How I met Philip Carr Gomm

I first met Philip in 2004. I had seen him before at lectures or festivals in the Netherlands, but we never spoke. So many people seemed to want his attention, and I understood why from the start. Philip has that special something some people have. You gravitate towards them. My personal opinion? Because they are good for your soul. They radiate light. He has it. In abundance, and people see and feel that.

Philip how I remember him when we first met in 2004

Flashback to April 2004. The Elf Fantasy Fair is coming up and for the first 􏰀time at Castle Keukenhof. Me and my friends are a􏰁ttending and Torc, my druid friend, is excited for me to meet the Order’s Chief, who will be there to give a lecture. My friend thinks the Order is just what I need to learn how to control my ‘abilities’ and privately I agreed with him, but I still wanted to know more, before I would make such an important decision. I wanted to read at least one book written by the Order’s Chosen Chief and as it was s􏰀till early, I walked over to the stand where the OBOD was represented to browse the books spread out on the table. Druid Mysteries spoke to me the most and I decided to buy that one.

A curly haired man smiled at me and asked if I would like something written in the book.

I remember thinking; “That’s so sweet, these people must be really committed to their order.”

And replied in the affirmative . I never looked inside, just put the book in my bag and paid. He looked at me again and stared into my eyes. The hairs in my neck stood up as I felt my normal defence wall crumble. He handed me a folder of the Order. I thanked him and started to walk away when he spoke to me.

“It’s en􏰀tirely up to you of course, but wicca might not be your only way.” He looked over to my group of friends and smiled at me. It was an open, friendly smile and he left me utterly confused. Who the hell was this man?

As I joined the others of my group, my druid friend looked pleased.

“I see you’ve met our Chief,” he said and I stared at him. A sense of dread slowly crawled into my stomach. Surely not? In my defence, I’d never even seen a picture of our Chosen Chief, I had no idea what the good man looked like. Of course he asked to write something in the book, he wrote the damn thing!

I asked the question I already knew the answer to.

“That’s Philip Carr Gomm?”

He looked confused. “Yes, of course. What, you didn’t realise you were talking to him?”

I told my friend about him asking to write something in my book and how I thought that was really nice of him. My friend practically doubled over from laughing. I think it became one of his favourite stories whenever someone asked how I came to join the Order, even years la􏰂ter. Now I can laugh myself, back then I thought it was utterly embarrassing. But join I did, and though it have been turbulent years, I never regretted that moment.

Philip has been many words to me these last 16 years and I know people who’ve known him the better part of their life. Mentor, inspirator, stimulator, aggravator, teacher, chief and last, but not least, friend.

This June a new wind will blow through the Order. Her name is Eimear Burke. The first woman to be Chief of the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. Which I like. Can’t wait to see where she will lead us.

But I’ve never known anyone else. Philip will always be my chief. He was there at the beginning and there again when I officially became an OBOD alumni.

Thank you for all those years, your kind words, your peaceful silence and your advice (though perhaps I did not always appreciate it at that particular moment 😉). You’ve always inspired me to be a better version of myself.

Philip in 2020

I can’t tell you how sorry I am we won’t be able to be there and had to cancel our trip to the UK. But I’ll be there in spirit and definitely for everything that will be streamed online.

Wishing you loads of inspiration, love, laughter, magic and freedom.

Love & Light,


Ramblings of a modern druidess – changes

It’s been a long time since my latest blog. I never could have imagined that falling off a horse would have such a big impact on my life.

Physically, sure. I expected as much, though not to this extend. The mental side of it took me – not by surprise – but at the very least, caught me off guard.

14 weeks is a long time to spend in a bed with nothing but your thoughts. Thankfully by the end of week 11 I could crawl down the stairs on my but and make it into the living room. Unbelievable how this can expand your horizon.

I guess it also changed me. Last week I finally received the long, long awaited news from my surgeon that the remaining ‘hardware-store’ in my foot can finally be removed. After this surgery, I can start to rebuild my foot. I don’t know if I’ll be able to dance again, or to run for a bus, let alone run for pleasure. I don’t know if there will come a day when I wake up and put my foot down and feel no pain.

Getting back in the saddle was important to me. Very important, maybe too important. It came to a point where my mental health started to depend on that one moment in the week I was allowed on a horse. No stirrups, of course, what if the screws would break! Being on that horse gave me so much. Hope, self-esteem, strength. It was one of the very few things I could do, without feeling any pain. It was scary as hell, but pure bliss and worth every second.

And then it was gone. Just like that.

Like I said, this unfortunate accident changed me. I have daily reminders of what I cannot do and that leaves me a little insecure about the future. My creative juices aren’t what they used to be. I’m more gloomy than before and still riding that emotional rollercoaster. A stupid tv commercial can have me bursting into tears, utterly annoying! Then again, most of them are so bad, anyone would start crying 😉

There was loss as well. Loss of horses, loss of people. Why? In hindsight it doesn’t matter. Not really. Won’t change the fact, I lost them.

Would things be different if I hadn’t fallen off my horse that day? Isn’t that the million dollar question? I honestly do not know. I often wished I could turn back time. Especially those weeks bound to my bed. But given the choice, would I? Maybe it’s possible there’s a future worse than this one and I got the better end. Who knows?

I do believe things happen for a reason and you have to make the best of what life throws at you. So that’s what I’m trying to do right now.

Cherish my family, my friends. Cherish my love for writing, my love for music. Those creative juices will start flowing again. And my love for horses. I will always be grateful that horses came back into my life. I’m never giving them up again. I just have to find another way. And I might have found a place to call home.

Magical Beasts & Creatures

It’s been a while since my latest blog. Obviously I’ve been busy with promoting The Empath, but unfortunately I also took a nasty spill of my horse and completely smashed my right foot.

Thankfully surgery went well, but it does mean I’m home bound till early August, at the very least. 

So, plenty of time to write book III of The Fire Trilogy, but also time for something else. 

My cousin, Tom van der Vlies, is a poet as well, so we decided to take on a project together. Inspired by JK Rowling’s Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, we’re in the process of creating twenty poems.

Tom will handle the magical beasts and I will take on ten magical creatures. Some may be familiar to you from the books or the movie, others may not. 

It may take a while before we have it published, but eventually you will be able to buy the complete collection. 

To give you some incentive, here are the first two of Magical Beasts & Creatures!

Magical Beasts ( part 1 of 10 )

My bedroom slowly fades

Into the darkest of shades

My heart expectantly awaits

The galopping of dreams
I enter a realm of legendry

Wonder, magic , mystery

Genteless and also purity,

A horn appears, silver gleams
A flash of light so bright

Sprinkles stardust unto night

Like a comet in full flight

A whinnying of starbeams 
Their is a unicorn at play

Just going his own way

I wish that he would stay

Untamable, so he seems
He will roam forever free

In that place I cannot be

Untill I graze eternity

I’ll ride you in my dreams


Hello new year, what will you bring?
Will you bring us joy and happiness or pain and sadness?

I am what you make of me, the new year replies
I am not responsible for who lives and who dies

What I can give you is twelve months time to shape my year
It is up to you whether I’ll become something you love or fear

I’m always off to a great start
With champagne and fireworks lighting up the sky
Remember that feeling and carry it with you in your heart

That way, when my successor 2018 arrives
I will have brought only joy and happiness in your livesimg_6518


Rambling of a modern druidess – B&B – Beltane and Booktrope

I’ve had a weird couple of weeks, with amazing ups and downs. My ‘American family’ came over for a visit and I was so happy to see them again and spend some quality time with them. I showed them around Loevestein, Gorinchem, the Deltawerken and Middelburg. We went for pancakes, shared a bun of smoked eel, had some stroopwafels (obviously) and they even tried our famous raw herring. Well, some of them tried 😉

Healthwise it was also ups and downs. I was told by my doctor my blood pressure was way too high (we found out purely by routine check, I came for a frontal sinusitis), so I was put on medication straight away.Thankfully the little pill helped. I just went for my first check-up and it was just perfect. Mind you, stuck with the stomach flu, but that should pass within 48 hours, the good doctor told me. It did. I felt much, much better this morning. Until I opened my mail.

My publisher, Booktrope, is going out of business by the end of May. I still can’t believe it. So many authors, editors, designers, proofreaders, managers, all out of a job. So many books, now in limbo. We’ll be given a more detailed update this Monday and I really hope this will bring some other options for the future as well. 

This night the bonfires will burn, as it will be Beltane night. A time of fertility, of fire, of passion. I’m going to reach for that fire and passion inside of me to make sure my books will survive. I know I can, I know I’m not in this alone. How it’s all going to turn out, I do not know yet, but that’s okay. I have faith. In my own abilities and in that of others.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the wonderful people who have helped me at Booktrope and are still helping me. Elizabeth Flynn, Marisa Chenery, Pam Elise Harris, Rhianna Davies, Lisa Gilliam, you ladies rock! Most of them have their own company and I highly recommend their services!

If it’s up to me, The Empath will still see the light of day Halloween 2016. Come hell or high water, I’ll make it work! Wishing you al a magical Beltane night, may it be filled with love, hope and passion.

As the World Falls Down

Today David Bowie no longer walks among us. One of my facebook friends asked – rightly so – whether or not I was really sad about this or is it just people pouring their hearts out because they can? Her timeline feed showed almost nothing else and mine is showing pretty much the same. 

So it made me wonder, what does it mean to me? Does it really affect me? Does it have an impact on my life? 

I’d heard of David Bowie before I saw the movie Labyrinth in 1986 through my parents obviously, but after I saw that, I was hooked. He was the first man I had a major crush on. Jareth, the goblin king, was the epitome of romance to me and I could not understand why Sarah would ever want to go home. Save the bloody baby, sure, but why leave? Sigh. I watched that movie over a hundred times and could quote it by heart from beginning to end at one point. I kid you not.

I mean, could you leave him behind? Sigh

I loved them all, wanted to party with the Wild Gang, hug Hoggle, play a game of wits with Sir Didymus and his trusty Ambrosius and be friends with Ludo.

Let’s Dance was one of my favourite albums and yes, I do realise he’d released fourteen albums before that, but these were my teenager years, so obviously very important. 

China Girl – David Bowie

I’ve never seen him in concert and that makes me sad. I think it would have been a magical experience. Even now, not in his prime. That chance is gone now. With the release of his former album I had small hopes of him returning to the stage, and alas. 

So I’m left with my memories. Which are good, very good. No, it doesn’t shatter my world and it won’t affect my daily life as I did not know him personally, but it does leave me with a sad feeling. My first crush is no longer here. He was my inspiration when it came to the concept of romance and he will remain being just that. Safe travels, great beautiful man. You’ll be missed by many and loved by even more.



Beneath Paris I Sleep

Last weekend we went to France. Hubby wanted to check out an exhibition in Thiers to see if it would be worth his while to sell his things there next year. 

We stayed in the lovely village of Villegenon. Quiet and surrounded by fields with lushes green. We had the whole house to ourselves. Miss Ginger, our dog, had the time of her life chasing mice and causing the farmer’s cows to stampede across the land. She was so proud! I don’t think they ever saw a dog. They responded only to her bark. I think she would make an excellent cow-herder. Must check how she does with sheep.

The last day we went to Paris. We never went to the catacombs. The queue is so long. It was this time as well, but we persevered. If you’ve never been there, like me, you’re in for an ‘in-complete-awe-moment’. It is shocking to realize how many people are buried there. Literally millions and millions and they’re all piled up. 

Also the size of the place. The part where we were allowed in, is 1/800 of the entire place! Yes, you read that number correctly. It’s immense! The catacombs run beneath the entire city of Paris.
Let me tell you, not the place to take your ouija board. It’s all very fascinating and interesting when the lights are on and you can read the historical signs. It’s another story when they have power failure and you’re stuck down there with your iPhone running low on 20% and you’re trying to save your batteries because you don’t know how long it will take. I’m just saying.
As a writer, I have a way too imaginitive mind, which is usually a good thing. Who knows, there might be a ghost story in there somewhere along the way.
If you’re ever visiting the city of romance, it’s well worth the wait. Not very romantic though, but it will be interesting. And who knows, you might get lucky. They might have a power failure! Just to get you in the mood, I’ll leave you with a little trailer.
Sweet dreams folks!

Ramblings of a modern druidess – Samhuinn and other stuff

It’s been a while since you heard some actual ramblings from me. I’ve been featuring a lot of book releases and their authors, and it’s been great fun. I feel very fortunate to know so many authors and it has certainly expanded my range of reading. With all the reading however, my work on The Empath is a bit behind schedule. Hopefully, November will give me a boost as I’m doing my best to participate in the #NaNoWriMo and produce 50.000 words. Mind you, if I achieve that goal, The Empath will be nearly finished. In all honesty, I’ve never written so many words in one month. I have good days, but if I have one of those, I feel really pleased with myself and fall back into this false sense of accomplishment and bumb around for a couple of days, quite annoying actually.

For me the new year has just begun. Samhuinn has come and gone and a very intense one it was. It is a time to let go of old things which aren’t useful anymore or are holding you back and a time to love and honour our ancestors. It is also a period of being reborn, new beginnings. Something even my muse picked up on, because he finally released his long awaited book ‘Selected‘. Perfect timing, though I doubt he’s aware of that, but it was a nice coincidence. And perhaps I’m not giving him enough credit, something I tend to do on more than one occasion. Not fair really.

Usually we celebrate Samhuinn between two burial mounds, guided by the Goddess Cailleach. This year, however, we invoked the Dame of the Dead, Santa Muerte. She has a very different energy and it was the first time I worked with that energy. It has left me with a mounting interest in her cult and so I leave you with a bit from the all-knowing Wikipedia. I wish you all a happy new year with blessings of Samhuinn xxx.

IMG_1473.JPGNuestra Señora de la Santa Muerte or, colloquially, Santa Muerte (Spanish for Our Lady of the Holy Death), is a female folk saint venerated primarily in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. A personification of death, she is associated with healing, protection, and safe delivery to the afterlife by her devotees. Despite opposition by the Catholic Church, her cult arose from popular Mexican folk belief, a syncretism between indigenous Mesoamerican and Spanish Catholic beliefs and practices. Since the pre-Columbian era Mexican culture has maintained a certain reverence towards death, which can be seen in the widespread commemoration of the syncretic Day of the Dead. Elements of that celebration include the use of skeletons to remind people of their mortality. The worship is condemned by the Catholic Church in Mexico as invalid, but it is firmly entrenched among Mexico’s lower working classes and various elements of society deemed as “outcasts”.

Santa Muerte generally appears as a female skeletal figure, clad in a long robe and holding one or more objects, usually a scythe and a globe. Her robe can be of any color, as more specific images of the figure vary widely from devotee to devotee and according to the rite being performed or the petition being made. As the worship of Santa Muerte was clandestine until the 20th century, most prayers and other rites have been traditionally performed privately in the home. However, for the past ten years or so, worship has become more public, especially in Mexico City after Enriqueta Romero initiated her famous Mexico City shrine in 2001. The number of believers in Santa Muerte has grown over the past ten to twenty years, to several million followers in Mexico, the United States, and parts of Central America. Santa Muerte has similar male counterparts in the Americas, such as the skeletal folk saints San La Muerte of Argentina and Rey Pascual of Guatemala.

Ramblings of a modern druidess

Another one bites the dust. Robin Williams, bringer of smiles extraordinaire, is no longer among us. By choice. Yes, he had a choice, we all do, but more and more often I’m beginning to wonder if having a choice makes any difference to our state of mind. What if both choices are bad? At least from your own point of view. Do you automatically choose the lesser bad? What if death is the lesser bad? How do we decide?

He, like so many before him, struggled with depression. I know people in my inner circle who are depressed. It’s hard. Not just for them, for everyone around them. Sometimes you see glimpses of the person behind the depression, those are the good days. The days you believe in recovery, believe they are also happy, clear-headed, that life is worth living. Then there are the other days. When nothing you say seems to make any difference, whether it is a pep-talk, a comforting shoulder to cry on, a kick in the butt, or just being there for someone, sitting beside them. It has little to no effect. That’s the scary part. The part where you start to lose hope. And so do they, I think.

I’ve never been depressed. Not in the way people are diagnosed with ‘depression’. So it’s very hard to understand what’s going on inside their mind, because I haven’t been there. I’ve had my share of bad days, sure. Who hasn’t? But that’s not really the same, now is it? Obviously I didn’t know Robin Williams personally, but he seemed to have a pretty good life. Good career, which he more often than not enjoyed a great deal, loving wife, loving children, financially stable, those are pretty important indicators for most people. Apparently it had no effect, or at least, not enough. The demons inside your head are stronger. How does that happen? What goes wrong inside the mind? And is it something we can ‘fix’ with medication?

I’m not so sure. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against medication, I just think it should be a means to an end, not the cure itself if at all possible. There will always be people where this is not the case. Both physical and mental. Sometimes you have to learn to live with your medication. Could that be the problem? That some people don’t know how to live with their medication? Is our focus perhaps wrong? I think many people who are diagnosed with depression also receive some form of therapy, with or without medication. But is depression related to events in our life or is it a state of mind, not related to any event whatsoever? And if it’s the latter, will it really make any difference to try and work through someone’s ‘issues’? Or will the depression remain? It looks that way.

Needless to say I don’t have the answers, I hope that someday, someone does. Because how bad does the other choice have to be, when choosing death has become the better option?

Rest in peace, Robin Williams. I will miss your smiles. You made me smile, a lot. What dreams may come? I hope they will be good ones, ones that will make you smile.


Ramblings of a modern druidess

It’s been a while, I know. I’m writing this blogthing for our local newspaper and it’s really nice, but as it’s also a weekly thing, I kind of forget to write my own column. Shame on me.

Just got back from a long weekend of Castlefest. For those of you who have never heard of it, it’s the Festival of Light, in honour of the sun-god, Lugh. It’s on the grounds of Castle Keukenhof. Yes, near the famous tulip fields. If you’re ever in the neighbourhood, it’s well worth a visit.

Castlefest is always the first weekend of August, coinciding with the celebration of Lughnasadh, the first of three harvest celebrations. Every year there is a big wickerman, which took the form of the wise owl this year, it was magical. We had a lovely group meditation to tune in to the wisdom of the owl. The next day we had a lovely shamanistic dance of the beat of dozens of drums. Me and my dear friend danced blindfolded round the circle. It really increases your other senses and it was very special to share this with her. Neither of us danced blindfolded before, so it was a first for both of us. The drums appeared to be attached to my body, the sound seemed so close!

The wicker burning was very moving and brought a tear to my eye, in a good way. And the crowd went crazy when Faun started my favourite song, Wind und Geige. I jumped up and down like crazy, letting go of all the energy.

Now I’m slowly preparing for another ritual and next year, we’ll have another Castlefest. Already looking forward to it.

Want to support me and my book? Then follow me on twitter or facebook! You can find my website at
Follow me on Twitter
Follow me on Facebook