The family saga relates that I was born in the sign of Scorpio while the Moon was high in the sky. That was the beginning of my special relationship to the Moon Goddess SELENE, who has since accompanied me all my life. As a child I used to watch the elves dancing at night in the moonlight over a lake, as an adult I received my first magical initiation under the aegis of the Moon’s full power, and in the year 2000, during a critical illness, she sent me a vision of death, self-dissolution and rebirth in the form of a butterfly that flew into the world on glowing, brightly coloured wings – exactly above a poppy field! And in 2009-2011, when I was struggling through a treatment for a brain tumour, the Moon’s light in the sky was for me both a vision and a home.
WORDS OF THE STAR GODDESS:
Whenever you have need of anything, once a month, and better it when the moon is full, you shall assemble…
The glowing red of the corn poppy flowers, which is also the colour of the chemical element selenium, symbolizes for me the colour of a full, authentic life. In addition it is the colour of the root chakra, which determines how we express our essential being in the world. Perhaps it is because of my strong attachment to groundedness that for me the quality of being stable and grounded is so important in spirituality, even more important than the soaring flight of ecstasy. But the flight comes a good second!
My professional life began with a training programme in physiotherapy. After I had gained my diploma as a state-registered physiotherapist, and later given birth to two delightful daughters, there followed various further qualifications and certificates in the area of psychology and physiotherapy.
In addition I studied comparative religion, psychology and pedagogy, always with the emphasis on women’s studies. I was interested in anything that furthered my development as a spiritually conscious woman. Mostly I worked in such areas as matriarchy, ritual, mystery cults and witchcraft, and in 1985 I completed a diploma thesis with the rather grand title Die Frau und das Heilige (Woman and the Sacred). A year later, in a somewhat more modest and concrete mode, as part of the work for my doctorate, I investigated why women and their spirituality are regarded as “marginal phenomena” in our society. In 1991 my doctoral dissertation was published in book form as Ethik und Geschlecht (Ethics and Gender). Armed with the title PhD, I embarked on a career as a university lecturer, and in my capacity as Frauenbeauftragte (Representative for Women’s Affairs) I tried to make the university a more fruitful place for women. From 1988 to 2008 I taught at the University of Bremen and other universities, giving courses on ritual, Neo-Paganism and women’s studies. At the same time I followed my path as an independent ritualist.
I who am the beauty of the green earth and the white moon among the stars and the mysteries of the waters…
My spiritual path brought me into contact with many different practitioners of alternative forms of religion in Europe and the USA, and in 1987 it led me to Starhawk, who became my favourite teacher. She gave me a solid training in the finer points of the art of ritual and taught me that even – or perhaps especially – at times of profound religious feeling, things go better with a touch of humour.
As it turned out, all my various studies and qualifications gave me valuable tools to accompany me in my striving for a better and better understanding of spiritual processes and different forms of ritual. I am very grateful that numerous ritual groups and religious communities have allowed me to celebrate with them. In this way I have been able to experience a wide range of practices from different traditions: Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Shamanism, Sufism, Asatru, Tantra, Druidry and the various branches of the Goddess movement. It was remarkable how, during these years of apprenticeship and wandering, I was drawn again and again to the neo-Witchcraft movement and the Reclaiming Community, not least because of their ecstatic component and their musicality, which became my spiritual home for a long time.
My law is: Love unto all beings
Since 1985 we have celebrated the eight annual festivals and other rituals in Bremen. In 1996 we founded the North German Reclaiming Witch Camp, also known as the Feencamp (Fairy Camp). These regular camps took the form of a week of intensive ritual workshops with American and German teachers, which attracted women from all over Germany. The Feencamp continued until 2006.
In 2001 I founded the SELENE Institute, which consolidates all my work over two decades and provides a range of rituals, workshops and lectures. The workshops especially provide an environment in which participants can acquire and deepen spiritual competence. Unfortunately our culture provides almost no training in religio-spiritual competence, and hardly anyone learns how to deal with the spiritual dimension or to work with techniques for accessing the realm of “sacred things”. Consequently most people are dependent on officially sanctioned or self-appointed priests, experts, counsellors, spiritual leaders and gurus. As these specialists are usually males of a patriarchal mind-set, that makes things even more questionable for women.
All acts of love and pleasure are my ritual
This is where the SELENE Institute comes in. It offers a way for those who wish to take their spiritual lives into their own hands. This means first of all being aware of what the spiritual dimension means in one’s own life and then learning the techniques for working with this dimension. In the rituals we develop the theoretical and especially the practical competence for creating rituals independently and on one’s own initiative. This can take place either in the protected sphere of an all-women’s group or in a mixed circle of women and men.
I am fortunate to share an actively lived spiritual life with my husband Christopher, which finds its expression in many features of our house and garden: small altars with seasonally changing symbols, a sundial with reliefs representing the four elements, a Green Man and various fairies and nature spirits. These are as much part of our lives as are the rituals, both large and small, that we regularly perform.
It is impossible for me to imagine a religious ceremony without song and rhythm. Consequently in my ritual work I place particular emphasis on music, i.e. singing, intoning and chanting within sacred space. I have had the privilege of spending much time studying with various wonderful teachers of singing, and it is both a joy and a challenge to apply what I have learned from them to the particular context of ritual. Over time I have come to place special emphasis on working with states of trance, and the frame drum has become my favourite instrument.
If that which you seek, you find not within yourself, you will never find it without.
In addition to all these activities, I enter enthusiastically into my other roles in life as:
tantrica, gardener, choral singer,
author, editor, translator,
family woman, mother and grandmother,
and – since my rebirth after a severe illness – Lebenskünstlerin (practitioner of the art of living)… 😉
My favourite line from the Song of the Star Goddess says:
All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals.
And this is exactly how I see my energy work and ritual work!