The Pre-Christian Spirituality of the Low Countries


Date of publication is 24 June 2022 but the book can already be pre-ordered (through amazon or your local book seller)!

Feel free to contact me to discuss a guest lecture or other public appearance related to this book!


International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch in Europe and Globally

 Imelda Almqvist's new book is like a treasure chest of ancestral jewels. So much of our literature today is revisionist history, written by the victors of wars or lost on the dusty shelves of time. In this book Imelda brings the past alive and discovers resources for reconnecting with our ancestors, their ancient wisdom teachings, and our own soul. With this scholarly exploration you can retrieve the frozen parts of our North-Western European ancestry, some dredged up from the depths of the North Sea!

- Michael Stone, Author, Mentor, Teacher, Radio Host and Producer of The Shift Network’s Global Shamanism Summits,


From the book jacket:

North Sea Water in My Veins is a quest for the reconstruction of an indigenous or native spirituality of the Low Countries and the book covers pre-Christian material from the Netherlands, Belgium and the region just across the German border. Seeking out and documenting ancient gods and goddesses, practices and religions, this book asks the question: is there enough material for such a reconstruction? The conclusion is a resounding yes!

International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch in Europe and Globally



This book is a love letter to my country of birth: The Netherlands. It reconstructs the spiritual heritage of the Low Countries and covers pre-Christian (or heathen) material from The Netherlands, Belgium and just across the border in Germany (there are also some snippets in Afrikaans!)

My quest attempted to answer the following question: is there enough material for a reconstruction of an indigenous pre- (or non-) Christian spirituality.  My conclusion is a resounding yes!  I felt like a painter applying paint-stripper to my own culture, revealing and unveiling the animist and ancestral material that slumbers just under the veneer of everyday life.

Frisian King Radboud famously came close to being baptised but refused when he was told that his ‘heathen ancestors would not be waiting for him in Heaven’. His reply was that he strongly preferred spending eternity in Hell to hanging out in Heaven with his enemies…

In The Netherlands everything has been created or shaped by human beings. A considerable portion of land has been reclaimed from water. This has an impact on the collective psyche!

The Netherlands are also known as The Low Countries by the Sea. If the Netherlands have a dedicated rune in the Frisian Rune Row – it is LAGU: Water!

I read and researched material in about ten European languages to obtain answers to my own questions and soon found myself grappling with many mysteries. The gift-bringing and ginger-nut scattering Sinterklaas (St Nicholas) of my childhood is really a psychopomp or soul conductor, who arrives to collect the souls of the deceased, just before the winter solstice! He is connected to the Wild Hunt and Mother Holle.

Author Carlo Ginzburg links the Matronae to the ‘noctural mistresses’ led by Abundia, spirits appearing in the form of young girls or matrons dressed in white, which takes us to the Witte Wieven (spectral White Ladies) often encountered near the Hunebedden (Mesolithic passage graves) in the Netherlands.

The people of the pre-Roman era, the Ubii, actually worshipped their deities in the great outdoors. Their spirituality was closely tied to the land and local flora and fauna. A determined animist mindset allows the land itself, bodies of water, trees and animals (and so forth) to be our spiritual teachers!

 The process of writing this book resembled nested Russian dolls: when you peel off one outward manifestation, deep inside it you find another (older) model.

Dutch author Louis Janssen reminds us that that the solidarity between the living and the dead was a crucial aspect of early medieval Christianity and pleads for continuity of change. We cannot go back in time, but we can breathe life into ancestral wisdom teachings!

My book introduces some quintessentially Dutch-Flemish concepts: the Monday Morning Monster, bidzaligers (ambient people who bless through prayer), kinderschrik (frightening children into obedience), polder-blindness (a hypnotic trance induced by the flat landscape and straight roads of the Netherlands).

We also encounter the otherworld geography of The Netherlands and directories of (almost) forgotten deities, spirits and Matronae (a large collective of mother goddesses venerated at the time of the Roman Empire).

Over the centuries ‘many babies were thrown out with the bath water’ (to use a Dutch expression: meaning that many precious things were cast aside along with the things that served no more). I argue that the time has come to rescue and resuscitate those ‘spirit children’.

My book marries scholarship to gnosis (personal revelation) and it makes a clear distinction between these two very different modi operandi.

This book was deliberately written in English to make the material accessible to anyone who is interested. I have already been challenged on this by many Dutch people (but I am open to creating a translation into Dutch!) There is no need whatsoever for counter-cultural appropriation when Dutch people seek profound spiritual teachings and practices!

A glossary (of Dutch words) and an introduction to working with the runes of the Frisian Rune Row are provided.

Last but not least: are you aware that North-western Europe has ‘its own Atlantis’? A large island called Doggerland, (and a large prehistoric forest), remain buried under the waters of the North Sea…

The water of the North Sea runs through my veins, as the ink of my soul…

The attempt to attain knowledge of the past is also a journey into the world of the dead

-Carlo Ginzburg 

International Teacher, Author, Painter and Forest Witch in Europe and Globally

 As an Englishman born on the very edge of the land overlooking the North Sea, the fisher folk feared it as an avenue between life and death. Its shaped has changed overtime from when the Dogger Bank was a pre-historica forest but, since then many myths, legends and tales abound. A reconstruction of these stories for the contemporary reader is an eye-opener into what slumbers in our sub-conscious memory.

Imelda has opened the door for the reader to rediscover the ways of the ancestors.

Terry O'Sullivan, Co-author of Soul Rescuers and Ancestral Healing