The European Tour 
with Anja and Shaker
Winter 2003
......
(Click on any picture to see an enlargement and more comments and stories)

Folks have been asking us about our tour through Europe, 
so here is a little sharing of our journey through Germany, Ireland and France
--- and then a side trip to Quebec.

Allow me a little diversion here before I describe the journey.
I divert into my perceptions of the socio-economic scene there and here. 
(If you would rather just hear of the journey, skip these next few paragraphs)

Let me open by commenting that this was my (Shaker) first visit to Europe.
I found the European lands to be so much more human than the US!!!! 
I use the nature of their public transportation system to symbolically show this.
The trains in France make the trains in the US look like the 1850s. 
And the trains in Germany are even better. The conductor in Germany was a little upset because we were about forty-five SECONDS off schedule.
Those of you who take the trains in the US know that to be within an hour is on-time. 
Where-as in the US you are taking your life in your hands to walk between the cars 
(if you can walk on the bouncing, rocking trains), 
in Germany the cars are joined seamlessly.
The only way you know that you are passing between cars is that there is a big clean glass door that slides aside when you touch it lightly.
(In the US very often the doors are stuck open or stuck shut 
and are always at the very least a major struggle to deal with). 

Their social systems are the same.
In Germany single mothers are supported unquestionably. 
Every one everywhere takes it for granted that we all get a six-week paid vacation every year. 
(Compare that to the US 
where a two-week vacation is a reward after having worked a number of years.)
The medical support systems are the same. 
And for education in Germany ó if a person is able and willing, the government will pay your way through any type of education ó car mechanic or surgeon.
(In the US we are closing schools, privatizing, and slashing teachers from our schools wholesale.

And in the villages everywhere there are well maintained walkways for people to walk through
the town in backways that cars would never go. And almost every town has a commercial center where only people (no cars) go.

Where-as in America we have probably thirty stores nationwide 
(you know, McDonaldsís, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, and other international corporate retailers), 
this phenomena of corporate colonialism has not yet hit Europe fully yet. Though they are trying. 
Europe is still an economic society that is based on free and democratic capitalism 
rather than on corporate colonialism.
There are everywhere many small shops owned and operated by the same people 
(who are not working for minimum wage). 
And when you spend your Euro in these neighborhoods, the wealth stays in the neighborhood rather than flying out into the international corporate coffers.

The quality of goods sold is much higher than in the US and the prices are about the same.

O, and, yes, the media there is NOT owned by a few corporations Europe-wide.
The news is excellent. 
So much about the US and the US military activity is reported there 
that is not reported in the US. 
It made even NPR look like a propaganda show geared for the liberal population.. 

I knew before going to Europe that it was bad here 
in the richest most powerful nation in the history of the world,
but until I visited Europe, I had no idea how bad. 
In the fifties we used to say sarcastically of Communist Russia, 
"O yes, they spend all their money on guns instead of butter." 
Now-a-days, donít we have pretty guns here the land that was once Ö

O, America, how have you let yourself be so badly raped?!?

But on with the Tour.
(Click on any picture to see an enlargement 
and 
more comments and stories)
Anja was our tour guide. 

Little did any of us suspect what an incredible journey Anja had created for us!
There were generally six to eight of us traveling and dancing from community to community.

It was a journey of joy and wonder. We visited old dancing circles and inspired new dancing circles. 
We began the journey by visiting with (and I meeting for the first time) 
Anjaís mother, Helga, and her dad, Werner, who live near Braunschwieg in central Germany. 


While we were visiting with Anja's folks, Eugene from Ireland joined with us.

We spent some of our days exploring the city of Braunscheig.

From there we went to what was once East Germany, which is still very distinctly different than West Germany.
Down winding hill roads and up a long one lane road that ended in a small village T
here we visited with Mascha who lives in an old farm house in the village.
The next night a huge circle turned out in the town social center
and we danced riotously and heartfully and into the night.


A few days later we were in the Schwaebischen Alb in Southern Germany. 
We stayed with gracious Ina and her family. 

We were there to offer a weekend event in the LongDance, 
which was held in a beautiful hall in the local Waldorf School. 
Many of you have heard Anja tell her stories of the Tree Climbers,
a group of beautiful men who travel the world teaching people to climb trees and to harvest seeds for reforestation.
One of them, Beddes, holds the title as the fastest tree climber in the world. His partner said of this: "
It isnít that he tries to be fastest in the competitions. Itís just that he loves to climb and ó zoop! ó up he goes to the top while the other are still halfway up and trying to be fast."

Beddes, Hartmut, Gerry, Mainrad --- they were people of nature, music and a lovingly wild joy of life. 
They easily lived up to Anjaís fantastic stories about them.

Neehan, a noble Turkish woman of night eyes and a passion for Dance, and Ina 
are intending on carrying on the circle of dance there in the Schwaebischen Alb.


On the way to the Frankfurt Hahn Airport, we stopped at the church
in which Anja and and Hardmut and their friends Recorded the CD MUSICAL SUNSHINE.
Some of the music recorded in this church can also be heard on Anja's CD
THE MINSTREL'S BEST

That night we stayed with Tuja and Winnie who together 
will be one of the facilitators at this Summerís Camp 
(Return To Holy Mountain ó July 25th to August 1st). 
Tuja facilitates and teaches Sacred dance, international folklore, symbolic and ritual dance, expressive dance
and Jeux Dramatiques, Qi Gong and Yüan Dao = healing dance and meditation in movement

Our stay in their magic dance garden was filled with lively conversation and joyous laughter.

The next day off we went to Frankfurt Hahn Airport to enjoy a flight to Ireland which Anja had found for only ten dollars. Trouble was --- the Frankfurt Hahn Airport is nowhere near Frankfurt!!! 
It is, in fact, over one hundred kilometers from Frankfurt. We missed our flight.

That night we ended up in a nearby small village in a beautiful classic German bed and breakfast. 

The houses in the village were classically beautifully well-built German.


The woman who owns the bed and breakfast told us that about half her business comes from people who miss their flights because they had assumed that the Frankfurt Hahn Airport was near Frankfurt. How silly!

It cost us about 20 Euro (thatís roughly 20 dollars American) to each have a comfortable private room with full bath and a beautiful lovingly prepared scrumptious huge continental breakfast of all sorts of delicacies the next morning ó all served to us in a charming private dining room.

Since we had a full day to linger, we drove up through green and rolling hill country and down into the River Valley, known for itís fine wines. There we stopped at a house that said "Wein". It was a mom and pop Winery. After purchasing one of their bottles of wine (for three Euro fifty), they gave us a tour of their wine cellars.
There we sampled straight from the vats their varieties of red and white wines.

Now I (Shaker) have to tell you that when it comes to wine, I can hardly tell the difference between wine 
and flat soda pop. But then there was this wine!!!!
I had never tasted wine anything near as perfectly balanced and delicious! It was like having orange juice from concentrate your whole life --- and then having fresh squeezed.

We landed in Shannon Airport, Ireland, early in the night. 
There we were to rendezvous with the folks of The Peace Camp.
The Peace Camp was a small group of folks who had set up domes, huts and tents 
at the gateway to Shannon Airport. They were there to protest the fact that The US military was sending itís planes to Shannon to re-fuel on their way to the maybe impending war on the innocent Iraqi people. 
Ireland, you see, by itís own Constitution is supposed to be neutral.

The folks there were very interested in how the American folks felt about Iraq 
and about what much of Europe (including the mainstream media) refers to as The Ayatollah Bush.
They were very relieved to find that a goodly portion of the American population understands 
just how criminal and corrupt the Bush Regime is.

Late in the evening Anja shared some of her ballads with the folks at The Peace Camp
and we also danced the peace dance "Miru Mir"
(which is on Anja's CD Journies of the NightHeart)

"Spirit of Peace
To Your cause we give our strength
That Love may reign and war may cease
Mir Miru Mir."

A week later, on the night that we left Ireland,
little dark-eyed Mary, 
who had put a lot of blood sweat and tears into organizing the Shannon Airort protest,
climbed over the Airport fence and
attacked a US Military plane with an ax!!!
This made many people upset.
She spent a week in jail.
(If she had been in America, she would have been locked up for decades!
Unfortunately, another five hot-headed Irish folk
(probably after a few Guiness, no doubt)
did the very same thing a few days later!

Of course, the news media in America would never dream of reporting
such actions by the Irish people in protest of the Bush Regime's War on the World.



Southwestern Ireland, the native land of my fatherís mother, Margaret Daly,
was unimaginatively hypnotically torturously beautiful. 
(Click on any picture to see an enlargement 
and 
more comments and stories)

 
 
 
There we offered a weekend LongDance event at An Sanctoir, 
in a beautifully crafted Dance and Yoga Octagon of stone and wood and lots of glass.
Suzie and Claire were our gracious hosts. The circle of dancers there at An Sanctoir were full of spirit.
We met with a number of majic and deep-hearted people in this community.
.
We spent some few days in the area 
- visiting with Christopher the shaman,

a pilgrimage to the land at Sheepís Head, 

visiting friends ó and ended our last night near Shannon Airport in a town called Innes. 
There we stayed at an old hostel. A walk across the old arched stone bridge, just past the ruined Abby and we found a nice little pub to sit by a roaring fire. We dined while we listened to a local band of elder fellows play traditional tunes while the folks in the pub danced and laughed and sang and swayed.
Just like youíd think an Irish pub would be. 
Yes, I (Shaker) did have about seven pints that night, which is more than I drink in an entire year! 
Strange, as cold and blisteringly windy as it was that night, 
I was quite warm as I walked very slowly back to the Hostel.

Paris.

I did not know.

I had no idea that I could love a city.
Now I know (though I canít say why) so many artists have been attracted to Paris. 

Anne graciously offered us an apartment right in the center of town. 
We spent most of our week there simply walking the streets, stopping in cafes,

watching people, stopping in the many and varied small shops.
Lesley made sure that we were able to visit some of the
very beautiful Paris Cemetaries.

AND we were in town (in the chinese district) for the Chinese New Years.

One day Lesley and I (Shaker) went strolling through a Chinese district.
Lesley saw something in a window that attracted her, so we went in. "
How much is this?" She asked the Chinese clerk.
"For you? Or for someone else?" He asked in return. 
"For me!" Lesley smiled.
"O no. I will not sell it to you," he replied.
Confused, Lesley left the shop. I followed her.

A few doors later we wandered into another shop.
In this shop Lesley saw something that made her gasp. It was a certain type of turban hat that she has been looking for for a very long time. She fairly grabbed it off the shelf and held it close to her chest 
as she asked the Chinese clerk, "How much is this?". 
"For you? Or for someone else?" He asked in return. 
"For me!" Lesley smiled, but there was a wee bit of a worried look on her face.
"O no. Not for you," he replied and took the turban from her.
Confused, Lesley left the shop (walking, I might mention, not exactly in a straight line) and I followed her.

Yet a few more doors down the narrow cobbled lane lined with small shops we entered still another doorway. 
In this third shop Lesley again saw something that might interest her.
She pointed to it and said to the Chinese clerk. "For me?" "
For you?"
"Yes Ö ?" she protested with a question, "for me Ö" "
Not for some one else?"
"No. No! For me!"
"No, not for you."

As we went out the door, Lesley noticed a small paper sign on the door that said 
"WHOLESALE ONLY".

We were in a wholesale district.

It was very interesting to experience facilitating LongDance in a culture of another language. 
Where-as in Germany I could speak enough German (especially with Anjaís help) 
to facilitate the innuendoes of dancing into the Mystery, 
in Paris we needed the total assistance of a translator.
And the triple and echoed connotations which I often use in order to drown people away from t
he steady land of their knowing minds and into the sea of unknowing eternal breath 
as we fall through an evening of LongDance --- these tools were barely at my disposal. 
But the circle was one of dancers and we fell into the Dance laughing and leaping and then deeper and softer.

O, yes, while in Paris we found out that little dark eyed Mary from the Peace Camp back in Shannon, Ireland, had that night that we left Ireland decided that more needed to be done 
to protest the American military presence in her land against her landís constitution. 
That night she jumped the airport fence and, ax in hand, attacked an American military plane. 
She caused about a half million dollars in damage. She spent a week in jail 
(It seems the general populous of Ireland greatly supported the folks in the Peace Camp.)

I guess a few days later five more folks ócatholic workers, I think - did the same thing.

The Irish government was forced into tearing down the Peace Camp.

From Paris we returned to Germany and the Braunschweig area.
About an hour away from there we were to offer one more LongDance event in Germany.

The community we went to was a community of strong women 
who were steeped in dance, song, wisdom and ceremony. 
Their dancing room was of stone.
The floor of was clay that they had dug from under the gardens some years before and Ö. 
in a long night of dancing barefoot, some fifty women had danced the clay floor into being. 
Other than the vestibule entry, there was one room off of the dancing room. 
In this other room was a circle of about twenty pillows for sitting. 
The floor was carpeted. The walls and ceiling were of tapestry and fabric. 
There was one blood red light. It was the moon room.  For women only.

The spirit in that community and in that room was one of the strongest presences that 
I have felt in any chamber in my life. Strong and life-filled.

There was one little addendum to our journey. 
This was the weekend we spent offering a LongDance event in Knowlton, Quebec,
at The Intitut du Development de la Personne.

Again, I found myself teaching in French. At least now I could count to eight in French.
O, yes, and I could say "right" and "left" in French. And "Breath". 
(Based on our experiences in France and in Quebec, I have decided to learn French.)
The community of folks who gathered there
ó most of them not from the circle dance community ó 
were of life-filled and passionate spirit. The tears and the laughter were blessedly bountiful.
Annie, the founder of the Institute, has published a number of books on personal growth and 
leads workshops at the Institute in this.
Both her teachings and the people that her work attracts 
have created a very special and strong and light-filled community there.

We were fortunate to have two people there ó Julie and Alain ó who had a deep poetic understanding 
of both French and English. 
Their insightful transliterations of the LongDance facilitation was a gift to me and to us all.

On the way home from the weekend in Knowlton, Lesley was driving her sweet maroon car along the Highway 91 just south of the US Canadian border at nightfall when 
we hit BLACK ICE.
"Weíre on our way Ö " Lesleyís voice lilted, and at about fifty miles an hour we spun slowly into a dream. Swirling winds. Beautiful sunset. Car spinning and spinning. Remembering Fridaís bus accident. 
Beautiful snow-laden trees. Anja is sleeping in the back seat.
Enchanting and soft sacred singing on the tape player. All so dreamy. 
And SMASH!

No one, thank Spirit, was hurt. 
The car was totaled.

We spent some three hours in a frigid windy night 
half-angled into the oncoming traffic (who were also about to hit the black ice) 
before we were finally towed away.
In the two other accidents that occurred on the same hill that evening, they flipped and rolled. 
No one was severely hurt.

And now we are home.

For next winter we are considering touring again in Europe. 
Visiting old friends. And also going to other communities that have invited us.
Bringing the LongDance and the Breath of The Dance to Turkey, Italy, Southern France and Spain. 
We have also been invited to Hawaii and are considering November for this journey,
perhaps stopping in the Northwest on our way.

Tentatively interested in a magic journey? Contact us and tell us.
Email us at:Journy@sacredcircles.com
or phone us at 413-527-8723

As Butterfly so often likes to remind us:
"The Winds of Grace are always blowing.
We need only to set our sails"
----Rumi