Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Walter / Charon

Walter 1927-2012
In the late nineties I started using the internet, on an old computer with dial-up connection and a piggy-bank next to it to put money in every time I made a connection. :) Anyway, one of the first words I put in a search engine was 'heks', the Dutch word for witch. It had been a lonely path up until then, but that was about to change! I found the WhiteshadoW-forum, the first and at that time only significant forum about witchcraft / paganism in The Netherlands (and Belgium). I plucked up courage and posted an introduction.

One of the first people to welcome me was Walter, nickname Charon (the ferryman across the Styx). We both became very regular posters and got to know each other on the forum and by e-mail. He was old (70+) and had a lot of experience, in life and several religions. His life story reads like a novel and he had so many interesting stories to tell... We met each other a few times on forum meetings. In witchcraft we have the term 'crone' for an old and wise woman. I don't know whether there's a similar male term, but Walter would be one!

Over the years Walter and I have always stayed in contact in one way or another. On forums, by mail, social media, etc. He couldn't come to meetings anymore because of his health and the distance (he lived near Antwerp). Three years ago Ron and I were planning a vacation in Lier, not too far from Antwerp. I asked Walter whether he would like it if we paid him and Fatima a visit. He happily accepted and we had a lovely afternoon together. Walter and Fatima were excellent hosts and made us feel very welcome. Fatima spoiled us with delicious food and Walter with more great stories! Unfortunately we had forgotten our camera, such a pity...

Walter with his book
Years before, Walter had started to write down his 'memoires', stories about his life. I had proofread the first edition of his autobiography in 2005, but due to circumstances it lasted several years before it finally became a real book. Not too long after our visit I got an e-mail and within a few days I received the book "Van Monnik tot Heks". I can definitely recommend it to Dutch readers. Walter himself wrote this about it: "I wanted to be a monk but I became a witch. Incomprehensible! And now I have written down every step I took. As a child I never could have imagened the life I lived and if I had to do it all over again I wouldn't know how. I have had a beautiful life, seventy five years full of experiences. Times have changed, but I've enjoyed every bit of the path taken because everything I have discovered had its own fascinating beauty. I have met people who made my life difficult and people I loved. They were all with me. When I was young I heard a voice, actually a song written by a Carthusian monk:
Somewhere a voice is calling, calling to me 
Somewhere a heart is dreaming, dreaming of me.
Those words, that's my life, the search for that great desire. "

Last week, May 27, Walter passed away to go to the Summerland. We knew it was coming, but it was a shock nevertheless. Reactions flooded the forums and social media. Walter knew so many people and even more knew him. Yesterday he was buried in private (just family and close friends). Because lots of others wanted to do something for him too, a wonderful friend adapted a ritual Walter had written for this purpose. So yesterday evening all around The Netherlands and Belgium people performed this ritual for Walter, and for Fatima. At that time I was at a full moon ceremony, but I spoke about him (roughly what I'm writing above) and we commemorated him in a special way. It felt good and somehow I felt the energy of all the people doing the ritual for Walter.

Rest in peace, my friend...

1 comment:

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Love, Tink