Friday, July 27, 2012

Vikings exhibition

Last Sunday we drove to the Drents Museum in Assen to visit the Vikings exhibition. We were with a group of 9 people, all interested in Vikings and the Norse pantheon & history. Some are astruar.
The traveling exhibition “We Call Them Vikings” can be seen as an extension and development of the permanent exhibition on “The Vikings” in the National Historical Museum in Stockholm, one of the world’s largest exhibitions of objects from the Viking era. The exhibition has been produced to go on tour in cultural historical museums in Europe. Assen is the first venue, after which the rest of Europe (Edinburgh, Moskou, München among others) and the United States (Davenport) will follow.

video about the exhibition (English)

video about the exhibition in the Drents Museum (Dutch)

First we attended a 45 min. general introduction by an art historian. The exhibition itself was very interesting and I'd definitely recommend it. There is a lot to see and do, also for children.
We had lunch and drinks in the museum restaurant. Later on we visited the other (permanent) departments of the museum. Ron and I especially liked the archaeology section a lot. The old part of the museum is very beautiful on its own too. We had a great day!

Here are our pics (just click the image below):

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Goddess Conference at Athanor

I'm a bit behind in telling what I've done and experienced, but who cares... Better late than never, haha!

Saturday July 7th I visited the 7th Dutch Goddess Conference at Athanor in Lochem. It was a 4-day event, but I got a ticket for one day. I had been thinking about going for months, but I didn't have the money ánd I had some ideas about the conference that turned out to be mistaken. When I suddenly got the opportunity to go, I took it. Even if it only was to be at Athanor again, it would have been worth it!

Athanor is a wonderful 3 hectare property in Lochem with beautiful landscape and wonderful features. Everything is arranged with nature and man's relationship with it in mind. It's a wonderful place to roam. It offers a deep connection with nature, it gives peace, it inspires... The most powerful place is the stone circle, but I also love the labyrinth, the lane, the water... well, everything!
I first visited Athanor with the Witches Of The Rose at Midsummer 2004. It was a ritual weekend to bless and inaugurate the new stone circle with several pagan groups. Athanor was already beautiful in those days. In 2007 I visited again to attend a handfasting of friends. And now I was back again for the conference:

Green Goddess 2012
Somehow I had an image of the Goddess Conference of (only) women in fluttering dresses in rainbow colours. That's clearly not me... I decided to go in jeans and a colourful tunic. I was delighted to see I was wrong. Yes, there were colourful dresses, but also people dressed otherwise. And it wasn't just women, although I knew that already because I was brought by a man. :) The organizing Godinnentempel (Goddess Temple) has the emphasis on the Goddess and women, but they are wise enough not to exclude men. I'm more in favour of balance (Goddess & God, men & women), but it still felt good to be there. I met some new people and reconnected with people I knew. I felt very welcome!

Modron Vrouwenorakel
The first workshop I attended was about the Modron Vrouwenorakel (women's oracle) by Caroline Groeneveld, the author. It's a beautiful set of cards (see samples here). Caroline explained how she developed it and how it works. Very interesting! In the end Caroline guided us into a meditation and we all picked a card. Mine looked very positive: The Way of Joy/Happiness, a picture of a sunrise, Sister - She who shares life:

After a short break the next workshop started. Ben van den Berg did several exercises with us. First he taught us a special breathing technique based on what he learned from Wim Hof (The Iceman). Then we moved on to another challenge: in pairs we wrapped each other in virtual clay. Perhaps it sounds weird, but it's a very worthwhile thing to do. The sensation of not being able to move because of the clay felt strange, but very relaxing and healing even. I experienced something very special... Wrapping the other person was hard work for me, but I didn't mind. After we discussed our experiences Ben guided us into a wonderful relaxation meditation.

We had lunch outside. It was very hot, but luckily Athanor has enough shadowy places too! In the open barn was a little market with homemade remedies, art and books.
The afternoon was filled with a very interesting workshop about the energy of the land and connection with the local gods & spirits by Linda Wormhoudt. We moved to the moon temple (under construction). After Linda's introduction we drummed and rattled to introduce ourselves to the local spirits. We went on a journey to meet them by going through the layers deep into the earth. Wow...
Outside we talked about what kind of landscape attracted us the most. I like nature in all of her aspects, but if I have to choose it's the beach-sea-dunes landscape. In groups we performed our favourite landscape with voice, body and instruments.
We walked into the stone circle to do systemic constellations work. I could try to explain it, but that wouldn't do it any justice so I won't. :) It was a very special experience, very moving at times.

After I had something to drink and some yummy chocolate cake I gave in to the calling of Athanor and just started wandering about. I was all alone, but clearly felt companions from other realms... I walked the labyrinth in the burning sun, very hot but I just had to! I sat on top of the hill, under trees, at the end of the lane. I roamed, feeling the energies and losing track of time...

After a nice dinner outside I got the book Nephilim by Linda Wormhoudt. I have to finish my re-reading of the Millenium trilogy first, but then I'll dive into Nephilim, Linda's spiritual novel of which I have heard so many good things! Sorry, only in Dutch for now.
What a wonderful, wonderful day.....

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Happy Birthday, Bastet!

Can you believe this little mouse-grey cutie...
...turned into this beautiful lady with cattitude?

Well, she did! Today Bastet has turned 6, just like Freyja earlier this month. She was the only grey and only female kitten in a litter of 4. Her 3 brothers were red. They were left behind at the door of the pet shelter without a mother when they were 3 weeks. 
Bastet started out grey with black tail, head and feet. Soon she started to get all black and later on red spots appeared all over her, that got bigger and brighter. This is her today:

Happy 6th Birthday, Bastet!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Wendy Rule rulezzz! :)

Last week Wendy Rule and her husband Timothy van Diest were in The Netherlands for a workshop and an intimate concert at Ons Ding in Haarlem. Wendy is an amazing Australian singer / songwriter and witch, whose incredible voice brings her mostly pagan songs to life with the help of her very musical and talented partner Timothy. Last time they were here (in 2010) I missed the concert because I got ill, so I definitely wanted to be there this time!
Astrid made this beautiful pic of Wendy & Tim on the North Sea beach
Thursday night Wendy and Timothy offered a ritual music & meditation workshop. Including them we had a nice group of about 12 people, men and women. We all sat around a simple but wonderful little altar. Deosil, starting with Wendy, we each told our name, astrological sign and why we were there. Only a few signs missed, so we made a great astrological mix. :)

Wendy smudged us one by one with American sage, accompanied by Timothy's magical flute and her own voice. Wow, what a treat... We cast the circle by holding hands, making a connection and passing energy. The elements were invited  in a special way: again deosil we each welcomed the element in our own words, for example by stating what it stands for. First a round for air, one for fire, water, earth and finally spirit.

Then Wendy led us into 5 meditations, one for each element. She performed a perfect mix between spoken guidance and singing words or just sounds, while Tim enchanted us with his wonderful guitar play. After each meditation we discussed what we had experienced. Of course I can only describe my own experiences...
AIR: Lying down I felt myself floating away into the air. I was a bird surfing on the winds. I felt free and happy. I flew over fields and seas and cities... I flew into a cloud and became the cloud, gently floating across the blue sky. When I had enough of that I felt tiny, sitting on a big white bird. I think it was a goose and I thought of Nils Holgersson. I was really reluctant to be called back, but I knew I had to, said goodbye to the goose and returned.
FIRE: This was a dancing meditation with rattles and singing. Because I can't stand in the same place very long I had to sit down, but it still worked. :) Wendy whipped us up with her voice. It was impossible to sit/stand still, we moved wildly and the sound increased. What a passion, what a fire. Woohoo!
WATER: Being a Virgo I should be an earthy type and I am in some ways, but I always had more with water. I love water, I am water. Lying down again this meditation was divine... We started at the surf of the beach with the water coming in. I let myself float on the water and just drift away. After some time the beach was gone and there was only water around me. I wanted to dive. When I did I turned into a mermaid. The water was beautiful. There were fish and other sea creatures around me. I even saw Atlantis. I literally was in my element... Wendy slowly called us back. I know I would go back there though...
EARTH: For the earth meditation we sat down in a circle with our drums. We drummed in a steady rhythm, the heartbeat of Mother Earth. The rhythm got me into a trance. I saw images of her beautiful lands, mountains, forests.... If felt like the meditation lasted forever, but that was fine by me!
SPIRIT: We sat around the altar and put energy into the flame of the candle by vocal toning. All together, but with our own individual sounds that made a beautiful noise, first a bit chaotic but slowly blending into one. I always start a bit shy, but grow into it. There were beautiful voices improvising around me and they took me into it too. The fountain of sound exploded into spirit like a rocket and showered down on us again.

We thanked the elements by calling them out loud in any way we wanted. Loud, soft, saying, singing, shouting, whispering.... but still one voice together. Goosebumps all over. What a magical way...
Wendy opened the circle, but of course it was unbroken. Merry meet, merry part and merry meet again!
We brought our cakes and wine in and had a wonderful 'after-party'. We had a lot of yummy food and drinks. I had made fresh kiwi-juice and bought some chocolate (what else, haha).
What a wonderful, wonderful workshop....


Friday night I came back with Ron for the concert. Ons Ding was filled with chairs for an intimate living room concert. I think there were around 25 people. Most I already knew, some were new to me.
First Wendy cast a circle through singing. Wow, so beautiful and strong! Then she and Tim started off on a musical adventure....

Wendy sang songs from her many albums. She told something about each song: what it was about, how/why she wrote it, etc. I recorded one, but I was sitting in the back so the images aren't great:

During the last living room concert in Ons Ding (with Kellianna) our hostess Astrid had sung a song too. Thursday night I asked whether she was going to sing again. She is a bit shy about her voice (not necessary at all, but I understand), but decided to go for it anyway. She told about her connection with the beach and sea while using her ocean drum, and sang her song about the goddess Nehellennia. We all enjoyed her performance:

Then Wendy & Tim took over again and continued the concert. Wendy told us about a song she wrote for Tim when he was coming to her Australia. I accidentally recorded the song, but my camera was in my lap so there are no images. The song is great though and I decided to upload it anyway. Because Wendy wrote it for Tim I made it a tribute to their love:

Much too soon the last song was sung and Wendy opened the circle. We stayed a while for a drink and to talk to our friends. Wendy sold quite some albums I think. Good for her, she deserves it!
Thank you Wendy and Timothy for a wonderful workshop and concert!
Thank you Ben and Astrid for hosting both and having me/us!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

RIP sweet Lennox...

For two years I have been following the news about a sweet dog called Lennox. Perhaps you've read about him too. This is Lennox:
Here's the story:
Lennox is an American Bull dog Labrador cross that the family have owned since he was a little pup. As responsible dog owners that also foster for numerous Northern Ireland dog shelters his family had Lennox as a young pup micro-chipped, neutered, DNA registered, Pet Safe registered, insured and licensed every year with the Council without fail.
On the 19th May 2010 Belfast City's dog wardens seized Lennox from his family home, claiming he was a "dangerous pit bull type dog". Pit bulls are illegal in the UK. His family argued he was not only not dangerous at all, he was not even a pit bull! 
Lennox became the center of a two-year legal battle between his owners and the Belfast City Council. The case sparked outrage among animal rights groups, inspiring a "Save Lennox" campaign and an online petition that collected more than 200,000 signatures. Some people offered to adopt the dog in the United States, where pit bulls are legal. None of it helped...
Last month, a senior appeals court in Northern Ireland upheld a lower court ruling that called for Lennox to be put down. This morning at 7am the poor dog was put to sleep and his family wasn't even allowed to say goodbye...
This is their official statement:
"We would like to take this opportunity to thank you all again for your messages of support. We are sorry to say at the present time Belfast city council seem to be intent on killing our boy. Despite previous assurances otherwise, we have been denied the opportunity to say goodbye. We have also been told that we cannot collect his body and bring Len home. We have been informed however that we will receive "some" ashes in the mail."

My thoughts and prayers are with the family and his worldwide network of friends.
You will be dearly missed, sweet Lennox...
RIP my innocent friend...


Facebook page The Lennox Campaign
official website Save Lennox
You Tube Save Lennox
Save Lennox petition
and many more

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy birthday, Freyja!

Happy 6th Birthday, Freyja!

I can't believe it has been 6 years since I held this little silver bundle on my hand for the first time... She was and is beautiful. Can you imagine she was put out with the garbage in a cardboard box? Her siblings didn't survive, but luckily she did. Someone heard her meow and brought her to the local animal shelter. Together with Bastet she was my birthday present that year.

The birthday girl today; 
she still has those beautiful blue eyes, 
but didn't want to show them! :)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

My interview on YMR

Just a quick note to let you know the interview I posted in May is now featured on the You Me & Religion blog. Visit it here. The comments are interesting too.... ;-)