Posted in ancient Ireland, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Garden, magic, midsummer, Shakespeare, Spirituality

Midsummer Vigil

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The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams with moth-wings furled
Plays soft on her flute to the drowsy world.
~Ida Rentoul Outhwaite

DSC00869And as the seasons come and go, here’s something you might like to know.

There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day.

So listen, touch, and look around — in the air and on the ground.

And if you watch all nature’s things, you might just see a fairy’s wing.

~Author Unknown 

I often walk the gardens in the early morning, taking my tea or coffee with me…and always my camera.

DSC00874It is often in the early morn or at dusk that I find myself in a strange little corner of the gardens, which stretch to three acres and I attempt to capture the moment through the lens.

DSC00882For my part, I believe in the Sidhe and have often felt their presence.

This morning there appeared to be a humidity in places which made it’s presence felt in some of the photographs I took.

DSC00885You may make of them what you will.

DSC00887Bealtaine Cottage is quite alive at all times and especially today, Midsummer, 20th day of June 2016.

DSC00888The veil is thin…

DSC00892This is of very special meaning to me and heralds the presence of my Mother, for this is her Angel sitting by a plant which was dedicated to her.

My daughter bought this pot and plant as a reminder for me of my Mother and her Grandmother…it sits near my seat by the veranda, just outside the back door.

DSC00896The Realm of the Sidhe is a shadow land, carved out by the Tuatha de Danann following the defeat of the tribe in their last great battle.

Many of the sacred places in Ireland are also home to the Sidhe lying just beyond the fields we know.

DSC00904The Tuatha de Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland.

The important manuscript ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, records that they ruled Ireland from 1897 B.C. to 1700 B.C

Bealtaine Cottage appears to be  alive with ancestors.

Midsummer Blessings to All XXX

 

 

Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Posted in ancient Ireland, celebrations, Earth, Ireland, Ostara, Spirituality, Uncategorized

Magical Evening of Ostara at Bealtaine Cottage

This is the evening of Ostara, the Spring Equinox…of equal day and night.

The Great Turning of the year as Spring moves with joy towards the Summer and Bealtaine, the first of May.

A magical time.

The word Ostara is just one of the names given to the celebration of the Spring Equinox, also known as the Vernal Equinox, on March 20 this year.

The March equinox marks the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north.

This happens on March 19, 20 or 21 every year.

The Venerable Bede said the origin of the word Ostara is actually from Eostre, a Germanic goddess of spring. 

Solstices and equinoxes mark key stages in the astronomical cycle of Mother Earth.

Each year there are two equinoxes (spring and autumn) and two solstices (summer and winter).

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Posted in agriculture, ancient Ireland, Brigid, celebrations, celtic festival, Celts, Imbolc, Uncategorized

Celtic Ireland~Imbolc Rising

And so the wheel turns towards Spring and its tentative beginnings in the West of Ireland as the sun rises tomorrow morn.

With the rising of the sun comes Imbolc!

Oftentimes it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has changed…something that animals see, feel and react to before we do.

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The understanding of the changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as can be seen in the word itself, for “Imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish.

During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of Spring.

Imbolc is a Cross Quarter Day, which means it is midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Depending on the year that’s in it, Imbolc can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February…the  calculations vary, despite the best will of man to box it all up into calendars!

Celtic festivals are based on astronomical events!

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Festivals like Imbolc are often claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan, but Imbolc belongs to the ancient peoples of Ireland who were neither Wiccan or Pagan!

Wicca itself is less than one hundred years old

Pagan was a term used to describe those in Ireland before Christianity…a sort of name-calling, in that it became and remains for many, a derogatory term.

My ancestors were never without spiritual beliefs!

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Paganism is a term that developed among the Christian community of southern Europe during late antiquity to describe religions other than their own, Judaism, or Islam–the three Abrahamic religions.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the lengthening days as the growing light awakens the Earth Goddess.

The warmth of the rising, growing sun fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout.

And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

As Imbolc rises on the second day of February, the last quarter moon is in Scorpio, my birth sign.

Now is the time to secure your seeds for the Spring sowing which is now well underway in propagators and sheltered places.

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

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

I continue to clear out spaces in my cottage and renew many aspects of my life…always a good preparation for Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc to you all!

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, Youtube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…thanks for the appreciation! X

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Uncategorized

Country Cottage Journal ~ A Christmas Eve Message from Bealtaine Cottage

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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.

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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 and able to live without the needs so many feel they must have, forever indebting themselves to the corporate machine that is destroying her.

DSC07782As I write this journal, the radio informs me of another storm on the way.

I will soon light the traditional candle in the window of my small sitting room.

candle and spiral at bealtaine cottageThe placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas Eve is still practised today.

It remains a symbol of hope.

PaddyDog Designs at Ballyfermoyle, sold in the Bealtaine Cottage shop on EtsyHope is what Bealtaine Cottage is all about…hope and renewal.

I am a woman and a pragmatist who looks to the future.

Full moon over Bealtaine Cottage IrelandDespite the wars of man, the fear of climate upheaval, the greed of those in power and the relentless drum-banging of the corporate consumer world, life, in all it’s imperfections, is sacred and beautiful.

DSC07780On this blessed Christmas Eve, I will step out with my spade and wheelbarrow, to plant the future, in the form of five trees.

May you be blessed with love, light and happiness on this wonderful day and in the days of light to follow.

XXX Colette XXX

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Posted in ancient Ireland, blessings, celebrations, Lughnasa

Lughnasa Eve Blessings

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Today is the final day of summer in the Celtic Calendar…Happy Lughnasa!

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May the days of harvest be filled with abundance and delight!

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As the Earth offers up her bounty, may your heart be filled with thanks.

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Enjoy the coolness of the early morning air as the days move inexorably toward Autumn.

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Take time to preserve your harvest for the months ahead…

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Bless you all!

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Gardens, midsummer, Permaculture, Poetry, Shakespeare

The Secret Energy of Midsummer

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As the days of early summer move inexorably towards the Solstice, life at Bealtaine Cottage takes on a brilliant energy.

Everything is growing!

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There’s a bench in my garden,  shaded by many beautiful trees, near to the lower pond, where I enjoy sitting alone, as early in the morning as I can manage… to simply be.

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“I can’t get enough of watching the bees and trying to imagine how they experience the abundance of, say, a blue Campanula blossom, the dizzy light pulsing, every fibre of being immersed in the flower. …”

~ Mary Rose O’Reilly

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Moments of such silence are overlaid with birdsong, a joy-filled backdrop to the main stage, where images manifest peace.

Flowers growing out from gravel and roses creating miracles from old tyres, are as much a part of Midsummer madness here at Bealtaine as some of the ancient celebrations themselves!

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“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where ox-lips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine.”

~ From “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare

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We all know of places where the secret energy of Midsummer holds sway.

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It is to these special places we are continually drawn, where peace is found and imagination set free

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celts, Ireland

As Pleiades Rose…

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A fabulous sunset on Bealtaine 2015.

A Bealtaine filled with much love and sunshine, as visitors came and went all through the day. bealtainecottage.com open gardens 018

First arrivals walked up the lane at 10am, with the last leaving at 8pm.

At Bealtaine the star cluster known as Pleiades rises in the early morning sky, just before dawn. Bealtaine Cottage interior design

The Pleiades is a cluster of seven closely placed stars, the seven sisters, in the constellation of Taurus.

Bealtaine, was always regarded as a time of “no time” when the veils between the two worlds are at their thinnest.

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This morning, as the Pleiades rose, I walked the gardens, tea in one hand, steadying myself by holding onto trees, as I gazed up into the brightening sky.

Today was a Bealtaine of great renewal as the Summer moved into the Northern hemisphere.

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I want to say a massive “Thank You!” to those who made the journey in person and especially the good people who sent beautiful wishes and messages from all over the world.

There are times when I feel totally over-whelmed by the love and support you show for this little piece of Ireland.

Today was such a time.

Bless you and thank you from the bottom of my heart XXX Colette

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Posted in celebrations, Christmas, midwinter, Yule

Why I No Longer Celebrate Christmas!

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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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I say “morphed” because there are aspects of Christmas I continue to appreciate, such as gift-giving.

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These are not the small-mortgage gifts however, but gifts of warmth and food and home-made trinkets.

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Midwinter lasts longer too, for this is the time of Yule.

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Yule marks the rebirth of the sun.
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It is a potent symbol of death and rebirth – going from the darkness into the light.
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Yule starts before the Solstice and continues on until New Year’s Day.

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There’s no rush, no crazy dash for the check-out.

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Yule is a time and a time that makes sense to me.

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An Irish Christmas Blessing

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.

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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, december, family and friends, holiday, midwinter, Permaculture, season

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.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture landscape

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!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture landscape

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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Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Earth, hens, Inspiration, Life, Nature, Thoughts

Awakening

www.bealtainecottage.comThere is a spiritual event taking place…a coming into awareness of something so fundamentally awesome and life changing that is spreading into the consciousness of all life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis awakening can be described in simple terms and that is what I want to do here…simply explain it from my own perspective.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe power of love is building compassion and understanding in all of us.

www.bealtainecottage.comAs with great change comes great extremes too; for the power of destruction is cutting a swathe through life as we have known it.

permaculture at Bealtaine CottageWe are now aware that we are not alone, but one consciousness that is capable of immense good.

DSCF1520We have witnessed the power of that one consciousness being usurped by destructors…those who rally sacrifice yet offer nothing of themselves.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine
Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

These destructors are to be found at corporate, government and military levels of the old paradigm.

www.bealtainecottage.comI say “old paradigm,” in relation to the end of life battle they now wage.

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They know they are doomed.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The death throes of Empire can be ugly to witness, but pay witness to it we must.

www.bealtainecottage.com 060This is all part of the Paradigm Shift, the epiphany many are now in the throes of experiencing.

www.bealtainecottage.com 064This perception of the essential nature of who we are…this intuitive grasp of our own reality.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021For many it has been a quickening of all the senses.

Gloria, me and FloThere is no new world… we have simply begun to see the beautiful one we have always had. 
With Flo and Gloria We are growing as a species.  

bealtainecottage.com permacultureWe are not fragments of something, we are one.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis is the tide that cannot be stopped.

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I am reliably informed that the Postal strike here in Ireland is now over…so all Seeds and Willow ordered will be posted out on Thursday 8th October. Thanks for your patience X 

Podcasts will be linked from the new Podcast page listed at the top of the website…go there for the daily podcast or just to catch up.

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Uncategorized

Midsummer Rising

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Farewell Bealtaine!

Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond.

www,bealtainecottage.comRising towards Midsummer is a most magical time in the west of Ireland.

Between the rain and the sun, the jigs and the reels, the land has grown a mantle of green.

www.bealtainecottage.comFestivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer customs prevail in much of Europe and certainly here in Ireland, where the traditional bonfire is part of the celebration.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe fire is lit exactly at sunset on the eve of the solstice and celebrations continue until sunset on the solstice itself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe sense of abundance is quite tangible and visible at this time, helping to create a celebratory atmosphere.

www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer  was seen as a time when the veil between this world and the next was thin, and when the spirit of the land itself held sway.

This is encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

www.bealtainecottage.comThis year I shall be lighting the Midsummer fire with wood cut around the time of Midwinter, in honour of my  Mother.

www.bealtainecottage.com It is a time for gathering and spending time together and a celebration I look forward to…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I walked I the gardens this morning, there arose a great sense of peace and harmony, again something which seems to be released from the very Earth herself each year, at this time of ascension to Midsummer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of a good harvest holds firm as the beautiful weather continues.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere is one of my favourite quotes by Carole Carlton…

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath,

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”

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Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Beltane, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Ireland, Spirituality, Summer, Uncategorized

Bealtaine Eve in Ireland

 

The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.
The hen-house is all quiet on the Eve of Bealtaine.

 

The rain taps on the cottage roof as the Eve of Bealtaine draws in.

All the dry, warm weather is ended abruptly with heavy, rhythmic rain.

The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come...
The lushness of Bealtaine Eve here at Bealtaine Cottage is merely a prelude to Summer and all to come…

 

This Summer’s Eve will be freshened with Atlantic rain and the dry earth will release scents of green…yes, indeed, colour has a scent!

Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day
Honesty, Lunaria in full bloom this day

 

Bealtaine is the oldest festival in all of Europe and was historically celebrated on the Hill of Uisneach in County Westmeath.

looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine
looking deep into the gardens of Bealtaine

 

This ancient ceremonial hill was, and remains, a sacred place and one of the most significant places of ancient ritual in all of Ireland.

Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage
Apple blossom on Bealtaine Eve at Bealtaine Cottage

 

This was the home of the Goddess Eriu…a place of High Kings and Tribes, a gathering place, where laws were passed and old allegiance re-newed!  

Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch
Bealtaine Eve by the Laurel Arch

 

Bealtaine“Beacon-fires lit upon its summit could be seen over a quarter of Ireland, and in most directions the hills upon the horizons could relay the message of the beacon as far as the sea-coast.  The claim of Uisneach to be the centre of Ireland is thus quite justifiable, even though it may not be mathematically accurate.”[Macalister]

Bealtaine Eve in an Irish  Permaculture Garden.
Bealtaine Eve in an Irish Permaculture Garden.

 

In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer and the bright half of the year started with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

Seedlings and new growth
Seedlings and new growth

 

May Summer be long and joyful for you, with a great harvest all the way through.

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, celebrations, Cottage, Garden, hens, Inspiration, Permaculture, Spring, Wildlife

Easter in a Permaculture Garden…700th Post!

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This is what happens in Permaculture…surplus is fed back into the system or shared out!

www.bealtainecottage.com In this case there was a small surplus of blue paint…the outcome is what you see here!

www.bealtainecottage.comI woke to a magnificent sunrise this morning…Kilronan Mountain is shrouded in mist, so doesn’t appear to exist at all!

www.bealtainecottage.comBees are buzzing and birds are singing to herald in this wonderful Easter weekend here in the west of Ireland!

www.bealtainecottage.comWith the emergence of Spring, several weeks ago now, there has been an accumulation of heat and light working on the earth that promises an early Summer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of seedlings has excelled…it appears that every seed sown has germinated!

www.bealtainecottage.com Fortunately, now that I have five beautiful hens, seedlings that are excess to requirements can simply be fed to the hens as a wonderful source of nutrition.

www.bealtainecottage.comSome of the seedlings are also used by me in salads, again a wonderful source of nutrition!

www.bealtainecottage.comSlabs of bedrock, rising out of the earth all over the land here at Bealtaine, show off their pink colour in the drying air of late Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses play peek-a-boo on the driveway.

www.bealtainecottage.comCrocosmia show off a vibrant lime-green in the early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBack to blue, because…

www.bealtainecottage.comI simply cannot resist it!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe vibrant pink of this Saxifrage has found a perfect bed in the gravel driveway…another reason why tarmac is a non-starter here!

www.bealtainecottage.comPrimroses aren’t the only things around here playing peek-a-boo!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe mist in the valley has cut off Kilronan Mountain.

www.bealtainecottage.comFurther up the gardens, behind where I now stand, Comfrey, Lovage, Fennel, Valerian and Chives are all about a foot high and looking very robust in the late Spring, early morning light.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy my feet, the Euphorbia flowers.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd indoors, on the dresser, reminders of Spring and Easter…

www.bealtainecottage.comHappy Easter to all!

PS: Next month will the my tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Today marks the 700th blog!

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Country Living, Eco-Living, Family, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Life, Permaculture, Personal, Summer, Woodland

The Closing Chapter

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine Cottage

Summer began to melt into Autumn at Bealtaine Cottage amidst a flurry of bees and butterflies, more than ever witnessed in the permaculture gardens.

garlic harvest at bealtaine cottage permacultureHarvesting began and the kitchen was a place of jam jars and bottles, all waiting to be filled and labelled.

Blackcurrants almost ready for pickingThe glut of blackcurrants became wine, jam and chutney, with even more added to the freezer.

free tea Open days and workshops seen a steady stream of visitors to the cottage and gardens.

The woodpile in the barn at Bealtaine CottageKindling for the winter stoves continued to be collected and stored in the barn.

Bealtaine Cottage Potager beds todayAnd the Potager beds kept growing!

Blackcurrant ChutneyThe recipe for Blackcurrant Chutney was added to a blog post that had runaway success!

Bealtaine Cottage ValerianValerian flowered…

Rambling Roses at Bealtaine CottageRoses bloomed…

The Lodge at Bealtaine CottageAnd all around, flowers showed off with total abandon!

poppies, poppy seeds and dried seed-headsI collected seeds…

Foxglove seed and more seeds…

harvesting seed at Bealtaine CottageDrying and labelling in every container I had to spare!

Poppy seed heads at Bealtaine CottageSeedheads were stored for winter flower arrangements.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodAs the boys played in the Fairy Wood.

A path from the Fairy WoodIt was a magical time for all!

006Summer never really went away, for the wine of that season kept bubbling with life.

cottage garden harvestAnd the harvest continued…

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottageAs potatoes were lifted…

misty morning at Bealtaine CottageAnd misty mornings began to appear.

hanging webCobwebs shimmied in the morning breeze…

Buddha at BealtaineAs the light and shadows began to change.

flowers for MichelleMy son got married and I designed and made the flower arrangements, on a lovely day with my new daughter’s mother, here at Bealtaine.

Dylan and Michellw wedding 031Everyone came to the west of Ireland for a three day wedding in a 500 year old castle. Here I am with my eldest daughter.

harvestAnd when all was over, the harvest continued.

wine, kitchenAnd the cottage fell silent…

Recycling in the permaculture gardensBut not for long, as friends delivered cardboard for mulching…

apples and sunflowersAnd helped with the harvest.

fairies 035Lords and Ladies made an Autumn appearance in the Fairy Wood.

open weekend bunting by the gateAnd the cottage and gardens were opened for a special fundraiser in aid of Leitrim Animal Welfare.

www.bealtainecottage.com 013Raising a magnificent sum of money for a wonderful charity.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Autumn continued into Winter…

www.bealtainecottage.com 012And logs were stacked in readiness for the stove.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008The days darkened as Midwinter approached…

cropped-029.jpgAnd candlelight illuminated the dark days.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Bringing cheer to the silent grey…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025And soft light into the Midwinter Cottage.

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So few do, but if you choose to make a small donation, then Bless You! 

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Cottage, Frugal Living, Lifestyle, New Year, Uncategorized, Winter

New Moon, New Year…All Change!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005The time of a New Moon is a time to set intention for the coming month.

We start this New Year with a New Moon in Capricorn, a very auspicious beginning, a fresh start!

It is rare that a New Year begins at the same time as a Lunar New Year, so, in preparation, I am clearing space all around the cottage, clearing away the decorations of Yuletide and opening up lots of space to embrace this new energy!

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This New Moon brings with it hope for those feeling tired and low by all the negativity experienced over the past year; change is on the horizon.

This is a powerful time to make resolutions and implement change!

www.bealtainecottage.com 001This is a rare opportunity to begin anew…a time to clear all old intentions that never materialized and start afresh! www.bealtainecottage.com 002The last time we had a New Moon at the start of the New Year, was nineteen years ago, in the early nineties.

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New Moon, New Year

The New Moon greets the New Year
Saying “let go of the past”
For the things that are worth keeping
Will in their beauty last-
Yet that that does not serve us
Must be released and shed
The fear, anger and patterns
Which hog space in our head-
And when we call our Spirit
To release them to the Earth
The New Moon greets us with her light
And offers us rebirth.

Jen Reich
Flagstaff, AZ 12-28-13

http://poetry-not-poverty.blogspot.ie/

A truly beautiful website filled with inspirational poetry by Jen…

www.bealtainecottage.com 006However, it won’t just be one New Moon in January, but two!

The month comes to a close with a second New Moon!

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Energy begins to seep back into the earth and plants.

Winter is not yet over, by any means and frost can be devastating, but the little signs of hope are there… Daffodils have begun to throw up green shoots!

www.bealtainecottage.com 014Light has begun to play with shadows here in the shower room (there is no bath in this tiny cottage!) and even the hanging crystals are catching and reflecting the strengthening sun.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004Fruit continues to occupy its Yuletide celebratory place on tables throughout Bealtaine.

Time to eat healthy food and build health for the year ahead!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Time to clear out the old and bring in the new and time to clear the laundry basket…I wash clothes daily, for I do not possess a washing machine, so will spend a little more time than usual to ensure an empty basket for New year!

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The lengthening of the days has already begun.

Posted in Angels, Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Christmas, Dogs, Spirituality, Thoughts

Angels and Animals in an Irish Cottage on Christmas Eve

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Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage.

Snow has fallen.

The air is cold and a bitter wind blows.

It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood.

The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda!

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The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk.

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Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work.

Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend and guardian angel!

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This is a difficult Christmas for many who are without basic necessities.

I am thankful to have a well stocked pantry and woodpile.

For many, food and heat are major problems in their everyday lives.

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 It’s good to give thanks for a warm home and a full plate.

May you all enjoy both this Christmastide…

www.bealtainecottage.com 003An Irish Christmas Blessing

The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you.

Happy Christmas!

**********************

This will be my last blog for a little while as I am taking some time out.

Blessings to you all X

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Cottage, Gardens, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Thoughts, Thrift, Vegan, Winter

Lifting the Spirits

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Midwinter is over.

For many the celebration of Christmas has begun.

Last minute frenetic shopping today and tomorrow…

The days here at Bealtaine are beginning to lengthen.

Not tangible as yet, but optimism for more daylight has taken hold and sometimes that is enough…simply knowing that the darkness has passed.

The cottage remains in a post-midwinter party state, with chairs pushed back and floor-space revealed.

It may be a day or two before this is sorted, for I want to escape outdoors, despite the stormy weather!

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The lush greenery on the mantelpiece will stay in place for as long as it retains life.

Replacing the candles daily is a small task and keeps the soft light there to lift the spirits.

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A small sadness pervades the air, now that family and friends have gone.

We all enjoyed the coming together of our midwinter feast, with music and bonfire and soft candlelight…a magical time that lifted the spirit.

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Rich food and drink will now give way to simple soups and tea…a sort of cleansing of the palette and system, together with late winter walks, to appease the feasting of recent days.

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Venturing out this morning, into the wind-driven rain, fresh in from the Atlantic, amid the sounds of birds fighting over food…time to scatter the scraps from the feast around the gravel by the cottage for my hungry and cold feathered friends.

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Parsley, Kale and Chard all continue to grow abundantly in the Potager beds…no sign of prolonged frost to diminish these green gifts.

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The Chard is particularly beneficial to the body at this time of year, as it contains generous amounts of both Vitamin C and Iron…the Vitamin C is necessary for the body to absorb the Iron.

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I use the Kale in the juicer each day…a great supplement to my diet, as it charges my energy!

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Do you recall the ground I mulched with cardboard and shreddings?

Well, here it is this morning and as you can see it has now transformed itself into a bed ready to be planted out in the Spring…how easy was that?

There are several hundred blogs on this website about mulching and preparing ground for planting using the easiest methods that I have tried and tested.

To access them simply type key words into the Search Bar at the top of this page!

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Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, celebrations, Celts, Inspiration, Permaculture, Winter

Midwinter Blessings

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The ancients believed winter, especially Midwinter, was a time of tremendous spiritual power.

And so the shortest day has passed and we are looking forward, at last, to the ascending sun, from tomorrow.

The greenery on the mantelpiece will stay a few days longer, as the days slowly lengthen.

Work on the potager beds and orchards begins in the next week or so.

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Cloud and mist have enveloped Kilronan Mountain today, between snow falls and dark skies…the sun has shone intermittently.

Of the Solstices and Equinoxes, the Winter Solstice was the most important among the Ancients, since it marked the rebirth of the sun after the shortest day.

The worst of the winter is yet to come though…Kale and Parsley stand proud in the Potager beds, not yet diminished by prolonged frost.

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The small Yuletide tree, at the end of the veranda, tied to the supports, stands stout against the wind and storms of the past week.

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The sky changes dress in spectacular fashion from winter to summer and all in-between!

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And jewels of melted sleet decorate the skeletal Fennel.

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Yule marks the rebirth of the sun.

It is a potent symbol of death and rebirth – going from the darkness into the light.

Yule starts before the Solstice and continues on until New Year’s Day.

Midwinter Blessings to you all XXX

Posted in celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Winter

Magic Everywhere!

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Something strange happened last night, for I slept so very deeply and woke early.

It was as though an enchantment had worked a magic everywhere!

I say this, because I spoke with friends this morning, who had similar experiences.

All day today, time has seemed to move so very slowly, though all year it has been remarked that time appears to be speeding up.

Perhaps there is magic in the date…

www.bealtainecottage.com 010This morning has witnessed me once more standing atop the range in the kitchen, armed with a crowbar and quite suddenly realizing success, with the sounds of solid chunks of resinous soot falling down the immense cavity…the chimney is now cleared and the stove, once more, warms the cottage.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0451.jpgSoft light from candles illuminates the descending night and soup simmers in the pot.

Jan 12 Bealtaine Cottage 001Who shall describe the inexpressible tenderness and immortal life of the grim forest, where Nature, though it be midwinter, is ever in her spring, where the moss-grown and decaying trees are not old, but seem to enjoy a perpetual youth.~ Henry David Thoreau

www.bealtainecottage.com 002“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.

It is a fervent wish that every cup may overflow with blessings rich and eternal, and that every path may lead to peace.”

― Agnes M. Pahro

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Posted in Animals, Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Buddha, Cats, celebrations, Childhood, Christmas, Crafts, Inspiration, Life, Personal, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Winter

Midwinter Cottage

midwinter cottage 002

The air is still.
The storm has passed. 
Stillness and silence pervades the cottage.
Jack is in his bed, and the boys continue to doss away the morning in the Lodge.
A midwinter scene repeated all across the northern hemisphere.
midwinter cottage 006Someone remarked on the increasing silence they noticed in the world around them.
Midwinter is a silent time, suffused with echoes and occasional sounds from strange places.
Places that are more difficult to pinpoint on the landscape…it’s a trick played on us by Mother Nature as she paces the dormitories of sleep and hibernation.
midwinter cottage 014Candles illuminate the darkness, dispelling matt grey for moving shadows.
Jingles of Christmas on the radio, some lovely, most rapaciously dreadful, urging the listener to get out now and spend, spend, spend!
And so the radio is switched off and music switched on, low and evocative.
Midwinter enchants us all with memories of stillness and light, fires and food…times past, selected for our personal album of memories.
midwinter cottage 005I found this photograph recently.
It was taken around Midwinter, in a photo-booth in London, when I first ventured away from home and Ireland.
Scents were what I most missed.
The scents of home, like turf and coal smoke, wisping out of chimney pots on rows of terraced houses.
London was filled with new, more exotic scents, especially places like Portobello Road Market on a Saturday morning, where Patchouli oil perfume lingered in the air.
midwinter cottage 004Working patchwork, brings me back to early days, in London and the sheer wealth of fabric shops and stalls, Laura Ashley and the love of William Morris retro!
midwinter cottage 007Colours, fabrics and textures continue to fascinate.
midwinter cottage 003Natural fabrics hold most memory…perhaps because they are from the natural world, where energy is hosted.
midwinter cottage 009Sackcloth and old lace cover a jam jar, filled with Honesty.
midwinter cottage 010Cotton gingham of various colours in the kitchen.
midwinter cottage 012Willow, wood and clay pottery, mugs and bowls.
midwinter cottage 015The morning, washed by soft midwinter light…not to be bought and packaged for Christmas, but absorbed by the celebratory soul.
midwinter cottage 013Blessings from this midwinter cottage…
 
Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, Garden, Home Made Wine, Inspiration, Permaculture

Permaculture Midwinter Gathering

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Sprouting winter greens on the kitchen window sill, couldn’t be easier than this…the top of a swede sitting in a saucer of shallow water and left to continue growing and giving!
I shall harvest small leaves to add to stir-fries.
It actually looks quite Christmassy too!
www.bealtainecottage.com 001The seed-heads of Poppy and Honesty, now void of seeds, but perfect for winter displays.
I have harvested all the seeds and am packing them up for distribution across the world…especially for the bees, but also for their extraordinary beauty, even when dried!
www.bealtainecottage.com 003Dried Chillies, ready for packing into containers and storing in the pantry…an effortless way to store food!
www.bealtainecottage.com 012And outside, in the gardens this morning, the colours of winter deepen as the mists continue their journey from the lough.
www.bealtainecottage.com 008Nature’s baubles decorate the bare trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 016The mild, early winter creates a feast of chocolate scented berries, for the Blackbird, on the Leycestria Formosa…early mornings can be noisy, as birds squabble over this winter feast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 004This old bread tin, bought in a Charity shop in Belfast last month, is ready to be packed with seeds, saved at Bealtaine Cottage…a perfect container for this purpose!
www.bealtainecottage.com 009Potager beds continue to hoard food in this little micro-climate area at the back of the cottage.
www.bealtainecottage.com 013Vibrant red dogwood splashes colour here and there, making winter as joyous an occasion in the gardens as any other season!
www.bealtainecottage.com 015Midwinter, on the 21st of December, is a lovely time to be with loved ones and celebrate!
This year will be easy to gather, as the 21st falls on a Saturday…
I had arranged a get-together for the Sunday, 22nd, but…The Midwinter Gathering is transferred to a closer date…all on the list have been contacted and there’s sure to be some great fun on the day!
 
Enjoy your Gathering!
 
www.bealtainecottage.com 017Blessings X