ALDONA ČIŪTIENĖ (*1956) LITHUANIA
I still feel so positively linked with my grandmother, I remember how she shared her life’s experiences. Now, I am a grandmother to 4, I live with my husband in Kaunas, Lithuania.
Who am I? Seeker of myself, what can I do to help others to live in peace and harmony. I am a teacher in Aleksandras Stulginskis University. I like Nature, herbs and traditions of Lithuanian pirtis (steam bath), embedded in a wider Baltic tradition. We are practicing the art of water, steam, herbs; attracting people to find inner peace and love, to connect to Nature, bringing balance and harmony. Furthermore it is a way of promoting ancient wisdom. I am also a yoga teacher. I would like to exchange experience of how to increase mental and physical activity, amongst older people and so enhance the quality of later life as well as inspiring the next generation to use their body, mind and mental strength to achieve peace of mind and eliminate negativity. I love chanting mantras and singing. I am part of the international Choir where we enjoy highly spirited joyful singing We all are members of the same family bound by the religion of love…
BEATE HEIDE (*1959) SAMI
My name is Beate Heide, and I am a part of the Sami people of the north. To be a Sami has been met by the majority in Norway with suppression – as many of the small indigious people around the world. To stand up as a Sami has taken courage. And today I wear my native costume with pride, although I have lost my ancestors language.
I am born in the north of Norway; above the Artic Circle on a small island called Andøya. I love to be by the sea- and to go for hikes in the mountains. Growing up in a harsh nature and stormy weather, I really enjoy a good storm as much as a quite walk under the midnight sun.
I work as a section leader in Statped, the support system for children with disabilities in Norway. I work with people with visual impairment. We offer an pedagogical approach to the impairment.
I have 4 boys – born from 1980-1999; and I also have a fosterchild – born in 1998.
I am also a writer and I have written two Childrens books in Norwegian and Sami- about serious matters . In “Ida og Nordlyset” I write about a little girl dying of cancer. The other book “Det knuste hjertet” is about living in fostercare.
As a part of indigious people I praise and admire Mother Earth and her strength. I believe she will need all the help she can get to provide fresh air and water for everyone living on the planet earth today; as long with a fair charing of the food we produce amongst us.
BETTE GRAHAM (*1954) UNITED KINGDOM
HI my name is Bette Graham I am from Belfast which is part of the United Kingdom, I am a grandmother, my two sons have 4 children between them. My personal journey has taught me a lot about life’s lessons, I am very passionate about Human Rights I work with PPR ( Participation and Practice of Human Rights ) involving helping vulnerable people have their own voice, we are all human and deserving of Dignity and Respect…. PEOPLE! NATURE! THE WORLD! I am also part of the personal Growth team at “Lifespring” health and healing here in Belfast. As a grandmother My wish is through sharing my knowledge! experience! planting the seed in my grandchildren and others will strengthen them and their hope so the next generation can live in a better, peaceful world…
DAIVA GLADKAUSKIENE (*1957) LITHUANIA
I am grandmother from Lithuania. My life credo is my Teacher’s words: „When devotion becomes the only desire, life on Earth becomes life in Heaven.“ A Grandmother is the synthesis of love and wisdom. It’s time for grandmothers to spread light, peace and calmness in peoples’ hearts. It’s time for grandmothers to act…together in one team with the young generation. I am happy and thankful for this invitation!
ELISABETH WILLE (*1946) SWITZERLAND
I am a Swiss woman, married since1969. Our three sons are bringing three fine daughters-in-law and seven grandchildren into the family. Spending time with the grandchildren and the young families is a deep pleasure, an enrichment and one of the central elements in our present phase of life.
Since 1972 we live in a farmhouse in the country with fruit trees, our own vegetables and the flowergarden. My professional career: elementary school teacher, therapeutic pedagogy, psychotherapist. I still work professionally.
I was active in the Women for Peace-Movement, and engaged against the building of new nuclear power stations. In the last twenty years I headed the group for the protection of nature and environment in our village. Since last autumn I am active in a group of volunteers, looking after the refugees in our village.
My main themes are : a future fit for grandchildren : trust, humanity, justice, peace, taking care of nature, living in solidarity and cultivating uniquness.
ERIKA VÖLKER-ELSHOF (*1953) GERMANY
I am born 1953 and live in South-Germany. I have two adult daughters and I am happily married the second time. I studied science of education, psychology and sociology. In my major professional life I have been engaged in developing and managing social projects in the field of education.
Recently I am working as a consultant for personal transformation in combination with Feng Shui. All my life I have been involved in creative activities, for example working and playing in experimental theater and teaching it. In cooperation with my friend Otmar I made the film about the second meeting of European Grandmothers in Germany, September 2017.
I am deeply convinced that spirit, body and soul are a unity. This has always influenced my work.
My vision is to give power to and to develop an international network of man and women, who love and cherish our mother earth with all her beings and will contribute to balance the masculine and the feminine for example in social, cultural and ecological means. I believe, that we are the people, we have been waiting for.
HELGA LANGER (*1945) GERMANY
I was born in 1945 in Hamburg during the Second World War. I studied Psychology, Gestalt Psychotherapy and Systemic Family Therapy. I am mother and grandmother, psychotherapist, teacher and student of the great lessons of life and nature.
Since 1977 I live in an old house with a wonderful garden in a small village near Lüneburg. I love this beautiful place in the nature, my work, my family, my life and my age! I feel a deep respect for the cultures of indigenous people. I travelled around the world to learn about them.
I met the 13 Indigenous Grandmothers for the first time in 2014. These wise women and their message impressed me so deeply, that I decided to plant their seeds in Germany and in Europe. I feel the deep connection with something inside of me that I call GREAT MYSTERY and with all that is. More and more I find peace inside of me. In this way I get courage to step forward to connect with other grandmothers.
My vision: I see many Councils of Grandmothers all over the world, connected like a woven net. These Grandmothers will give support in insecure times.
IRENE KELLER GUBLER (*1961) SWITZERLAND
I was born in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Nature, music, books, art and travelling have been important to me from childhood. In my profession as a physiotherapist and Shiatsu-therapist I support people on their path through life, looking for a holistic reconnection to life through bodywork. Even though I find this connection on a regular basis, it continues to fascinate me.
Since 1990 I have lived in a beautiful nature environment with my husband. Here our three children grew up; I am a mother and a grandmother. Keeping in contact and spending time with my family is essential to me.
In this place it is also easy to stay in close contact with all the elements. For several years permaculture-gardening has been getting more and more important to us. As a participant in various and different small groups with diverse themes, I feel the power of the circle again and again. In this way I stay aware that in a mindful interconnectedness of women and men of different backgrounds it is possible to live together in a peaceful way.
My goal for the Council of the European Grandmothers is to support the networking of many small circles in the bigger European area.
MARIA ISABEL MAÑINI DUCH (*1957) SPAIN
I was born in Madrid (Spain). I had the privilege of spending nine months in the city and three months of holidays and freedom on the beach. The sea was my constant companion to have fun and helped me to become aware of my abilities and where I need to improve. I have two daughters born in 1982 and 1993. The Mystery has given me a grandchild born in 2019. I worked in various companies, some of which were owned by me, from 1977 to 2012. When I stopped working, I had time to live differently and start my spiritual path. I collaborate with CCA Spain to improve the personal development of the human being. Currently I am practising the intuitive meditation method Arka Dhyana and I have started to share it with other people. This method helps me to discover my true self and to listen to my heart. In mid-2022 my family made an important decision: we moved to a small village near Madrid but in the middle of nature and I have seen that Mother Earth can feed us all. Growing some of my own food is wonderful.
We are spiritual beings living a unique experience of growth and learning on our mother earth and that is the message I want to pass on to others.
The Council of European Grandmothers has made me realise that there are no borders, that all people are one and at the same time all are different. Love is the key to creating a more humane society and women have a very important role to play.
MADELEINE SÖDERSTRÖM (*1963) SWEDEN
I was born in Roslagen north of Stockholm the capital and grew up in Södertälje and live on a Irland Mörkö, South of the Capital. In a town where the whole world meets in great diversity and learns to live together in that embrace. I have worked for many years as a leader in health care, shock/trauma and labour market issues. I have a lot of experience and joy of working with coordinating teams and systems with multiple approaches, methods, cultures, professions and organisations has also been a big part of my professional life. On a part-time basis, I supervise managers and working groups. I also work to ensure that social pedagogy makes a breakthrough at the societal level and also upgrades itself for the future as an important theory. I am a curious women and throughout my life, I have explored psychological and cultural approaches from different parts of the world, in their way of connecting and relating to life and health.
In most of my free time, I help young people on their way forward in life or different organisations working to reverse the direction and strengthen our living environment again. Issues related to climate, forests and the society of the future or projects for local, close coordination of resources and local influence. For me, it is important to actively work for the world we want to live in, which makes it impossible for me to be active against things in different issues. I have two adult sons. My formal education is the psychology/pedagogy/sociology and rhetoric and addiction theory.
MARYANNE GOSLING (*1951) REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
MaryAnne Gosling lives in Dundalk, Ireland, a border town of some 35,000+ inhabitants halfway between Dublin and Belfast. Her life has been guided through a series of synchronicities which have led her to explore many different strands of healing traditions. Her intuitive knowing says that long before a physical illness occurs, an energy shift manifests firstly, in the spiritual, the mental and the emotional bodies. This then becomes manifest as a dis-ease condition in the physical body.
Her focus in life is raising awareness about universal Inclusiveness. She shares her personal experiences to encourage and foster in others, the knowledge that the mind, the emotions, and the spirit, all have parts to play in healing and transformation – that all healing comes from within – the body has the capacity to heal itself – the universe has the capacity to heal itself even from the destructive acts of humans – if given the right conditions.
This includes an Inclusive Holistic approach to Education regarding Lifestyle, Eating Nourishing Foods, the importance of Water, and Exercise. She offers ‘hand’s on’ classes in her kitchen to help people Transition to Healthy Eating. And also classes in Living Food Preparation.
MARY GRANT (*1944) IRELAND
Originally from Dublin, Mary has been working with trauma-recovery-transformation over fifty years in Belfast. Her Lifespring group supports wellness-based, resilience focused, forms of responding amid life’s difficult experiences. Alongside other cross-community organizations this currently Grandmother-led group forms a hub, encouraging developmental ventures beyond the group.
Well known for applying effective tools in trauma recovery, she originated the Anam Chara 1976-programme/Psycho-Social Aromatherapy. This is nurtured by the transpersonal perspective in psychology; her coaching approach to family systems theory; unique work in embodied psychotherapy; and by the ancient roots of Irish spirituality/mythology.
Author, trainer, supervisor, programme developer, soul coach, her pioneering work has spread throughout Ireland, U.K. and Nth. America. Passions: inter-generational whole person transformation, in close co-operation with ancestry, natural resources and environment.
In 2009, Talia Rose spoke to Grandmother Agnes about her trips to Ireland and work with Mary. Grandmother Agnes replied: “Ireland has the medicine bundle for the western world”, suggesting that Mary come and talk at their 6th Grandmothers gathering. This led to Grandmother Mona’s visit, a core membership of Grandmothers, from all walks of life, meeting regularly, visiting our most ancient Indigenous Peoples’ gathering place: Uisneach. Welcome to worldwide Grandmothers!
MONIKA ABENDROTH (*1944) ICELAND
German born, but living in Iceland since 1976, I just fall in love with this country, travelling around in 1973/74 I am a harpist, so I applied for the Icelandic Symphony Orchestra and got the position in 1976, since 2012 I am retired.
Music is for me a wonderful way to touch feelings and the heart of people. I released a meditation CD in 2010: Óður til Jarðar ( Ode to the Earth) Since 1980 I am working as touring guide in Iceland and Greenland. For me it is important to open people´s eyes for Nature and Mother Earth, which is not difficult here to get a glimpse of force and beauty of nature. It is wild and powerful, uncivilized, ice and fire, earthquakes and blizzards, you can not tame – only arrange with it.
By all my heart I desire a more peaceful world, more respect for nature and human beings and not the living in the dominance of masculine principles. I love to be a part of an international network, the Grandmothers Council : starting by ourselves and return to a new future, for our planet and for our grandchildren. I have one daughter and two grandchildren.
PASCALE JORIS (*1959) BELGIUM
I was born in Belgium in 1959 and grew up on the fringes of Hasselt surrounded by fields and woods. From a very young age I was aware that nature is a place where one can find peace without judgement. There you can observe the movement and changes in all aspects of life from the greatest to the least, and recognise that Mother Nature is always embracing us, breathing us.
My career was as logistic Desk Officer and finally Quality Manager in the BE army. Practicing Tai Chi, Yoga and Meditation opened new worlds and new possibilities to me and led me to become a Yoga teacher. I taught Yoga for several years.
My understanding is that in the beauty of painting, music, dance, sculptures and architecture, people realise their human condition. This explains why we are deeply moved by Art.
Although without children of my own, I joined the Council of European Grandmothers to help raise awareness for the ancient wisdom which we all have deep inside of us.
We all need to Listen to the storytellers because there is so much wisdom and healing in their stories.
My motto and conviction is: “Clean the world around You, start at home, that is where the ocean begins.”
SABINA CESARONI (*1955) ITALY
The acclaimed Italian ballerina moved on to a spiritually inspired dance. “Being a dancer, an actress, a dance therapist, a holistic counselor. Using Art as a tool of space quality to enter our capacity of creation, to create from our inside. Dancing on a principle of movement which is entering the field of energy and the thousands capacities of manifesting.
Working through therapeutic investigation and seeing the nature of the mind and how to transform our old weakening patterns. Sharing, listening to others who are just the same as we are…One. The female principle is that capacity of bringing all of us back to that primal ancient seed.”
SOIZIG PAGET (*1954) AUSTRIA
My name is Soizig Paget, I was born 1954 in Britanny, France, into a family with celtic roots (that’s where my first name is coming from) I was passing my childhood in Kamerun, Africa, and different other places in France. 1973, I moved to Austria, where I am living now. Since 1978 me and my husband Robert are running an ecological farm near Vienna, rearing goats and water buffalos, processing the milk into cheese and other products, which we sell directly. Altogether, 3 families and generations are living on the farm: Robert and me having 2 children and 3 grandchildren.
I myself have installed a studio on the farm, where I am working in the field of social consulting and mentoring, Reiki, meditation practice and other social orientated techniques. Small groups meet there and exchange their experience in nature rituals, songs and dances, traditional knowledge, etc…
Getting older I discovered through my gardenwork the beauty and use of flowers and medicinal herbs for water destillation, herbal teas and natural cosmetics. Daily contact with the garden and Mother Earth gives me a strong support for all our hopes and visions and strenghtens my respect for people, animals and for environment..
SOFIA FOTEINA-CHATZIKOKOLI (*1948) GREECE
Sofia, a Holistic Therapist, was born in Athens, Greece. After her BA in Economics, she pursued her dream and graduated the Pedagogical School of Athens, Montessori Method in London and Rudolph Steiner’s Anthroposophy in Paris. From 1979 on she was trained as a facilitator in “Café-Ecole” method for Holistic Development by Constantin Foteinas, in Athens. She was also trained by him in his “Minimal Movement and Meditation” and in “Accompagnonage”, assisting people in their final phase of earthly life. In India, she was initiated and has been a student of Teacher Training Program of the “Himalayan Yoga Meditation” since 2010.She received her Yoga Teacher Certificate in 2015 (RYT 500) from Swami Veda Bharati.
She founded and taught at the nursery school called “Our School”, in Glyphada, Athens by the method of Café-Ecole, adapted for children. Today, she coordinates the activities of “Café Ecole-Himalayan Yoga Meditation of Hellas”, a non-profit organism, in Chalandri, Athens, Greece, where she leads self-awareness, psychotherapy and minimal movement workshops, as well as yoga and meditation for pregnant women, children and adults.
She has also taught in India, Italy, and France. She has two daughters and three grand-children and considers all of them her teachers.
TONI TANDERUP (*1956) DENMARK
I live in Copenhagen Denmark with my family, husband, 3 children and a granddaughter. I`m concerned about the Earth of the modern world today and how we can all learn to take care of it. How we can find help in old wisdom and bring back some stability in what we find in Nature and what we return. I`m concerned about the environment and the way we care or not care about it. I care about garbage sorting, composting, avoiding food waste, producing green energy, avoiding unnecessary use of plastic, recycling and sustainability.
I am a teacher, I have enjoyed teaching for 34 years. I have experienced the evolution from the pen and paper work to the implementation of the digital world and how it has influenced our lives. I`m very concerned that future generations will not know the joy of being in contact with Nature, each other and themselves in a natural way. I enjoy Nature every day, I walk, I swim in the sea and bath there in the wintertime, too. I grow herbs and vegetables, I collect plants, I knit, I dye my yarn with plants and perform different handcrafting. I attend women groups in Denmark, exchanging experiences, energies and vitality…attending to bring it in on to future generations.
WENCHE NORDBERG (*1956) DENMARK
I was born in Norway in 1956, and moved to Denmark in the early 1980’s. Now I’m living with my husband outside Copenhagen in the suburbs. We have 2 sons. I have different educations in nature medicine, pedagogic, coaching and I’m attached to a spiritual center in Jutland. In my spare time I practice Qi Gong. I work in a kindergarten, which is placed in the woods out of town. For me, working with children in nature is of great importance. I believe in the healing power of nature, and that we all need to feel the pulse of Mother Earth. Working with children makes me slow down, be present and creative in my everyday life and let me pass on traditions to future generations.
I also believe in the Power of the Circle and the wisdom we share. As we have the Council of European Grandmothers, I hope there can be circles in all countries, like we have in Denmark (Grandmothers Circle the Earth)
My future wishes are that all human beings will treat Mother Earth in a better way, so there can be clean water, earth and air for everyone, always.
SWAMI NITYAMUKTANANDA SARASWATI (DR. CHRISTA-MARIA HERRMANN) (*1945) EUROPE
German by birth, naturalised British, living in Italy, she studied Theology, Education, Psychology, Philosophy and Art and Design (Ceramics) and several types of alternative ways of medicines. At the centre of her ongoing studies and teachings always is the subject of ‘Selfawareness’. Life in Asia awakened her interest in Eastern Philosophy (Taoism and Zen) and led to the Zen-arts of Raku (as an artist potter she exhibited worldwide).
In 1997 she made her Doctorate in Eco-philosophy on the subjects of the Mahabhutas (Five Great Elements), a universal concept shared by many wisdom-traditions around the globe. In the same year she was awarded a ‘World-Peace Prize’ for contributions to World Peace (LGWPF / NGO of UN). As artist and philosopher merged more and more, a unique combination emerged of deep involvement in Meditation, Sattipahana (mindfulness) and the contemplative practices of Jnana Yoga and Vedanta.
Throughout, she worked with several great spiritual Masters among them Zen-Masters, great Siddhas, the Tibetan Lama and Tulku T.Y.S. Gangchen, and several great Himalayan Masters. She took samnyasa (becoming a traditional Indian renunciate and teacher) in 2003 from Swami Anubhavananda and confirmed her vows in a traditional Vedic ceremony with Swami Veda Bharati in 2007. Swami Nityamuktananda continues to travel the globe as a renown spiritual teacher and guide as well as giving regular workshops in Meran/Italy. www.athayoga.info