I travelled by fast flying ferry and tram, but because of the Amsterdam marathon I had to walk the last part to Centrum De Roos.

Isaac Bonewits is a neopagan priest, magician, scholar, author, bard, activist, polytheologian and a leading experts on ancient and modern druidism, witchcraft, magic, the occult, and the earth religions movement. (read more here and here). In 2004 he was handfasted to tarot expert, writer and Wiccan Priestess Phaedra. Together they opened, where you can follow classes. There's also a free basic membership.

The theme of the morning session was "Ritual Critique Skills & Real Magic", which was very interesting. Isaac is a good speaker, has a lot of knowledge and sense of humour. Phaedra backs him up and adds her thoughts and/or experience. There was time for questions from the group and some discussion. Before lunch break Isaac signed my book: 'Best witches, Isaac'! :-)

During lunch I had a nice chat with Isaac and Phaedra. In 1970 Isaac graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in magic (and thaumaturgy), the first person ever to do so at a Westem educational institution. Unfortunately college administrators were so embarrassed over the publicity about his degree, that magic, witchcraft and sorcery were banned from the individual group-study program. I also found out that Phaedra is as fond of LibraryThing as I am! She has almost 2000 books in her profile!

The afternoon session was about "Neopagan Polytheology". I knew some things about it from Isaac's book 'Essential guide to witchcraft and wicca', but hearing it in real life is better. We mostly sat down, took notes and listened. Very theoretical and very tiring. It wasn't boring (on the contrary, very interesting again!), but at some point my head was full and I couldn't absorb anything more. After a break (with 2 Cokes) I could concentrate, but when we finished I was worn out. Nevertheless it was very worthwhile!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Fall for Tinkerbell

Tink Today Ron and I attended the "WDCC Fall for Tinkerbell event 2008" in The Collectors Closet, my regular shop for Tink stuff in IJmuiden. Special guest was Jacqueline Perreault Gonzales (picture), sculptor for Disney. She made a sculpture from scratch (wire and clay), very impressive! She was also signing pieces from her hand. Here she is signing a Stitch-sculpture of Ron's niece. In the front you see a sculpture of Jiminy Cricket getting shape. Unfortunately she hasn't made any Tinkerbell sculptures. Ron bought me the limited event edition called Blithe Spirit (see picture above this text), Tink sitting on a fall leave. It's gorgeous and I'm very happy with it. I also got 3 Tink boxes. It was a great afternoon I wouldn't want to have missed!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary

Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary Some time ago I was dropping Entrecards and reading the blogs I visited, as I stumbled upon a post about the Blind Cat Rescue & Sanctuary in St. Pauls, North Carolina. They provide a safe place for blind cats that were deemed unadoptable by regular shelters and were going to be killed just because they are blind. They don't euthanize for space; it's only done if the animal is medically suffering and it is the advice from the veterinarian. They don't get any state or county funds, so they rely on sponsoring, donations and fundraisers.
The Meet The Cats page introduces all the current inhabitants (I spotted one named Cora! ;-) ) and their stories. All lovely kitties that deserve a good life. In the sanctuary they proof that life can be very good for a blind cat. See them play together, so cute! No need to kill them just because they are blind.
I really felt like showing my support so I looked into the ways to donate money. Your donations are tax deductible, encrypted and safe. Adopting one of the cats costs $30 a month, but there are a lot of other ways you can help too. You can even go shopping. Of course if you live in the neighbourhood they'd love to welcome you as a volunteer. I picked an item from their wishlist: I ordered and paid, the goods were delivered at the sanctuary. I got a nice e-mail and even a real thank-you note by snail mail.

NOTE: this is not a sponsored post! I simply want to give this very good work some extra attention.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

COT #20: Freyja wants attention

Cats On Tuesday
CATS ON TUESDAY is a group of cat lovers
who share pictures and/or stories about their cats once a week,
hosted by Gattina.

Freyja has a way of wanting attention, just when I'm busy doing something. I can try to ignore her, but somehow I can't ever keep that up. Here's how it goes:

Monday, October 13, 2008

I say, you think... (week 298)

Unconscious Mutterings

Each week ten words are posted here. You respond with the first thing that comes to mind. "Rules are, there are no rules." There are no right or wrong answers. Don't limit yourself to one word responses; just say everything that pops into your head.

  1. Zoo - animals in cages

  2. Neighbourhood - friendly, safe

  3. Salute - soldiers greeting each other

  4. Immortality - who wants to live forever?

  5. Dominion - Gamma Quadrant (not a Trekkie? look here)

  6. Rhonda - Rhonda who? I don't know any Rhonda

  7. Parties - election

  8. Prince of Darkness - great horror movies

  9. Garbage - rubbish, I need to sort things out and get rid of the unneeded stuff

  10. Standard - normal, boring, ordinary

Do you want to play along? Copy the words in a comment, or post them on your blog (leave me a link).

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Ara weekend

After the weekend I was very tired, had some stuff to do and Ron is still home with the flu. So now there's finally time to share my experiences!

I left Friday after lunch and picked up Sorcha and Liza in Amsterdam. We had quite some traffic jam, so we arrived later than expected. We were spending the weekend in a cottage in the woods on the Veluwe again. I stayed at the home of our goddess-mother and her lovely Corgi with Foofur, the other five (and another dog) shared the hired cottage. Around dinner time everyone was there; we had Indian meals from the toko in Amsterdam. Yummy...!

The weekend theme was "ancestors". Friday evening we did a pathworking to find them and introduce ourselves. Some went outdoors but because I was only just feeling better it seemed more sensible to stay inside. Pity though! This is how my pathworking went:
First I made contact with energies from the earth and the universe. A bubble of energy formed around me, in which I sat comfortably. The bubble slowly ascended. Sometimes I was high above the ground, sometimes low. First it was as if I was in a fast car on a highway, later I was on a horse or horse and carriage. Next I was in my bubble again and floated above the clouds. It was beautiful and very relaxing there; I enjoyed the 'ride'. After a while I noticed smoke above the clouds. When I floated down, there was a huge campfire with people sitting around it. I landed a bit further and sat down. I respected their privacy and didn't want to disturb them. The back of my neck was sore, so I turned my head around. Suddenly I felt warm hands on my shoulders, that started to give me a massage. It worked, the energy and warmth did wonders. When I turned around I saw a man, smiling at me. It was a long man with a tawny upper body, that was tanned by hard labour outside in the sun. He took my hand and led me to the campfire. I told him I'd be back the next day and he smiled. Suddenly I was back in the room.
When everyone had returned to the cottage, we shared our experiences. We also talked about how to travel to Italy for our initiation in May. I think most of us will go by train. It's relatively comfortable and cheap. The Italian Ara-group will pick us up and furthermore we won't need a car. We can buy the train tickets soon, so we can spread the costs.
Just after midnight I went to my bedroom. I called Ron, made my report of the day on my laptop and went to sleep.

Saturday morning I went for a stroll with Foofur and his Corgi friend. The woods are a real treat early in the morning. The sounds of nature, two dogs walking around me, the smells, pure beauty... After breakfast the girls suggested a walk in the woods. No problem, I'm in! With six people and three dogs it was different anyway. This time I brought my camera. There were a lot of fungi, but I didn't take a lot of pics; I already did that last year!

Back in the cottage we made ourselves ready for a shamanic journey, back to the ancestors. Another significant experience:
When I went down I first came out at the beach as I normally do, but I felt I wasn’t at the right place. In an instant I was back and came out at another place. It was at the edge of a sandy plain, which was surrounded by trees. In the middle of the plain was a great campfire. People were dancing around it in two circles. The men were dancing widdershins and the inner circle of women was dancing deosil. They were very cheerful and happy. There was a lot of laughter. I was asked to join in and I danced for a while. Afterwards we sat around the fire as one big family. I couldn’t really distinguish people, didn’t recognise anyone. Yet they felt familiar and I was totally at ease. I felt welcome and they were very friendly. They were dressed like nomads. When I asked something I got an answer from the whole group. It was as if they answered as one by telepathy. I didn’t hear answers; I received them in my mind.
When I asked about my inherited shadow, the prompt answer was: self-induced perfectionism! They couldn’t tell me the origin of that problem but it was very common for all of them. Perhaps it was inherited for them too. Their “gold in the shadow” was survival.
When I asked them how they want to be honoured in ritual, they seemed a bit surprised. “We are no gods! Just be proud of your inheritance, remember us, acknowledge us, and be aware of us. You’re always welcome to come back to us.” Then I said my goodbyes and promised to come back.

Wow... I most certainly recognise the self-induced perfectionism. I have been writing about that recently. No-one forced me to get high grades in school, I pushed myself. Sometimes it is a pain, but it has also helped me to achieve things. Food for thought...

Afterwards we all drew a tarotcard; mine was the two of wands. The results of the journeys and tarotcards were used in the ritual we wanted to do in the evening. We put all of it in an e-mail to Phyllis (Curott) and when she read everything she called us. She was on speaker, so it was the Charlies Angels setting again: all gathering around the phone. "Hi Charlie, hi angels" or in this case "Hi Phyllis"! :-) We talked for a while about our progress, the journeys, etc. It was great to speak with Phyllis again. The distance and time difference with New York seemed insignificant.
We made an outline for the ritual and then went our own ways for an hour. I called Ron and took a well-needed nap.

In the evening we prepared for the ritual. The weather forecast hadn't been very good; they predicted lots of rain. We wanted to do the ritual outside anyway and... kept it dry! We drove to a wonderful place: a burial mound on the heath; what better place to do an ancestor ritual! It was an impressive ritual and it felt very good. Feeling happy and fullfilled we returned to the cottage. There we talked for a while with a drink and a snack. I almost fell asleep, so after calling Ron and writing my report I did just that!

Sunday morning after breakfast we shared our individual bio's with each other. We had to write those for the initiation. It was great to hear the stories of the others. That way we got to know each other even better. The group spirit feels very good. It really is 'perfect love and perfect trust'. Well, perhaps not perfect, but that's okay. ;-)

After cleaning the cottage, packing and saying goodbye we got in the cars and drove off. We made a stop at the burial mound, because Sorcha had lost something very important there. Fortunately she found it in no-time!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

My inner eye colour

What's your inner eye colour?
Blue eyes You're a relaxed, laid-back chick with a sweet, friendly nature. Your kindness puts people at ease and also wins you many friends, and you love to be surrounded by those who love you. You've also got a strong romantic streak, and when you fall in love, you fall deep. However, sometimes when the going gets tough, you can become a bit reclusive and try to stay out of important matters – generally not a good idea! You tend to rely on others a lot, and your mood hits rock bottom when they disappoint you. Not surprisingly though, when someone is relying on you, you go to all lengths to live up to their expectations, and because of that, you make a wonderful friend.
Fun quizzes, surveys & blog quizzes

Well, my eyes are greyish blue or blueish grey. I think most of it fits me, for the rest I hope it does! :-)

P.S. I don't have time for a proper Thursday Thirteen this week. I'm going away for the weekend with the Ara-girls on Friday and I have a lot to prepare and pack. TT-ers: see you next week!