marja de vries
Marja de Vries
Marja de Vries (1954) studied biology and ecology and worked more than 10 years as fabric artist. Looking for answers to the question "How can we, human beings, live in harmony with nature?" she visited several indigenous people and developed intuitive communication with nature.
She studied at the university of Utrecht (RUU) and Groningen (RUG) and obtained in 1980 her MO-Biology (qualification to teach biology). She made illustrations for several magazines and books and was active in the field of Nature- and Environmental Education, and the environmental-, peace- and feminist-movement. Her desire to integrate these different aspects led to the question "How can we, human beings, live in harmony with nature?"
Looking for answers to this question she worked intensively on personeal growth and spiritual development on the one hand and visited several indigenous people on the other (e.g. the Dinka in the Nile-marshes of Southern-Sudan, the Quechua indians in the Andes mountains in Peru and the Blackfeet indians in Montana, USA).
She developed her intuitive communication with nature and her insights in the non-physical reality based on far-reaching personal direct experiences as well as based on courses by CICO in Utrecht and trainings based on native American traditions. For the latter she first went to Brooke Medicine Eagle in Montana, USA in 1993 and 1994. Her meeting with the Grandmother Spirits in 1994 as part of this was an experience that changed her insights into the world profoundly. The intensive trainings with Tom Brown,Jr. in New Jersey, USA, from 1995 til 1997 helped her to understand and integrate - based on many personal experiences - these new insights into how the world really works.
Back in The Netherlands she gave several workshops in intuitive communication with nature and was during two years a member of the preparationgroup of the 'Natuur College'. She applied her growing insights into the language of symbols and inherent wisdom of dreams in her dreamworkshops as well as in her wallhangings. As a fabric artist being a self-taught woman she made many wallhangings in commission. Concentrating on the energy of the person giving her a commission, she 'saw' the images as a simple form of psychic reading. She then brought these always beautiful images into the world of matter through her artwork. For more about her artwork
New ways of learning and education
In 2003 she decided to fully dedicate herself to new ways of learning and education and to contribute to a worldwide tranformation and the creation of a world in which everything and everyone can live in harmony with all and everything. Because the way we teach and educate - together with the way we raise our children - plays a key role here, her focus was first mainly on the transformation of learning and education. She is looking for new forms of learning and education better suited to present-day children and more in tune with the needs of this day and age and giving children the opportunity to develop their full potential. In other words she is searching for a form of learning that corresponded more closely to who we in essence are and that is also more in harmony with the world around us.
For this reason she was looking for fundamental principles with general applicability and therefore of a universal nature, without being colored by a specific belief system, culture or period. So she studied the common perceptions of wisdom traditions and recent scientific discoveries that are in line with those insights. Such universal underlying premises might serve as a new foundation and a frame of reference for new ways of learning in public education all over the world. As a first result of this search she wrote The Whole Elephant Revealed that has been published in June 2007 in Dutch by Ankh-Hermes as De Hele Olifant in Beeld. In this book she describes the universal laws that are underlying the order and harmony of the universe, based on common insights found in all wisdom traditions and on cutting-edge scientific discoveries that seem to confirm these ancient insights. This book, of which already 10.000 copies are sold and which will be published in English by Axis Mundi Books in May 2012, reveals a whole new and coherent worldview. Because many people ask how it could have been possible to wrote the book The Whole Elephant Revealed in less than 3 years, here is:The story behind the coming into being of the book. Since the publication of De Hele Olifant in Beeld she is an often asked for speaker (see for un updated overview the calendar).
'Societies in Balance'
Meanwhile she is working on a second book. This book will make clear that a society in which we as human beings can live in harmony with nature and in which learning and education will be more in line with who we really are and more in harmony with the greater whole, has to be a 'Society in Balance'. A 'Society in Balance' is the term she coined for societies that have insights into the universal laws as an inherent part of all aspects of their culture. And at this moment the intentions are that her third book will be about new ways of learning and education based on the insights into the universal principles described in her first and second book. So it will be about new ways of learning and education that are more in line with our essence and more in harmony with the greater whole of which we are a part.
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Party at june 1, 2007: The book 'The Whole Elephant' is out!
The story behind the coming into being of the book
Because people ask me often how it could have been possible that I wrote the book The Whole Elephant Revealed in less than 3 years, here is: The story behind the coming into being of the book
Interview: 'English edition now available! - The Whole Elephant Revealed' (in English) by Helma Lieberwerth in the First edition of Level Five Quaning, June 2012.
Interview by Lien van Laere in magazine Change-Think+, 'Discover the rules of life - Living in Harmony with the universal laws', (in Dutch) march-may 2011.
Interview: 'How do you write a book like "The Whole Elephant Revealed?', (in Dutch)in In Balans, ECOtherapy newsletter, Oct. 2009.
Interview: 'Everything is connected with everything else', (in Dutch)by Karen Bosveld of Simplify Life, Dec. 2007.
'Elk holds the Starchild' – the story behind my name
The name 'Elk holds the Starchild' was given to me in 1993 by Brooke Medicine Eagle after my first vision quest under her supervision. In native American traditions a vision quest is a way to get answers to important questions and/or to get more insight into the direction and purpose of your life. By spending several days and nights all by yourself somewhere in nature, in one spot, without eating and by being as much as possible in the here and now, insights might appear for example as remarkable behavior of animals, but also as small and large visions. During this first vision quest in the pristine nature of Montana, USA, I had two very impressive experiences.
The first impressive experience was the presence of the elk. During the twilight of the first evening I heard an unknown whistling sound coming from the direction of the edge of the forest, which I was overlooking from my vision quest spot. At first I thought it to be a bird, next I wondered whether it could be the sound of a coyote. Not until the next morning I understood what I had heard when I saw a large group of elk at the edge of the forest. Elk are large deer, comparable with our red deer. While male red deer during the mating season make a kind of mooing sound, the male elk make during the mating season a whistling sound. That was the whistling sound I had heard the last evening. The rest of my vision quest I have been aware of the permanent presence of these beautiful animals and I have been able to observe them for hours during daytime. By watching the elk aspects of their behavior, that attracted my attention in particular, worked like a mirror and made that what I was unconscious of visible. The aspect of their behavior that made the most impression upon me was their team spirit: how they as a group supported each other, warned and helped each other in this pristine natural environment where also bears and cougars were living. So I became aware of an inner longing to feel part of a social community, in which such a mutual support played an important role.
The second impressive experience during this vision quest was the lifely dialogue that took place between me and an inner child inside of me. This child appeared as completely starved and very neglected and I did understand that it was my responsibility to give her all the care and attention that she needed. While I managed, slowly but surely, to make contact with her, I cought myself calling her Starving Child. I did realize that that was not a good idea, for of course I wanted nothing better than her becoming completely healthy and in good condition again. So I decided she needed an other name. And immediately, even before I could have had one single thought about what might be a better name, instead of Starving Child the name 'Star… Child' emerged. That took me by surprise and my rational 'me' judged it as a little too easy. But much to my surprise I noticed that the starving child, who had looked until that moment quite washed-out, started to jump for joy, because I finally understood… This way I did understand indeed that she would like to be called Starchild. What I did not understand though at the moment was why she wanted that and why that made her so happy…
During the ceremony in which Brooke Medicine Eagle gave me the name 'Elk holds the Starchild', she explained that the purpose of receiving the name was to become the name. In other words, the name I was given did not reflex so much who I was at that moment, but rather who I was becoming. The name could help to embody it, to live it and to be it. She also explained that this name 'Elk holds the Starchild' showed that it was important for me to integrate the two important experiences I had during my vision quest so I could become more one integrated whole myself. That way hopefully I would be able in the end to express unrestrictedly the Starchild-aspect – my authentic self.
To become and live my name
During the next years I discovered that I did not find it an easy assignment to become my name. While I did not find it hard to get a good relationship with the Starchild inside myself, it has been a long journey to really become the whole name and to be my authentic self while being in the midst of people and the world out there. By writing the book The Whole Elephant Revealed and by bringing the book into the world, to my joy I discovered that finally I can do it better and better! By always consciously choosing in the very first place to be true to who I really am - Starchild - I discovered what my unique capacities are: because my whole live I asked the question Why? I ended up with a clear insight in the working of the universe and what is my unique talent in this context. What I am good in is insight into the big overview and to express that insight clearly and understandably as well by writing my books as by during my presentation.
While thye Starchild-aspect of my name was the easiest for me to understand, it toook me a long time to really understand the other part of it. I knew that the Elk-aspect is about something like 'being a part of a warm family'. I also knew that I got my unique talents to develop not in the first place to earn money or to become well-known but to be of service. Because together with this talent I also am responsible to give that what I am able of to do and so to contribute in my own unique way with that what I am able to do to the wellbeing of all and everything.
And while I did know all of this, now I can see that for a long time it just was theory, because I did not really understand what the word 'holds' in my name ment. Since 1993 I have tried to get to the bottom of that word and only recently - in 2010 - and so after more than 3 years after the publication of The Whole Elephant Revealed in Dutch finally I got it when I felt myself 'carried' for the first time. Now I understand that 'holds' points to that feeling of 'being carried' and now I also understand that I did not get that as long as I did not know that feeling based on my personal experiences. Until I was invited to be part of a group and in the midst of all those people I felt not only respected, but 'carried' meaning with joy and gratefulness being completely welcomed and appreciated as the person I really am. In other words, for the first time I experienced that I could be part of a 'warm family' - Elk - without hiding a part of who I really am - and so a part of Starchild - in change. Now I finally am able to feel carried by being as much as possible present as the person who I really ar while being in the middle of others, I finally experience the ground under my feet and for the first time I feel inner peace. That feels good!
The power of my vision
When I feel carried in this way I can contribute in an optimal way with my unique talents by showing possibilities and by 'dreaming' a future for the children and by inspiring others with my vision of the future. So, when I can be completely 'Elk holds the Starchild' I can 'carry' others with the power of my vision and at the same time I can feel 'being carried' by others, so others will beginto see more and more what I see. When we 'carry' eachother by acknowledging eachother as who we reaally are, it becomes possible to really empower eachother so each of us can be fully present so with our unique talents as the unique individuals we in essence are. That will form the basis on which we all can be lovingly of service to all and everyone in all humility. This way, combining the wisdom of every individual and based on consensus of all we can manifest together a world in line with the universal laws - creating worldwide a multitude of 'Societies in Balance', so everyone of us can flourish in an optimal way and in harmony with eachother, Nature and the greater whole.