Sunday, March 17, 2013

Gendersteyn Grafheuvel at Steensel

Entry for 16 - 17 March 2013:

I’ve been in Veldhoven (near Eindhoven in southeast Netherlands) for the past few days, starting a new EFT Level 2 training there.  All the hotels in Veldhoven were booked this time (there was a barbershop quartet convention, of all things!), so we ended up at a funky little hotel in Steensel, a small village 5 miles west of Veldhoven.  On the way to and from Veldhoven we passed a couple of signs directing travellers to Grafheuvel.  “Grafheuvel?” I asked Anja.  “Burial mounds,” she said.  “Oh!” I said. “Graf = grave, and heuvel = hill.  You mean, burial cairns?”  “Yes.”

The training went really well:  Although new to me, the group was experienced and enthusiastic, and over the next two days we got into a groove.  The lectures, discussions and skill practice all went well, with the able assistance of Anja and Kurt.  Although it could use further fine-tuning, the revised material on Collaborative Case Formulation in EFT didn’t overwhelm the participants.  And the Day 2 afternoon session on Alliance Ruptures worked really well, with most participants bringing in and role playing clients they had been having difficulties with.  This pushed us all in the direction of therapist self-development so that the skill practice encompassed both trying out Relational Dialogue and exploration of therapist personal issues that were being tapped into by the difficulty.

After it was over late Saturday afternoon and Kurt dropped me off in Steensel, I went out for a much needed run, hoping to find the grafheuvel.  After about a kilometre, I got to the little side road with the sign I’d seen before.  I followed the road around several bends and a large farm, finally taking a dirt road to the left until on the right I reached a low mound surrounded by a larger circle of wooden stakes.  Suddenly it was as if I was in Scotland again, at one of the ancient burial cairns in Kilmartin or Arran.  The wooden stakes would most likely mark the positions of the original wood posts that such sites typically had at their earliest stages, before the stones were put in place.  Dusk had fallen, but I could still read the sign that announced it as the Gendersteyn Grafheuvel, dated to the Middenbronstijd (Middle Bronze age), 1850 -1550 BCE.  The mound was about 4 feet high, entirely covered in dirt.  I walked around it, climbed onto it and stood there for a few minutes in the gathering dark.  Behind the grafheuvel was the forest; in front the mysterious mounds and buildings of the farm, itself possibly on the site of some ancient farm.  I climbed down, finished my circumnavigation, and continued my run.   

The main road between Steensel and Veldhoven passed by more forest, probably plantation, but not as densely planted as in Scotland.  On the way back, I passed another grafheuvel sign pointing to the opposite side of the road from the one I’d explored.  I ran off along another dirt road looking forward another ancient burial cairn, and after a few minutes of running, I found a low rise of earth in the midst of the forest.  There were no signs and it was getting darker by the minute.  Was this another ancient grafheuvel, not yet explored enough to make it worth signposting?  Was this whole area in fact another ceremonial landscape, like the row of cairns that runs down Kilmartin Glen?  (Further investigation confirmed this suspicion: more than 30 grafheuvels have been discovered in the area around Veldhoven.)  What kinds of unfinished business did ancient supplicants bring to these sites?  Given the ancient, multi-layered nature of human emotion processes, what parallels between their “technologies of the spirit” and EFT might there be?

The Gendersteyn Grafheuvel.  By Peter Maas (2005), reproduced under Creative Commons license [CC-BY-SA-2.5] via Wikimedia Commons. Downloaded from:

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