Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Yuletide blessings

May this Yule 
by the turning of the wheel 
bring love, peace, health,
happiness & good fortune;
hoping the rebirth of the light
shines new rays of hope
on you and yours!

Happy Holidays to all of you, my friends!

Friday, November 04, 2011

Blogblast For Peace 2011

Today I'm joining hundreds of bloggers across the world in a movement called "Blogblast For Peace". Bloggers will unite in a global cry for peace in this annual event. One day. One voice. All it takes is one post. Won't you join us?

This is the fourth time I'm participating in Blogblast for Peace (and an extra one on 9/11 this year). I stumbled upon this simple but true quote by Mother Teresa and decided to build this year's globe around it. I chose children's drawings of smiles; also simple but very effective!

Blogblast for Peace links

Monday, October 31, 2011

Blessed Samhain!

Some time ago I received an intriguing invitation: making a death mask for Samhain with a small group! I didn't have to think long and decided I'd definitely want to be there. So last Saturday it was time! Unfortunately one of the women wasn't feeling well, so we ended up being with 6 'wyld & wicked women'! ;-) Some had met each other before. I only knew the hostess beforehand, so I had the privilege to get to know 4 wonderful women.

First we had dinner at a beautiful Samhain-decorated table. Everyone had an extra plate for someone behind the veils. We shared stories about those people and animals while eating in their honour. This year I dedicated my plate to my dad. For dinner we had a very yummy salad, delicious pasta with pesto and salmon, an exquisite quiche and very tasty pizza! The dessert was even better: heavenly cheesecake and divine pecan pie with vanilla ice-cream.

In the temple called "Ons Ding" ("Our Thing") we prepared the plaster bandages for the masks. In the background you see the veils to the other world and on the right the beautiful altar.
We made the masks in pairs. To protect our skin and to make the mask easier to release we covered our face with a lot of cream. I had a nasty cold, so I was a bit nervous whether I could persevere the plaster. I decided to put some straws in my mouth, so I had both nose and mouth to breathe. Still, it wasn't easy! I started thinking a lot of "what-ifs". That wasn't going to help me persist so I went into a meditative state and that was the right decision. I did it!
Then it was my turn to make a mask. I soon felt I was very tired and the cold didn't make it any easier. I wanted to finish the mask, so I kept on putting plaster bandages. I struggled. I realized it wasn't working and felt so bad... Finally I asked someone else to take over. That was so hard, I felt I had failed miserably. In the kitchen I cried, but everyone was so kind and comforting! My mask partner got a beautiful mask nevertheless and she wasn't disappointed (as I had feared). On the contrary, she accepted her own lesson in this with grace; we talked it over and hugged.

Afterwards we all talked about what making the masks had done with us. Generally speaking death-masks are made after a person dies. Look here for examples. To do it on a living person can feel strange, especially when the eyes and mouth are covered. You literally shut them up...
Meanwhile, it was very late so we set up the beds and dived in! Unfortunately one of the women had to go home. I slept next to the veils in Ons Ding. In the morning we had a long breakfast / brunch, closed the circle and then we said our goodbyes. Thank you for everything, lovely ladies!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Witch's tools

I've got a lot of 'witchy stuff': statues, incense-burners, candle-holders, stones, feathers, altar cloths, etc. etc. Some bought (new or second-hand), some given to me, some self-made. Over the years it made a nice collection. I made my own runes and my pentacle. Some things I have more of. For example I have my 'official' athame, but I also have a wooden one that Ron carved for me in Lier. Both very precious to me!

As a boline I mostly used a pretty little knife from Scandinavia. I have been looking for an 'official' one for years. For me it had to be a sickle with a white handle. The ones in pagan shops didn't appeal to me though; they are all the same. I trusted that eventually it would come to me. And it did!

This year on Castlefest I came across a blacksmith called Roodbaert (red-beard, and indeed he had one!). Ron and I talked with him and I told him how I saw the boline I wanted. He understood exactly what I wanted and its purpose. He told us he had recently got his hands on over 400 years old iron nails. He offered to try to make my knife from those, and at a very reasonable price.

A few weeks ago the knife arrived. We had asked him to make it with a simple handle, because I wanted to wrap it with white leather myself. It took some time but I'm very very satisfied with the result!
(click on the pics to see them bigger)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Lowlands Asatru Thing

In the second weekend of October Ron and I went to the first Lowlands Asatru Thing. A 'thing' in its historical meaning is a court assembly, but was later used for an assembly of the people. Asatru is explained here. Lowlands is self-explanatory I guess. The purpose of the meeting was to bring together asatruar (practitioner of asatru) and people interested in asatru for various purposes. We gathered in "De Grote Bunte" in Nunspeet, a beautiful place surrounded by nature.

We arrived in the early evening of Friday, after an aggravating drive because the car stopped running on LPG. We decided to leave that there and then and have a great weekend, which we did! :-)
Later in the evening the LAT was officially opened. Around the tables we all gave a little introduction of ourselves. I'm not astruar, my path is witchcraft / wicca, but I like to work with the Norse pantheon and was curious to learn more about it. There were several people I already knew and I got to know new people.

On Saturday there were some very interesting workshops: how to look at historic sources, spirits of the land, introduction to the 'high seat of the seer' and deity of Dutch soil. All very interesting and thought-provoking! In the entrance-hall and the workshop-room were a lot of books on display. Great to roam about!

In the evening there was a blot (asatru ritual). The weather wasn't that great, a lot of rain all weekend. The blot was outside, it was dry at first. Of course it started to rain, long live the lowlands! :-) We decided to stay outside nevertheless and had a wonderful ritual in the pouring rain. Quite different from what I am used to, great to witness and be part of!

Sunday I was up and about very early and decided to take a walk in the woods behind the buildings. It was very beautiful and I made a lot of pictures. Of one place I made 3 pics within 5 seconds and was surprised to see them. I leave it up to you what to make of it...

After breakfast we attended two workshops: making a bind-rune and burn it into a wooden slice and singing power-chants. Afterwards we did a closing ritual and all went our different ways. Until next year! :-)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Adiana again

Last week I had an appointment for the final test of the Adiana procedure, the hysterosalpingogram. HSG is a fertility testing technique that involves the injection of a special dye into the uterus through the cervical opening. The progression of the dye is then monitored via x-ray. It shows whether the tubes are completely closed or not.

It was done by another gynaecologist. She was very friendly and did her best, but man oh man... it was SO painful! I know I have a low pain barrier, but still... Everything she did hurt, and hurt badly! Ron later said she was very young and seemed a bit insecure and clumsy when she didn't get it right in one try. I can handle pain impulses, but it just didn't stop hurting. I couldn't relax locally as I did with the Adiana procedure itself.  I could watch the screens and follow the dye. I cannot describe how I felt when I clearly saw one tube wasn't closed completely.... Oh NO! What a disappointment...

Afterwards I felt shaky and when the gynaecologist and nurse left I burst into tears. I was in pain and lost quite a lot of blood. The doctor had said that was normal, so I wasn't alarmed and in the days after it slowly got less and eventually disappeared.

Today I spoke with my own gynaecologist. He told me only a very small percentage of tubes wasn't closed completely after 6 months. Of course I belong to that minority, just my luck... :-( We agreed to do another internal ultrasound scan next week, just to be sure the inserts are still in place. Then in 3 months we have to repeat the HSG. Unfortunately there is no other way to indisputably prove the closing of the tubes. He promised me he'll do it himself and in a slightly different way. Not completely painless, but hopefully a bit more bearable. With something to relax and pain medication beforehand I think I'll manage, but I'm not looking forward to it!

UPDATE Oct. 17: Just got back from the ultrasound. The inserts are still in place. One is slightly further into my tube, what might be why it isn't completely closed yet. The new HSG will be done in January.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Worlds Biggest Summit (free!)

Goddess Leonie of Goddess is organizing a wonderful event, and it's completely free! Learn from 100+ great teachers including SARK, Julia Cameron, Lynn V. Andrews and many many more. Business luminaries, spirituality leaders, health & wellness visionaries, creativity goddesses, the writers you worship, the bloggers you bow to, the geniuses you ogle, the wisdom you’re craving...

It's online, so you can download and listen when the time is right for you!
Come and join us!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Queen's Meme Cat edition

We shall talk cats this week. Puuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

1. Do you have a cat?
Yes, three!

2. What is your cat's name?
They are named after goddesses: Freyja, Bastet & Maia

3. What makes you love cats?
How can one NOT love cats? They are beautiful, independent, obstinate, loving, purring and soooo much more! Couldn't live without them!

4. If you are not a cat person, why not?
I am a cat person and a dog person. They say that's rare, most people are the one or the other, or at least have a preference.

5. What is the funniest thing your cat has ever done?
It never bores me to look at a cat playing with something simple like a paper pellet or a dripping tap. Makes me smile every time!

6. Do you think cats have feelings and can talk to their owners?
I like to think they have feelings. My cats talk (meow) to me, just wished I knew the language!

7. The Rainbow Bridge is the place where cats go when they pass away. I think it's a lovely idea. If humans could have a bridge of their own in the afterlife, what would you name it?
I say we all go to the same Rainbow Bridge. When we arrive at the bridge our pets are waiting for us to cross it with us to the Summerland.

BONUS POINTS! Post a picture of you and your cat.
I can't find a pic of me with all three of them, but here they are. 
From left to right Maia, Freyja, Bastet!
(the links bring you to their Catster-pages)

Sunday, September 11, 2011

I remember 9/11

No words can ever really express my feelings, 
so I respectfully stay silent in remembering...

(This post is published on 2011-09-11 14:46 Dutch time,
the exact moment of the first plain hitting the WTC 10 years ago)

Monday, September 05, 2011

Freddie 65

Freddie Mercury would have been 65 today. He is still missed by so many, but he will live forever through the music legacy he left behind for us...

Google honoured Freddie in a special Doodle today:

Friday, September 02, 2011

Sick and tired

Yep, I was sick... again! I've missed all the flu attacks since I started taking echinacea a few years ago. Everyone around me got it, except me. But this year it seems to be my turn, despite the echinacea I'm still taking. And it keeps coming back. This last week I was sick for the fourth time in just three months! Of course I was a good girl, listened to my body and stayed in bed or on the couch. I'm feeling a bit better now and I sincerely hope this was it. I'm sick and tired of always being sick and tired! Most of the time I can handle the 'tired'-part, but I'm fed up with being sick and/or feeling under the weather. All the stress in our life can't be good, but I can't take that away. If only I could... *sigh*
Okay, enough ranting. Just thought I'd let you know where I've been this week.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Farewell to Miss Peach

(image found at Purrchance To Dream
made by Jan of Jan's Funny Farm for the Cat Blogosphere)

This morning I found out that Miss Peach has gone to the Rainbow Bridge. That made me so very sad... Who is Miss Peach, you think? Well, in her own words: "I am Misses Peach, an 18 year old Victorian Devon Rex kitty who tolerates living in this modern world but would rather live in Jane Austen or Beatrix Potters time." A cat? Yes, but not just any cat...

As a beginning blogger I visited Miss Peach's Meowz, my first encounter with a blogging cat. Little did I know... There is a whole Cat Blogosphere of cats with blogs! Cat-lover as I am, I started following a lot of them. Miss Peach always had her special place in my heart. Can you care for a cat you've never met irl? I know I can! Non-catlovers and non-bloggers (and maybe more people) might not understand, but I don't care. Of course it's not the same as loving my own furballs, but that doesn't mean it isn't real...

Rest in peace, sweet tiny Miss Peach! You'll be missed around the world... My heart goes out to her loving family, that took such great care of her until the very end. A candle will be burning in front of my Bast statue for all of you!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Queen's Meme - The Upside Down Question Meme

Questions you say? Today we shall ask questions about..well....questions. I shall pose a question. Your answer must be a question. Behold your brain-twisting activity for the day...
If you could ask one question of the following .....
What would your question be?

Your iPod
"How do you know exactly what song to play 'at random'?"

Casey Anthony
"How did it come this far???"

Your ex's last ex
I think I am my ex's last ex...

Your pet
"Can you really understand a word I'm saying?"

John Lennon
"Can you forgive Mark Chapman?"

Your great-grandmother on your father's side
"How did a typical day in your life unfold?"

Your mirror
"Why can't you just lie to me?"

Monday, August 22, 2011

Foofur & Arwen in the dunes

Yesterday I took Foofur & Arwen for a walk in the dunes. I made pics and two short video's. When I got home I downloaded Windows Movie Maker and started experimenting. This is the result! No music yet (still have to figure that out), just the sound of the wind. I hope you'll enjoy it nevertheless. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adiana progress update

Do you see the two white spots left and right of center? We have twins! *lol* Hahaha, no... Those are the Adiana inserts. Last Thursday I had an appointment to check the progress. I got an internal ultrasound scan and a talk with the gynaecologist. Everything is okay, it's going as planned. I've made an appointment in October for the  final HSG-test.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Queen's Meme - Mimi's Old Memes Meme

Mimi took one question from each of the first 7 question memes she ever did and put them into this meme!
  1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought? (from The Silly Questions Meme)
    ---> Aaaargh, bad hair day!
  2. Name something about humanity you absolutely hate. (from The Monday Melee Meme)
    ---> abuse of children and animals in any way
  3. What was the first lie your mother ever told you? (from Ten Lies My Mother Told Me meme)
    ---> I don't want to remember that...
  4. Name one thing you should never say around a Ouija Board. (from The Ten Things You Should Never Say Around a Ouija Board meme - from Frank @ Honk'n'Hollr)
    ---> "Wanna play? Come on over!" (although I strongly discourage use of a Ouija board, but that's another discussion)
  5. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? (from the I Think I Caught Something Meme)
    ---> I don't have a bathtub (yet!), but in the shower I use Dove.
  6. If a doctor told you today that you were pregnant, what would you say? (The Honesty Meme)
    ---> "Whaaaaaaaaaaat???" Although technically still possible I hope not (see my Adiana post)
  7. Are you in a complicated love situation? (from The Don't Call Me, I'll Call You Meme)
    ---> Thank goodness no! I'm happily married. :-)
Mr. Linky doesn't work for this meme for me, but if you leave a comment I'll visit you!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Castlefest 2011

Oops, quite some time again since I posted last time. It's not that I don't want to post, but most of the time it would be bad news and rants. Life isn't great at the moment, and that's a huge understatement...
We did go back Lier for 5 days and we had some wonderful times there. The weather wasn't great, but we enjoyed ourselves nevertheless. Unfortunately I caught a bronchial infection. Even with antibiotics it took quite some time to cure. When I got better, Ron got sick. Nice couple we are, always lucky! :-S

Last weekend we went to the fantasy/medieval/gothic/pagan fair Castlefest. We had a great time! Here's a video, that gives a nice impression:
In the afternoon there was a cloud burst or maybe a few all together! We found shelter under a tree, but still got soaking wet. The rest of the day it was dry and even sunny at times. We met a lot of friends and others, went to a lecture, watched some great bands perform... We had a great time! I've put the pictures we made in an album on Facebook (no account needed to see them).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thank you Robbie!

Yesterday, the big day arrived! The Robbie Williams (and Take That) concert in the Amsterdam Arena! I checked the website all day. The 2nd concert in Denmark had to be cancelled last Saturday because Robbie had food poisoning. Thank goodness our concert wasn't cancelled!

Because we had seated tickets we didn't have to go early. We entered the stadium when The Pet Shop Boys had just started. I love those old songs, brings back memories. The sound wasn't very good though, but fortunately that was solved before the main act arrived.

Take That as a foursome opened the concert with some lame songs. Didn't really catch me until 'Patience' and then 'Shine'. I've never been much of a TT-fan, especially not the quartet. I like it, enjoy some of the songs, but that was not what I went for. Sorry, boys...

Then suddenly there was a familiar face and a familiar sound.... Robbie!!! The whole stadium came alive and the sound-level multiplied big time. He knows how to make an entrance and started with 'Let Me Entertain You'. Now that's how you open a concert! Followed by 'Rock DJ' and 'Come Undone'. In between Rob chatted. He looked very good, although sometimes there were little signs that he wasn't back to complete strength yet. That didn't stop him from giving it all. My all-time favourite 'Feel' was great:
Of course 'Angels' couldn't miss on the set-list:

After a break with dancers Take That returned in original setting with Rob leading them in 'The Flood'. The podium looked magnificent. It did so all evening, the set was really awesome! They started high up in the air. Rob was lowered upside-down like he started the 2003 concerts, spectacular! After some of the new hits they gathered around the piano for the old stuff. Unfortunately not 'Could It Be Magic', but still some great ones like 'Everything Changes'. Mark is my favourite person of the other TT-ers but his voice has changed and I really don't like the sound of it anymore. Gary has a wonderful voice of course. Pity he didn't sing 'Shame' with Rob. In the encore they sang 'No Regrets' (rather hear the original) and 'Relight My Fire' (sounded like a new remix, not bad).

Afterwards I was dog-tired, very thirsty and had a sore throat but man oh man was it worth it! WOOHOO!!!! Rob must have been exhausted, but I'm sure behind the scenes Ayda has received him with a lot of TLC and that's the best medicine for him. :-)

Here are my pics:
Concert Robbie Williams (& Take That)

Monday, July 18, 2011

What a vacation...

Thursday the 7th Ron and I were finally on our way, ready for a great two-weeks vacation in Lier, Belgium. We arrived late in the afternoon. I didn't feel completely fit, but it was just like having my period. Just what the doctor had said after the Adiana. In the evening we went for a walk along the river Nete. The weather was nice and the dogs were happy too. We noticed a lot of herbs, so we planned to pick them later in the week.

The next morning my back ached. Perhaps I had slept in a wrong position or something, I don't know. Every move hurt. Still we decided to go into town to do some shopping and groceries. It went okay, but I was exhausted when we got back. Little by little I was feeling worse: my back, nauseous, dizzy... I tried to eat something, but it didn't taste at all. In the end I went to bed early. Unfortunately I didn't feel better when I woke up, on the contrary. A few days I was feeling so ill... After that I felt slightly better, but that was about it. I didn't get better. In the end we decided last week to go home, in hopes of getting better there. I felt so sad to have to abort the vacation, but we really had no other choice. I couldn't stop crying though.

So, last Tuesday we got home. Ron called the gynaecologist, but he said it had nothing to do with the Adiana procedure. Perhaps only my strength was a bit low which caused me to get ill. He advised me to take paracetamol a few times a day and let the illness run its course. Gradually that made me feel a bit better, but it took quite some time. Right now I'm still not completely back to normal, but I feel okay. If the weather cooperates a bit, perhaps we'll go back for a few days. We'll see...

Wednesday, July 06, 2011


This afternoon the Adiana procedure was done. I wasn't really nervous. The gynaecologist was very nice and his assistants too. We chatted about our upcoming vacation and in the meantime we could watch everything on a tv screen next to me. The doctor explained what he was doing. It didn't hurt, but sometimes it felt awkward and strange. He informed me when the feeling could be worse. The moment of releasing the insert was uncomfortable. It made me feel dizzy and nauseous. Luckily this doctor gives a shot of atropine before the procedure, otherwise I would have fainted. The feeling disappeared when the delivery catheter was taken out. The whole thing lasted 15 minutes maximum! Right now it feel okay, quite normal actually. It can hurt like a normal period at best. In 5 weeks I'll get a consult and an ultrasound scan for control. After 3 months a test will be done to confirm that my tubes are completely blocked.

At first Ron and I planned to have kids some day, but then my depressions and eating disorders got in the way. I couldn't take care of myself, let alone take care of a baby. When those problems were more or less behind me, the chronic fatigue became the next spoil-sport. Now, 10 years later, the fatigue is still there. We don't want to put a child in this situation, doesn't feel fair to the little one. Plus meanwhile I'm almost 43. It's for the best, it wasn't meant to be. Regrets? Not really... I guess over the years we got used to the idea of having no kids. We enjoy the freedom and are at peace with it.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Adiana procedure

I'm still trying to get off as much medication as possible. Last year we talked about birth control. I'm still using a contraceptive pill. The hormones in it have influence on my body and the other medication, so I'd like to stop taking them.
The best option is sterilization and the easiest way would be for Ron to do it. But that never felt good for me. If anything happens to me, he can still have kids for the rest of his life while my biological clock has almost run out. Of course we don't presume anything happening, but the consideration stands nevertheless. On the other hand sterilisation for me meant surgery, not very appealing either.

In a women's magazine I read something about the Adiana procedure, a safe and minimally invasive procedure for permanent contraception. I made an appointment with a gynaecologist that specializes in Adiana and Essure (another, similar method). He advised me to stop with the pill for some months to see whether my menstrual bleeding pattern would return and be regular. That turned out to be the case, so the appointment could be made for the procedure. Unfortunately that had to be rescheduled several times, but tomorrow afternoon it will be done.

There are four simple steps to the Adiana procedure:
Step 1: A slender, flexible instrument (delivery catheter) is passed through the body's natural openings (i.e., through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus) to deliver a low level of radiofrequency energy (i.e., energy that generates heat to create a superficial lesion) to a small section of each fallopian tube.
Illustration of the Adiana Procedure Step 1 (Catheter)
Step 2: A tiny, soft insert - about the size of a grain of rice - is placed in each of your fallopian tubes, right where the energy was applied.
Illustration of the Adiana Procedure Step 2 (Matrix)
Step 3: You must use another form of birth control over the next 3 months, while new tissue grows in and around the Adiana inserts, eventually blocking your fallopian tubes.
Illustration of the Adiana Procedure Step 3 (New tissue growth)
Step 4: At 3 months, a special test is performed (hysterosalpingogram or HSG) to confirm that your tubes are fully blocked. This test will ensure that the procedure has been successful.
Illustration of the Adiana Procedure Step 4 (HSG Final)

Or you can watch an animation of the procedure here.

All text, images and the animation are property of Adiana / Hologic Inc.

Monday, July 04, 2011

House blessing

Our friend Maralynn got a new home some weeks ago. She planned a house blessing and asked me to help her with the ritual. Some people asked me what we did and with her permission I'll give you an idea.

Yesterday friends gathered in her home, varying from experienced witch to newcomer. First I explained what we were going to do. Then we cast the circle from hand to hand. I love that way of casting a circle, because everyone has an active part and it literally binds people together for the ritual. I called the quarters and Maralynn invited the goddess and the god.

The heart or the working part of the ritual consisted of three parts:
  1. cleansing the house with a smudge stick (white sage, lemon grass and cedar) by Maralynn and me
  2. blessing the house with the elements by Maralynn and three others, each with an element (incense, candle, water and salt)
  3. making a witches' bottle together for home protection - Maralynn decided not to bury the bottle but place it on a shelf above her front door
For the cake and wine Maralynn had biological apple juice (she doesn't like alcohol, yay for me!) and self-baked pentagram cookies. Of course we saved some for the libation (offering to the gods and local spirits).
After thanks and closing the circle we had a delicious barbecue to celebrate!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Happy 2nd Birthday, Arwen!!!

Remember this picture? It seems like yesterday, but it was nearly 2 years ago. Arwen is celebrating her 2nd birthday today!! She is a bit 'petite' for a Berner Sennen (Bernese Mountain dog), small and lean. She loves to play, run and especially: swim! You can see her grow up in her own photo album. Here are the latest ones:

What? This is my birthday???

Does that mean I get an extra treat???

That was yummy! Come and share some cake for my birthday!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Long time no see

Yeah, I haven't been posting much lately... I have so much I want to do, so much I need to do and even more I have to do... Somehow that ends up in me doing nothing. I'll give you a little update though...

My health still bothers me. As I wrote before, I'm caught between happy feelings (yay, nothing's wrong) and discomfort. I don't feel good, on the contrary. I'm not sick, it's hard to describe. On top of the physical problems  I'm also struggling mentally. Life isn't easy at the moment. I won't tire you with the details, but it's more survival than life... Bleh, enough of that negativity.

From Ascension Day until the Sunday thereafter my coven was invited to the Greencraft Coven Convention in Castle De Berckt in Baarlo, Netherlands. Greencraft is an Alexandrian based Wiccan Tadition, founded by Hera and Arghuicha (read more on the Greencraft website).We had wonderful days filled with workshops, rituals, meetings and social interaction. The weather was very good, although a bit too sunny and warm to my liking. A lot could be done outside. Because the tradition celebrated its 20th anniversary the covens had prepared a beautiful and very special ritual to honour and thank Hera and Arghuicha. We were very honoured to be able to take part in this.

We are busy with Ron's business called Van Leeuwen Auto Advies (Van Leeuwen Car Advice) or VLAA. The website is online: The colours we are using come from Van Swieten, the transport company for which Ron's father worked and Ron has fond memories of. We have done a lot of work these last weeks/months. The logo, business cards, etc. are ready too. The car will get some advertisement next week. Let the customers come! :-)

Last weekend Ron and I went to a little folk festival called Teylinger Fest. It was organized for the first time this year, but hopefully it won't be the last! There were folk bands playing all day in the Ruin of Teylingen. On the fields around it were market stalls and entertainment. You can see our pictures in my Facebook album "Teylinger Fest 2011" (no need for a FB account to watch).

That's it for now. I'll try to post more regularly!

Monday, May 30, 2011


The cardiologist just called. There was nothing wrong with my 48 hours ECG or any of the other tests. My basic heartrate is somewhat higher than average, but no problems, no arrhythmia, nothing out of the ordinary. Now I'm torn between being happy (nothing wrong, yay!) and feeling disappointed with this unsatisfactory answer (I feel lousy, what IS wrong than, damn it?!). The heart specialist will report to my GP and that's it for now. I feel a bit numb...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

PFI Conference 2011

Finally some time to write about the Pagan Federation International (PFI) Conference in Lunteren last week!
I arrived just in time for the opening ritual performed by Rufus & Melissa Harrington. After that I said hello to friends from the Lowland Systers, my coven, the Olympia studygroup, other workshops, etc. The yearly PFI Conference is always a great place to meet a lot of people I know and to get to know others.

The first workshop I went to was by Gerry Damen about energetic protection. Of course I know a bit about the subject, but the way she presented it was enlightening. The story behind energetic protection and why/when we need it, the different ways people use, how we can improve our own method, etc. Very interesting! We also did some exercises.

On the workshop schedule was an item that intrigued me, because I know very little about it: Enochia. It was given by Rufus Harrington. He is a Wiccan High Priest and initiate of the Western Mysteries who has spent many years studying Elizabethan magic. He has reconstructed the rituals of that era's most famous mage, Dr John Dee, using Dee's original manuscripts, and related documents. A renowned expert on Elizabethan magic, he teaches Enochia throughout Europe. He told about his own acquaintance with Enochia. He talked about John Dee and Edward Kelley and their work together. A lot of practices we use today originally come from the Enochian system of magic. Rufus let us call the quarters with the original text in Enochian, which isn't easy to pronounce I might add! It felt very powerful though.

The next workshop was something completely different: Vincent Ongkowidjojo about the Nine Worlds in the Northern Tradition. He has an interesting view on the nine worlds and how we see them today. I bought his Dutch book about Runes in the Northern Tradition. He has also written a book in English: Secrets of Asgard.

Taloch Jameson gave a workshop Drumming Meditation. He expresses his paganism through music with his band, The Dolmen, and through being a ceremonial facilitator with the multi-path Dolmen Grove which he formed in the early 1990s. He told about the magical history of the island of Portland off the Dorset coast of the UK. He chanted with us and let us feel the power of drumming in meditation. The workshop was over way too soon, I would have loved to hear more of him!

The last workshop I wanted to attend was by Alruin of Mandragora. When I got into the room, incense was burning. Somehow it got to me heavily. Within a few minutes I started to feel uncomfortable and sweaty. I decided to leave. Pity I had to, the workshop sounded very intriguing! In the hallway a friend picked me up and took me outside where I felt better in no time.

In between the workshops I visited the little market in the big hall.
I bought cotton tape for my new robe at the stall of Feuersprung, a German shop with a great assortment of ritual stuff. They had brought a lot of tape, but also gorgeous statues.
From GardenStone I bought his book Het Mercurius-Wodan complex.
I also browsed through the other stalls with books, stones/crystals, incense and a lot more!

The closing ritual was performed by Rufus & Melissa Harrington. It involved some kind of maypole dance. I didn't join in, because I still didn't feel great, but I enjoyed it from the edge of the room. I shared in the energy, which was very joyful and exuberant.

Ron arrived just in time for dinner, a wonderful and yummy Indonesian Buffet. During the closing ritual he bought me a beautiful gift: the statue of Herne I admired earlier at the Feuersprung stall! I love it!!

In the evening a storm was coming, a musical storm in the appearance of the English band The Dolmen!  We had seen them on the Elf Fantasy Fair and Ron decided to come for this gig. Their performance was great! The audience was very enthusiastic and the dancefloor was crammed all night. I've put some Dolmen pics in a Facebook album.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Berner Sennen meeting

Last Sunday there was another Berner Sennen (Bernese Mountaindog) meeting in Hoofddorp. Although I was tired from the day before (more about that later) I'm very glad we went. Arwen had a great time and so did we.
One of the Berner Sennen owners, Hermien Stok, presented her second children's book about Berner Sennen dogs. What better place to do that than on a lawn surrounded by Berner Sennen dogs? You can find her books here (along with other great Berner Sennen stuff!).
After the presentation we made a walk around the pond. Of course Arwen was the first to go into the water, she loves to swim. Ron made a lot of pics, I've put them in an online album. Click on the pic below to go to the album.

Bernermeeting Hoofddorp

Thursday, May 12, 2011

My heart

Last Monday I had an appointment with the heart specialist. A very nice lady, kind and efficient. An ECG was made and I had to do a test on the hometrainer. Nothing strange could be seen. The last time I suffered from my heart problems there was a doctor present. She immediately noted what was happening: atrium fibrillation. It is not good, but not too serious either and not life-threatening in itself, but it is very uncomfortable and increases the risk of other heart problems.

The cardiologist gave me a portable device to monitor my heart for 48 hours from Monday to Wednesday. It made a 48 hour ECG on a digital storage card. Unfortunately (well, under these circumstances...) I didn't have another serious problem, although I had a few times that my heart started racing and I felt bad. I discovered the symptoms start coming when I'm standing still for some time. Exertion doesn't trigger the problems, but standing still does. Strange! I have written down my experiences and handed them in with the device.
The doctor will call me with the results on May 30th. I'm curious, we'll see...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Blessed Beltane!

Dew Kissed and Beltane Blessed
(a poem by Bendis)

hawthorn gathered in the may
atop a tree of birch
gaily blowing in the wind
rainbow ribbons spin

queen of may, jack o'green
bless the fields and land
lively dancing kissing twirling
ribbons in the hand

king making, goddess blessed
sacred vows of ancient days
wrapping ribbons round the pole
dance the sacred ways

spread the grass make a bed
lay upon the land
spill the seed bless the night
lovers hand in hand

come my love, walk with me
we'll lay upon the grass
our love to bless this night
and watch the moonlight pass

dew kissed, we shall awake


Have a Blessed Beltane! And to my friends in the Southern Hemisphere: have a Blessed Samhain!
In a minute I'm off to a Beltane celebration and ritual with my coven. How are you celebrating Beltane (or Samhain) this year?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A little update

I've been wanting to write a post almost every day in the last two weeks, but somehow every time something got in the way. A little update...

The finances for Ron's business are finally done. The normal banks weren't interested, didn't even take a look at the businessplan. We don't have personal money to invest, so the verdict was an established fact: not interested. We didn't give up and turned to Qredits, the only nationwide operating microfinance institution in The Netherlands. We got a visit of one of their business advisors and he liked the idea and plans. Finally, after almost a year of pursuing this goal, the business can really start.
Sounds good, huh? It is, really! But from that moment on eveything seemed to be doomed. Whatever we did, it all backfired. Whatever we started went wrong. It would be too much to spell it all out, but man... it was exhausting and undermining our motivation. But again... we won't give up! Things can only get better... Luctor et Emergo! ;-)

I haven't been feeling very well the past weeks. Something went wrong with my heart and blood pressure medication (my fault). Last week after I went countrydancing I collapsed at home. My heart rate and blood pressure were skyhigh. I really felt very bad. My medication is okay again, but still my heart is racing regularly and my blood pressure is too high even in rest. I'll have to make a doctor's appointment next week. Perhaps my medications have to be adapted; they all interact. We'll see.

Last saturday we went to the Elf Fantasy Fair in Haarzuilens, a festival for fantasylovers, pagans, live action role play (larp), re-enactment, etc. with great music, stands, workshops, lectures and more on the grounds of Castle De Haar. We had a great time! You can see our pictures in my Picasa webalbum:
Elf Fantasy Fair

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Reiki Master

I got my Reiki 1st degree in 2003 together with my sister Joke and in 2005 we got our 2nd degree together. Unfortunately our Master decided to stop with courses and attunements. It took some time to find another way to continue this path. When I finally found it, I started the Master study at 1st degree level so I could refresh my memory and learn some new things. Because of the fatigue and concentration problems it took me longer than expected but I did finish it!

Friday morning I got my Reiki 3rd degree attunement / initiation together with 4 others. It was a very intense experience for me and very emotional. Water kept running from my eyes and it weren't tears, a strange feeling! My body felt very heavy, but not uncomfortable. Afterwards I couldn't stop yawning.
After lunch we immediately started giving 1st and 2nd degree attunements to a group of people. Attunement is hard work for me. I got energy from it but my body was exhausted. I'll have to be creative to find a good way for me to do this, but that shouldn't be a problem. The Reiki Master gave me some tips already. It was a long, but very instructive and nice day. After taking my time with studying I can finally call myself a Reiki Master!

Monday, April 04, 2011

Berner Sennen Beach Walk

Yesterday Ron and I went with Arwen to an organized walk on the beach of Noordwijk with 50 to 60 Berner Sennen (Bernese Mountain) dogs from all over The Netherlands. For us it wasn't far, just a 45 min. drive. The weather forecast had been very bad for this afternoon, but fortunately they were all wrong! It was dry, quite warm and even sunny from time to time. Almost perfect conditions for dogs on the beach. We didn't bring Foofur this time. The beach is not his favourite and we had already been to the IJmuiden beach the day before. Of course Arwen had a blast! We walked along the beach near the sea. She loves the water and was soaking wet in no time. We enjoyed ourselves very much, but at the end we were dog-tired! ;-))

I've put our pics in an album here.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Magical Realms stampset

I collect stamps, Dutch stamps, but when I came across this beautiful British set I simply couldn't resist.
The set is called Magical Realms and features worldfamous magical characters: Rincewind & Gytha Ogg (Terry Pratchett's Discworld series), Dumbledore & Voldemort (J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series), Merlin & Morgan Le Fay (Arthurian legend) and Aslan & The White Witch (The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis). My compliments to the Royal Mail for this amazing issue!

Want them too? I ordered directly on the Royal Mail website.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Booktip: WyrdWood - The Story of Dusty Miller

I've had the privilege of meeting Dusty Miller the 13th during Walk & Talks in Amsterdam (2006) and Zeist (2007). To say he's an interesting man is a huge understatement... When I heard there was a book about him, I ordered it immediately at Lulu. I received it last week and read it in a few hours. I love it and most importantly, it does Dusty justice. I highly recommend it, as you can read in my 5-star review.

"Dusty Miller 13th is an English Shaman and Folk Magician. He is descended from the aboriginal inhabitants of Britain, the Elfin tribes who dwelt in the primeval forest before the Celtic invasions. He carries the traditions and wisdom of his Elfin ancestors through into the modern day. In this book, written with the consent and active co-operation of Dusty and his family, Dusty's relationship with the Ancient Tree Spirits known as Dryads is explained, along with the manner in which he gathers LiveWood from the Dryads – wood which still contains a living, sentient spirit – and crafts it into magical tools, such as wands, staves, cudgels and pendants. These LiveWood artifacts are items possessed of powerful and ancient Magick, with an emphasis upon healing, protection and becoming successful in life."

Monday, March 14, 2011

Relaxing yurt weekend

I got to know the yurts in Otterlo when I spent two weekends there with the Lowland Systers last year in March and November. When Ron heard my stories and saw the pics he said he would like to go there too!

So last weekend we stayed in a yurt with 3 friends and we had a great time. We all needed the peace and quiet after days/weeks/months of stress and other stuff. The weather cooperated nicely, it was dry and sunny. Ron and I drove to the yurt friday afternoon, the others arrived in the evening.

Saturday we woke up slowly and spent the day doing whatever we felt like! The men did some archery, I went for a walk in the woods, we all relaxed and enjoyed ourselves. In the afternoon the hottub was fired up. The men tried it first (very hot!), later in the evening the ladies joined them. In between we had a barbecue! After soaking and relaxing in the hottub we went back into the yurt. I slept a lot and very well!

On Sunday we had another quiet morning. Slowly we started packing and clearing out stuff. In the afternoon we drove home after a wonderful weekend with friends, fun and relaxation. Just what the doctor ordered! ;-)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Duke Taylor

I learned about Duke Taylor through his Facebook-page. He was a wonderful dog with a heart condition. On his page he raised awareness and tried to help other dogs in every way possible. Every day I checked in to see how Duke was doing, to look for new pictures and/or causes.

Unfortunately Duke lost his fight on March 4th. He has crossed over to the Rainbow Bridge. In the end he didn’t suffer and had the chance to spend the night with all of the family, one more time. Just like Duke, his tail was wagging and he was licking anyone who would be near. He was a fighter and kind soul. He was a champion, a very special dog. His family is hoping to keep his spirit alive and The Duke Nation (all of us fans and supporters) is keen to do so. His page will be continued to spread the word about animal causes and help other animals in need.

RIP dear Duke, you won't be forgotten!

I donated $ 10 in loving memory of Duke to help other dogs in need.
If you're willing and able it would be great if you do so too.
Any amount is welcome! Thank you.

Monday, March 07, 2011

BF but not Forever...

Once there was a man I called my best friend (after Ron of course) but no more... His ideas about friendship turned out to be very different from mine. How mistaken could I be...

We have been friends for quite some years. Last year he finally found the love of his life. I couldn't be happier for him! Of course that changed the friendship a bit, but that was to be expected and fine with me. The contact was less frequent, but our bond seemed as strong as it had always been. At the end of January I went to visit him for a day and we had a wonderful day together. A few days later he called, panic-stricken by a certain problem. Ron and I talked to him and calmed him down a bit. I was worried, but he said he'd go to his girlfriend so he would be okay. I asked him to let me know how it would work out.

After this I didn't hear anything from him for weeks. I tried to call several times, several numbers. Nothing! I was confused, but decided to give it some time. He obviously needed that. I sent him an invitation to Ron's birthday, like we did to all our friends. He didn't show up, didn't call, no card, nothing... Last Saturday I sent him a normal e-mail, asking him what was going on. I was still worried. Yesterday evening I got a short and cold answer. He had no use for other people's misery. He would contact me again when he would be in need for it. O yes, and a congratulatory message for Ron. All in two lines. I was speechless, hurt, flabbergasted, in shock, stunned, baffled... name it what you want, I think it's clear...

After a lot of crying I decided to send him an answer: "If that's your idea of friendship, I have no need for it. I'll make it easy for you. I break off all contact permanently. Pity it has to end this way, but this seems to be what you want. So be it." It hurt to make it so short and cold. It hurt(s) to do it at all, but I had to do it for self preservation. I can handle a lot from people I love, I accept a lot, but there are limits. People must go very far to reach them, but he did. It's over, irreversibly. But damn it, it hurts like hell!

I could give you gossip, slander or do some mudslinging and backbiting. I won't. That's not the person I am. I can't hate him (yet?). I hope he is happy. Might sound strange or misplaced but I mean it...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Seidr themeday about divination

Yesterday I attended a seidr-themed workshop about divination / oracle "under the mantle" with Linda Wormhoudt in Amsterdam. It was a very interesting day. Linda told us a lot about the methods of divination used in Northwestern Europe. It is too much to share it all, but I'll let you take a peek. :-)

For example, Útiseta/útisetta literally means "sitting outside" and 'sitja á haugi' means "sitting on a burial mound". The practitioner or 'vala' retreated to a place in nature, covered herself with a mantle, blanket or animal skin and just sat there. Singing and praying she tried to get into contact with the dead (ancestors) to seek information and/or advice. Unknown how long exactly, she just came back when she had an answer.

We tried it ourselves. At first I didn't feel comfortable at all covering myself. I struggled to find the right position for me. Then suddenly I found it and I surrendered myself. I had gone in with a question and almost immediately I got answers, or at least tips / clues. I can't really ecplain, you have to experience it!

Sitting "under the mantle" I encountered an unexpected 'guest'. Next to me a polar bear showed up and offered to be my power animal. He said I needed him in this time of my life and he'd be happy to help me. Wow, I didn't really know what to say... I never heard of someone getting a power animal this way, but of course I'm honoured. I've always been fascinated by bears and a polar bear is really special. I don't know what it stands for exactly, but I'll look it up later. For a moment I saw myself walking with a female black panther on one side and a male polar bear on the other. Magnificent, I'm privileged!

After lunch we did some other experiments and exercises with other methods of Nordic divination. At the end of the day I was exhausted, but it was well worth it!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


If I had enough space I'd love this, and my cats would too! :)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Ron and I never really do something special for Valentine's Day. It's nice to celebrate love, but you should do that every day of the year! It has become a very commercial day: 'buy her this', 'buy him that', etc. I don't want anyone to buy me flowers too. Don't get me wrong... I love flowers, but alive in nature where they belong! They don't have to slowly die for me in a vase, that just makes me sad. Ron gets me presents quite often, so I really don't mind if he forgets all about this Valentine's Day.

Having said all that..... Sometimes you have to set aside your principles and surprise your loved one with an unexpected move... So tonight we are going out for a Valentine's Dinner Date that I secretly booked two weeks ago! He was surprised indeed when he opened the card I made with the image above (Love is... going out for dinner together).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Happy 12th Birthday, Foofur!

Today is Foofur's 12th birthday. In his honour I made a slideshow with some random pics of my little friend. It seems like yesterday that we met in the pet shelter where I volunteered. It was love on first sight for both of us. He sat on my hand, can you believe it? I have pics of when he was little, but they are analog and I've got no idea where they are. So for now the digital pics will have to do!

Happy Birthday, Foofur!

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Blessed Imbolc

Imbolc is the feast of Brighid. The Irish goddess Brighid is the keeper of the sacred flame, the guardian of home and hearth. To honour her, purification and cleaning are a wonderful way to get ready for the coming of Spring. That means cleaning your house, but don't forget yourself! Meditate on what you would like to see grow in health and strength this year (for yourself, your family, friends, nature, Earth) and ask for Brighid's blessing upon it.
In addition to fire, Brighid is a goddess connected to inspiration and creativity. You can make your own Brighid’s cross(es) and hang them near doors and windows to protect home and hearth, or in the kitchen where her influence can bless your food.

My plan was to celebrate Imbolc with my coven, but unfortunately that had to be cancelled. I had made preparations for the ritual, so I'll just have to adapt those to do it by myself tomorrow. I have also found a wonderful guided meditation, an inner journey to meet Brighid. I have started a major personal 'purification' and I'd love her blessing upon it! I'll honour her with a Brighid's cross and by making slemp, an old Dutch milk drink.

Did you celebrate Imbolc, or are you going to?

May Brighid's fire light your path
and her blessings be upon your home & hearth!

Edit Febr. 2: Pictures of my slemp, Brighid cross and doll can be found in my Facebook album "Pagan Stuff".