In a few days Anne and I will start a journey that will last about 2 months. We pick up the thread that we started in the Sinai desert at the beginning of this year, and then travel through Belgium and southern England zigzagging to Scotland.
We realize more than ever that we cannot do this alone: we need your support. It feels like an exciting journey and as we stand on the doorstep – like Alice before she tumbles down the rabbit hole, or Dorothy when she is catapulted into the Land of Oz – we feel the tension, the fear, the worry, but also the excitement and importance of this journey. This is a journey far beyond our personal scope.
The journey is about the development that we go through as humanity; the crisis we are in; the duality and chaos we are dealing with; the loss of nature, animals and trees; the fact that people no longer understand each other and – just like in the story of the Tower of Babel – start fighting each other; and there are many more reasons. This pilgrimage is for us a kind of praying, or performing a ceremony.
Lately I have been very fascinated by the spiritual tradition of the Native Americans. Recently I was at a ceremony of 4 days where shamans from the Hopi, Lakota, Maori, Sami (Scandinavia), Africa and Mongolia gathered. They all have the same message: we have lost the natural balance, the connection with the Earth, with the great Spirit and with our own heart. The Hopi Indians have a prophecy that we are moving from the fourth to the fifth world, and that we are currently feeling the death and birth pangs of that transition. Not an easy time, and everyone will be able to attest to that in his or her life. The crisis manifests itself in a different form for everyone, but in the end we are all on the same boat. These differences in perception also lead to mutual conflict. We are either pro or anti depending on our perspective on the world around us.
It’s like the story of the elephant in a ship’s box. There are some holes in the box and when several people have to guess what is in the box, they get into an argument: the first says it is some kind of string with a brush on it. The second swears it’s a big round trunk he’s holding; the third suspects some sort of thick rubber hose; the fourth feels two pointed elongated horns; and the fifth claims they are large flapping blades that are in the box. In short, our perception of the same content can be completely different, and at the same time we all feel the same elephant.
In times of crisis and big issues, the Indians do ceremonies. In the ceremony I experienced, and in which I was allowed to do my part, there were five altars: The altar of the East (color yellow, spring, the rising sun, new beginnings, the eagle); the altar of the South (color red, fire, summer, passion, full life, maturity, the deer); the altar of the West (color black, autumn, ripeness, fruits, settlement, the bear) and the altar of the North (color white, winter, death, space of the spirits and ancestors, the swan). The fifth altar is the central altar for the fifth element ‘to The Great Spirit’, and to Mother Earth, who determine everything in our lives.
I realized that in recent years Anne and I – along with some dear friends and accomplices – have made trips to the East in 2018 (Himalayas, Ladakh), a trip to the South in 2020 (via the Nile to Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia and Rwanda to retrieve the wisdom of Africa), early this year a trip to the Central Middle (Sinai and Jerusalem in the Middle East), this summer a trip to the tradition of the West (the Cathars and Mary Magdalene in France) and now begins the journey to the Altar of the North: our goal is the mountain of Schiehallion, the sacred mountain in the middle of Scotland.
The energy of the Swan, winter, death and the great Void announce themselves. That’s what we feel as we stand on the brink of this journey. No mean feat, and this morning we both agreed we are afraid. Afraid to travel, afraid of the emptiness, of the lack of foundation (no fixed income, no fixed place, going an unknown path etc). And yet feel that we have to do this. And we realize that we don’t have to do it alone.
That is why we would very much like to ask you for help: initially energetically. We would like to ask you to travel with us in mind. To make an inner journey with us, through all obstacles and fears, knowing that this is not a struggle for survival but an initiation; that death is both a new birth; that we enter the void, the Great Not Knowing, to seek advice from Grandmother Earth, or from the terrible goddess Cailleach, the goddess of the North. She is the goddess of winter and death, and has a blue black face with one eye in it. When she hits the earth with her club, everything turns to ice.
Somehow we have to face death in our time. We would prefer to party happily, go back to normal, race at the Grandprix, grab a terrace or a movie, get rid of those rotten mouth caps, but we all feel somewhere that that is not the solution. When we overcome one problem, ten new ones emerge. We are at the end of a cycle as a society, at the end of patriarchy, at the end of the abuse of the earth, and we have no idea how to change that. The only thing that may help us is deep surrender, acceptance, facing death, letting go, entering the great void.
When we do our ceremony on Mount Schiehallion – on 11 November at 11 am – the politicians and experts will round off the climate conference in Glasgow. But despite all the good and sometimes less good intentions and sustainable plans, I don’t think we will get there with more plans and ‘mental solutions’ alone. We need not only our head but also our heart. And we need help: from the trees, the animals, the elements, the spirits, the great Spirit and Mother Earth. The time of our human arrogance – that we know better – is over. We must get on our knees to ask for help before it’s too late. We have to address another part of our humanity.
That’s what we love to do together, at 11:11 at 11 a.m. An hour of silence and ceremony to ask – just like the Indians – for guidance and help. To invoke the spirits, or the Gods, or the angels, or Allah, Yahweh, or God, or the Inanna, Isis or other names for the Great Mother Goddess. Each invokes the divine in his or her own way, knowing that all manners are good and that we are addressing something deep within ourselves. In the realization that we are all one: one humanity, one race, and that we all inhabit the same planet, our Earth, our home. And that right now we have to take care of Her instead of the other way around. The Earth cries, and with her the animals, the trees, the oceans and the clouds. Or as the Indians say: Koyaanisqatsi, the world is out of balance.
In addition to spiritual support, we are also very happy with earthly, financial support. We will mainly be staying with friends in England, but England is expensive, the additional story of testing and quarantine is demanding, and we have no other income than from this work. So if you’d like to support us on this quest, we’d really appreciate it. Below is our Tree of Life account number.
We will keep you informed via Facebook. We’ve created an English-language FB group dedicated to the November 11 ceremony. If you sign up for it, you will receive the latest news about the trip and the ceremony. And you can also announce your own ceremony at 11:11, for example. Because we would like to create this moment together with as many people as possible, from as many countries and cultures as possible. If you would like to join us in Scotland to do this ceremony on the spot, click here.
Glad we are on this journey together!
Ton & Anne
September 6, 2021
DONATIONS ARE VERY WELCOME TO:
ING ACCOUNT TREE OF LIFE
IBAN: NL90 INGB0008216143
BIC CODE: INGBNL2A
NB. Read our previous travel reports:
(Nb. They are in dutch, but Google translate is doing a good job these days 🙂 )