Saturday, June 29, 2013

Basic Training Priestessing

Basic training Priestessing

Priestessing is a modern word, and it's a verb!
It expresses very nicely that being a priest(ess) is not something passive, not something you just are after some kind of initiation, but it is all about the work you do.
Being a  priest(ess) means to be in service of a Goddess or God (or more than one) and working to create a place where the Gods can be present. This can be an altar, sacred space, a temple, and all this together at the same time.

In devotional paganism everyone is free to follow their own path and to contact their Gods, in their own way. A priest(ess) is a person who builds and maintains a kind of highway to make such personal contact easier for anyone who wants to use it.

I will accompany people on their personal path towards becoming a priest(ess)

I won't tell you where to go.  
But I can help you find the way to where you want to go.
I can tell you about the mistakes I made,  
so you know you're not the only fool around.
I will tell you about the lessons I learned
and about the ways that worked for me.

I can support you when things are difficult,
I will celebrate with you when things go smooth.

This is what I have to offer, the real work is yours.

In return I ask your commitment to walk this path together for a year and a day.

I will be teaching:

Shamanic techniques
The use of voice
Making power tools
And some more that can not easily be put into words

The first year will be all about finding out if becoming a priest(ess) is something for you. All the techniques offered, can and will be used for other purposes, but the main focus of the training will be to establish direct contact with Deities.
We will come together in Amsterdam. Every month for workshops and we will do ceremonies  together, at least every full moon. Some of these workshops and ceremonies will also be open for other participants.
In between we can meet online and you will have home work to do.

We will work in a small group, lessons will start when the first two students have signed up. Others can join in and start their year and a day at any moment they are ready for it. After your first year you can start a second, if and when you are ready for it.

This is a very personal path, without fixed program.
This is the ancient way of teaching!
The costs will be: your commitment, your time, traveling to Amsterdam and a donation for the upkeep of the temple.

If you feel this training might be for you, please contact me, so we can meet and talk about it. In September 2013 there will be an introduction workshop, so you will have a chance to get to know me and my way of teaching. You are also welcome to join in one of my public ceremonies of course.


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Writing about seidhr

A friend, who is following this blog, asked me "So, when are you gonna tell us about seidhr? I'm waiting!" I told her I was working on it, but actually I'm still in the stage of thinking about it.

There are some tough choices I have to make, before I can begin writing.
It has always been complicated to write about magic. Old grimoires never tell the complete, correct story and there's a good reason for it. You just don't, really don't, want any adventurous beginner to make stupid mistakes and work themselves into a psychosis or other problems. Working magic is not without danger. You will attract all kinds of unwanted energies and you have to know how to deal with those. Or you might get just exactly what you asked for and not what you actually wanted, hahah!

On the other hand, nowadays you can find everything you want to know somewhere on the internet, if you search desperately enough. So does it really matter, one more blog?
And is it my responsibility what others do with this information?
I can warn people about the danger and that will scare some off ..... and encourage some others....

This is enough to keep me awake at night, but there is more.

My friend and I started with hardly any information. We had no idea what to expect and that gave us an authentic experience.
When I write about these experiences, I take away from my readers the opportunity to go through this themselves.
And I take away the opportunity to compare results free from expectations.

Wat is wijsheid? (This is Dutch meaning: What is wisdom?)

Oh well, I can start with writing about what I think seidhr is. While typing all this, I realized that many of my readers will probably have no clue what I'm babbling about here :-D
Opinions about what is and isn't seidhr differ, so to give mine might be a good beginning ...
But not today :-P

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Sacred Place

I started lasts night's ceremony with a thorough personal cleansing - throwing up the soup I didn't really trust, but ate anyhow. Very symbolic and an appropriate preparation for the ceremony I was about to perform.

For about three years I've been working to build the energy in my house temple. Doing most of my ceremonies indoors, focusing on the statue of The Goddess. It's really easy and comfortable to do your rituals at home, with everything you would like to use at hand and not being bothered by rainstorms or ice cold winds.

But my winding path continues and on this full moon evening I met my friends in the park. There is this amazing weeping beech in the Beatrix park where, years ago, I used to do little ceremonies, building little altars that had always been destroyed next time I came back. So I gave up on this place when I needed all my energy for a new project. Looking back it all falls into place ..... part of this project was making the large Goddess statue.... hahahah..... yes, the Universe just kicks you around until you're on the right track!

So when the super moon was hiding behind thick clouds  on this midsummers evening, it felt like the right time to give it another try. To build an altar again on this amazing place, that feels sacred the moment you enter. A natural circle hidden behind the branches that hang down all the way to the ground.

I wasn't feeling well because of this soup and during preparations I had to run away. So I thought I would do the whole thing in a relaxed shamanic way, sitting down, visualizing and praying. But Brother Crow did not agree, as soon as I started greeting the corners he came screeching so loud and persisting, I just had to get up and walk the circle.

It was a lovely ceremony, the elements were circling around, the tree trunk connected the worlds effortlessly, we recreated Ygdrassil and Mimir's well, honoring the wisdom of the Ancient Ones. Raising the energy, grounding and dancing around like the ancestors would have, with our roots in the Earth.

We will come back and do more ceremony there, I will come back to bring offerings. This is an open air, but yet enclosed (in summer) temple. And I invite everyone to go there, in a good way, to meditate, to pray, to bring offerings to Mother Earth, to honour the Ancient Ones -  Keepers of old wisdom, to honour the Nature Spirits - Keepers of the green things.

May all sentient beings live in peace with each other.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Different Paganisms

I had a very interesting talk with a good friend yesterday evening about different kinds of paganism. I identify myself as a devotional pagan and I've come to realize lately that I might have been trying to connect with the wrong crowd.
For many of the Pagans I know here in Holland the pagan path is above all a personal path. It's about feeling good connecting with nature, doing a little magic when you need something, enjoying fun gatherings, sharing food and talking a lot about personal stuff.

A big difference between me and many other Pagans is devotion. I often find it easier to connect with liberal Christians and Muslims. They might not agree with me in details, but at least they understand the basics, at least I don't have to defend my believe in 'a greater Power' outside myself.

It's really nice to connect with nature, and I'm very glad that more and more people respect Mother Earth again and celebrate the cycles of the seasons and of life. That's good and important!
But to actually acknowledge the existence of the Gods as powers beyond yourself, independent of what people make of Them, is a completely different ball game. It's not about just you anymore.

A devotional relationship with the Gods is based on mutual benefits and comes with extra responsibilities. It's not only about what you want and need anymore, the Gods have wants and needs too. This doesn't really fit into the modern western individualistic lifestyle. "What can I do to serve a greater good", instead of "me, me, me, what's in it for me?!"

There is a difference between 'feel good rituals' and rituals with a 'higher' purpose. Sadly I found that many pagans love the first and shun away from the latter. And now I think I may have been hanging around the wrong people for too long. Just because we call ourselves pagans, doesn't mean we share the same values.

My path as a pagan priestess is about being in service, my rituals are about more than just personal experience. Of course personal development is part of the package, but not the main purpose.
While writing this blog I realize that I'm using a lot of old fashioned words  and write about old fashioned ideas, not at all popular in the modern world and not so popular in the Dutch pagan community. I evenmight be stepping on some toes here…..
Oh well, all that matters for me right now is to stay true to myself and my Gods.

Feel free to share you thoughts, but please keep it polite and respectful.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Searching for seidhr

Up until a few years ago there were just a few people who knew anything about seidhr here in the Netherlands. My former shamanic teacher and I were fascinated by the traces of a genuine old European shamanic tradition, but it was almost impossible to find anyone here, who could tell us more about it. So we decided to find it out by ourselves, both of us where experienced trance workers and we started experimenting together, from scratch

What followed was an intense period of collaboration, sharing, laughter, discovery, friendship, bewilderment, shocks and excitement. We worked hard: experimental ritual every week at my place, daily phone calls to digest new insights and dreams, regular visits to agroup of burial mounds, reading every scrap of information we could lay our hands on and discussing it all in some more phone calls. It all ended with a big bang, as happens so often with people who do just a little too much magical work together.

The bang happened about 5 years ago now. We split up fighting. She wrote a book and I forbade her to include any of the information she got from or through me. Impossible of course, if she had abided by that restriction, there was hardly anything to publish at all. But I think some important parts were left out, what is a shame in retrospective.

Too shaken by what had happened, I couldn't write about seidhr myself anymore, I neglected my website and gave up my domain in the end. It just didn't feel right to make the same mistake and claim something for myself that was ours. But both she and her publisher encouraged me to write my own book.

So now, after years passed and pain healed, I am ready to tell the story and write about what we discovered. Because I think it is an interesting and important story to tell. It shows that it is possible to retrieve an old and long forgotten magical tradition. If you know what you are doing and if you are dedicated enough not to give up when things get rough.
Some old paths are just below the surface to be rediscovered, and if you find the right track, things start happening faster than you could ever imagine. The old magic is still alive!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

After the procession

'post blanket'- dressed in all white

Every year the Goddess Procession turns out to be an initiation into a next level of being Her priestess. And there I was, a few days after the procession, in front of Her altar and She tells me to wrap the statue in a blanket.
"Will I still be able to communicate with You, when You're all wrapped up?", I asked.
"Of course you will", She said.
So I put a white blanket around Her.

For two and a half years this statue has been in my living room, for two and a half years I've been charging it with daily ritual, offerings prayers and meditations.
The last few months She gave me the same message several times: "I am not this statue". And I thought "duh! I know that"
When the bier for this year's procession was ready, I realized it didn't need a statue at all. But I thought it would be too zen, too abstract for the participants to carry an empty bier.

Now the statue in my house temple was wrapped in a big white blanket and the house felt so strange, so empty. OOPS
No statue to greet in the morning, no statue to wish good night.
"Those who seek Me sincerely, will find Me everywhere" I remembered and started to sing 'Ma Amba Lalita Devi'. Her presence was tangible in the temple again.
I sat in front of the altar and She told me to go out and find Her everywhere. And if I don't see or feel Her, I will just have to invoke Her.

4th Goddess Procession Amsterdam

Photo: Margo Dalla
Organizing the Goddess Procession was a difficult journey this year. But in the end I'm so very happy I did it!
And I'm so grateful for the wonderful people who pulled me through!

It was a fantastic afternoon. The singing in the park, while waiting for others to arrive. The lovely bier drew a lot of attention. Most newcomers were easy to be recognized by their colorful clothes.
It was so much fun We danced a spiral to meet each other.
Then three people played their blowing horns, that was such a powerful moment, and of we went.

Four people carrying the bier this time, it was just beautiful. And just like previous times, bystanders smiled and ran to take some more pictures. Cars and bicycles stopped to let us pass.
Only one guy flipped out, shouting things about hel. It made us smile and he could not enter our circle, he tried to approach, but turned round at quite a distance every time.

During the ceremony we dressed Her altar together, we send round Her light and love and everybody made a beautiful wish for the Earth. These wishes were taken home by the participants.
The whole ceremony was flowing on magical music. Some friends were holding the circle for me and I could just do what had to be done, not disturbed by anything. This was never discussed, some wonderful people just did the right thing at the right time. The Goddess had it all perfectly arranged.

I learned a lot this year. About control and letting go of it at the right time. About trust. About friendship. About people. About going back to basics and not to worry about details. About being supported and allowing to be supported. And about the importance of the Goddess Procession and why I have to do it again next year and restore this ancient pagan tradition.

Friday, June 14, 2013

I loved you so dearly
But you were never worthy
Just a talented boy
With so much promise
But refusing to grow up

I waited for you to grow up
I prayed for you to grow up

You're stuck
In power games
Ego games
Boasting about following guidance
While in reality you are just resisting it

And now you are leaving
As you did so many times before
Leaving behind the pain you caused
Refusing to repair

How many times must She forgive you
Before you stop hurting those who love you?

I wish you well
And I will still pray for you
But I’m giving up waiting for you
To become the man
You are supposed to be

See you in a next life
My soulbrother