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.....

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