Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

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Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain. 

dsc03482Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar.

dsc03483The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance.

dsc03484This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth.

dsc03485It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring.

dsc03486Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve.

dsc03487It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin.

dsc03488A time of possibilities.

dsc03489A time to pay honour to those who are no longer with us in human form.

dsc03490This was a time of endings and the promise of beginnings, a time for stillness and reflection.

dsc03491It was understood that in the dark silence of Mother Earth, when all appears dead, comes the promise of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed beneath the ground.

dsc03492 It is on this night, some believe, that time stands still, allowing access to other worlds and into new consciousness.  

dsc03495As I walked the gardens today, taking these photographs, there was a real sense of endings and beginnings, of approaching a marker in time.

dsc03496 A sense of anticipation and readiness for the sabbatical that is Winter…for Samhain means “Summer’s End” and as the Celts believed, this was Winter’s Beginning.

dsc03497As an integral part of their culture and interpretation of life, the Celts held strong the tradition of The Transmigration of Souls, a philosophy I believe in.
dsc03498The Celts believed in two lands after death, the Underworld and the Otherworld.

 dsc03499The Otherworld was the abode of the dead.

dsc03500This is interesting, as it strongly suggests a “life alongside the dead”…and in that an understanding of the “Night of the Thin Veil,” 

https://bealtainecottage.com/2013/09/29/the-night-of-the-thin-veil/

dsc03501Archaeological evidence has drawn attention to the richness of Iron Age tombs and the abundance of grave goods within them.

dsc03505 There is literary evidence from Caesar that seems to confirm at least part of the Celtic Beliefs system.

dsc03513In his description of the Druids, he alluded to some of their lore that related directly to the movement of souls between one world and another or between one individual and another. He states:

‘…the druids attach particular importance to the belief that the soul (or spirit) does not perish but passes after death from one body to another’
(Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars VI)

dsc03514Lucan (Pharsalia: I) stated that the Celts considered death as merely an interruption in a continuous life, as the spirit passed from one form into another, or from one world to another. dsc03515Other writers, such as Diodorus Siculus drew attention to similar beliefs – that the soul was immortal and, as its body deteriorated with age, it simply moved to another, usually located in another world.  

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It is little wonder then that the Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”. dsc03517And so we celebrate Samhain…

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Please consider making a small donation to the Fundraiser for

LEITRIM ANIMAL WELFARE CENTRE (once the home of Jack)

https://bealtainecottage.com/leitrim-animal-welfare-fundraiser/

“Animal companions come into your life for an infinite number of reasons, each one being in service to you, your current life experience, and moreover, your soul’s growth and evolution.”
Amy Miller, Beyond Companionship: Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions.

Microbeads…A Call To Action!

dsc03454You may never have heard of them…

Microbeads.

dsc03460Microbeads are tiny particles of plastic that have been added to possibly thousands of personal care products sold around the world.

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Microbeads are hardly visible to the naked eye and flow straight from the bathroom drain into the sewer system.

www-bealtainecottage-com-0261Wastewater treatment plants are NOT designed to filter out Microbeads!

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You may have heard of the Plastic Soup swirling around the world’s oceans?

Well, Microbeads make up a large proportion of that TOXIC brew!

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Sea creatures absorb or eat Microbeads.

These Microbeads are passed along the marine food chain.

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Since humans are ultimately at the top of this food chain, it is likely that we are also absorbing Microbeads from the food we eat.

cymhlcewkaaqkrwMicrobeads are NOT biodegradable and once they enter the marine environment, they are impossible to remove!

So, what can we do about this growing environmental disaster?

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You may want to begin by visiting http://www.beatthemicrobead.org/en/

My approach is a very simple one…use natural care products…meaning, create simple solutions at home!

Not too difficult with a little research and will save loads of money!

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Post any small solutions you may have in the comments section below…

Let’s get moving on this one…

Building an Ark…One Garden At ATime

dsc03401As the thousand and more trees and thousands of plants of the Bealtaine Project grow taller and more dense, so it is the once barren land seems more and more as it is…an Ark for Earth, set into a monoculture landscape of Cash-Crop-Forestry and  animal grazing fields.

dsc03400This summer witnessed the most Bees, Butterflies, Pollinators and Birds ever!

dsc03399The wildlife in search of home are migrating to the oasis of Bealtaine Cottage.

dsc03398They know where the food, shelter and ultimate habitat is to be found!

dsc03397So, I thought to myself, what if those with gardens, allotments, smallholdings etc., pledged to devote a percentage of what they tend or own to wildlife?

dsc03396 We are talking Arks, where wildlife can not only survive, but thrive!

dsc03395This takes the presumption that one cannot make a difference and turns it on it’s ridiculous head! dsc03394For one can make a difference!

dsc03393Two can double that little Ark for Earth…hundreds can create a huge difference and thousands…well, thousands can begin to stack the odds in favour of Mother Earth!

dsc03392Now don’t get me thinking of hundreds of thousands or even millions, for my head will almost explode with possibilities…but you see where this is going, don’t you?

dsc03391 And as for Guerrilla Gardening…oh joy!

dsc03390 What about seed bombs chucked out of the car window onto the motorway verges?

dsc03389We are creative people who care…if you’ve landed here on this website you most certainly are!

dsc03388So let’s get to it!

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And, by the way, if I’d listened to all the experts on where one can and cannot successfully plant a garden, never mind three acres, the Bealtaine Project would still be on the back-burner with little hope of ever happening!

dsc03386Oh, and the Lughnasadh Garden is being worked on little by little, with a grand opening and dedication ceremony next Bealtaine (May 1st)

dsc03385…the Ark is being extended…

dsc03372…One Garden At A Time

dsc03381and…it’s going to be mighty!

Equinox and Early Shadows

Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.dsc03334

And cobwebs everywhere! And here, in the Northern Hemisphere, one can easily notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets,as Spring is ushered in south of the Equator.

dsc03306Equinox is all about balance…the balance of equal day and night, of dark and light.

dsc03307I await the first light of morning with great anticipation, aware that the light grows more and more precious, to be cherished.

dsc03308We are creatures of the light!

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During these colder mornings I use the electric kettle to make my early tea.

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There is something very comforting about an old tea tin…often referred to as a Tea Caddy!

dsc03311We are poised at the turning time and the descent towards Samhain.

dsc03312The Celts only recognised two parts of the year in terms of life, and that was Summer and Winter, for Samhain, despite falling on the 31st of October, meant “Summer’s End.”

dsc03313The sun is casting long shadowswe grow evermore closer to the turning. 

dsc03371In the night sky, Fomalhaut – the Autumn Star – is making its way across the heavens each night. 

dsc03370The equinoxes and solstices formed an important part of ancient rituals here in Ireland.

dsc03366This Autumn Equinox is also referred to as Mabon.

dsc03365Mabon is a good time to look at the ancient Greek legend of Persephone and Demeter.

dsc03364“The breezes taste
Of apple peel.
The air is full
Of smells to feel-
Ripe fruit, old footballs,
Burning brush,
New books, erasers,
Chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive,
Well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts
Chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean
With suds, the days
Are polished with
A morning haze.

–   John Updike, September

dsc03362Departing summer hath assumed
An aspect tenderly illumed,
The gentlest look of spring;
That calls from yonder leafy shade
Unfaded, yet prepared to fade,
A timely carolling.
–  William Wordsworth, September

dsc03369Stone monuments were built here in Ireland and aligned to witness the light on these days.

dsc03368One can still view the illumination of these chambers in ancient cairns, at sunrise, on important celestial days.

dsc03367It just remains for me to wish you all a Happy Equinox on this beautiful evening at Bealtaine Cottage.

Cottage Journal

dsc03293Here’s just a brief note to let you all know that there is now a new page here on the website!

dsc03303Have a look at the top of the site and you’ll see listed at the very end: Cottage Journal. Click on and read the introduction.

dsc03302A daily insight, as promised to all my supporters from FaceBook missing my daily postings!

dsc03301You will find musings, news, garden updates and lots more each day!

Recipes, Cats and Ponds

First of all, the recipes have just been posted over at Bealtaine Cottage Kitchen on the Good Life website…and here’s a link:

https://bealtainecottage.org/bealtaine-cottage-kitchen/

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Sammy-Bear is well and truly zoned out here on the sofa.

dsc03201I was going to sit down, for I’ve been out most of the day at the pond, finishing clearing the pond-weed! Oh…at last…job done! dsc03202I stood and watched his restful sleep and decided to sit elsewhere! dsc03203He’s a lovely boy who deserves his comfort! dsc03204The signs of season change and early autumn are now quite visible from the windows of the cottage, with lots of yellow appearing on the young Ash trees. By the way, there are lots of Ash seeds for sale and these trees are very, very easy to grow…even as Bonsai! Here’s the link to the seed site…

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

dsc03229You can see from the following pics the amount of clearing I’ve done.

dsc03211It was a mammoth task and I’m jolly glad it’s over! dsc03212The next task involves continuing to clear around the banks and the woodland around the pond.dsc03228

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The water is cloudy but this should settle in the next day or so.dsc03233Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.  Buddha

dsc03232Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. 

John Wooden dsc03220dsc03221I have a mind to just get on with things…head down into the wind, not looking to right nor left and working until I’m exhausted.dsc03230

dsc03207dsc03209This is probably why I have refused the help of others and never allowed woofers to stay here…I’ve always been stubborn!

However, it must be said that I love a challenge and hard work is good for mind and body, regardless of age. dsc03206dsc03205Rebellion against your handicaps gets you nowhere.  Self-pity gets you nowhere.  One must have the adventurous daring to accept oneself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the most interesting game in the world–making the most of one’s best.  

Harry Emerson Fosdick

dsc03235dsc03236dsc03237Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.  There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from.

Elizabeth Kübler-Ross

Easy Family Food Vegan Style

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This is a photo blog of food…Vegan food made especially for my family, yesterday and today.

dsc03180dsc03182The recipes are all simple and easy…like this Sweet Potato and Caramelised Red Onion Pate!

The food in the first photo consists of a dsc03194Green Salad with Olive Oil and Basil dressing; dsc03190Spicy Roasted Veg., dsc03197Bulgar Wheat and dsc03196Ginger sauce…all home made in a short space of time…a delicious lunch!

dsc03184I hosted a dinner party on Sunday, dsc03183for my grandson who is off to Canada tomorrow, (Tuesday). dsc03176And baked some very easy bread! dsc03178dsc03179Then baked the same recipe again today!

dsc03175I also made a lunch for family today.

 I will post the recipes in the Recipe Section of Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, tomorrow. dsc03193

FaceBook

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There comes a point when choices are forced upon one.

I have considered leaving FaceBook ,as my time seems to be getting less and less for this website and indeed did not post for some time on there.

However, I am endeavouring to continue with the site that is hugely popular…Bealtaine Cottage Magical Gardens.

I must also remember…the integrity of the original has to be preserved.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 012The original being Bealtaine Cottage and this website.

I began writing, photographing and sharing Bealtaine Cottage back in 2006.

I did so in good faith with the magazine, “Country Living,” only to have all my work pulled and committed to the dead zone of cyberspace about two years later.

It came as a huge shock!

bealtainecottage.com 010The publication had been taken over and new management did not even give contributors like myself time to download and save our work.

It was devastating!

I had not backed up my work as I trusted it would always be accessible!

April 2011 Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensFrom that low point came the birth of this website…a place where I could share, in trust, the magic of this sacred little piece of Ireland.

cropped-dsc02856.jpgRecently I have found myself stretched beyond capacity, as I attempted to share more and more on Social Media.

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It can appear at times that sharing is something of a one-way street! For this reason I am no longer a presence on Twitter…though updates from this website continue to be channelled through.

Bog Oak garden sculptureThis will not alter my natural capacity to want to share, but sharing will, from now on, be concentrated back where I started from…Bealtaine Cottage website.

Lunar Eclipse in Pisces Full Moon

full moon 21 oct 10 007I walked out tonight into the bright light of the full moon.

Harvest Moon in the West of Ireland, tonight!We have, over the past few days, experienced a wonderful full moon and lunar eclipse.

During this time we have been getting connected with our intuitive energies.

Bealtaine Cottage standing stone in permaculture gardensOur ability to connect the head with the heart.

Pisces is a very emotional and intuitive sign.

We need to get ready for some big shifts in our lives.

Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardensProcessing painful memories can be very fruitful now.

This is a positive time for people in general.

It’s a good time to deal with issues and have an emotional clear out.

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageThe Lunar Eclipse was on the 16th of September and the vibrations from that continue to be felt.

This is a cycle of completion and closure…an opportunity to move on!

Celtic Triad BroochThis full moon is also about release.

Eclipses are often linked to accelerated development.

Angel at Bealtaine CottageFull moons illuminate, so you have experienced memories from the past that have emotional resonances.

This has certainly been true for me.

The experience can be intense indeed.

Amethyst horn at Bealtaine CottageHowever, the space is now cleared and has opened up new space to rebuild.

bealtainecottage.com 007Time to move forward!