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…

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….

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…

Equinox and Early Shadows

Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over. And cobwebs everywhere! And here, in the Northern Hemisphere, one can easily notice the later dawns and earlier sunsets,as Spring is ushered in south of the Equator. Equinox is all about balance…the balance of equal day and night, of dark and light. I await the first light of morning with great anticipation, aware that the light grows more and more precious, to be cherished. We are creatures of the light! During these colder mornings I use the electric kettle to make my early tea. There is something…

Magical Spirits

It’s a wet evening. It’s a cool evening too. I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top. It’s a tea and toast kind of evening. I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Wood. It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place. There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches. I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone. I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone…

Midsummer Vigil

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 And 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…