Saturday, 28 October 2017

Samhain - It's getting personal

Hi there, folks!

I decided to give my blog a bump. I don't really know why now, why today, but I just feel like it. Maybe it's the thinning of the veil I feel more intensely this year, maybe it's all the ignorant posts I see on Facebook about 'the source of all evil' that is Halloween. In this post, I hope to explain what this time of year, this date that everyone calls 'Halloween', means to me on a personal level. I've never been so open about my personal beliefs before, so please bear with me.



First things first: I'm a pagan. Many people don't know what that word means, or see it as something 'evil', so I gladly used Google to explain it to you (obvious example included):
a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.
It is a common belief that witches and pagans are devil worshipers, but they are not.
No evil, devilish abracadabra. Everything different from christianism, judaism, islamic, or any other monotheistic religion is considered pagan. For example: native American beliefs are pagan. Traditional Slavic beliefs are pagan. And my personal beliefs are pagan.

Following a pagan path isn't a choice. One day, it just happened. I was called. Called by the Earth, the green Allies, the forest creatures. Called to see myself in a new light, to see myself as the person I really am. It's a wonderful journey, and I am grateful of this path every single day. It is not 'just a hobby' (some people really think that). It is my way of life.

Following this path means (among A LOT of other things I can't possibly write down right now) living with the seasons all year round.



Samhain is one of the eight holidays I celebrate in a year. I maybe tell you more about the others in a later blog post.
Samhain, as stated in de image above, is the Summer's end (I'm not sure the true meaning of the word is 'Summer's end', but it's a great way to explain this and come on, isn't that a pretty picture?! ❤) The end of the harvest. In older times, often the end of the hunting season. The meat is processed, livestock safely put away in the barns, pantries stocked up, wood hauled and stacked. All in preperation for the cold winter to come.
In the period before Samhain, I prepare for the winter, too. Of course I don't have livestock to look after and I don't rely on wood for heating and cooking. But I still prepare for the winter: I clean my house, tidy up, get rid of stuff I don't need anymore, plan winter proof activities (such as finally reading that pile of books, taking courses, sewing an apron for my sister, etc.). 

The period between Mabon (on September 21th, the fall equinox) and Samhain are usually very busy and chaotic for me. Besides school, work and a social life to keep up with, my head and heart burst with inspiration. I have to make things in this time of year. All kinds of things. Medicine, food, jewelry, candle holders, presents for friends, wall hangings, ritual items, you name it. I sleep less than I should and my hands have to keep busy all the time! 
I go outside, gather acorns, leaves and chestnuts to decorate my altar. 


I visit my grandparents to talk with them, tidy up their grave and stick new candles in their lanterns. Because the closer we get to Samhain on October the 31th, the thinner the veil between our world and the Otherworld gets. And maybe this needs some explanation. I don't believe in heaven nor hell. I believe in different worlds or realms. They exist next to each other, but in another dimension. Most of the time, these worlds don't really mingle. But sometimes they do. And in the period around Samhain, they definitely do. The veil, as we call it, is so thin, that communication between worlds can take place. I believe that most people who die, go to the Otherworld. 

That's why I tend to my grandparent's grave during the time around Samhain. Because I know they will see that I care. They see that I gather their pictures and light them candles. My grandmother smells her favorite parfume as I put it on my wrists befor I go to school. My grandfather hears his mouth organ as I play a tune. And I remember them, honor them in this time of year. Because I am still grateful for their existence. Because I know they are not gone, but just in the Otherworld. 

I honor the dead. I don't 'worship' them. I remember them. I honer my ancestors, because without them, I would't exist. Because I am grateful for what they mean to me, for the things they taught me. On the night of Samhain, when the veil is on it's thinnest, I sit by my altar, telling stories to and about my grandparents. I eat my grantmothers' favorite Belgian chocolates. I laugh about my grandfathers' silly old jokes. And I remember.


Halloween or Hallowe'en is a contraction of 'All Hallow's Eve'. It's very likely that Samhain is a forerunner of this holiday.

Last but not least

To people (friends, family) who read this and are surprised, feel overlooked, hurt, maybe angry: I'm sorry. But I can no longer deny who I am and what I believe in, and I think you should know that. If you have questions; please do ask. I only ask you to be open minded about this, to have as much respect for my beliefs as I have for yours. Thank you ❤


Wednesday, 14 September 2016


Hi, folks!

Today was a scorching hot day, which is pretty unique for mid-september. Oh well, it's better than rain and cold!

Remember my last blogpost, a few months ago? I wrote about Kralingsebos, a forest/lake in my city. Today, I went there and visited the small botanical garden next to the lake.

The botanical garden

Small, but cozy and quite pretty!

I don't know why, but this statue really appealed to me.

The yellow flowers in the centre are from the Canadian goldenrod (Solidago canadensis). (Click!)

Common marigold (Calendula officinalis) (Click!) in the medicinal herb garden.

One of the most spiritual trees in the word: the fig. Here the common fig (Ficus carica). (Click!)

Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale). Actually not a crocus! (Click!)

I met this beautiful frog, today. Frogs symbolize peace, fun and transformation and are often related to emotional healing. The frog is connected to the healing ceremony of water.

The lake

During my wander around the lake (not the entire lake: way too hot!) I ran into a massive amount of hops! Naturally, being a true hedgewitch, I couldn't resist and harvested some strands to take home. They are now drying for medicinal use in herbal teas.

Hops (Humulus lupulus). (Click!)

One of the most charismatic herbs. Aren't they pretty?

When the sun shines in th clear water and you can see all those water plants and small critters... Oh, boy!

For questions and comments: leave a message below. I always respond!


Sunday, 13 March 2016

Strolling though the woods

Although I live in a big city, I always try to find the best spots of nature to explore. Today, I went for a hike in Krlingsebos; a forest in Rotterdam with a lake in the middle. The area is around 700 acres and known for it's passable paths (even for wheelchairs).

The spring weather was so nice and I really enjoyed my walk! It was nice and quiet and I almost forgot the forest lies in the middle of my crowded city.

A hart's-tongue fern (Asplenium scolopendrium) under the trees. Click here for more information about this fern.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Citrus peel vinegar cleaner (DIY)

Hi folks!

Last week, I came across an article (click!) about the uses of orange peels. One of them was about making your own all-purpose cleaner! For I eat lots of tangerines during winter, I always have heaps and heaps of citrus peels at my disposal, so I decided to make my own.

I've always used vinegar as a cleaner for my windows, floors, bathroom and furniture. It's a fabulous degreaser and descales every tap and tile. It's very cheap and harmless to all animals (including humans, yay!)

Want to make some yourself? Here is a simple guide.

You will need:
  • an empty pot (or bottle with wide bottleneck)
  • citrus peels (fresh or frozen)
  • white vinegar

Tear or cut the peels into smaller pieces and put them loosely in the jar until approximately 1/2 to 1 inch under the rim.

Cover with white vinegar, nearly until the rim. Close the lid tightly and shake the jar.

Put the jar in a dark spot or cupboard and let sit for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, sieve the content and throw away the peels. Mix the citrus infused vinegar 1:1 with water and put in a (spray) bottle. Use a desired. It leaves a very fresh scent after using!

Note: do not use vinegar cleaner on waxed or untreated wood!

Thursday, 10 December 2015

The herbal encyclopedia

A while ago, my uncle gave me an old herbal encyclopedia. The book is from the year 1934, has the Dutch title 'Kruidenboek' and was written by A.P.Dinand, a biology teacher.

The book mostly contains information about the herbs used in herbal medicine; their history, how to use them and for what physical complaints. But above all, the book contains the most beautiful vintage herbal pictures. I'm not going to tell much about it; just take a look for yourself!

Pen for scale.