Today

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The day starts in the dark…making late October mornings seem magical and filled with hope.

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Walking in the gardens to empty the ashes, open the hen house and collect kindling as the sun rises on this, my birthday.

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And later, a gift arrives from someone I used to share much of my life with…my ex-husband is now very supportive and appreciative of the work I do at Bealtaine.

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In fact, Bealtaine Cottage has become a place of healing, whether it be human rifts, environmental devastation or spiritual despair…the energy here takes it all in and rebalances the problem with copious amounts of kindness and compassion, the love of the Great Mother.

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And as the morning is illuminated by the late-rising sun, my eldest daughter arrives with a home-made cake. Nothing is better than a cake made with love and good energy…the power of the hands infused into the soul-food!

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The cake is vegan and chocolatey and demands a big pot of tea…

And I especially love that my children move with ease between my name and my title, of Mother.

Today I am Colette…my birth name.


Blessed Birth Day

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On a sunny October morning, many years ago, my mother decided it was time to ascend the narrow staircase to the bedroom she shared with my father and lie down on the horsehair mattress to ready herself for my birth.

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I have always been impatient and began my life as I continued it, not waiting for anyone else to act!

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In the rush of pain, water and blood that followed, my father acted as best he could to deliver me.

Always a cool, calm and thoughtful man, he acted intuitively upon seeing the cord around my neck, gently holding me back, as he unwound my umbilical cord, to release me safely, from my mother, into the world.

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My dear father passed several years ago…I refuse to mark time as I feel his energy with me.

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My mother passed this year, as calm and serene as the day she birthed me.

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And so, tomorrow is my birthday and I have a mind to celebrate the two people who got me safely into this beautiful world.

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I have cleared a space in the fast growing woodland of Bealtaine Cottage and there I shall create a little garden for them both.

The Spirit of Bealtaine

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Even though the day has been drizzly, most of it has been spent out on the land, cutting, pruning and clearing.

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The paths need cutting back to keep them open.

It’s hard work, but there’s lots of brushwood and thicker bits for the stove.

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Leaves are laying a thick and colourful carpet on the ground.

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It’s good to be outdoors.

The air is invigorating!

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The light is more silvery and as the trees shed their leaves, more can be touched by the low autumn sun.

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The Goat Willow has grown remarkably well over the past ten years, creating canopy and helping to establish a healthy woodland floor.

Now it’s the turn of greater trees like this young Ash, to take the reins and establish woodland that will see the next century and more!

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Many of you have followed the journey of Bealtaine, as the gardens have taken the small tentative steps into woodland.

It has been a magical journey and continues to enthrall and inspire me and all who visit on foot or online.

The spirit of Bealtaine has emerged from a small, desolate piece of land…

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It is heartening indeed to hear from so many of you who are inspired to plant trees and heal the Earth…it is so very important that we do this!

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I am hoping to be able to get a landline link so as to get a reliable Broadband connection.

This will make uploading blogs and videos much faster and reliable.

Uploading a five minute video takes over an hour with the present connection.

Sometimes it fails at the last minute and I have to begin the process all over again!

The initial cost of getting a landline installed is quite expensive.

If you feel you can help at all with a small donation, it will be greatly appreciated…blessings X

The Power of Ritual

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Ritual, everyday ritual, is incredibly powerful!

Examine the ritual of power, be that in the opening of parliament, royal celebrations, religious ceremony…and you begin to see the importance and power of ritual!

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So where does this fit into a sustainable life or a permaculture smallholding?

It is simple to understand in the context of power…

Since the rise of the Age of Technology, our real power as human beings has become diminished.

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We have become reliant on technology, without stopping to assess and filter the bits we really need and want.

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I was contemplating this as I lit the stove this morning, moving to and fro with paper and wood, collecting fuel from the barn, whilst casting my eyes over the pile of long thin trunks, standing erect ready to be sawn into logs. Autumn in the permaculture gardens of bealtainecottage.com 001

My early morning coffee is predicated on lighting the stove and doing small chores, as I wait for the kettle to boil. This is a ritual I choose to partake of.

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I could have kept my electric kettle and simply touched a switch each morning, but chose instead to avail of that great commodity: time!

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Rising a little earlier, cleaning the ash-pan, lighting the stove and waiting, allows my morning to begin a sacred quietness.

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I walk to the back door and stand by the open portal to Nature, as she heralds the morning in with birdsong.

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The power of ritual is our power.

It is what we have forgotten, as technology imbibes us to forget our humanity.

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We need both.

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We need to be selective and thoughtful about what we wish to keep in our lives.

It is our power to choose.

The Great Creatrix

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The photographer from Irish Country Magazine has just left…the magazine photo-shoot is over!
You can read all about Bealtaine Cottage in the Dec/Jan edition, which will be on the shelves at the end of November!

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As we walked around the gardens, the conversation turned to the story of how Bealtaine emerged from rushy fields and it became apparent that this story becomes harder to tell…for it all seems so improbable.

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The story has taken on myth-like qualities as visitors look around, finding it hard to believe that Nature could work such magic…but She has…the Great Creatrix!

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The gardens are now a riot of autumnal colour, due in part to what many call ‘mistakes,’ but have turned out to be inspired tree planting, with nothing other than a gut feeling of where to plant and plant without discrimination.

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When one considers it, Mother Nature does not discriminate.

She merely gets on with whatever needs to be done…nurturing and giving all her days.

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Rachel Carson was acutely aware of how the future might be, if humankind did not awaken to the need to live with her…the one…the Mother, Creatrix of beauty and life.

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“Silent Spring” remains to this time, an enduring legacy of the call to wake up and smell the roses.

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We cannot live without her, though she can go on and on into the future without us.

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The question is: does she want to?

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I believe Mother Earth is reaching out to us in a last desperate bid to stop us from destroying our habitat.

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What is being done in the name of economic progress is nothing less than a dance with death.

Despite what is apparent, there appears to be a mass awakening of people, much of it happening on internet media with a  gathering speed and force. permaculture @ bealtainecottage.com 012

If this little website is anything to go by, then all is not lost, for I see the growing numbers of people interested in a more sustainable lifestyle!

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We are living in fast changing times, days of optimism and hope…we are moving into a time of co-creating with the great Creatrix…Mother Earth.

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I did not choose Bealtaine Cottage…it chose me, as one who would be an enabler of the great Mother.

In the Celtic calendar, the first day of May was known in Irish as Bealtaine.

This was the feast of bright fire, the first of summer, one of the four great quarter days of the year.

 The ancient Irish Book of Invasions tells us that the first magical inhabitants of the country, the Tuatha Dé Danaan, arrived on the feast of Bealtaine.

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Bealtaine is all about renewal, another chance, an awakening.

I will let the great Seamus Heaney have the last word…

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Uisce: water. And fionn: the water’s clear.
But dip and find this Gaelic water Greek:
A phoenix flames upon fionn uisce here.

Strangers were barbaroi to the Greek ear.
Now let the heirs of all who could not speak
The language, whose ba-babbling was unclear,

Come with their gift of tongues past each frontier
And find the answering voices that they seek
As fionn and uisce answer phoenix here.

The May Day hills were burning, far and near,
When our land’s first footers beached boats in the creek
In uisce, fionn, strange words that soon grew clear;

So on a day when newcomers appear
Let it be a homecoming and let us speak
The unstrange word, as it behoves us here,

Move lips, move minds and make new meanings flare
Like ancient beacons signalling, peak to peak,
From middle sea to north sea, shining clear
As phoenix flame upon fionn uisce here.

A Feast of Autumn

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Autumn in the permaculture gardens continues in a glow.

It’s near mid October…my favourite month, my birthday month!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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Stoves are keeping the cottage and the lodge warm and snug.

The nip in the morning and evening air is quite tangible.

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In the scheme of things, Autumn is an exuberant finale to the year, filled with colour and joy, mindful of all that’s passed and all left to come, as the descent towards midwinter moves ceaselessly on. 

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“The tints of autumn…a mighty flower garden blossoming under the spell of the enchanter, frost.”
John Greenleaf Whittier 

Perlagoniums resist the cold, staying in full flower, continuing in their summer glory.

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The pink roses of Midsummer have passed, leaving behind the fruits of each visiting bee…rose-hips hang plump upon the branches.

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Wisteria turns golden on the veranda.

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The morning and evening air hangs heavy and still, laden with mist.

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“GATHERING LEAVES
Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
I may load and unload
Again and again
Till I fill the whole shed,
And what have I then?
Next to nothing for weight,
And since they grew duller
From contact with earth,
Next to nothing for color.
Next to nothing for use.
But a crop is a crop,
And who’s to say where
The harvest shall stop?”
Robert Frost

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Salix Contorta and Honesty catch the morning sun.

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“I saw old Autumn in the misty morn
Stand shadowless like silence, listening
To silence, for no lonely bird would sing
Into his hollow ear from woods forlorn,
Nor lowly hedge nor solitary thorn; —
Shaking his languid locks all dewy bright
With tangled gossamer that fell by night,
Pearling his coronet of golden corn.”
Thomas Hood

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“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love – that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.”

[Letter to Miss Eliot, Oct. 1, 1841]”
George Eliot

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“And I rose
In rainy autumn
And walked abroad in a shower of all my days…”
Dylan Thomas, Collected Poems

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“I ate breakfast in the kitchen by candle-light, and then drove the five miles to the station through the most glorious October colouring. The sun came up on the way, and the swamp maples and dogwood glowed crimson and orange and the stone walls and cornfields sparkled with hoar frost; the air was keen and clear and full of promise. I knew something was going to happen. ”
Jean Webster, Daddy-Long-Legs

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“Autumn that year painted the countryside in vivid shades of scarlet, saffron and russet, and the days were clear and crisp under harvest skies.”
Sharon Kay Penman, Time and Chance

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“There was a filmy veil of soft dull mist obscuring, but not hiding, all objects, giving them a lilac hue, for the sun had not yet fully set; a robin was singing … The leaves were more gorgeous than ever; the first touch of frost would lay them all low to the ground. Already one or two kept constantly floating down, amber and golden in the low slanting sun-rays.”
Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South

Forces of Evil

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There is so much happening in the world at present that many of you are struggling to keep abreast of all the doom and gloom, with the war machine ramping up into full steam ahead and governments failing to really listen to the will of the people.

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Of course it is as much about money, power and control, as all the previous slaughter on this struggling little planet. Make no mistake, there are forces of evil at work…and they are ALL man made…there is NOTHING supernatural about them!

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The bigger picture is, as it always was, about life on this small, perfectly designed  and formed Sacred Earth.

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This is what is important…the sacredness of Mother Earth.

How much longer can the Great Mother tolerate the slash and burn tactics used by the criminal elite?

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When governments and government funded (through tax breaks) corporations, are not slashing and burning the Earth, they are usurping the natural world away from the people they are supposed to serve and represent, by privatizing and corporatizing OUR natural resources.

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This is not about  protecting Sacred Earth, but creating fiefdoms to harness all the resources of Mother Earth into a vast monster, that is regarded as unassailable and protected by the very laws meant to protect us from such iniquities. 

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So when I refer to this madness as “Forces of Evil,” I am not exaggerating…for evil is not a part of the natural world, but a dark, malevolent force of great destruction created by Man!

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Evil must be resisted…always.

For my part, I am never afraid of evil, but simply contemptuous of it…it is not to be tolerated!

Into the Heart of the Goddess

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I came to a little cottage in an unfamiliar place in the west of Ireland ten years ago… I was a very different woman then.

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I rarely questioned the matrix that was my life.

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Much has passed.

Much of me is gone too.

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The years here have seen a new woman emerge, one who would have been barely recognisable to me all those years ago.

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Bealtaine has sculpted me, hollowed out the fear and uncertainty, re-shaping and moulding me into someone very different.

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I have journeyed back to the Mother.

I now live my life to serve the interests of Mother Earth.

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I love to listen to Mother Earth, to be close to this higher power and live in awe.

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I love to walk with her through seasons, work to help her overcome and, little by little, day by day, let the Goddess in.

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What began as a journey into Permaculture, has transformed and taken me deeper into the heart of Sacred Earth.

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There is much for me to understand and connect with, for to be in communion with Mother Earth is what energizes me and fills me with joy. 

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If you decide to continue this journey with me, I welcome you.

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I care deeply about her restoration to health and beauty and need to listen to her heart.

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What is here has grown from love and respect.

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Blessed be!