An Open Portal in Time…

dsc04452SAMHAIN…The Celts believed that Oidhche Shamhna, Samhain, was an open portal in time.

dsc04451This weekend marks the prelude to Samhain.

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dsc04450Monday is the day of 

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

and is marked as a holiday here in Ireland.

dsc04449It is a time of in-between…between worlds as the Celts believed it to be… 

https://bealtainecottage.com/2015/10/05/between-world-we-celebrate/

dsc04447 The Celts understood the year to be divided into two halves associated with the dark and the light. dsc04446The dark half begins at sunset on October 31st with Samhain.

https://bealtainecottage.com/2012/10/15/the-celtic-new-year-festival-of-samhain/

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Samhain ends at Bealtaine, when the light half begins at sunset on May 1st.

dsc04444Both festivals are closely linked, but Samhain is considered to be the most important.

dsc04443 In Ireland, years ago, great preparations were made for the sharing of a  feast that included the departed as guests of honour.

dsc04442To enable them to come and go freely, all doors and windows were left unlatched; a special cake was made exclusively for their consumption, and a certain amount of other food was set aside just for them.

(http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Samhain.html)

dsc04441This had to be left untouched by any mortal hand for the duration of the ritual period. Eating the food of the dead was considered to be a major sacrilege and it condemned the perpetrator to becoming a hungry spirit after death, forever banned from sharing in the Samhain feast.

(http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Samhain.html)

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As I walked out this morning, taking these photographs, it was apparent that Samhain was close, both in the colours of the trees and the Dragon’s breath along the valley.

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So how did Samhain become All Saints Day?

dsc04434As Bridget Haggerty writes in “Irish Culture and Customs,” “…As with many of the old festivals, Christianity stepped in to do whatever it could to eliminate pagan rituals.

dsc04437In this case, it was Pope Boniface who took the festival of the dead and made it the festival of all saints and martyrs.

dsc04436 Originally it took place on May 13th, but a century later, Pope Gregory III shifted it to November.

dsc04435In Ireland, All Saints Day was instituted in 998 AD by Abbot Odilo of Cluny and by the 13th century, although many of the old Samhain rituals persisted as folk customs, November 1st had become firmly established as a Christian festival.”

dsc04433All Saints Eve is now 31st of October…Samhain!

dsc04432So what was always and only a great Celtic celebration has been claimed by a relatively contemporary religion as its own!

dsc04431However, Ireland being an island and its people being thinly removed from its cultural heritage, as John B. Keane once wrote in the play “The Field,” we have not forgotten our roots!

dsc04427In the play, “The Field,” the parish priest proclaims Christianity to be a “thin veneer” over Irish people, in a derogatory reference both to the people  and pre-Christian Paganism alike.  

dsc04426Regarding the compassion displayed for those who grieved and mourned the loss of family and loved ones, we were far removed from how the Romans described us as “Barbarians!”

dsc04425As for the souls of the dead, all were honoured, unlike the Christian church here in Ireland which regarded the souls of un-baptised babies as being condemned to “Purgatory”.

dsc04424Such was the the belief as I grew up and for the countless generations of those in my family before me.

Imagine the suffering of mothers who birthed at home and lost their babies, only to be sent to a place of darkness and nothingness.

Too cruel!

dsc04423This Samhain I will try to remember and honour all my family and friends no longer in this mortal sphere.

And celebrate with them in joy!

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Blessings X Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

The Great Awakening

dsc04279With each day that passes, more aspects of the Awakening come to pass.

dsc04278Yesterday morning, as I walked in the early light in the Lughnasadh Garden, imagining how it would look and feel in the next Summer, something I yearned deeply for came to pass…and just as I had imagined it!

dsc04253 A Flight of Swans was to be heard in the distance, somewhere above and behind my head.

dsc04250Looking up, this way and that, I saw them, in their changing formation, as they banked and turned directly above me, towards the East, to head off in the direction of Lough Allen.

dsc04247This is happening more frequently…that my wishes come to pass, as though my mind is being read. dsc04208I have read that the spirit of Mother Earth is trying hard to connect to our conscious thoughts…and even our dreams.

dsc04209This suggestion resonates with me…perhaps it also resonates and carries meaning with you?

dsc04210I have come to understand that all the sentient beings who come to live here at Bealtaine, are manifestations of the spirit of Mother Earth…becoming part of my own journey and awakening.

dsc04211…and the understanding and acceptance of this wonderful connection is of great comfort and bestows more hope than could ever be imagined.

dsc04220There is much written and talked about Awakening.

dsc04221The Awakening to who we really are.

dsc04222I believe it to be much less complex, in that we are being enfolded in the love of Mother Earth, the Great Creatrix.

dsc04224This is the essence of pure love and deep joy…when we open our hearts to Mother Earth…

dsc04227…the great Awakening…

dsc04228…connecting with the Spirit of Mother Earth. Not thinking, but feeling!

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The Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre Fundraiser is almost at target…perhaps you would consider just a small donation to get it there…hoping to hand this over to Christine at the  Centre in the next few days…

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

The Goddess in the Well

She has never left us…

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

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Yesterday was a special day for me!

The beautiful, ethereal mountain that is Ben Bulben will give you a clue…

DSC09886I travelled to Sligo, passing along the shores of Lough Gill, to collect a very special ring, that was made for me by gifted Silversmith, Mirjam Schiller at 

https://www.facebook.com/Wildheart-290973244286031/timeline

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My daughter, Cara, was driving, so we stopped by the shores of the Lough, made famous by W.B.Yeats in his poetry.

DSC09883DSC09884Birthdays come and go and I have enjoyed sixty of them, all in the month of October, near Samhain…so this, along with a second ring as yet unfinished, marked my sixty Summers on this precious, beautiful Earth.

DSC09885DSC09888I had deliberated for some time over what I should spend my birthday money on…have always loved silver and, very importantly, dearly wanted to place a much maligned symbol of the Goddess where I would always see it! 

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The story of the snakes…

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Times of Insanity…Seeking Reality

I rarely dip into the outside world in terms of mainstream media, for it unnerves me!

dsc04158I keep myself occupied in the world as I know it…the one where I weave wreathes from Willow and Dogwood…

dsc04159The one where cruelty and chaos are not allowed entry!

dsc04187You’ll understand my terror, for that’s why you’re here…to touch base with reality!

dsc04186Yes, this is reality…as it was meant to be and in the world most inhabit, is not!

dsc04185I have always chosen this reality, both as a child living in poverty and as a mother creating sanctuary for her children in London.

dsc04184I have always sought out Mother Earth, wherever she was hidden from view by retail parks and shopping centres, housing estates and suburbia.

dsc04183I chose this reality.

dsc04181I planted it, brought it forward, share it and allow it’s force to move out in waves of healing and peace.

dsc04180We all choose our own realities and what we allow carelessly in or strive to keep out!

dsc04179The Lughnasadh Garden is another reality being birthed at Bealtaine.

dsc04178Just as wanton destruction is being justified all over this Sacred Earth, the need for creation is more necessary than ever in the history of what we laughingly refer to as “civilisation!”

dsc04178 And, if you are brain-washed enough to think for a minute that politicians will lift us all up to a better life, then you should really seek your inspiration with them… and not here at this little portal!

dsc04177 Regardless of party/gender/colour or creed, politicians take us to war and care nothing for the protection of Mother Earth…and that in my view is unforgivable!

Today I am feeling angry with what I saw as I looked at the world through the poisonous media.

Even Social Media is being taken over by hate and vitriol!

dsc04171As I approach my birthday and my 61st year, I am becoming convinced more and more of the need to keep one’s head down and continue to nurture and care for Mother Earth.

dsc04170It’s all I care to do, for there is much destruction and violence all around that has reached a point of insanity!

dsc04169I don’t know where to go from here, except to keep doing as I do and keep this website going…where, I do not know! 

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(Thank you Alana!)

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For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 85 new blogs and hundreds of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

Why Save Seed?

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All seed-saving at Bealtaine Cottage helps to preserve heirloom seeds’ genetic diversity!

This is Bealtaine Cottage Lunaria.

dsc07184This seed has adapted over twelve years to grow in difficult conditions, for as you know, it rains frequently here and the gardens are all on a north-facing slope.

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageThis is why the seed saved here, year after year, is more resilient than commercial seed, which is grown in ideal conditions for the maximum production value!

Foxglove seed Saving seed also makes one value the pollinators, especially the Bees…for without their incredible work there would not be any seed to collect! 

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the LodgeDuring the 1900’s we experienced a startling drop in the number of heirloom varieties—because gardeners stopped saving and trading their own seeds.

Bealtaine Cottage SeedsHere at Bealtaine Cottage I have developed a seed bank over twelve years, adding more and more seed year on year, as the biodiversity increased similarly throughout the gardens. 

growing seeds at BealtaineWhen we rely on commercial seed companies, any seeds that sell slowly simply get dropped from production and disappear.

seedlings in tunnel at Bealtaine CottageIf you would like to support this vital work of seed-saving and building resilience for the future, consider purchasing some seed from Bealtaine Cottage…

Click on the link below to see what’s available so far… (I’m adding continually as more becomes ready to pack!) 

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

It Still Takes My Breath Away!

dsc04149Each morning I arise and embark on a series of rituals, that culminate with a hot cup of tea in one hand, my camera in the other and faithful Jack by my side.

dsc04146It is then that I step out…

dsc04145This has been my ritual, though not always with Jack, for the past twelve years.

dsc04147And so it continues…

dsc04133What has manifested here on this little piece of sacred Earth still takes my breath away!

dsc04134I touch base with it as many times a day as I can!

dsc04132I take thousands of photographs every year, for the sheer beauty of what Mother Earth can do on three acres of “poor land,” is beyond incredible!

dsc04126And this has manifested in one of the last remaining countries on Earth that continues to refer to itself as “Mother.”

dsc04125“Mother Ireland”

dsc04124The Great Mother, Mother Earth, Goddess, Creatrix!

dsc04089The Celts were one of the last remaining tribes of the Goddess…in that they recognised the spirit of the Earth as female. 

dsc04118There lies a message in that…

dsc04115I believe it to be simply this…”I am alive and filled with joy and waiting…”

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View from the cottage in 2004 

dsc04083And earlier today…

Those who answer her call become immersed in joy and surrounded with beauty…and so it is.

It still takes my breath away!

Permaculture Learning Opportunity

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No Funding…Ever!

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Bealtaine Cottage was conceived, designed, planted and worked by one woman, Colette O’Neill, over twelve years, on some of the poorest land in the North west of Ireland…all North-Facing!

d7ef191772b1618009dec8fb55602e75 Colette is now offering, for the first time, a series of week long, intensive learning programmes here at Bealtaine Cottage. 

dsc03690ONE WEEK OF INTENSIVE PERMACULTURE

A unique opportunity to stay for a full week at Bealtaine Cottage and experience life in Ireland’s oldest self-funded, financially independent Permaculture Smallholding.
cropped-dsc03650.jpgYou will learn:
Winemaking
Seed-saving
Using Wool in Permaculture
Fertility without animals
Creating a Woodland
Building an easy compost toilet system
Fedging
Using Willow
And more…

 

dsc03684This will be a unique opportunity to learn, first hand, and with one to one teaching, all the skills you will need to set up your own Permaculture smallholding.

dsc03811This 12 year old Permaculture Smallholding site is completely self-funding…no EU Grants, No Government Grants…No Diktats!

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Learn how to set up your own business in easy stages…independently and successfully!

dsc04008Your week’s stay includes all food…Vegan/Vegetarian based on choice.

342464e928d1ad152df82e0710d3d710Your accommodation is an independent Eco-Lodge with wood-burning stove and lots of room.

DSC02044This houses a double bed, so is perfect for a couple sharing.

dsc04426Each course is 7 full days, which means 9 nights, arriving the afternoon/evening before and leaving the morning after the completion of the course.

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All the information about booking is at the end of this page…continue reading…

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Sacred Earth

You will learn about tunnel management and upkeep…the tunnel at Bealtaine Cottage is hand-built, 12 years old and has the same plastic in use…12 years and tight as a drum!

may-2011-bealtaine-cottage-0102There will be one, seven day Immersive Course, per month, beginning in April…through to October 2017.

Pond in May at Bealtaine CottageEarly booking is essential! 

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Learn about planting to create micro-climates and wind shields!

Bealtaine Cottage June 2012 006

Create a Potager Bed and plant it out!

This is total immersion Permaculture and Sustainable Living, in that you will be living on site and experiencing all aspects of daily life at Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage July 2010

As well as making wine, you will have the opportunity to sample wines made at Bealtaine Cottage…

dsc03687…as well as home made liqueurs!

Pond in May at Bealtaine CottageDates are negotiable at this early stage. 

The course will be a full seven days…and at this stage, I can offer a certain flexibility on start/finish days.

Email: coletteoneill2010@hotmail.com

April is now booked!

May is now booked!

June is now booked!

July is now booked!

September is now booked!

October is now booked!

August is now booked!

 

A deposit of 10% will confirm your booking.

Unlike other Permaculture Courses on offer, Bealtaine Cottage is uniquely immersive, with one-to-one / one-to-two teaching for an entire seven days!

(The total cost is fixed at 1100 Euros for one, or 1700 Euros for two people sharing).
(Please email me first to confirm that the week you want is still available!)
Blessings X
Colette

 

The Celtic Roots of Samhain

Bealtaine Cottage ~ The Oldest, Independent, Permaculture Smallholding in Ireland! Conceived, Designed, Planted and Worked by One Woman!

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The bright red of the Ruby Chard will add colour to the Samhain feast!

In Celtic Ireland, Samhain marked  the division of the year between the light (summer) and the dark (winter).

www.bealtainecottage.com 054For me, the customs of my ancestors are important to acknowledge and continue.

This time of tuning into the seasonal shift and preparing for the darkness of the winter months ahead, is important.

Even today, as I stacked these logs in the shelter of the veranda, I couldn’t help but think about Samhain and its meaning as a custom and special tradition.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The Hill of Tara was associated with Samhain in Celtic Ireland, even though it pre-dates the arrival of the Celts themselves!

www.bealtainecottage.com 019The passage to the Mound of the Hostages on the Hill of Tara, constructed some 4,500 to 5,000 years ago, forms the entrance and is aligned with the rising sun around Samhain.

This was constructed…

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The Naming of Cats

dsc04001“The Naming of Cats is a difficult matter,
It isn’t just one of your holiday games;
You may think at first I’m as mad as a hatter
When I tell you, a cat must have THREE DIFFERENT NAMES.
dsc04000First of all, there’s the name that the family use daily,
Such as Peter, Augustus, Alonzo or James,
Such as Victor or Jonathan, or George or Bill Bailey –
All of them sensible everyday names.
dsc03999There are fancier names if you think they sound sweeter,
Some for the gentlemen, some for the dames:
Such as Plato, Admetus, Electra, Demeter –
But all of them sensible everyday names.
dsc03998But I tell you, a cat needs a name that’s particular,
A name that’s peculiar, and more dignified,
Else how can he keep up his tail perpendicular,
Or spread out his whiskers, or cherish his pride?
dsc03997dsc03996Of names of this kind, I can give you a quorum,
Such as Munkustrap, Quaxo, or Coricopat,
Such as Bombalurina, or else Jellylorum –
Names that never belong to more than one cat.
dsc03995But above and beyond there’s still one name left over,
And that is the name that you never will guess;
The name that no human research can discover –
But THE CAT HIMSELF KNOWS, and will never confess.
dsc03994dsc03993When you notice a cat in profound meditation,
The reason, I tell you, is always the same:
His mind is engaged in a rapt contemplation
Of the thought, of the thought, of the thought of his name:
dsc03992His ineffable effable
dsc03991Effanineffable
dsc03990Deep and inscrutable singular Name.”
T.S. Eliot, Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats

dsc03998Beauty!

Portal

dsc03935This portal to the Otherworld: a place of being for the Celts, where life existed, but not as we know it!

dsc03936The portal is the Old Fairy House, which was once the gateway to Kilronan castle.  

dsc03937This ethereal looking gatehouse was created many years ago, when only horses and carriages travelled the roads of the west of Ireland.

dsc03938It was built in the vernacular tradition, using water worn limestone hewn from the surrounding earth.

dsc03939Many years have passed since a horse or carriage passed by…

dsc03940The entrance is no longer a part of the old estate.

dsc03944Here it stands, watching the centuries pass by, unimpressed by progress…and perhaps, if stones could talk…

dsc03933I have a notion to bring my video camera with me next time…would you like a video of this enchanting place?

Below is a beautiful video with music…Fairy Reel…enjoy!

Loss of Soul

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We live in a society and where darkness pervades our souls.

We continually invent ways to avoid and escape the darkness…one of which is endless buying of consumer goods.

Within our society today there is an illness that pervades all classes and levels of wealth, known as “Soul Loss.”

dsc03789It sounds like “Soul Less,” and indeed many people comment on aspects of our society that are indeed soul-less!

dsc03790Television programmes are more and more appealing to a lower denominator within audiences, especially reality shows that can be likened to much of the entertainment provided for the masses, referred to as “the Plebs, (short for Plebians), in Ancient Rome.

dsc03791 Many of these programmes are nothing but a reflection of the very worst in society!

dsc03792Jung described the unhappiness referred to as loss of soul, a concept borrowed from anthropology, referring psychologically to a state of general malaise.

dsc03793Many feel in today’s world that there is something missing from their lives, a sort of glue that holds everything together!

dsc03795Insomnia, depression and escapism through drugs or alcohol are all signs of Soul Loss.

dsc03796One can feel vulnerable, fatigued or simply not worthy!

dsc03797All of us have experienced some of these symptoms at some point in our lives and often refer back to them as low points.

dsc03798And it’s true indeed, for the soul feels as if it is dragged down.

dsc03799Much of commercial society today uses images, music and indeed brain-attack, to subjugate our beings into enslavement to the corporate will.

dsc03800So how do we overcome this dark malaise?

dsc03801 Well, it is often written and spoken about here at Bealtaine Cottage…reconnect with Nature! dsc03802Taking one’s sadness, vulnerability, confusion, low self-esteem into the heart of Nature and communing with Mother Earth in all her wondrous life can be the best medicine…healing gently and cumulatively. 

dsc03807Spend less time being undermined and insulted by media and more time recovering your soul.

 

Alchemy…The Great Magnum Opus

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There is pure Alchemy happening at Bealtaine Cottage right now.

dsc03693The great Magnum Opus of the year is taking place all around us. 

dsc03690The Alchemy of Transmutation refers to the change of one substance into another.

The flowers of the Blackcurrant became food for the Bees and as they fed, so the flowers became food for humans and birds…then to become wine…from one alchemical transmutation to another.

dsc03689The word “transmutation,” comes from the French (12th century) transmutacion, meaning”transformation, metamorphosis”, and it’s primary source is to be found in the Late Latin transmutationem, from Latin transmutare, the verb ‎“to change”.

dsc03716Everything in the gardens and woodlands in undergoing change…from what it was in Summer, to food in Autumn.

Here are both the flowers and berries of the Leycestria Formosa.

The berries, when squashed, emit the scent of Vanilla Chocolate!

No wonder the Blackbirds fight over them!

dsc03717dsc03718dsc03712Its quite amazing when one thinks about it.

dsc03747Take for example the beautiful Roses that so blessed the veranda at the back of the cottage.

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They have transmutated into these wonderful Rose-hips.

dsc03745The process of Alchemy is happening all around us in Nature, but because we have debased and destroyed much of the Natural world, so we have come to belittle her magic and, as a consequence, stripped away the regard we once held for the Great Mother!

dsc03739dsc03737dsc03736dsc03738Is it any wonder we, as a species, are so sick, depressed, joyless?  

The incredible Alchemy of Mother Earth is happening all around us…step outside!

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