6th Council Meeting Elisabeth

My local, weekly commitment with a woman seeking asylum in Switzerland – a win-win-situation
The village of 2000 inhabitants where I live, was assigned to care – among others – for a family of six people from Afghanistan by the federal authorities. I have known the family now for over two years. The eldest ofthe four children is twelve, the youngest 3 years old. The father has recently been allowed to do manual work for the community and to earn a little money.

Every week I study with the mother, who is taking two different German language courses, offered free of charge by volunteer organisations. We do her homework together. She was illiterate, and I am astonished how quickly she gets along with everything.

Again and again I also try to sum up for her the letters the children bring home from school and kindergarten. I practise with her to read the calendar, dates and appointments and the time. Great trust and love has grown between the two of us. She calls me her Swiss mom, and grandmother towards the children. Every time, I leave their flat gratified. From the start it was clear to me that I wanted to work with the mother, for, if a mother is psychically stable, the children profit most directly. After the death of her mother, this woman had to work in a factory sewing clothes, when she was only ten years old.

In our village we have a small group of mostly young people looking afterthe asylum seekers. We advise each other and provide the necessary materials. Somebody was able to find a sewing machine for my “Afghan daughter”.Now she is sewing for her children and girl-friends and is very happy about it.

My motivation for this engagement is my belief that an open, warm new home should be offered to these people, who were forced to leave their homeland and become refugees. In this way I can personally “better” theofficial Swiss position, which is a compromise with those Swiss people who fear the loss of jobs and the Islamic religion. They believe that in oursmall, closely populated country there is no room for more people, meaning first of all refugees and the costs they cause for the state. (I am sure you all know this!)

6th Council Meeting Beate

Peace work in The Sami community
Boures, (good day). I am Beate, a Sami and very proud of it. Today I will tell you about my grandmother, Henrikke. She was the daughter of Henrik and Elida. They were immigrants from Finland, leaving their country behind in the 1860’s when there was no food to get for the children. They had no choice but to leave if they wanted to give their children any future. So, they packed the little they had and put it on their backs and led the children by the hand to Ruija- Norway. The ocean-land where there were said that the fish was so rich that you could go down and put your hands into the water and catch it. For a person starving that is a great fairy-tale. And on the long walk to Norway they longed for the fish.
But of course, leaving everything behind they could only bring what was close to their heart; the language, the culture, the way of living.
When they came to Norway and settled along the coastline, they could not hunt for the reindeer anymore. They had to adapt to a new way of living, now being farmers and fishermen. What they didn’t know when they left their country was that in the 17th Century the Norwegian Church had been very sceptical to the Sami people. The priests could not understand the Sami language, so they banned them. They looked at them and they could see the ritual drums with very strange marks on them and they thought the Sami was the devil’s people. So, my great grandparents were met with a sceptical attitude. An attitude can be inherited through many generations forward, so it was not an easy life to come to Norway as a Sami. They had to blend in as soon as possible, and even up to these days it is normal to make fun of the Sami. And since you form your identity by the way society is looking at you, the Sami learned to look down on themselves. They were not considered as good as the Norwegians.
When my grandmother was born in 1908, her family lived in a very small house. If you stretched out your hands you could reach the walls on each side of the house. It had a floor made of earth, and a ladder up in the one-room house where all the 13 children were sleeping together with their parents on a half-roof room.
In 1924 my great grandmother started to cough. She got a cough that would not stop and the doctor came. He shocked his head and said it was tuberculosis- the white plague. Everyone looked at my grandmother, their eyes said; – It is you who are going to look after her till she dies. At that time, they thought that was a disease that you got because you were not sanitary enough. So now my grandmother had two stigmas. One she was a Sami and two she was not clean enough. And she was left with her mother in that little house. Her father left with the rest of the children, but every day he would come to the steps with food. And he would knock on the window and then he would step back. My grandmother would open the window and talk to him. During the sickness, and everyone knew the end of it; no-one came to visit. Not her sibling, not her husband, not her children, not the neighbours. None at all came. WHEN Elida died the whole family was scattered with the winds. My grandmother did not want to be a Sami anymore. She didn’t want to be considered dirty and she didn’t want people to look down on her. So, the rest of her life she kept her Sami identity a secret, as many other Sami- due to the Norwegian suppression.
So, I did not know until I was 40 that I was a Sami.
Today we have a big invasion of immigrants wanting to come to Norway and other countries. My heart bleeds for them- and specially for the children coming alone. They need a warm embrace and friends in this strange land. They don’t come because they want to, they come out of pure necessity. So we need to give a thought to these children and families and meet them with open arms and not like the Norwegian met the Sami two generations ago.Let us learn from history. Let us embrace them and tell them that a stranger is just a friend you yet don’t know.

6th Council Meeting Astrid

Text Rojbin Khalaf, Syria
If you want to create a weapon, think about how many children, mothers, men and youngsters will die. Planting a flower, wouldn’t that be better? That would make our future better. Let us live together in peace.
What is peace anyway?
Oh, it’s just a word…
No, it’s not just a word!! Peace means that we live together. Peace means that we do not make a difference between rich, poor, black, or white. A human being is a human being after all! But you do make a difference… Let us live in peace and create a good future.
Take down your weapons. Pick a flower or pick up a pen, so that life will get better.
Let us live together in peace.

6th Council Meeting – Sabina

Being that Absolute dream of freedom

Lily the butterfly is a Creature that will learn to listen deeply the rhythm and changes in Nature waiting for her moment to fly… And entering the deep state of meditation will help her to fly and enter the realm of all possibilities…. Being that Absolute dream of freedom…

7th Council Meeting Södertälje/Sweden 2022

7th Council Meeting Södertälje/Sweden 2022

The Council of European Grandmothers

Official report of the 7th Council Meeting in Sodertalje, Jarna, Sweden

Topic: Life

Host: Grandmother Madeleine Söderström

Present: Grandmother: Aldona, Beate, Bette, Elisabeth, Erika, Helga, Isabel, Irene, Madeleine, MaryAnne, Monika, Pascale, Soizig, Tina 

Absent: Grandmother: Daiva, Mary, Sabina, Sofia, Swami Nitya, Toni, Vibeke, Wenche

Date: Official part. Friday 17th – Sunday 19th June 2022

Friday morning, 17 th of June

The Grandmothers met for the first time in three years due to the restrictions imposed by the Covid19 pandemic. A morning walk together down to the ponds in Ytterjärna Trädgårdspark.  “A garden meets a park that meets a landscape” it says about this place – Ytterjärna Conference Center –  a bit outside Järna by the Baltic sea, 5 miles south of the Capital Stockholm. After the walk a internal opening ceremony for the European Grandmothers.

Opening Ceremony

On Friday evening the Official Opening Ceremony took place in the 900 year old St.Ragnild’s Church in the centre of Södertälje.

When women and men from Ukraine, Russia, Finland, Norway, Sapmi, Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Lithuania, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Iran, Peru, Chile, and Africa had taken their seats, and silence fell, the fanfare for Life and Peace was raised by Mathilda Lindgren. After this a Reconciliation ceremony between genders, generations, cultures/people and Mother Earth was held in four steps and in between music, storytelling, speech and poem.

The heart of this was a touching and courageous ritual of forgiving between the male and the female, performed by Grandmother Madeleine and Martin Winter in front of the altar. Swedish musicians contributed with songs and instrumental pieces of music. Madeleine Söderström commemorated women´s suffrage in Sweden, drawing on the fact that Sweden is now entering the 101st year as the beginning of a new circle.

The ceremony ended with a huge circle of women and young people, using the whole space of the church. It was symbolically and practically completed by the men stepping in. Together we sang “Circle of Life“.

Music/talk:Ebba Svensson & Jonathan Ed. Tobias Fjälling & Daniel Lundbäck. Mathilda Lindgren. Siri Lundström. Beate Heide. Gestalta: Martin D Winter, European Grandmothers and the audienceHost: Madeleine Söderström. Malin Sommanö. Hanna Lönneborg. Gunilla Gustavsson. Marlen Ablahad Eskander  Aili Lundström, 10 år

Saturday – Sunday 18 th – 19 th of June

Council Dialog in three parts:

We investigated the following questions:

1.What is life and the conditions of life?

2. How is the life support system of which we are currently a part perceived; in

finance/banking, law, nature & wildlife, children, water, business, politics, government?

3. What do we do now so that nurturing life becomes important and the basis for the

development of sustainable life systems and social systems?

A diverse group of 40 women and men of different ages, ranging from their 20’s to their 90’s, from different parts of society and 12 European countries, took part in this  dialog together with the Grandmothers.

The idea was to build a safe field of research, where the diversity of people was able to be included as a whole person with a respected voice, as per the Credo of the European Grandmothers: “Everybody has the Wisdom to Support and Maintain a Sustainable World for the next 7 generations.“

Maria Bergbäck guided us expertly through a variety of verbal and non-verbal communication processes, involving movement and body postures, where we shared what is blocking life processes and what is supporting them. We began as individuals, progressed to duo’s then trio’s, etc. For example we identified with major protagonists including: “big bank“, “government“, “nature“, “science“, “children” and explored the limitations and possibilities of these systems from an insider point of view.

The second day – Sunday – was Harvest Day.

The dialog participants formed groups out of their inspiration on: „How can I bring something forward that supports the living system?“ Some Grandmothers supported the process with their centered energy by sitting in meditation.

Short summary of the dialog:

  • Not being angry at the system
  • Being aware that you are part of the Golden Net of Light/Life
  • Radical act of being at peace with „what is“ – is necessary
  • Things are complicated, but imagine, it is simple
  • Communication in tolerance and acceptance
  • The importance of listening to others and voluntarily changing perspectives.
  • Helping each other to listen to what we can collectively live up to.
  • Helping each other move to a field where we are able and willing to support the living system together.
  • Realize that you are a creator
  • A mutual love relationship with all that is giving us life and meet your own life process with love every morning.

Midsummer time in Järna, Sveden…..Abundance of light, joy and exitement. To this the side programme was a great match. It surrounded the heart of our meeting, the investigation of, “how can we support life, what are the acupuncture points?“ like a bed of flowers.

Other activities and ceremonies during the days

Saturday – Sunday 18th and 19th June

Womens gathering with Dagomara Ullman close to the see. We received symolically the seeds of life in the

form of vivid Marigold seeds.

Visiting the Reading Promotion Institute, bridgebuilder between cultures 

Friday afternoon we met founder Marlen Ablahad Eskander, who reported about her work to support successful integration of immigrants into Svedish society by written and spoken word. LINK

Morning meditations

Water ceremony with Grandmother Erika Völker-Elshof

Outdoor meditation with Cellist Eva Fasth in the Rosegarden


Midwife Elisabeth Ubbe : The first seconds of life on earth plus talk

Artist Elisabeth Cardell: Creativity

Photographer Tom Jonasson: The forest, the forest, the forest

German Artist Eike Eschholz : Walfahrt project plus talk

Artist Ute Drexel: The beauty and magic of nature

Lecture and talk on the theme of ‘END ECOCIDE’ – as leverage and support for life, society, climate, nature and business conditions. With systemic activist Pella Thiel,  Swedish: Link to End Ecocide Sweden English: https://www.stopecocide.earth

Silent walk in nature by Malin Sommanö and Tobias Fjälling

Storytelling by Isa Tibbling, Sweden and Sami Grandmother Beate Heide

Circle peace dance led by Kirsten Nistedt 

Closing Ceremony – Walking the spiral


We plant the seed of life and also the context of the Council dialog into a Closing Ceremony.

A huge spiral made of hay, was located beside our venue.

Two grandmothers as gatekeepers invited each person to enter. Everyone picked a flower from a bouquet, which had brightened up our conference room, and walked in a dignified pace towards the centre. There she/he laid down the flower; then stayed for a moment until the impulse to leave led them to stride out of the spiral-to regroup in the circle and draw the conference to a close.

A big Thank You to Grandmother Madeleine and Edda Sweden and to all who contributed to this beautiful Midsummer Council Meeting!

Programme Documents

Se hela programmet här: (SV)   

View full programme (EN)

Picture Gallery

Mathilda Lindgren and Tobias Fjälling. Så skimrande var aldrig havet/never was the sea so shimmering; by Evert Taube

The Swedish team thanks you for visiting our country and sharing your wisdom with our wisdom and your determination to support life on our earth for the next seven generations. 

Summer night in June - Sweden

We send a big warm thank you to all the visitors from all the countries and the Town Södertälje.
Thank you to all the women and men from who supported this event in various ways:
Siri Lundström, Aili Lundström, Malin Sommenö, Eva Fasth, Hanna Lönneborg, Gunilla Gustavsson, Marlen Ablahad Eskander, Maria Bergbäck, Isa Tibbling, Elisabet Cardell, Dagomara Danza Ullman, Ebba Svensson, Petronella Sjöö, Tobias Fjälling, Mathilda Lindgren, Daniel Lundbäck,
Jonathan Ed, Anette Arenberg, Anna Gran, YIP and to Ytterjärna Conference center and Foodculture/Matkultur.
Thank you to the film team: Martin D Winter and Frank Pelwitz

Until we meet again, let us all continue planting and take good care of the seeds of Life
The Council of the European Grandmothers