View from the Edge of the World

The safest place to be…

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

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As the Roman Empire came apart at the seams, the safest place to be was on the very edges of that dying empire.

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I have recently been reading the books, by Robert Harris, detailing the life of the great thinker, orator and statesman, Cicero.

bealtainecottage.com 028It is uncanny how many parallels with modern day life can be drawn from the novels,  ‘Imperium’ and ‘Lustrum’…(the third in the trilogy is yet to be published).

Of all the cumulative reasons why the Roman Empire came apart, endless wars, an over reliance on slave labour and corruption in government appear to be at the forefront.

bealtainecottage.com 016As I read chapter on chapter, I couldn’t help but draw parallels with the state of our world today…and viewed with horror an emerging pattern of decline and fall.

bealtainecottage.com 020The template of decline and fall remains the same regardless of time.

Wealthy Romans drank water transported through lead pipes…

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While Rome Burns…

It doesn’t have to be this way…

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

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There are no solutions to the instability in the world that I care to offer, as my voice is irrelevant in the scheme of things that cause mayhem and war.

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I can only offer advice on what works for me…on what keeps me sane in a world filled with lunacy!

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Keep grounded!

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Do what you have to do and do it well!

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Look ahead into the seasons and make plans for planting, working, visiting and caring for the world around you.

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Think about ways in which you can heal the world around you, be positive and nurture.

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Don’t allow the mayhem to grind you down…life went on after the Fall of Rome, as well we know!

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Remember, even as war, austerity and breakdown of society is happening right now in countries around the globe, people continue to look after their children, grow food, make food, wash clothes and generally get…

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The Midwinter Archives

A Time of Gathering…

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

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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…

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A Pagan Woman

Happily setting and following my own moral compass…

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

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True morality consists not in following the beaten track but in finding out the true path for ourselves and fearlessly following it.

Mahatma Gandhi

DSC00676The word, “morality” comes from Latin, moralitas, meaning “manner, character, proper behaviour” 

DSC00675One would be forgiven for thinking that morality was invented therefore by the Romans…in my view a most immoral culture and empire!

DSC00674Following on from the collapse of the Roman Empire, morality became the foremost banner of the Abrahamic religions, as they prescribed the life to be adhered to for those in Europe and later North and South America, as well as large parts of Africa.

DSC00673Failing to adhere could mean being cast out from society, which was governed in strict terms by the church, in almost every instance.

DSC00671And this has remained de rigeur until recently…in fact, my own lifetime.

DSC00668In fact, social acceptability and indeed family acceptance was predicated upon one’s…

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Goddess Permaculture…Here It Is!

dsc05099This is a morning in early winter, at Bealtaine Cottage in the west of Ireland.

dsc05100dsc05108On this Sunday, the twentieth day of November, I awoke to frost, clear skies and that bitter cold signalling immersion in Winter.

dsc05112Bealtaine Cottage didn’t always look like this…you can see how it once looked at the bottom of this page…

dsc05118Twelve years ago it looked quite different.

dsc05120The monoculture of meat production had brought the land low.

dsc05121Mother Earth was slowly dying.

dsc05122The air was silent.

dsc05123This morning you can see for yourself the beauty brought back to the land through Goddess Permaculture.

dsc05125What is Goddess Permaculture, I hear you ask?

dsc05130It is simply this…to recognise the Goddess in all life and honour her beauty and abundance, living as close to the Great Mother, Goddess Gaia, as one possibly can.

dsc05136To understand the Divine Feminine as the source of all life.

dsc05138dsc05142dsc05145dsc05151To honour the life force of Mother Earth.

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To not just believe, but to understand that there is a way back to a beautiful Earth!

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You don’t need qualifications to restore Mother Earth…you need to open your heart and feel deep compassion for her loss…

Now we come to the end of this series of images taken this morning, you will find the images I snapped twelve years ago, when the Goddess lay buried deep within herself, hidden by patriarchal abuse and greed!

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If you think that 1100 blogs and over 8,000 photographs is a good free resource…Support the work of the Bealtaine Project…

Subscribe to the second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

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HOME MADE ORGANIC INCENSE…GROWING, MAKING AND BURNING…

Meanwhile, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, (the other website!)

Blog number 93.  HOME MADE ORGANIC INCENSE…GROWING, MAKING AND BURNING… NOVEMBER 2016

has just been published along with a catch-up Podcast!

To become a member…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

Winter Work in the Permaculture Gardens

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Saturday morning at Bealtaine Cottage and the cold winter has set in…

dsc05049The Goddess Gardens are in the midst of an early winter tidy-up.

dsc05048This is a way of preparing the earth for the Spring to follow, and, it’s not that far away either.

dsc05032_li As we descend towards Midwinter, those involved in caring for the land are all too aware of the time available to prepare for Spring…and that comes in early here in the west of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February!

dsc05046Due to the good Autumn we’ve had, the Winter seems shorter, indeed not all the trees have shed their leaves!

dsc05047Work in the new Lughnasadh Garden continues, as I move many of the perennial flowers from the Potager Beds, near the back of the cottage, over to the new beds prepared for them.

dsc05045I dearly hope to have all the work completed before the Spring, so time outdoors is precious! Mahonia is in full bloom by the bench. This is still in a big pot, but will be planted out if I get the time…another job on the long list!

dsc05044The leaf fall this year has been tremendous and will add considerably to the building fertility here in the Goddess Gardens.

dsc05041From a barren land to abundant growth in twelve years…I continue to pinch myself!

dsc05039As I type, the sun shines in that ethereal way that only descent into Midwinter can do!

dsc05035_liThe smell of beans, toast and vegan bacon emanates from the kitchen…a hearty meal before I step out to work on the land.

dsc05040I will burn Bay Leaves in my incense pot this morning and the cottage will be infused with sweetness.

The Bay leaf is known to contain a substance called Linalool which helps to decrease anxiety in humans and create a calm atmosphere in the home.

dsc05042I make my own blend of home grown organic incense, using blends that either calm, invigorate or cleanse.

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Support the work of the Bealtaine Project…

Subscribe to the second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

 

Country Cottage Journal ~ A Christmas Eve Message from Bealtaine Cottage

Vintage Bealtaine Cottage and thoughts for the coming days…

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

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The cottage is quiet.

Outside the remains of the storm huff and puff it’s remaining fury.

Inside the thick stone walls it’s Christmas Eve.

There will be a full moon on Christmas night, the first one since 1977.

But, this morning, the rays of the Midwinter sun illuminate the grey morning and all is quiet.

Quiet is a welcome word after a night of howling wind and relentless rain.

DSC07785My blessed thanks to those of you who sent me good wishes and gifts.

I am heartily grateful to receive the appreciation of friends.

DSC07784Friends like Heather, who made me this beautiful brooch, stitched with love.

I have pinned it to the lapel of my jacket…it is a thing of beauty indeed!

It is the little notes, gifts and donations that bring a sense of being appreciated.

I am indeed blessed to live my life in the service of Mother Earth…

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A Big Thank You!

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I travelled up to see Christine Coulson this morning at the Leitrim Animal Welfare Centre, to make the presentation of the monies you raised for the much needed Animal Protection and re-homing work she does 24/7!

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(Mum and son both neutered vaccination and wormed looking to go to new home together sweet cats super friendly)

dogSome of the animals showing on the FB page were there this morning as I walked around the kennels…oh how I wanted to take them all home with me!

One of the lovely dogs was being prepared for his final home journey to England, where he has been adopted.

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(a boy and a girl never separated since birth so would like them to go together to new home)

Despite continued ill-health, Christine works hard to find homes for these unwanted sweethearts all over Europe, with 97% of all the animals getting new families to love and care for them.

Check out the FB site…

https://www.facebook.com/LeitrimAnimalWelfareCentre/

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(HI my names is Sean and this is my friend Max, poor Max has been badly treated and he is wary of humans our Dog Warden paired us together, so I can help Max be a happy dog again and we have a bed each but Dog warden keeps finding us cuddled in one, sometimes you just need your own kind to help you be yourself . Woof woof Max)

Sean looks just like my Jack!

A big thank you to the following subscribers…

Anne Faught, Alaska…28.00

Cathy Lawlor, Ireland…20.00

Sharon Hiltz, Fairmont, WV., USA…60.00

Mark Mcvittie, Rostrevor, Newry, Northern Ireland…50.00

Snapdragon Plants, Lampeter, Wales…30.00

Jane Potter, Manchester, UK…15.00

Cormac Breslin, Dublin, Ireland…50.00

Patti, Rossinver, Ireland and USA…25.00

Frances Brotzel, Stoke Newington, London…50.00

(To all past and present animal friends.)

Judith Gamble, Ireland…50.00

(Donation on behalf of our dog, Roxie, who was dumped on our Lane 7 years ago and has been with us ever since!)

Debbie Ledgard, Yorkshire, UK…50.00

Barbara Wingrove, UK…10.00

Anonymous, Ireland…50.00

Catherine McGuckin, Oughterad, Co Galway, Ireland…10.00

Beverley Little, Cornwall, UK…10.00

Linda Jarreau, Denham Springs, LA, USA…25.00

In memory of Karen, my mother who loved dogs so much!
Contributor: Marianne Burkhar…21.00

Margaret Quinn, Meath, Ireland…20.00

Lorna Lees, Moray, Scotland, UK…15.00

Anna Ballard, Bristol, UK…10.00

Willow Antiques, Leigh on Sea, Essex, UK…25.00

Karen Hillier, Herts., UK…20.00

Pamela Waterworth, Wigan, Lancs., UK…10.00

Fiona Fitzpatrick, Buncrana, Donegal, Ireland…20.00

Tina, West Wales…20.00

Jenny in Scotland…20.00

Sharon Hiltz, Fairmont, United States…30.00

Hanson design group dba HotPatterns, USA…20.00

Majella Callaghan, Lurgan, N. Ireland, UK…50.00

Denise Machon, Lampeter, Ceredigion, Wales, UK…30.00

Miss Susan K Wilson, UK…50.00

Cormac O’Neill, London, UK…50.00

Colette O’Neill, Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…100.00…from Jack to Christine XXX who was there when I needed a friend!

Irfan, Darkness, Light and Healing

(Starting with the Podcast will allow you to listen as you look through the photographs)

dsc04994Channelling is a skill that takes practice, eventually becoming an intuitive director of energy, good or bad.

dsc04991Yesterday, angry energy was channelled into this creation.

dsc04995As we channel energy from one place to another, so we work as alchemists in this world.

dsc05008 Alchemy is a subject I have talked about in previously at Bealtaine Cottage…this little piece of Sacred Earth being itself changed in the most alchemical way by the Goddess of eternal change, Gaia.

Above is a plant that holds the secret of healing…

Aloe Vera

dsc05007…and I have cut part of a leaf to help heal Sammy-Bear’s right eye that has become rather sore following a fight with another cat…not Beauty!

I have simply squeezed the healing juice onto a clean tissue and wiped it over the skin around his eye.

Aloe Vera have been used for medical treatment for centuries.

The plant contains antiseptic elements that can curb the growth,

of or even destroy bacteria,fungi and viruses.

It is also effective in treating burns,cuts and grazes.

Aloe Vera is today used in a wide range of cosmetic products

and homeopathic ointments.

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For followers of Bealtaine Cottage and all aspects of ancient Celtic life and Goddess Permaculture found therein, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

Upcycled Fashion

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I took my own advice today…see the motto at the top of the website page…and created this…

dsc04956And yes, the motto is some of the best advice one could ever act upon!

dsc04969dsc04972dsc04976So, I present to you my Celtic Dream Coat…

dsc04978dsc04980Made from 100% recycled materials.

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This is called upcycling!

For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage and all aspects of ancient Celtic life and Goddess Permaculture found therein, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

Rituals of Midwinter

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In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835Preparation is everything.

December 2011 Permaculture Bealtaine 009This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering.

cropped-cropped-dsc02856.jpgI am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach.
cropped-cropped-mon-25-oct-10-003.jpgThere is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe Winter Solstice  has been celebrated for thousands of years.

It was celebrated by my Great Grandmother who lived in the cottage above.

cropped-bealtaine-cottage-dec-11-011.jpgIndeed, Newgrange  here in Ireland, was constructed five thousand years ago, as a homage to the Midwinter Solstice, so this festival of Yule was immensely important to our ancestors.

cropped-22-dec-10-036.jpgThis was because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 005 Food and wine was ready to eat and drink ,as fruit fermented and animals were slaughtered as feed stocks dwindled.

light a candle at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandEven during the morning, parts of the interior of this Irish cottage can be dim during the months of Midwinter.

stained glass wheel of life Bealtaine Cottage 011Light is what our seasons are measured in.
midwinter cottage 013Light was and remains the important aspect of winter and our ancestors realised the connection this had to all life.

cavan burren 2That connection, that sense of knowing the elemental forces that governed their lives, was so important to them, that many monuments were erected to this end.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013Here in Ireland, Newgrange is the most important, monumental reminder we have of this elemental connection.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine CottageSo today has been a day of tidying and ordering…cleaning the area around the cottage, sorting wool,  and listening to gentle music as I go.

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine CottageFor lovers of Bealtaine Cottage and all aspects of ancient Celtic life and Goddess Permaculture found therein, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 90 new blogs and several thousands of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas!

Christmas became something older and gentler for me…it morphed into Midwinter.

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

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Christmas fever is widespread as the orgy of spending takes hold.

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Ordinarily sane people are in-debting themselves to a year ahead of pay-back as they tread wearily around shops filled with Chinese imports!

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Some years ago I made a decision to opt out of mainstream.

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I had come to the conclusion that much of what I lived by was the result of not questioning, but merely going along with everyone else.

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Now, I must point out that once one begins to question the status quo, all sorts of issues raise their Medusa-like heads…religion, education, government, consumerism, et al! www.bealtainecottage.com 014

Every aspect of how I lived, and what moved me, was called to the fore of my interrogation.

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In much the same way as I gave up eating meat, smoking and spending our civilisation out of recession, I gave up Christmas.

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Christmas became something older and gentler for me…it morphed into Midwinter.

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Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at Midwinter

Origins of Yule

The great Festival of Yule, beginning at the time of the Winter Solstice and lasting for a full twelve days, summed up the cycle of the Celtic year.

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the window

The word Yule, according to the Venerable Bede, came from the Norse word Iul meaning ‘wheel’ and suggested that this was the time when the Great Wheel of Existence had completed its circle.

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“In later Celtic folk-belief, Yule had a dual meaning, it symbolised the death of the old year and heralded the birth of the new…

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and Nature would burst forth at the festival of Imbolc.

The low-point of the period of Yule became the central festival of a number of formal religions, one of which was Christianity.

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter Garden

 

After Yule, the Great Wheel began to turn again, bringing the festival of Imbolc around once more. Gradually some festivals assumed less importance and four great functional festivals – Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain dominated the Celtic year. Many of these became major Christian holy days – Imbolc became Candlemas (1 February) with its own rhyme: ‘On Candlemas Day, Throw a candle away’.

Christmas Eve in an Irish CottageChristmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine CottageChristmas eve moon above Bealtaine CottageChristmas Angel 2012In Ireland, because of its close association with the goddess Brigit, it became Saint Brigid’s Day.

Where the festivals of local deities persisted, they became ‘pattern days’– the feast of a local or patron saint.”

From Complete Guide to Celtic Mythology by Bob Curran

winter solstice 2012 at Bealtaine Cottagemidwinter cottage 015midwinter cottage 012

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage

This Yule, my family will gather at Bealtaine Cottage for a coming together, a “gathering,” to celebrate and mark the Great Turning of the Light, before dispersing to celebrate with others the wonderful celebration of Christmas.

friday 10 12 10monday morn 6 12 10 014monday morn 6 12 10 006Yuletide continues to be marked at Bealtaine Cottage through to it’s end on the first day of January. A time of great hope and lifting of one’s head towards the ascending sun.

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!