Archive | January, 2012

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden Tour Album…

31 Jan

On the Eve of Imbolc…

31 Jan

Imbolc is a time to celebrate the promise of Spring and to think about planting…

On the eve of Imbolc

Imbolc, or St Brigid’s Day  Lá Fhéile Bríde,  is an Irish festival marking the beginning of spring.

Imbolc is celebrated on the 1st day of February, the date that falls approximately halfway between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Hens at Bealtaine Cottage Jan 2012

The holiday was, and for many still is, a festival of the hearth and home, and a celebration of the lengthening days and the early signs of spring.

Stove at bealtaine cottageCelebrations are focused around hearth fires, special foods, as in a family dinner or feast, candles, invoking a sense of the light to come…

“The serpent will come from the hole
On the brown Day of Bride,
Though there should be three feet of snow
On the flat surface of the ground.” 

candle and spiral at bealtaine cottageFire and purification are an important aspect of this festival.

Brigid is the Gaelic goddess of poetry, healing and smith-craft. 

As both goddess and saint she is also associated with holy wells, sacred flames, and healing.

The lighting of candles and fires represents the return of warmth and the increasing power of the Sun over the coming months.

Laurel arch at bealtaine cottage permaculture gardens

Brigid is said to walk the earth on Imbolc eve.

Before going to bed, each member of the household may leave a piece of clothing or strip of cloth outside for Brigid to bless.

The head of the household will smother (or “smoor”) the fire and rake the ashes smooth.

In the morning, they look for some kind of mark on the ashes, a sign that Brigid has passed that way in the night or morning.

The clothes or strips of cloth are brought inside, and believed to now have powers of healing and protection.

Brigid Cross  Bealtaine Cottage Shop on Etsy

Traditionally, a cross made from pulled rushes is hung inside the home each Imbolc.

You can find these at the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop, at the right side of this page.

The Road Not Taken…

28 Jan

Spent the day learning more about basketry in another great workshop organized by Tom Browne at Corrigeenroe near Boyle, here in County Roscommon.
I am tired, but looking forward to day 2 of the willow weaving and basketry, tomorrow.

This is a fabulous, fabulous hen basket woven by Tom, to transport hens in…isn’t this just the best looking and most practical basket you ever did see? It has a gorgeous little door on the front and will hold several hens in pure comfort.

Something worth mentioning is the fact that the hen basket is a completely unique design…Tom’s own craft-work! Admired for sure and perhaps copied as well!

The beginnings of another basket..

Tea…hot, comforting tea…and a chance to put my feet up and contemplate my endeavours…I shall dream of willow and baskets and patterns and possibilities… 

I adore Robert Frost and his poetry…this is one of my favourites…I was reciting this in my head as I drove home from Corrigeenroe tonight…

It is, perhaps, one of the most philosophical poems I have ever read and loved!

Robert Frost

“The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
― Robert Frost

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