Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

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The signs are everywhere…

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Nights drawing in…

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Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings.

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The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies. 

Full Moon at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year.

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Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances.

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Magical Midwinter!

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Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time.

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We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations.

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A chance to step outdoors and observe the night sky.

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An opportunity to nurture and develop connections to family and friends.

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From this day, there are 22 days to go before the descent into the Midwinter Solstice.

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Yes, the coldest days precede the Spring, so January rarely feels like the prelude to that beautiful season!

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But, here in the West of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February, the signs are there for all to see, as new life emerges from the frozen earth.

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Time to Redefine Beauty

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An old perfume bottle sits atop a stone, moss growing around it, soon enveloping and covering it…such is the growth in a wet climate like Ireland!

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The beauty of such a small thing never ceases to amaze me!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…maybe some people see this as only waste or junk…but see what Mother Nature makes of it!

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Beauty abounds in Nature.

It’s as though everything she touches manifests magic, transforming the mundane into the majestic.

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The gardens have lost their bloom, but little of their colour and the raw bareness of an early winter morning does not distract from their beauty.

Nature, when aided, cannot help herself.

She is the ultimate cover girl!

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Even the veranda on a cold November night is transformed into something more than what it is, as it takes on the magic of the night.

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The last of the Perlagoniums, the orange rose-hips and the battered old candelabra, together make a stunning début, without flash or enhancements!

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Wherever there are natural elements, you will find beauty and peace.

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As a society we have redefined beauty to express and value the bawdy and degraded.

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The Romantic Poets expressed a veneration for Mother Earth and redefined the beautiful for us.

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We have allowed the chemical barbarism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries to convince us of the beauty of the man-made. It’s time we re-defined beauty!

Circling Celebrations

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Winter is the time for comfort, for
good food and warmth, for the touch
of a friendly hand and for a talk beside
the fire:  it is the time for home.

Edith Sitwell

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                   And so the story of Autumn and Winter begins, not in cold and dark, but comfort and light.
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                                                 A time to take stock and nestle into home.
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                                 A time for simplicity of food before the excitement of Samhain.
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                We move inexorably through the year, circling around celebrations, family and friends.
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         This is what it means to be part of a society…planning and sharing the days we look forward to, as well as bringing camaraderie and support on days less well favoured. 
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                As I uploaded these photographs this morning, I enjoyed a sense of timelessness.
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            Even as I move around Bealtaine on my own, the sense of ‘with others’ pervades the air.
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                              Perhaps, in the world we cannot see, there are many around us.
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                                                             This would not surprise me.
                        My mother often said she felt surrounded by people here at this little cottage.
                                                                              I do too. 
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                                      “In a way Winter is the real Spring–the time when
the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.”

Edna O’Brien

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                                                           Like Edna, I look forward to the
quiet time of Winter, for the quiet solitude; a time for contemplation. 
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The Midwinter Archives

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Midwinter, past and present…all here for you to see!

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Feeling a touch nostalgic, I decided to share some of the magic of Midwinter with you from previous years.

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The silvery light of a midwinter sun captures a sense of magic indoors.

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We are all deeply affected by light and respond in varying ways to it, though mostly it makes us feel happier and more positive about life.

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The light of both the sun and moon proved so important for our ancestors that they integrated all aspects of both into their spiritual lives.

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Somewhere in the depths of Winter was born a sense of the light returning and the cycle beginning once more. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

At midwinter, the sun appears to stand still, for three days, before rising on its ascent back up into the southern sky. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The light changes. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Shadows grow shorter. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Our bodies and minds ascent with the sun towards Midsummer, filled with joy and optimism.

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Much of humankind has forgotten the importance of observing the heavens and being mindful of our connection to them.

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The star that flashes red and green, (I was told was Arcturus), has moved from its midsummer position above Kilronan Mountain to the north, to one high in the south eastern night sky.

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I have come to be more aware of the night sky over recent years…

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As we continue on the descent towards Midwinter, with clear, cold night skies, this can be a good time to look to the heavens.

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Midwinter will pass soon enough and the cycle will begin once more.

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The darkness will lift.

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Days will lengthen.

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And life emerge anew!

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LILITH AND THE WELL

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Earth Art

I work for the Great Earth Mother.

I feel honoured to capture images of her and post them through Bealtaine Cottage.

I believe that more and more of human life will come to honour the Great Mother through these images.

This is her Art…Earth Art.

(These images were captured here at Bealtaine Cottage during the Winter of 2010)

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“Remain faithful to the earth,

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my brothers and sisters,

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with the power of your virtue. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. sun 19 12 10 032

Thus I beg and beseech you. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Do not let them fly away from earthly things and beat with their wings against eternal walls. 

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Alas, there has always been so much virtue that has flown away.

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Lead back to the Earth the virtue that flew away,

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—back to the body,

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back to life,

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that it may give the Earth a meaning,

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a human meaning.”
Friedrich Nietzsche

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 120 videos about Permaculture, Sustainable living practice, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.

As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.

Everything created here is self-funded, with a little support from occasional donations..

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings

Who Controls You?

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Midwinter approaches.

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The holiday season draws near.

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There is no television here at Bealtaine Cottage, so I am unaware of the masses of advertising you are being bombarded with!

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I realise that the pressure is upon you to spend, spend, spend!

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But, hold on a minute or two and think about this… Every pound, euro or dollar you spend this Yuletide will put you deeper and deeper into debt and force others to compete with the madness that is gift-buying!

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As you spend, so the debt piles up around you, pressing you down, deeper into the mire of anxiety!

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Many people spend to the limit on their plastic cards and spend the entirety of the following year just paying it back.

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This represents the most insidious form of control on what should be a life of choices and freedom.

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All the time you are controlled by debt you are enslaved…and for what?

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Most of what is bought at Christmas ends up in landfill sites over the ensuing months. www.bealtainecottage.com 014

Mother Earth pays a huge price for your debt slavery.

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Who controls you?

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The same corporations who pollute Mother Earth?

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Change begins with you and me and the freedom to choose!

The Great Collapse

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The great collapse of society, as we know it, is under way.

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Most people are unaware of this.

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Every aspect of controlled living is the same as ever it was.

Sammy-Bear says "Hello!"

The television keeps pumping out much of the same.

Supermarkets hum with shoppers.

Christmas lights flicker in shopping centres.

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The madness of more predominates a world in crisis.

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The populations of countries, channelled to look one way, as governments and the one percent carry on their relentless rendition of acquisition and destruction.

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Look at how we live compared to a few decades ago…

There is no longer a mentality of saving for one’s heart’s desire.

All is instant, right down to the way we satisfy our hunger.

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Hunger?

Merely a concept to most people in the western world.

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I dare not say developed, for that implies evolved and the fact is, we are not in the least bit evolved!

We devour resources, as we revolve.

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Society is revolving on a mad merry-go-round of consumption.

Revolving, not evolving!

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We all know, in our mere moments of sanity, that this cannot go on.

Eco-systems around us are collapsing.

Species extinction is a runaway train-wreck.

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Another Christmas looms, as people prepare to celebrate the birth of a baby with an orgy of consumerism!

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We should take a bit more notice of that collapse and extinction, for anyone with common sense knows who’s next!

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Future generations will look back upon this time and refer to it as the Great Collapse, much in the same way as we refer to the death of millions in The Great War.

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And, as we all know, there was nothing great about it!

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Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…I have posted over 120 videos about Permaculture, Sustainable living practice, planting, growing and living.

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written almost 800 blogs on this Bealtaine Cottage website.

As an advocate for Mother Nature, Permaculture, Sustainable Living Practice, trees and wildlife, the smallholding of Bealtaine Cottage receives no grant aid from either the Irish government or EU.

Everything created here is self-funded, with a little support from occasional donations..

Any donation, no matter how small, goes a long way in sustaining and developing this site.

Blessings

Permaculture in Perpetuity

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Permaculture Gardens grow all the year around.

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The integration of water as a harvest system brings both light and warmth to the land. 

Intensive planting creates so many micro-climate zones that encourage and nurture plants even in the severest of  weather.

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This was never more apparent than on my garden walk yesterday…a fine day, after all the flooding and torrential rain experienced this week.

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Sheltered spots harboured mushrooms, many of which were edible.

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Wild herbs continue to flourish near waterways and on banks, particularly Wild Mint and Sorrel.

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Perpetual harvests of food, fuel and water, with little or no input at this stage of development, for once the sculpting and planting are complete, the eco-system of perpetual food and abundance takes over!

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Permaculture is a clever system which copies Mother Nature at her finest.

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There are few parts of the world where she is allowed to truly be herself.

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The Rainforest is one of the few remaining ecosystems where this remains governed by the Wise Mother.

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My journey into Permaculture began along practical lines, but as I became immersed in planting and sculpting, my life transformed with hardly a blip, as Sacred Permaculture merged the boundary lines between the practical and the ethereal.

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Perhaps the pictures I took yesterday best sum this up…walk with me…

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Thanks and blessings to those of you who support this site…it’s good to be appreciated XXX

Blessings

 

Fertile Edges of the Imagination

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The day is ending and night is closing in.

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Floods have swollen the rivers, causing aquifers to burst out across the land.

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Everywhere is sodden.

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I put on my wellies to walk the gardens, eager to see the mighty force of water sweeping through the pond.

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I step in squelching earth underfoot as the last blackbirds sing out their territorial salute to the day as it passes into the west.

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With the pond weed all but cleared, the last vestiges of a winter’s day linger on the surface of the water.

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Droplets of rain cling to twigs and ivy in the still of the evening air.

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Lichens, sodden with rain, flop across the horizontal branches of the Goat Willow.

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The otherworldliness of the Fairy Wood beckons as  the birdsong ends and silence descends.

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I make haste up the gentle hill towards the cottage and the warmth of home.

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Once indoors, I sit for a few precious minutes in the fading light, blissfully soaking up the silence.

Day, evening and night merge seamlessly at dusk, fertile edges of the imagination.