Day of Reflection near Luetzerath by Katleen Battke (2023)

Day of Refection near Lützerath - 30.4.2023

A report by Kathleen Battke, originally published in German at the Website of the Zen Peacemakergemeinschaft

It was a moving scene and time a few months ago when the last residents and solidarity activists had to abandon the old village of Lützerath in the Rhenish lignite mining region. In “contractual loyalty”, something was carried out here – the destruction of an entire village, and it was not the first – which is not good for the climate, which is against better knowledge and understanding.

Friends from of the Belgian sangha of Frank de Waele Roshi, as co-initiator and organizer our companion Svenja Wildflower, bore witness in the region in August 2022 as part of a eco-retreat – to the wounds inflicted on the earth by our civilization’s energy gluttony, but also to the strength and passion of the people fighting for their homeland.

On April 30, some of the retreatants returned to the field. Four members of the Peacemaker community from Bonn and Tilburg – Dorle, Claudia, Reiner and Kathleen – joined them for this day of reflection. So on this enchantingly beautiful last day of April, 20 peace friends gathered at the Holzweiler cemetery: People from Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, four of whom live in the region and have been involved locally for years.

A short round to get to know each other – then we set off in silence. Not with a destination this time – not “to Lützerath”, “to the edge of the precipice”, but “into the void”. The disappearance of Lützerath opened the gates to the void. We honored this by setting off without knowing, letting ourselves be guided by the paths, step by step, in silence.

We found ourselves at a red and white barrier again. Behind it was Lützerath. Now: torn up earth, a hole, a shovel excavator in operation. The barrier couldn’t stop the former inhabitants of the village who were walking with us; they went into their village and settled down in places they still knew when they were full of life. Some others from the group went with us, the others settled down on this side of the barrier to meditate. – The plant security guard, who was responsible for guarding the site, immediately became active and asked everyone to come back outside the barrier. When this did not happen, they called for reinforcements. So the meditation of those expelled from the village was guarded in their old places – and allowed. In brief conversations, we were able to maintain the unbalanced peace. During the meditation, many of us felt the heartbreaking tension of simultaneous beauty and destruction: skylarks sang their cheerful melodies into our silence, while the bucket-wheel excavator tore up the earth with a stoic bass tone…

Finally, we were all gathered in front of the barrier again, and one of the local representatives recited the lament she had written about the disappearance of the village into the silence of our meditation. The skylarks accompanied the words of helplessness, pain and anger with a crescendo.

After the next section of the trail, we settled down for lunch – once again we were amazed at what comes together when each brings just a little something…

Back to Holzweiler – here we sat down on a piece of grass to listen and share our thoughts in the council. Two six- or seven-year-old girls immediately appeared, put their hands in their sides and asked loudly: “What are you doing?” – we explained it as best we could, and in the end they generously let us. Between numerous motorcycle excursionists and the beginning festival fair on May 1st, this was, according to Frank Roshi, “the loudest council I have ever experienced”. Nevertheless, the quiet tones, tears and gestures reached our hearts.

We ended the day at our starting point, the parking lot at the Holzweiler cemetery, with the Gate of Sweet Nectar ceremony, in which we make ourselves a great meal for all hungry spirits with chants, recitations, sounds and symbolic offerings.

Source of the Report and photos by Kathleen Battke:
Translated with the help of deepl.

And an impression of the Day of Reflection in form of a photo slideshow by Svenja Hollweg

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