For those who are interested, I wrote a thesis in 2011 on spiritual experiences in natural areas in the Netherlands. I got an 8,5 for it. I have have written an abbreviated version for publication, but it was rejected for one or two good reasons and a whole list of quite silly ones. My intention remains to publish it when I have more time. Whenever that may be.
Here it is:
The trip to here was long but fun. A new meeting with Jordi, pizza in the dark, a tent in the forest and self made sounds at the shore. Our host family is a bunch of French loonatics with big hearts and today we slept on a cozy attick, barely bigger than the tent itself. Comawise.
At the start of this session, Mphathelene shared how her family sees her. As a demon. She’s one of the few who fight for sacred sites and values, in spite of christian propaganda. More of her kind parttake. The tears of some have brought the group closer together. Participants listen openly to one another. “I think fundamentalists do most of the harm.” Says Jessica from Massachusets. Jordi and I have had good fun trying to pronounce “Massachusets”. I challenge those present to love their enemies. It’s easy for me to say; I have no enemies, but some people close their eyes and do it briefly.
All people here – some from the remotest tribes – feel deep purpose in this gathering: to experience, share and cherish what is important for us in this life. As long as we focus on that, I don’t believe there is an enemy.
She’s not big, this woman from South Africa. Yet as she stands there, giving her speech, looking down on me from the depths of her soul, she appears to grow. Even though she uses many local words, and even though her native accent is quite strong, the way she directs her story full of emotion straight to me, has an incredible impact. Her message is clear: we should connect with our ancestors. Sacred sites are places where we can contact them. Europeans as well as the younger generation of Africans should learn to reappreciate that, and respect that there are powers stronger than ourselves.
Tonight, we on opposite sides of the dinner table. She eats full of respect. “When we leave on a trip, we pray that our ancestors join us. Sometimes when you are somewhere and you feel uncomfortable, that means your ancestors are not here. Or when something breaks by accident.” She sniffs a tobacco, and shares some with me. She explains also how in dreams, your ancestors show you that you should pick up a certain plant. Then, if you do and bring it home, someone will soon come to you house who is sick. This plant will heal that person. Nothing strange about that, but we forgot to use it.
This week is our first meeting. I’m hoping more’s to come.