Crystal woods — Leiffenderven 1

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All journal-items with the title ‘Crystal woods’ form a whole and are part of a new project. During 2017 I expanded my research for nature and life-energy to seven woods in a range of 10 km around my living place. The Crystal-woods-journals. The Crystal woods story consists of photographs, maps and paintings. In Crystal woods — Introduction one can find global information about this project.

A wetland called Leiffenderven is the third nature area in the Crystal woods
Border strip and reed march in the Leiffenderven

Seeing a place with new eyes

In the 20th century the Leiffenderven, a marsh that is part of de Red Stream valley in the border aria between Schinveld and the small German town Gangelt, was drained and the Red Stream was canalised. But in 2005 the area was given back to nature and the stream got back its natural, meandering bed. Since then it meanders through swampy reed march, alder and willow woods, and the green border strip - the main subject of this chapter — became a natural embedding.

Path through Leiffenderven march; 70x100 cm, February 2018

I see this place frequently passing by on the path through the leiffenderven as I go for a Sunday walk to drink a coffee with my partner just across the border. I was already familiar with the birch tree on a Lunar place and the oak on a Solar place that grow in the border strip at both sides of the path.

Beside the path a birch tree is growing on a Lunar place
Beside the path an oak is growing on a Solar place

Embrace

March 19, 2018: Once a year I snoop through the border strip, and in some parts it feels as stepping from civilisation into another world. Here one can imagine being in a primeval forest, although the strip is only 25 -30 metres wide. I wonder about the fact that one can look at a place with new eyes.

In the border strip I found some willow branches and ordered them around one of the many willows

The first part leads through tangled willow wood. Further on, as I notice a little brown spot, I stand still: in the centre of a small bush of aspen lays a wild boar against the biggest tree. As I approach the boar jumps up and runs into the reed march. When I take one more step about fifteen newborn boars jump up to follow the mother boar (I’v been lucky because a mother boar with young mostly does not run away from you! At the aspen where the wild boar was situated the dowsing rods points a White-place.

Embrace

The encounter with the wild boar reminds me of a dream I had many years ago: a boar came running fast downwards from a wooded slope. On the moment I held myself strong for the fatal smash I suddenly feel how we embrace one another… archetypical forces of the earth?

Willow and aspen surrounded by water on a hidden Michaël-place
I sit down against a powerful young alder that stands on a new Michael-place

Island of light and clearing

Later the border strip becomes less dense. At first my attention is caught by a willow that creeps on the ground in the direction of a point that I identify as a Black-place. A bit further on I feel wonder as I stand vis-à-vis with a willow with a big brush of dense branches growing from its trunk: the Michael-place. The small piece of ground on which it grows is surrounded by water. I stay on a respectful distance. Some places want to be seen, but this place works in concealment.

Only in September 2018 I can make a painting of this location. In my imagination it becomes a small island of light with an intense rose tree in the centre; Smal island of light; oil on canvas, 100x120 cm, September 2018

I sit down against an alder that grows close to the willow in the middle of a clearing. I notice the strength with which the young alder stands. When I close my eyes I see soft green and deep rose. As I walk with dowsing rods two geometric forms become visible, a circle within a square, the sacred geometry of a new Michael-place.

Ice border; casein-tempera on wood panel, 40x50 cm, 2016

A small cosmos

The walk that began with the unexpected meeting with a wild boar ends in silent astonishment when I notice the elegant patterns of flow lines in the ice of a partly frozen ditch. In 2016 I made two paintings of such a small cosmos of frozen liquid forms. Only now I recognise in this image the curved lines of the female principle and the strait lines of the male principle, here still separated from one another: the Crystal woods-theme, the connection of opposites, duality carried by unity.

I wonder about a small cosmos
Leiffender marsh triangle with new Michaël-place in the border strip and the Place of connection where the Ruscherbeek flows into the Leiffenderven; 20 March 2018

Sacred geometry

March 23, 2018: Today I want to localise the complete Leiffenderven-triangle. I already knew the first vertex of the White-place in the border strip since March 19th, 2018. The second vertex I already knew since 2006 as a Red-place, but not yet in relation to the triangle or as a Place of connection. A few days ago when I walked with Lidy along this mound she ‘saw’ the radiance of a lot of orange: another Place of connection!

Radiating place; casein-tempera on mdf, 55x41 cm, October 1997

In 1997 I made a painting on this subject on which one can see the map (notice the u-shaped form) of this small mound as well as the subtle-energetic lines that cross one another on this point. The man shaped mound is situated in between of the former fishing pond and the Ruscherbeek brook. Here the Ruscherbeek flows into the Leiffenderven. Since the last few years many little holly trees grow on this Place of connection.

Map of mound with Red-place and Place of connection
The streamlet of the Ruscherbeek nearby the mound with the Red-place

The third angular point I find in the north-west-corner of the Schinveld Forest. Many years I passed this place, but only now I realise this is a Black-place! Now I understand why the ground under the oaks is barren and why blackberries are absent here.

Triangular stone and polishing stone I found at the Black-place

In October 2018, when I walk along the Black-place again, my glance falls upon a flat, triangular stone marked with three horizontal lines. Maybe it is one half of a thicker stone that has been chopped and used as a ritual stone? I imagine that it has been left behind once as a gift to the black goddess Holda or Hel? In december 2018 I also find a dark grey polishing stone (Late-Middle Ages?) next to the same path nearby the Black-place.

Heavy weight

December 18, 2018: While I work out twe Leiffenderven-fragments of my Crystal wood journal to publish it the beginning of 2019 I look back on the passed period. Last year I deepened my connection with several places by learning more about some of their life-energetic qualities, and I feel the richness and the connection of it. But I also feel relieved that I can leave the research part behind me. As if I carried a too heavy weight which I may take off now at last. Again and again the things that I find in the outer world point back to the connection with my own essence. I feel it’s time to surrender to the source in myself. It’s time to let go the heavy weight of all my searching…