Relating to the River Eider

Since I have come back from Denmark I partly cycled and partly took the train to the Celebrate Life Festival. Spent 9 intense days there tuning into and learning about Personal, Collective and Transgenerational Trauma. The Festival has been initiated 14 years ago by the spiritual teacher Thomas Hübl and I have participated in most festivals since 2008 when I was first introduced to this type of work/life. So many insights, inspirations and hints to more healing I have received there. And again this year it has been an amazing space with around 700 people coming together. 

After the festival I half cycled and took the train to a small village at the coast of the Baltic Sea to visit a friend for a few days. My current project is to explore the river Eider which runs through my home region Schleswig-Holstein from the East to the West. The idea was to practice relating to a river while I cycle or walk along the shore.

And the more I learn about the river Eider the more exciting and interesting I find it. 

In the house of my friend we looked at maps and read in books, I was reminded that this part of Germany is fairly young, having been created only about 13000 to 15000 years ago when the ice from the great Ice Ages was melting and left masses of  rubble here, created streams and lakes and the different faces of this region.

Then the search for the source of the river, according to reports of local people and available documents the source is not visible, it is under the earth until it appears as a small water way, flows into a lake and then comes out as a visible fairly fast flowing river. I cycled around the source region to somehow honor the source. 

And when I had my first meeting with the river later on it’s way, I felt that an important aspect in trying to connect to the river is to honor it’s source, or honor the way it has taken until it came to this place. As I spent more time watching the river I noticed that as I move from my habitual more analyzing look, how big, how many plants, etc to a gaze from my heart I see more of the beauty around the river and how it can only exist in it’s surroundings, plants, animals, insects, etc. Beautiful blue insects where flying very close to the water, the weeds in the river creating bubbles and little waves, at one particular beautiul spot I felt intimately connected to the river, this space where you can forget about time. 

The river is teaching me how to relate to my fellow humans in new ways.

I spent a few nights camping close to places where I felt I could connect to the river. I enjoyed a few warm and sunny days, though this summer often rain is in the air and heavy showers come down. Also paths near the Eider are very muddy and some not passable due to the strong rains this summer. 

I stayed longer than planned with friends in my home town Kiel and enjoyed good times there. Since yesterday I am on my way again going West. Not far away from Kiel the Eider river bed has been used as a base for the Kiel Kanal. Looking at the place where the Eider and the Kanal link this felt rather violent to the river as the water in the Kanal flows on the hights of the sea level and the Eider used to flow 7m higher. 

Where the Eider in it’s early stages seemed like a happy river, here I thought I felt real confusion. The Eider as one example of how nature suffers when artificial sea ways are being built. 

I feel that honoring the fate of the river is somehow helpful and seeing how through all the re-directing and canalizing it still continues to flow. 

For me it also feels good to connect and learn more about my home region while taking the Eider as my focus. 

The rain feels challenging, currently I am staying at a farm which offers sleeping places in the straw, certainly more comfortable than my little tent during heavy downpours. Later today I will walk to a part of the old Eider-Kanal, the first canal that was built to connect the North Sea with Kiel and allow ships to go from the Baltic Sea to the North Sea instead of having to go round Denmark. 

As more and more ships wanted to take this way the Kiel Kanal was built at the end of the 19th century which is still one of the most used artificial water ways in the world. Although I am used to seeing huge ships in the Kanal since I was a child it is still fascinating to see these ships go by so close.

What I also wanted to tune in during my trip, is the aspect of the Eider as a border. For around 1000 years from around 800 to 1800 the Eider served as the border between Germany or the German Roman Reich with Denmark. Today it still marks the border between the regions Schleswig and Hostein. Wondering what the river has witnessed during these border years. 

So many aspects about the Eider, connecting East and West and dividing or connecting North and South. 

Maybe my current exploration can also help me to see and then connect and integrate different parts in me. And help the Eider to connect and integrate different parts too?

More photos follow once I have a wifi connection.