My Best Ideas…

…flit into my head as I walk the woodland sanctuary, for it is here that I feel able to simply be, unaware of even myself! I imagine this is the same for most people, for it is in this state of unawareness that the creative mind begins to flow evenly, unstoppable. It was in walking among the trees yesterday that thoughts began to emerge about writing and where it all began for me in earnest. It was of course here at Bealtaine Cottage where I found “a room of ones own,” as Virginia Woolf referred to the creative space. However…

Shape-shifting in Ireland

The stories of shape-shifting can be found in many cultures throughout the world, but none so prominently as that found in Celtic culture. Within the near area of Bealtaine Cottage can be found a wealth of ancient history many thousands of years old. The Tuatha Dé Danann, the people of the Goddess Danu, were one of the great ancient tribes of Ireland. These people who appeared to “land on top of a mountain”, Sliabh an Iarainn, a great brooding mass of sandstone rock and thin soil, visible from Bealtaine Cottage.  The ancient manuscript ‘The Annals of the Four Masters’, records that…

Like Noah

Start a huge, foolish project, like Noah. It makes absolutely no difference what people think of you. Rumi Another five days. Bealtaine. The beginning of Summer. This Bealtaine is the celebration of thirteen years of the Bealtaine project. A project once considered the silly dream of a ridiculous woman. Against all financial advice it was conceived and against all horticultural wisdom it was planned. Planned, planted and grown! The Bealtaine Project is now complete. This land is both resilient and regenerative…it can grow abundance without me. I am now free to observe and delight, potter and sit, all the while…

Rituals of Midwinter

In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me. Preparation is everything. This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering. I am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach. There is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas. The Winter Solstice  has been celebrated for thousands of years….

Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

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. 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. “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… Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and…

An Open Portal in Time…

SAMHAIN…The Celts believed that Oidhche Shamhna, Samhain, was an open portal in time. This weekend marks the prelude to Samhain. https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=QE3V4W5FYDFA8 Monday 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. It 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/  The Celts understood the year to be divided into two halves associated with the dark and the light. The dark half begins at sunset on October 31st with Samhain. https://bealtainecottage.com/2012/10/15/the-celtic-new-year-festival-of-samhain/ Samhain ends at Bealtaine, when the light half begins at sunset on May 1st. Both festivals are closely linked,…

Portal

This portal to the Otherworld: a place of being for the Celts, where life existed, but not as we know it! The portal is the Old Fairy House, which was once the gateway to Kilronan castle.   This ethereal looking gatehouse was created many years ago, when only horses and carriages travelled the roads of the west of Ireland. It was built in the vernacular tradition, using water worn limestone hewn from the surrounding earth. Many years have passed since a horse or carriage passed by… The entrance is no longer a part of the old estate. Here it stands,…

Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain.  Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar. The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance. This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth. It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring. Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve. It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin. A time of possibilities. A…

To The Mountain!

I’ve been spending much of this week catching up with a great many tasks that were backing up around me…cork-tiling the bathroom floor and part of the Lodge floor, clearing the tunnel for the winter crops and all the usual stuff such as clearing and mowing the paths in the gardens! I have got a lot done because I made the decision last week to come off Facebook…and have shared my thoughts with you on this… I posted a number of pics on FB this morning, as so many people delight in seeing Bealtaine Cottage! It is, however, almost impossible…