The day before we cross the canal from Calais to Dover, we pass the Belgian city of Ypres. Located on the border with France, it was a strategic stronghold in the battle between the English and the Germans in World War I. After the war, not a stone was left standing. The medieval city was razed to the ground. However, when we drive in at the end of the afternoon, we see a beautiful old town with a unique square. The historic Belfry has been fully restored. Only a few old photos remind us of the clear-cutting that took place during the World War.
When we drive in, we see a few women beating big drums on the square. Before them lies an immense rainbow flag, dedicated to peace. Coincidentally, Peace Week has just started, we hear from one of the ladies. Her black T-shirt reads: Peace is possible.
We park the car in a side street and look for a terrace on the main square. The sun begins to set and an orange light shines over the rebuilt medieval houses. At the end of the square we see a large white gate bathed in the evening sun. Every evening at eight o’clock – since the First World War – a tribute is paid to all the fallen soldiers of the British army, who gave their lives for our freedom.
We quickly have a bite to eat and join the bystanders. It’s surprisingly busy here. People of all kinds and ages gather around the gate. Then three trumpeters in uniform march up. Cell phones are going up to film everything. They walk to the center of the gate, and a sacred silence takes over the crowd. “Têttutêtê…” they honk in the silence. I have been touched by the ritual that has been going on for over 100 years. We often take our freedom for granted, but here I realize again how many lives it has cost.
I think of the men’s work I do in Orval, on the other side of the country along the same border. For 25 years we have experienced and felt the wounds that two world wars left among men. Sometimes we go to Verdun or other war graves to face the seriousness of a war and the importance of creating another manhood. A masculinity based less on struggle, competition and self-interest, but more on cooperation, respect, intuition and the heart.
“Têttutêtê…” the trumpets sound again. It is the welknown sound of ‘Last man standing’.
Lately it has struck me that it is mainly women and young people who take up the fight for the earth, the animals and the climate. Men are looking at it from a distance, commenting or making a cynical remark, but you won’t find them often in the forefront. Apparently we are afraid of battle, afraid of ‘standing our own ground’. There are even those who flatly deny the climate problems. A friend spoke to me about it: ‘Ton, that whole climate story is not true at all. All lied. The earth is not warming. And if it does heat up, it’s because it is a natural process.”
“What about all that plastic in the ocean,” I wanted to bounce back, “Is that also a natural process?” But I bit my lip, thinking there’s no point in arguing here. But then what? I realized through the conversation that I miss men. That I miss men standing up for that which is vulnerable, for that which needs our care and protection. It’s too easy to sit on the sidelines and then continue surfing the web, buying bitcoins or watching porn. We’ve reached the limits of a technocratic and environmentally devouring society and we need men who stand up, who dare to fight again from the heart. Not a fight against, but a fight for. It is time for the spiritual warriors, who support the struggle of the young and the women with love, strength and care, and who dare to take responsibility for themselves. That means that we must leave the old paths, and dare to let go of our acquired privileges. No more new expensive Tesla, no more weekend vacations to the Costa Brava, no more jobs for companies that help to help the earth and nature to its grandma. Everything has consequences, everyone is responsible.
For the past 20 years we have seen what happens if we continue on the same course we have always been on: a patriarchal race of more, bigger, better, in which we need about two Earths worth of resources and food to overcome our greed. It is simply not possible anymore; all signals are on red. On the other hand: just trumpeting how bad it is doesn’t make sense either. We have enough of bad news. So what to do?
When we talked about it with young people from different countries, they told Anne and me the following: ‘What worries us is not so much the environment and the earth, but that we are so divided as humanity. That we all think in boxes and turn against each other. If we could all connect, solving the environmental issue would be a piece of cake. But first we must come together.”
Suddenly our trip to England and Scotland came in a very different light. Apparently it is about connecting all people, groups and countries. That we realize that we are all one: one humanity, one earth, one race. How easily do we lose sight of that oneness and turn against another? There is always someone who is the culprit in our eyes: the government, the companies, the neighbor, the Muslims, the rich, the refugees, you name it. But can we really see that we all have to face the same challenge together to survive?
The next day when we board the boat in Calais to Dover, the weather is brilliantly clear. We drive through Gate Eight onto the ferry. Around us a lot of barbed wire – to keep refugees out – and an excess of rules and control. The man at the counter apologizes. “I’m so sorry. I try to explain people all the procedures of Covid and Brexit, but it has all become too much. Nobody really understands it anymore. They go bonkers. Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.’
However, the entire journey across the canal I feel ecstatic. We leave Europe and prepare for a magical two-month journey through England, Wales and Scotland. I whistle the tune of an old nursery rhyme:
‘White swans, black swans, who’s going to sail to England; England is locked, the key is broken. Is there not a smith in the land who can make the key?” I realize that the song of the swans is symbolic of the soul’s crossing into the realm of death. The swan is the companion of the dead. Perhaps our entire journey is a journey to another reality, or ‘The Otherworld’, as the English say?
As Anne and I sit on the deck, I feel a fresh sea breeze run down my cheek. I hear the soft whisper of a goddess in my heart. “I am Maeve. Welcome to the islands. You are expected.” Maeve is the Celtic goddess of sex, ecstasy and fertility, but also of war, power and death. When we tune in to her, we get the following message:
‘You could say that the key is the symbol of the disconnection on all levels. The connection has been broken between England and Europe, Brexit is, as it were, the broken key, but it is also the broken connection between man and nature, that which is out of connection, is out of balance. And the two of you also feel the disconnect in your own bodies, that which is not flowing. It is on all those layers that the healing is necessary, the connection may be healed, and that is the theme of Connecting the Dots.
Healing the key means the road you take through England, Wales and Scotland, to finally arrive at Schiehallion. It is this whole journey that forms the healing, which is the key to putting in the lock of the Schiehallion.
You don’t have to do anything specific for that, just follow the flow, let yourself be taken on the journey, on a flow that has already been turned off in the energy. In that flow you take a lot of people with you, more and more, who feel attracted. A kind of ‘swan-glutton’ you could say. Where you take both the white swan and the black swan. Because it is in the connection between the two that the healing arises, that there is an interplay. Between left and right, between the vaccinated and the unvaccinated, between man and woman, between conservatives and progressives… It is all those polarities that are allowed to connect. Between science and spirituality, but also between the dark and the light. So don’t shy away from the dark and don’t shy away from the light. Take both in your heart and in your pelvis.
Take everything as part of this journey seriously. Pay attention to the details. Name everything without judgment, because it is in the awareness of the journey that the healing takes place. Open the gate.
Bring back to England what they have given to Europe to free themselves. Now it’s your turn to free England from the burden that they have put on themselves. Free them from the influence of large corporations who have taken hold of this country. The old masculine way of thinking, the patriarchal attitude that wants control and power. It is to liberate this country that you will put the key in the hole. So the old institutions will crumble, will let go of their strong hold. And open up to new life, to new love, to a new future, for Britain, for Scotland and for Ireland.
We are awaiting you. Don’t linger. Don’t be disillusioned or discouraged, keep the flame alive to bring it to Schiehallion. Every minute, every second.” (09/19/21)
TO BE CONTINUED