Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Goddess Nehalennia

Nehalennia bookLast Sunday I attended an event about the goddess Nehalennia in Leiden, organised by the Pagan Federation. We met in a building of the Leiden University, where we listened to a very interesting talk by GardenStone. He has done 4 years of research on Nehalennia and has written a book about it. First in German, but a translation in Dutch will be available in May this year. I have pre-ordered the book and will get it at the Dutch PFI Conference.

GardenStone told us a lot about the history, the archaeological finds, what we know and don't know about Nehalennia.
I always thought she was a Dutch goddess, but that's not entirely true. The finds are found on what is now Dutch territory, in the province of Zeeland near Colijnsplaat and Domburg. In the time of the Nehalennia worship (about 200 years in the first three centuries of our era) it was Roman territory (Germania Inferior), inhabited by Romans, Celts and Germanic tribes. They asked her for protection (safe passage over sea to Brittanica), fertility (agriculture, fruit culture), high profits & prosperity in trade and guidance for the souls of the deceased.
There is a lot of speculation about the origins of her name. The most likely (linguisticly explicable) explanation is from West-Germanic: 'she who lives near the water'. Neha =nearby, halen/lenne = water area, -ia = female suffix. Nehalennia votive stone
Her symbols can be found on the votive stones that were retrieved: apples and pears, a dog, a little cloak (pellerine), ship artefacts, a canopy of shells and sometimes a curtain.

After the talk and lunch we walked to The Dutch National Museum of Antiquities (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden). In their 'Netherlands in the Roman Era' area they have a lot of Nehalennia votives and altars on exhibition. I made pictures there; you can see them in this album.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

TT #97: Thirteen strange buildings


Thirteen strange buildings around the world

I got these in an e-mail last week. Perhaps you've seen them before; I didn't, so I thoughts I'd share them here.

I've been in the Cubic Houses in Rotterdam years ago, when they were just finished. My absolute favourite is the Kansas City Public Library though, I love it!
What's your favourite?


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted

Unfortunately the original TT website doesn't exist anymore.That's a pity, but I'll keep on doing TT's and I hope everyone else will.
There's a perfect new hub : Thursday-13!

Monday, February 16, 2009

The new me

Accepting myself and especially my body has been an issue in my life for as long as I can remember. The depressions and eating disorders had their roots in the same issue, although there was more. Over the years I’ve tried to deal with it, not always equally successful, but I did the best I could. Everything I did, helped in some way or another, less or more. In therapy I learned a lot. Step by step I got further on my path to be friends with my body. I dealt with the problems I had, but somehow the body-issue didn’t really change. I had a distorted body image, couldn’t look in de mirror without condemning what I saw, was convinced I was ugly, couldn’t understand why people liked me, and so on…

When I started being active with “witchy stuff’, the issue kept coming back in meditations, journeys. Being a witch has a lot to do with honouring yourself and your body. Before you are able to honour, you have to accept. Again, step by step I learned. Don’t get me wrong, witchcraft isn’t therapy!! It is very personal though; self-discovery, self-knowledge is an important part of it. In therapy I laid the foundations, but it couldn’t do more for me. My spiritual path brought me closer to dealing with the issue.

The last few years it got more intensive. I had little and big ‘breakthroughs’. My first full-body massage was scary to plan, but it felt great and I surprised myself: I could enjoy it! Another milestone was the Shadow Workshop with Phyllis Curott. It was heavy stuff and hard work, but very rewarding! I really took a major step in dealing with the ugly-me-monster. A simple (though not easy...) exercise turned out to be a big boost into the right direction. For the first time I believed I could beat the monster.

The last few months I was aware of a change in myself. I couldn’t name it, but I felt it was very important. I didn’t push a button, it was a long process that hasn’t completely finished yet. I recognised signs, behaviour in myself that held the promise of significant change. I couldn’t share it yet, couldn’t even put it into words. Last week I figured it out, the volcano inside erupted and strange new feelings emerged to the surface. I’m not going to torture myself any longer, I’m no longer putting my life on hold “until I loose the extra weight”. My life is now, with the body I have. I may not like everything about it, but hey… it’s me! It has always supported me, worked with me, even when I was torturing it in ways I can’t even imagine now. I may be overweight, but that doesn’t mean I’m ugly. O yes, I still would like to shed a few pounds or more, but if it doesn’t happen it’s not the end of the world. I’m okay the way I am now, my body is worth caring for!

So… I’m breaking new ground. It still feels strange and scary at times, but most of the time the positive feelings prevail. A brand new world reveals itself to me. I enjoy it fully, but I also keep my feet on the ground. It won’t always be easy, I’ll fall from time to time. But this regained freedom is something I don’t want to give up anymore. You know… I’m so proud of myself!


Last Friday I did a shamanic journey. I planned to ask Bagheera (my black panther totem) for guidance in this new situation. I walked towards my tree, very slowly, leaving stress and other distracting things behind me. I sat against the tree for a while, then I rolled backwards into it until I stood. The way down was spiralling. Lately I see a lot of spirals in dreams, meditations etc.
Bagheera was waiting for me. I hugged her, we played. She made me feel very welcome and special. When I asked her to help me, she brought me to a beautiful cave with high arches, lit by torches and candles. We stopped in front of a beautiful wooden door. When I opened it, I was back in the Shadow Workshop, just before the merging of the 'sacred me' and my shadows ('the wicked witch' and the 'perfect me'). We made a circle of four, holding hands. I felt the energy moving. We walked around, first slowly then faster and faster. In the middle of our circle formed a vortex. The others led me into it. They kept running around me and at the highest point of energy they joined me in the vortex. It was as if we stood in the eye of a tornado, but it wasn’t scary, on the contrary. I took the time and enjoyed the merging. I raised my arms high and felt happy, positive. When I wanted to step outside, it went very slow. It felt like hands were pulling me back, but not compulsory. I knew I was strong enough to get out, but did it gently. Outside Bagheera explained it was like the moon’s phases. At this moment it’s waning: I’m letting go of old routines. The new moon will be a pause. The waxing moon will make the new routines mine. With full moon the cycle will be complete.
When I walked back along the beach with Bagheera, she gave me some additional tips. I went up the tree and sat down for a while to let all of it sink in. When I was back in my room, I wrote everything down.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Foofur's 10th birthday

Foofur 10
Today my little furry friend Foofur celebrates his 10th birthday. It's going so fast! I remember the first time I saw him in the pet shelter, 10 weeks old and soooo cute! It was love on first sight, both ways. I took him with me everywhere. Everybody loves him. In character he is more Corgi than Jack Russell. He likes to play, but isn't hyper. He likes to be around me all the time. And I hope he will be around for a very long time to come.

Happy Birthday, Foofur!!!
I love you!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Maia is featured!

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.

Today I send you to a very nice website where Maia was featured yesterday. I had computer problems, so I couldn't let you know earlier.
click to go to is "a collecshun of the best kitteh bellys on da planet"! Obsessed with the soft and furry kitty bellies? Well, this is the place for you!! Kittybellys is the place to admire and worship kitty bellies. (Btw, the site also has Entrecard)

I found the site when Harley & Daisy were featured there on February 4th and 3rd. I submitted two pictures of Maia's pretty belly and got an instant answer she'd be on the site a.s.a.p. She is now!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

TT #96: online pagan shops


Thirteen pagan webshops
I like to browse pagan shops online. Sometimes just reading, getting ideas, etc. but I also regularly buy pagan stuff online. I listed 13 shops I like. Most of them are in Great Britain, because that's cheaper in postage for me.

  • Abaxion - USA, I bought my Millenial Gaia statue here, and some other stuff. They have a lot, but I especially like the statues.
  • Astral Aspects - GB, I bought my Chakra Energy Generator Crystal here, and other things. I'd love to have this ring, but they only have one size left. Have you seen it anywhere else? Please tell me!
  • Pagan Dreams - GB, 3 departments: The Craft, Jewellery and Incense.
  • Cybermoon Emporium - GB, donates a portion of all sales to charity (for example animal welfare). I like the Charmed Kitty section!
  • Druids Keep - GB, their incense and aromatherapy items are very good but there is more interesting stuff to find.
  • Every Witch Way - GB, they have several things I didn't find in other shops.
  • GaelSong - GB, I love their Circle of Cats candleholder. One day I'll order it. :)
  • Lost Legends - Germany, 3 shops in one: ritual, MiddleAges, Gothic. My BOS comes from this shop.
  • Pagan Magic - GB, great stuff and a lot of info in the online BOS-section.
  • The Goddess and The Green Man - GB, I bought my Earth Pathways Diary 2009 here and more.
  • The Gem Tree - GB, many unique things like their own jewellery designs
  • New Moon Occult Shop - GB, a wide range of products and interesting articles / info
  • Magick Rose - GB, a lot of stuff, very userfriendly website

I know there must be many more interesting ones worldwide. Any tips for me? Let me know! It doesn't matter where it's based.


The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted

Unfortunately the original TT website doesn't exist anymore.That's a pity, but I'll keep on doing TT's and I hope everyone else will.
There's a perfect new hub : Thursday-13!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Blessed Imbolc

(to see the message click to open in a new window)

From The Belly of Mother Earth,
may the flame of Light grow strong and brilliant
to enlighten your path and inspire your life!

A Blessed Imbolc to my pagan friends! Blessed Lughnasadh to those in the Southern hemisphere! The above wish I read in a forum post by one of my Italian Ara friends. I think it's beautiful, so I like to pass it on.

I celebrated Imbolc with the Olympia group in Amsterdam. It was a beautiful ritual, but also a great learning experience. Imbolc celebrates the goddess when she is pregnant: the promise of new life, of spring coming. We had a pregnant woman in the circle, which gave an extra special feeling to it.
I cast the circle with my athame. I had found a lovely way to do that online: casting the circle thrice, once for the maiden, once for the mother and once for the crone and their energies. I adapted the words a bit to make it my own.
The altar looked good, with stuff from all of us there. I brought my Millenial Gaia statue, my little cow (milk is an Imbolc theme), a green spring puppet and a yellow table runner.
We did a very nice pathworking from the Pagan Dawn magazine. In it we got a gift with a message. My gift was a wonderful silver spiral. The sacred spiral is an ancient symbol of growth and evolution. It dates back many centuries and has been used by the ancient Celts, Greeks and many other cultures and peoples. As a witchcraft symbol it represents divine energy and the cycle of life, of death and rebirth. When drawn clockwise, it's said to bring things towards you, and when drawn anti-clockwise, it pushes negative energies away from you.
We each brought a cup with cotton wool. We charged the garden cress seed on the altar to awaken the numen (earth energy) and then put them on the cotton wool. While doing that we were thinking of an area in our life that we would like to grow or come into fruition. My seeds are already starting to germinate.
For cake & wine we had fresh juice and delicious bread. We gave thanks and opened the circle. After a chat and a cup of tea we each went our seperate ways.