Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Heartbonds Festival

Some time last year two young women looked at each other and said: 'Let's organize a festival!'. I'm sure more people have said something like that at some point, but then nothing came of it. But these two women are different. They gave it their all and got it together. They appealed to their network of family & friends and slowly but surely the Heartbonds Festival became a reality! From the sidelines of that network I witnessed it and I was (am!) so proud of these two friends and their mission. I wanted to be a part of it, I wanted to be there. Ron agreed and it so happened that they were still looking for volunteers. They needed someone to take charge of first aid and safety issues, just the right job for Ron! So we decided, what the heck, we're going!

The festival took place on Friday and Saturday, but most of the crew arrived on Friday. Ron and I arrived in the afternoon. The camp was situated on an open field in the middle of woods. Such a wonderful place! Great we were able to bring the dogs! Foofur and Arwen got acquainted with the other dogs there; soon they formed a gang of 5. :) They had the time of their lives, running around and getting cuddles from everyone. Arwen was a bit shy at first, but she adored the place. While we were busy doing our things she roamed the surroundings, rolling in the grass, splashing through the mud puddles, keeping an eye on where I was hanging out, running to Ron, playing around with the other doggies. At night she regularly sneaked out of the tent to guard the place, keeping unwanted visitors out.

Speaking of the tent... We hadn't brought our own, because we agreed to sleep in one of the workshops tents. They were due to arrive Friday around 4pm, but time went by without any sight of the tent. When they were called, the company had some lame excuse (their problem, solve it yourself!) and promised time and time again they would be there in half an hour. You guessed it: nothing after that half hour... Grrrr! I got quite upset. I was very tired and wanted to sleep, I need my rest. Finally they arrived late in the evening and around midnight our tent was ready. After setting up the bed and other stuff a.s.a.p. I was in bed by 1am and couldn't sleep... Pfew, what a start... but man, was I glad I stayed!

The weather forecast was not that good, lots of rain was expected. Luckily they were wrong regarding the Saturday. Apart from the occasional shower the weather was dry and sunny, wonderful for being outdoors. People started arriving and setting up their tents. On our part of the field several stands and tents formed a little market with wonderful products and even a smithy. In the early afternoon the festival officially started with a great opening ritual. During the first workshop round I decided to catch up on some sleep in one of the tents.

The cook only had a very small kitchen at her disposal, but she still managed to make all of us a delicious dinner. Compliments to the chef! The weather was fine so we stayed outside. During dinner we were treated with beautiful guitar play by the father of one of the organizers. Unfortunately we couldn't have a campfire; because of the drought earlier there was a code yellow / red. Even with rain the underground beneath the surface was very very dry. Later in the evening a band called Widar Volk gave a concert. People danced and chatted, we had a great time! I went to sleep when i was tired, but others partied on until late. :)

Sunday morning we woke up from the sound of rain pouring on the tent, heavy showers. After a few hours it got a bit less, but then returned full power. Ah well, we were lucky to have one mostly dry day. We had to make shift with it. We ate and chatted in the workshop tents and waited for a dry moment to move. :) In the morning I did a workshop about the wheel of life and the elements. After lunch I joined a herbal walk. In the rain of course, but who cares? It was very interesting!

Afterwards it was time to pack and say our goodbyes to old and new friends. Unfortunately Ron and I couldn't stay for the closing ritual, because we had another appointment later on. All in all we had a great time and hope to be back next year!

more pics here

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


Last Saturday Ron and I went to Castlefest, the annual festival at Castle Keukenhof in Lisse for pagans, LARPers, re-enactors, steampunkfans and much more. It started on Thursday with an opening concert by Wardruna, followed by 3 days of fun.

This year the pagan/heathen and re-enactment people had a separate part of the grounds at their disposal. That was a wonderful choice! The place felt very different from the rest of the festival terrain.
We met a lot of friends and enjoyed ourselves very much. So much to see, hear, experience. Dressed-up people in gorgeous outfits, 3 music stages with all kinds of music, a market with beautiful stuff, etc. Apart from one huge cloud-burst the weather was fine.
Ron and I both made quite some pictures. You can see a selection of 55 pics in my Facebook-album "Castlefest 2012" or see all 182 pic on Picasa (just click the pic below):

We went somewhat later so I could hold out until the burning of the Wicker Gaia around 8.30pm. I had put something in her belly with a wish for Ron and myself. We were in time, so I could lean on the fence. Although it was magnificent to see the fire, it still was a bit of a disappointment. Former editions were accompanied by stimulating music and an explanation about what was happening around the Wickerman. This time there were only drums and when they stopped there was silence. And all that while Corvus Corax and a great drumgroup were standing on the stage behind us, what a miss! The ritual in itself must have been wonderful for the participants, but the public wasn't involved at all. We could watch it because we were in front row, but all the others had no clue about what was happening behind the fences. Bummer! I made a video of the burning of the Wicker Gaia:

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Full moon at Lughnasadh

Yesterday evening we celebrated the full moon on 'our' place in Overveen. During the day the weather was hot and humid, in the evening it started to rain and thunder. There was a promise of dry periods too, so we took the chance and went for it. 13 brave die-hards showed up! :-)

After a wet start it díd get dry. We had a wonderful ritual anyway.
Ben told a story that belongs to this full moon, the story of Adonis. In Greek legend, the grain god was Adonis. Two goddesses, Aphrodite and Persephone, battled for his love. To end the fighting, Zeus ordered Adonis to spend six months with Persephone in the Underworld, and the rest with Aphrodite.
Jurre told the story of Tialtiu and her adopted son, the sungod Lugh. It was not easy to find the complete story, so Jurre put bits and pieces together into a great story, which he told with a gusto.
This moon and Lughnasadh stand for the first harvest. Astrid told us about a custom: during this time a burning wheel was rolled down a hill. That wasn't something we could do, so she made a beautiful wheel which we burned on our fire. Meanwhile we shared stories of what we had harvested or are about to harvest.

Ben led us into a guided meditation, focusing on our personal harvest. Afterwards we shared all the 'cake & wine'. Astrid had made a bread in the shape of the sungod, Jurre made his famous warm apple-juice with herbs and there was lots of other yummy stuff. We sat and chatted until the thunder returned and it was safer to leave.

(and a blessed Imbolc to my pagan friends in the Southern hemisphere!)