Sauerland soul places - these are rocks and quarries, churches and mountain tops, mighty trees and underground grottos, lakes and valleys. 43 places, spread over the Sauerland hiking villages, were chosen because they are particularly impressive and have a special meaning for the people in their surroundings. Not only today, but also in former times. They touch people emotionally, mentally and spiritually. They evoke strong resonances. They are places to which people wander and where they can switch off. Come to themselves. Enjoy the peace and quiet. Being inspired. Gain new insights. Even if each soul place tells its own story, there is one quality that connects them all: Living silence.
Together - being alone
Land of a thousand mountains, yes, but where does one mountain end and the other begin? Most of the time the hiker is presented with this picture: from the crest, the horizon line runs up to the top and down on the other side, only to rise again to the next peak. The crests are lined up like pearls on a string. Only one stands out. I approach it on a hiking trail from the west. Impressive he seems not because of his height, 658 meters, but because he stands alone. The Wilzenberg builds up before me as a cone with a flattened tip. Without it leaning against another ridge. It stands for itself. That instills respect.
Death and rebirth
A cemetery, in the middle of the woods. In the morning of 19 January 2007 the tree corpses piled up to ten meters high. They lay criss-crossed on top of each other. Killed by someone they called 'the Magnificent' in German. His name is Cyril in Greek. The winter storm swept through Europe with wind speeds of up to 225 kilometres per hour. It also devastated huge areas of forest in the Sauerland. Areas with spruce trees were hit hardest: They grow fast but take root only shallowly in the ground. Cyril had an easy job.
The year was 1637 and the country was in the midst of a war that was to last thirty years. Farms were plundered by marauding soldiers, villages were set on fire, many people were killed. What the war spared was carried off by an uncanny disease that has remained deeply engraved in Europe's memory as a trauma: the plague. Entire regions were depopulated. At some point the great dying reached the Sauerland. It is said to have started in Medebach and then it struck Eslohe. In a legend text it says: "The plague raced on and choked the village with greedy mouth. It could not be frightened away, not by praying and blessing, not by drinking schnapps from large crenellated jugs and by smoking cow dung. "Tore the tools from the strongest man's hand and killed the infant at its mother's breast."
Earth, stone and wood. Nothing else. So simple. And at the same time this image strikes me with archaic force. The dark rock block lies on a pedestal, infinitely heavy, unassailable, as if fallen from eternity. Where does it come from? How did it get here? Which giants could move it? Why did it land here, in this clearing? He is surrounded by eight tree trunks, without their bark, bright, smooth and naked, they too are massive. Pillars of the forest. The monster woods, resting horizontally on them, limit the enigmatic structure upwards.
If you want to go to the church, you have to cross the cemetery. And the cemetery is very lively. Its surrounding wall with its crevices and niches is a biotope for moss and wall breakers, spotted fern and stonewort. 300-year-old lime trees stand in a circle like devoutly. A fire salamander crawls in slow motion to its place in the sun, which sends the first warming rays. It extends the wooden crosses, which stand in finely circled rows, by long shadows. Now, at sunrise, it is obvious that all the graves are facing east. They are not located on a field of God outside the village, but right next to the church. The dead and the living are neighbours. Simple elegance on the graves: Once a priest finished the beauty contest to see which farmer had the thickest gravestone and ordered simple wooden crosses. Everyone, rich or poor, has to line up. Before death all are equal.
Moss-covered rock in the middle of a deciduous forest, about which the Bödefelder Hollensage tells.
The Hollen were forest creatures that would have dug deep into the rock. They were friendly to friendly people, helpful in times of need. They especially loved the Bödefeld children, who liked to play near the rock. Their self-forgetful play moved them, and they loved to join them. In the evening, when the little ones had to return to the village, they gave them small, beautiful, shiny stones as presents. For the children, they were nothing but gifts that delighted their hearts. But their parents saw: This is pure gold! The greed of the adults was awakened. They wanted more. At the high rock in the forest they searched for the hiding place of the treasure to steal it. As punishment the Hollen blocked all entrances and turned their house into a huge rock. They were never seen again.