Crystal woods — Tüdderner Venn 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.

Common

People are searching for connection, with their social surroundings, but certainly also with their landscape-environment. My fascination for old traces in the landscape, such as burial mounds and small hills and holes, is related to the known fact that older cultures once connected on these sacred places with life-energetic and cosmic wholeness (as gods and goddesses). Each culture makes different connections with the unseen forces of nature. What connections does our culture create?

Thinking (a.o. in the shape of new technologies) always tends to more and more fragmentation and separation, and to ever smaller shapes (data). Therefore people can experience unity of consiousness more difficult. Experiencing and sharing of life-energetic wholeness in the locale landscape can inspire to a renewed awareness of life-energetic commons (in the middle ages ‘common’ were collective use and guardianship of ground in contrast with ownership and private property).

An almost perfect day in spring

April 12, 2018: It’s a perfect day in spring as I walk on the long path next to the stream to the forest that stretches out on the north slopes of the ‘Roode Beek’ between Süsterseel and Tüddern. Today all is soft and demure, the misty sun, the veils of spring green in the wet forests. Radiating green sprouts out of the earth and the tree buttons. When I arrive at the large alder marsh near Tüddern I coldshoulder the Roode Beek and enter the swampy woods to feel the special atmosphere there. I make some photos of clear green islands of gras, that stand out sharply against the brown grey ground. In fact these alder marshes are the only left and untainted old forests in the local landscape.

Fresh green spots of grass in the Tüdderner Venn

When I leave the alder marsh and walk up the slope of the valley of the Roode Beek I pass an Iron age grave field. Against the background of a big Frankisch cult mound lay three circular burial mounds. In 2009 I threw a circle of ochre pigment on the wedge shaped mound, and in a small book on the topic ‘holy places’ I named this place ‘Sun Hill’, because one side is orientated on midsummer sunrise. Now, on an info-board attached to a beautiful stone, is mentioned that this ‘Sun Hill’ points towards a small burial hill of a priest (shaman). Today I want to locate the triangle of the White, Red and Black-spot at the north-west corner of the big forest near Tüddern.

Circle of ocher pigment on the ’Sun Hill in 2009; Photo Tom Hoogers
At the Iron-age grave field: at the left the priest grave on a Red-spot, on the foreground a birch on a White-spot, in between a wild cherry on a Black-spot, and at the right an oak on Black-Mary-spot
Are these stones, I found in and nearby Tüdderner Venn, Iron Age polish stones? Anyway, they speak to my imagination
Map Tüdderner Venn with two triangles

During the many years we live in Schinveld my partner Lidy and I passed this location several times on our bike tours. And every time I got the feeling that there is ‘something’ in this part of the forest, but then we drove further. It was on August 4, 2017 that I was attracted once more to this place during one of my first long walks. The trees seemed to call me. That day I wrote: “I enter the woods because the silhouettes of some oaks and some shallow holes a bit higher on the slope attract my attention. Is this a ‘nature temple’ that I did not know yet? I notice there is a spot with less undergrowth (‘Lichtung’) surrounded by tall oaks and sweet chestnuts, and in their middle a sweet chestnut growing horizontally upon the ground for ±15 meter, before climbing up high, leaning against the stem of an oak. The two vertical branches and the crown represent three elemental-places.

White-spot with sweet chestnut laying down with three points of elementary beings

I choose to sit down next to what seems to be the central oak, flanked by two rowan trees. I admire their smooth, gracefully curved branches and their opvallende roots. Then I feel many thing at the same time — excitement, clear attention, happiness, the child in me.” After that day I feel how the life-energy (heath) of that place still works in me during two nights long. Today (April 12 2018) here I localise a White-place, that extends just onto the edge of an excavation. This experience will be motive to make a painting, but it will last until August before I have the inner rest to paint a clear inner image out of it.

Lichtung, White-place, oil on canvas, 120 × 100 cm, August 2018

August 4, 2017: “Up above the slope at the edge of the forest another silhouet catches my attention. When I come near I see it is a hollow lime tree. During a long time I’m observing how the fine branches of a younger, second stem explores (life-energetic) space.” The lime tree grows on a Maria-place (MA), that is connected with the western triangle. Nowhere else in this forest I saw a Lime tree. Maybe it’s a descendant of a much older lime or maybe it has been planted here once.

Lime tree on Maria-place

September 26, 2017: “I visit the forest for the second time, make photos and a quick drawing of the lime tree. From the lime tree I walk in western direction where I find more huge oaks next to round holes. In one hole I localise a Black-spot. Ate last I walk through the whole forest in eastern direction and pass a beautiful ‘snakelike-oak’ at the edge of an old excavation (now fishing ponds)”.

Thick oak on Black-spot besides hole in the north-west corner of the forest
‘Snakeline-oak’ with fishing pond on the background, the location where once was an Iron-age grave field