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, awakening, Celts, Culture, pagan, Spirituality

A Pagan 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 adherence to religion…or apparent adherence!

DSC00667This blog was preceded and inspired by a conversation I had a few days ago with a family member, a sibling.

DSC00669We both recalled how dominant religion was in our childhood, education and subsequent life outside of Ireland.

My Mother declared towards the end of her life, that she felt fortunate to have reached a time in history when she could ask questions about the institutions that governed much of her life and embrace the possibility of a much bigger picture.

DSC00514 We shared many interesting conversations on many aspects of life…she felt the “lid was off the box!”

DSC00512I have recently declared myself to be a pagan woman, in that I do not believe in any form of killing, for any reason, nor do I believe in a “creator” as in any sky god, including Zeus and I seek the Divine in all life. Mother Earth is both my home and “church,” feeding my deepest spiritual needs.

(Paganism is not dogmatic. Pagans pursue their own vision of the Divine as a direct and personal experience. ~Pagan Federation)

DSC00665 As I revealed this to my brother, we both realised that this would have been impossible to declare for any of our previous family over the course of the last 1500 years .

So, here I am, the first woman in my family for 1500 years to happily and openly declare my spiritual path outside of any established, monotheistic  church or religion and reconnecting with ancient family …that’s quite profound, don’t you think?

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Posted in Abundance, ancient Ireland, biodiversity, Bloom, Celts, forest gardens, Growing Food

Natural Gardening and No-Dig Growing

DSC00027DSC00032Ireland is the richest source of Celtic  myths and legends.

DSC00029Down through the Ages, Ireland remained remote and cut off from mainland Europe, holding onto its rich folklore and spirituality.

DSC00030DSC00031It’s peoples worshipped all aspects of the natural world in which they recognised the Divine, in much the same way as I do here at Bealtaine Cottage.

DSC00034The reason for the wealth of myth and legend that pervades Ireland, today and it’s people lies not just from its isolation from mainland Europe for much of its history.

DSC00035Ireland remained free from pressures exerted by other cultures such as the Roman Empire.

DSC00036So much so, that the great writer, John B. Keane referred to his people as having only a “thin veneer of Christianity…” in that they merged their pre-Christian practices with their newly inducted Christianity.

DSC00037 And so I offer this up as a simple explanation for the gardens at Bealtaine Cottage having evolved through a similar understanding of the natural world and the supreme forces of Nature.

DSC00038This is no ordinary Permaculture garden as you can see, but one deeply nourished and inspired by the Goddess.

DSC00039For me there is a spiritual, otherworldly, ethereal force at work and play here.

DSC00040This is the rational (for me) way of explaining the extraordinary growth and extreme revving-up of biodiversity that has happened at Bealtaine.

DSC00041All beyond my control…not that I ever wanted to control this magnificent force!

I leave that to the Planet-Wreckers!

DSC00042As I re-emerged through my journey with Mother Earth, I came to an intuitive understanding of the need to stop digging Her…to let Her be!

DSC00043So I mulch and cover Her with as much tenderness as befits the Great Mother.

DSC00044You will never see any of Her precious skin exposed.

DSC00045Her mantle remains in place.

DSC00046And so this brings me to the second part of this story…

DSC00047The wonderful success of No-Dig Gardening…

DSC00050And here is the first of over twenty photographs and the story of growing success at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland…continued over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life… bealtainecottage.org

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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:

https://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 Celts, Ireland, Samhain, writers

Between Worlds We celebrate

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As with all things Celtic, the merging of time and place meant boundaries became thin and blurred…

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Known as “The Night of the Thin Veil…a time of “between worlds”…the fertile edge when all is possible!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Today’s Podcast…

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

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Thanks for your support!

Posted in Celts, Folklore, Ireland Celtic festivals, Permaculture, podcast

From Lughnasadh to Samhain

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We have entered the final month of Lughnasadh and the wonderful Indian Summer continues here in the west of Ireland!

Permaculture Cottage

As we journeyed through the Equinox and welcomed a spectacular moon, the nights seemed to draw in dramatically.

The Seed Site on Bealtaine Cottage has been updated today and now includes Willow.

I will be adding to the site as more and more seed becomes ready to be packaged.

Shabby chic at Bealtaine Cottage

Today I have collected Flat Leaf Parsley and will be adding Celery seed this weekend.

October 2011 permaculture Cottage 010

As we begin to make plans for the final Harvest Feast…From Lughnasadh to Samhain…enjoy today’s Podcast…

Seeds and Willow   https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

Podcast :

_____________

Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is a mere 12 euros per year and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

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Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Ireland, magic, Poetry

Good Magical Morning!

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The Stone Circle here at Bealtaine Cottage is infused with early morning light.

A wild wind blows in from the West carrying energy and a sense of renewal as it blows Hawthorn flowers in front of it.

The morning is defined by change and renewal.

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Stillness pervades the air at the back of the cottage where shelter holds sway…

Nearby a new sculpture of a Hare holds pride of place in one of the Potager beds…

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The Celts believed in the magical strength of the Hare.

The Hare belonged in essence to the Celtic goddess Eostre.

It was her most favoured animal, representing love, fertility and growth.

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In Celtic mythology the Hare was associated with the Moon, dawn and the belief in the transmigration of the soul. (I have written about this in a previous blog and can be accessed by typing Transmigration of the Soul into the search bar on this page).

Eostre was reputed to have changed into a Hare at the full Moon.

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The poet Robert Graves referred to the Hare as sacred to the White Goddess, the Earth Mother, being regarded as, and considered to be, a royal animal.

“…language of poetic myth anciently current in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was a magical language bound up with popular religious ceremonies in honour of the Moon-goddess, or Muse, some of them dating from the Old Stone Age, and that this remains the language of true poetry…” ~ Robert Graves

permaculture at bealtainecottage.org 011

Boudicca, the Queen of the Celtic tribe of Iceni in England, was said to have released a Hare as a good omen before each battle.

The Druids were said to have been able to divine the outcome of battle by the hare’s movements.

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In some parts of Ireland hares continue to be celebrated, such as  the legendary ‘White Hare of Creggan’, a sculpture of which can be seen at the “An Creagan” Visitor Centre in County Tyrone.

Even in the local community, its white silhouette continues to adorn homes.

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.

www.bealtaine cottage.com

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 Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, woodland walk, woods

Equinox Magic in the Woods

Equinox walk bealtainecottage.com 001,

Equinox was a magical day, spent in the beautiful woodland around Lough Meelagh, about three miles from Bealtaine Cottage.

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Equinox is always a special time, with day and night perfectly in balance, a time to enjoy the last long stretch of day before time moves inexorably towards the dark.

This is a Bog Oak sculpture by the Lough…beautiful, isn’t it?

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Herons are widespread in this region, with many visiting the ponds at Bealtaine Cottage.

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Pathways wind and snake their way into the depths of the woods, where an ancient Court Tomb, from the Neolithic period, is hidden among the old, tall trees.

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Ancient trees stand sentry around the Court Tomb, laid out in the shape of the womb of the Goddess.

This magical place of my Celtic ancestors.

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One is in awe of the beauty of this sacred place.

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Fairies abound in this ancient place…can you see them?

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I wrapped my arms around this beautiful tree and inhaled the energy.

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Breathtaking trees…looking up makes me feel dizzy!

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Can you see the smiling Green Man within the tree?

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Here’s another Green Man…

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And every now and then a little path leads down to the water’s edge.

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Wishing you all a Blessed Equinox…time to prepare to snuggle into the darker nights!

Posted in Books, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Inspiration, Ireland, Uncategorized

Obsession

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Morning light floods the kitchen.

The sky opens early revealing a mist over the valley.

It’s been very dry here in the west of Ireland, so morning mist adds a little dew to the plants and is very welcome.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (15)I am busy writing my book, all about Bealtaine Cottage and how it grew from barren monoculture into Eden, with some permaculture magic!

As I write, I compare this ten year journey to that of my great grandmother, Mary Ann, who felt compelled to leave the comforts of a small town and re-invent her life, on a small farm, in the countryside around Omagh.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (16)At the age of fifty four, during the great depression of the 1930’s, Mary Ann Baxter strode into a property auction being held in the town hall and bought, for cash, a small farm.

This swallowed up her entire life savings!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (18)My great grandmother was a remarkable woman, for in the 1930’s, a woman in her fifties was considered old and good for little!

Not alone that, women did not do anything as bold and individual as buying property, on their own, at an auction!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (19)The farm became her life and she slept for the next twenty years in a big brass bed in the barn…never in the little cottage which she kept pristine!

Her story is simply enchanting and I promised my father to write it…and I will!

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (20)In the meantime the story of this obsessive desire to live close to Mother Earth continues to be written.

The first four chapters are posted on this website and I would be happy to receive any comments you may care to leave…

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (21)Talking of which…I know there are many, many subscribers to this blog, running into the thousands and often wonder why so few use the “Like” button at the end of the blog.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture (17)It does my heart good to see that what I write is appreciated 🙂 and maintaining a spirit of generosity in photographing and posting regularly is helped by appreciation, so please take the few seconds to like.  

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

www.bealtainecottage.com

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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 For magical crystals…

https://bealtainecottage.com/charged-crystals-for-sale/

For seeds…

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

For Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

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

 

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Blessing, Celts, Cottage, Culture, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Spirituality

The Most Sacred Thing

   

DSCF1716Marija Gimbutas was a most extraordinary Archaeologist, perhaps the first archaeologist to look at how life was lived in the days before war!

DSCF1717Yes, it is amazing to think that such a world ever existed, but one needs to listen to some of the recordings of her work to understand the magnificence of this discovery.

DSCF1718What Marija has to say, in light of my ten years of experience here at Bealtaine, makes perfect sense to me!

I have added a link to some of her recordings and lectures at the end of this blog.

DSCF1719The work of Gimbutas may act as a template for the future…

DSCF1724There are revelations I have experienced here at Bealtaine Cottage, that I can only link to a strong female presence, describable only as an Earth Goddess or Earth Mother.

DSCF1725Last week visitors from Queensland in Australia walked the gardens…the energy of the land was palpable.

DSCF1729Many visitors remark immediately on the luxuriant growth here at Bealtaine, as well as the warmth and aura.

DSCF1731All agree that these are the Goddess Gardens, the most sacred thing.

DSCF1732Those who welcome the Divine Mother into their gardens will understand this extraordinary energy. 

DSCF1733This link will take you to the first part of the talk and is part introduced by Starhawk…enjoy!

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Ecology, Gaia, Garden, Gardens, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Woodland

A Sacred Space

DSCF1479 Early, matrilinear civilizations held certain areas as sanctuaries, for religious purposes.

DSCF1460These were marked out in forests as groves, and mountains with stone, but all bound with markers, many of which can be recognized in the landscape today.  

www.bealtainecottage.comHere in Ireland it is still possible to walk and sit in these sacred places near water, rock and remnants of ancient forest.

www.bealtainecottage.comIn ancient societies the Earth Mother was one of the earliest deities.

www.bealtainecottage.comHer marriage with the Sky God produced life on Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis was a way of understanding the interconnectedness of life, for people evolving societies.

March 2014These are some of the Sacred Spaces that have evolved in the gardens of Bealtaine, each one co-created with Mother Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe alignment of these Sacred Spaces holds particular fascination for me, for I have watched each one come into being and am aware that one must enter from a particular direction and engage the space on a particular alignment.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Alignments that engage the human interacting within the gardens are particularly interesting…

www.bealtainecottage.com 075I watch where the visitor is attracted to and the position they hold upon entering that space.

www.bealtainecottage.com 039These alignments indicate energy pathways, referred to as Ley Lines.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Regarding the Earth as sacred, allows one to engage with the possibility of co-creating Sacred Space. 

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013It is a way of opening portals to allow the Earth a sacred space in which she can re-generate herself.

permaculture cottage july 2011 003Abundant energy flows from these spaces, connecting the land around and drawing in more energy.

open weekend sunsetThis is the most remarked upon aspect of Bealtaine Cottage from visitors far and wide.

fairies 028This is the time to create Sacred Space…

chimes and angels…for when we regard Mother Earth as sacred…

kilronan mountain…we will cease to abuse her, or, more importantly, allow her to be abused!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Personal

A Rite of Passage

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A mighty storm rages around Bealtaine Cottage as I write.

The morning is filled with roars and whoops of wind as it smashes in from the Atlantic Ocean, enveloping the land with angry energy.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe gable end of this little cottage faces into the west and the worst of Nature’s wrath.

The trees slow it down, calming and sifting its robust anger.

I sit by the table near the window on the north-side, occasionally glancing out when the tempest noise rises.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0341.jpgOver recent days, the need to be with my mother has taken over, as she gently leaves this world, moving and shifting in little caresses of energy, back, towards the Divine.

cropped-0056.jpgHer rite of passage will be completed sometime very soon.

I have watched her quiet dignity hold sway over the comings and goings of support staff, family and friends.

My Mother greets her final journey safe within the home of my brother, her first-born child.

Her bedroom, where she grows smaller, like a womb, comfortable and quiet.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0162.jpgThis week has been filled with indescribable emotions, but all relating to love.

During this time, my computer has gone on the blink and I have been unable to write and post as I need to…

I need to write… and having a fully functioning computer, that I can use in the warmth of the little lodge, where I over-winter by the wood-burning stove, will be comfort itself.

This will be the beginning of a portable Bealtaine Cottage too, as I will be able to write and post wherever I go.

I am grateful for that!

Thanks and blessings to you, my generous friends!

old pictures saved by Dylan 4421My mother in the early days of Bealtaine Cottage, surrounded by animals, her grandson and magic in the gardens.

This is where some of her lovely energy will be found, for me, in the coming days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found my father here after he passed and came to understand that energy does not disappear…we simply have to re-focus our eyes and listen with our hearts to recognize it. (Mum and Dad, on a visit to Bealtaine about five years ago. I took them to the top of Kilronan Mountain!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Celts believed in the Transmigration of the Soul.

Living at Bealtaine for almost ten years now, I have come to understand that belief.

Death is not the end, but a Rite of Passage.

Blessings and thanks to you all XXX

(My Mother passed away this morning. I spent yesterday with her.)

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, History, Inspiration, Ireland, photography, Spring

The Enchantment of Belcoo

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s late as I write this blog…I really should be in bed, but the beauty of the day has filled me with enthusiasm to share it with you!

I made a journey to Omagh this morning to visit my mother.

The day was bright and the sky clear as I set off on the journey North.

I drove up around Lough Allen, across the border at Belcoo, through Enniskillen and onto Omagh.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005On the way I stopped by Lough McNean at Belcoo.

www.bealtainecottage.com 014 Legend has it that this was the scene of an ancient massacre.

www.bealtainecottage.com 006It’s a strange place, resonating some kind of ancient energy.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The mountains around the Lough stand guard over deep, dark waters that mark the borderlands

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The landscape pulls one in as if by magic, forcing the eye to examine the shadows in search of something…something…some memory of being here before…

Many thanks for the continuing support for the work of this Bealtaine Cottage  website.

Blessings

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 Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Fairies, Folklore, Winter

Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Inspiration, Life, Personal, Spirituality, Thoughts

Not Our Enemy!

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“Nature is not our enemy, to be raped and conquered. Nature is ourselves, to be cherished and explored.” — Terence McKenna. Wise words from a human being who explored his sacred journey to the end.

cropped-old-pictures-saved-by-dylan-3678.jpgThis really is about a mindset, a way of seeing the world around us.

A time of evolving away from fear of the dark.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009I was mindful of this last evening when I had to go out searching for Sammy-bear, in the dark, armed with a wind-up torch…oh, how I wish I’d wound it up fully and charged it beforehand, for there I was, walking, winding and calling, in the dark…crazy cat lady!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005Walking back up through the gardens, in the moonlight, Sammy-Bear doing his best to trip me up, for he loves to wind himself around my feet as I move, my mind wandered onto these words of wisdom.

As I called to mind what Terence had said, I began to look around me in the moonlight.

I stopped and listened.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Here and there I heard the sounds of birds in trees and bushes, as I disturbed their sleep.

It became apparent to me that I was not alone and all around me was in its natural state.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026Yet, since writing and film media began to create images for us to consume, we have been drawn away from Nature, in the pursuit of fear-mongering.

I wonder why this is?

Exploitation of our deepest fears?

www.bealtainecottage.com 022Our deepest fears lie within us, not without.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Realizing that Mother Nature is not our enemy, goes a long way in addressing all of our fears, including the deepest fear of all…our own mortality!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012The ancients Celts did not have a fear of mortality, for they believed in the immortality and transmigration of the soul and this was why Julius Caesar feared them so.

It is not possible to control those who do not fear death.

www.bealtainecottage.com 024This was also why the early Christian Church was so powerful…no fear!

www.bealtainecottage.com 007My grandmother was a mighty cool woman, who spent the last 38 years of her life on her own, going to bed alone and blessing the light of another day.

The night before my stillborn niece was buried, my grandmother kept the little white coffin in her bedroom, with her, close to the most powerful energy in the family, that of the matriarch.

Life and death were deeply intertwined and sacred for her…

www.bealtainecottage.com 027Whatever any one of us believes, it is a universal truth that Mother Nature is there to support us.

She is not our enemy!

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A Little Bealtaine Cottage Christmas Book…

I am going into a second print run and will be ready to post again by Friday 15th of November!

Sad to add that all the lovely cards are now gone! (I can post seeds with the booklets!)

 If any kind visitor to this blog would like to support the work of Bealtaine Cottage, then…

This is the link to the details of how to purchase  your own copy… https://bealtainecottage.com/christmas-book/

Blessings X

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Cottage, Gardens, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

Cottage Industry

www.bealtainecottage.com 001The clock ticks towards Samhain, literally meaning: Summer’s end!

Tomorrow is Samhain, a celebration of the last day of Summer and the beginning of Winter in the Celtic calendar. www.bealtainecottage.com 002Despite cold nights creeping into Bealtaine, all remains green on the ground, with just the trees showing signs of transition into Winter.

Nasturtiums have not yet melted in the frost…it seems the ground continues to put forth enough heat to protect them!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003“I ordered my food ages ago!”

Sammy-Bear waits for his breakfast on the veranda…I have to hurry up with this photography business and serve him breakfast!
www.bealtainecottage.com 007The Wisteria, on the veranda of the Lodge, is showing a last magnificent vibrancy before it sets itself into bed.

The plants and trees are making a fantastic show of colour this season!

www.bealtainecottage.com 011The view from the doorway of the Lodge remains green and tranquil.

The micro-climate created here serves the cottage well.

All is sheltered from the North, West and East!
www.bealtainecottage.com 013We really have been blessed, with perfect weather this year, here in the west of Ireland.

Each season has behaved itself extraordinarily well!
www.bealtainecottage.com 020Despite the fact it was my birthday yesterday, I was sufficiently inspired to work and spent the afternoon crocheting this hat.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003It’s an “Annie Hall,” inspired creation…I adore Diane Keaton!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017I love the “cloche” type, 1920’s inspired, hats and adore working with pure wool and natural fabric.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004This one is made using Donegal Tweed Pure Wool and the colour is just wonderful!

I shall be making many more for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop!

Here’s the link to the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/ie/listing/167531769/cloche-hat-1920s-style-in-pure-irish

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Celtic Roots of Samhain

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 even before the Celts arrived in Ireland!

And so, as the leaves fall and cover the earth, we reach Summers End and the beginning of the descent towards Midwinter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 022The Festival of Samhain marked the end of the Celtic year.

  www.bealtainecottage.com 023This is the traditional New Year’s Eve!

www.bealtainecottage.com 038Walking through the gardens at Bealtaine, takes me on a journey similar to the festival of Samhain, for it is all about ending and beginning…as the land pulls its duvet of leaves across its mantle of green, preparing for the beginning of Winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056As Samhain marks the division point in the year between summer and winter, it is understood that any point, in the land where there is division or boundary, can be unsafe at Samhain…for it is there that the veil is at its thinnest!

Here at Bealtaine Cottage, the warmth of the sun continues to enchant!

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Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celts, Country Living, Earth, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Permaculture, Samhain, Thoughts, Uncategorized

The Moon of Samhain

www.bealtainecottage.com 028Leaves are changing the trees and shrubs into their vivid autumn attire.

Spiders are scurrying to and fro, spinning webs and catching food.

Berries hang in abundance on shrubs and trees.

Samhain waits in the wings.

The season makes progress towards “Summers’ End.”

www.bealtainecottage.com 015My friend, Marion has delivered some logs to me as a gift…a true and thoughtful friend indeed!

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Rain has fallen for some days now and the ground is saturated.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034However, Jack must be walked…Walking in the rain is therapeutic and quite humbling, reminding me of the blessings of warmth and comfort in the cottage and the fortune of friendship.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Last night the moon was full and powerfully bright, illuminating the landscape and the sheep, on the hill behind the cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005I love this time of year, my birthday month…a celebration on the 29th, a Scorpio for sure!

www.bealtainecottage.com 012I am driven by passions and am of the Earth…at times a great strength and others my downfall, though little I care!

Scorpio women rarely cast a glance over their shoulder…

www.bealtainecottage.com 011I am blessed in that I love the Earth and her seasons, an endless wardrobe of colours and textures and scents!

www.bealtainecottage.com 008And even here, in my workroom, I can watch her on the stage, through my window.

www.bealtainecottage.com 009The lunar cycle is almost complete, the moon of Samhain is next on stage.

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Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Fairies, Folklore, Inspiration, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Half Light and Shadows

www.bealtainecottage.com 039The apricot glow of a fading October sky, merged with the heavy rustling of cows on the field across the lane, drawing me outdoors.

This is a magical time of enchantment, with Nature and late evening light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027Any noise on such a still evening exudes an eerie quality of something not understood…always best to go out and uncover the mystery.

As it was, the cows and their calves had nuzzled in close to the hedgerow, to bed down for the night.

The heaviness of their bodies crushing branches, as they leaned into the conspiratorial thorn hedgerow.

www.bealtainecottage.com 056The stillness of the evening makes one want to tip-toe on the lane.

Peering back in through the window of the cottage, lit only by a candle, illuminating the kitchen, it is easy to believe in the fairy folk…

It was remarked by many in 1950s rural Ireland, that the newly installed electric light drove the fairies away…

www.bealtainecottage.com 048The light is on its descent towards Samhain and deeper still to midwinter.

This passing of the light should be a signal for us all to slow down and embrace the stillness of the year, allowing ourselves time to reflect on our sacred journey.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031The Fennel looks to all intents and purposes the magical plant it is said to be, in this half-light.

It is so majestic, scented, beautiful and useful, that I have a mind to plant it all over the gardens!

www.bealtainecottage.com 058…the warmth of the kitchen beckons me towards the light, as the apricot shadows fall back into night.

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Woodland

The Girdle of Green

www.bealtainecottage.com 002An old castle on an island in the forest, not far from Bealtaine Cottage, and where I walked today with my daughter, Cara, whose birthday we celebrated, with a walk through this magical landscape on a glorious autumn day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007This is Lough Key and the castle once belonged to the MacDermott clan who lived here hundreds of years ago.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003The castle is mentioned frequently in the ancient annals, being a focus for both fighting and partying.

Brian of the Carrick, Chief 1585-92, is reported to be last head of the clan to live on the island.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004 There is reference to Castle Island in the annals of Lough Ce as early as 1184.

During this time the park was called Moylurg and the Kings of Moylurg were the MacDermotts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017The real pleasure lies in walking among the mighty Oaks that guard the Lough.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031This Oak tree was warm and welcoming…an ancient heart holding the history of the land within.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Just resting against this tree made me feel joyous…what amazing energy and strength emanates forth from trees like this!

The mighty  Oak has had importance and great significance to the Celts, from ancient to modern times.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034This is where the ancestors worshipped and held important events in the old calendar, for the Oak Grove was considered sacred.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048Oak trees grow in almost every part of the world.

The Druids made their magic wands from only three woods…Yew, Oak and Apple.

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As the sap begins to drop in the trees and the leaves turn colour, Ivy, that has previously been shaded out by canopy, emerges into its own, as a permanent reminder to us all that spring will return.

www.bealtainecottage.com 057The evergreen girdle of Ivy, on many trees, keeps a host of small birds and insects warm and fed over the dark days of winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 043Similarly, the girdle of Moss, around the base of the mighty Oak, will secure the winter for many small creatures.

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If you would like to support the work of the Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture website and Youtube (ad-free) videos, donations are very appreciated 🙂

or visit the Etsy shop and purchase a hand-made or vintage product.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Folklore, Gaia, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Samhain, Spirituality

The Night of the Thin Veil

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September has been an extraordinary month of sun and still air, little has moved and time has appeared to stand still. www.bealtainecottage.comSunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.

www.bealtainecottage.comIndeed, September 2013 will be remembered here in Ireland for the “Indian Summer,” often promised and rarely received!

www.bealtainecottage.comTomorrow is the last day of September.

We are now past equal day and night and on the descent to Samhain and the night of the “thin veil”…

www.bealtainecottage.comI have spent as much time outdoors as possible, walking and watching the light play with the changing seasons.

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The Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”.

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The places, “in-between,”  the shore and land, thresholds, night and day, life and death.

The place between life and death was honoured in the form of a wake, for the soul took time to depart and journey onwards.

www.bealtainecottage.comBealtaine and Samhain are in-between times, when time stands still, as transition occurs.

Bealtaine is the transition to summer and Samhain the passing into winter.

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‘Tis a pity that Samhain has been so commercialized, into the freak show of Halloween…it is not to be tolerated! Samhain is a lovely time of remembering and honouring the ancestors and all those who have passed from our lives during the year.

www.bealtainecottage.comI hope you take the time to celebrate with a gathering of family, friends, feast and fire…reclaiming our precious traditions from the corporate nonsense of plastic pollution and Hollywood freak show!

(All photos today were taken by me, in the local area around Bealtaine Cottage.)

www.bealtainecottage.com

Blessings

Colette

Posted in Abundance, Animals, Bees, Birds, Cats, celebrations, Celts, Edible Gardens, Garden, Growing Food, Ireland, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Self-Sufficiency, Uncategorized, Vegan

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 001Stepping out in search of breakfast…the potager beds are full and the apple trees drip with fruit…lots of good, fresh food to juice this morning!

Much of my Vegan diet is raw food…I love it!

It makes me feel alive and well!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 013The morning is mild and very still…I can hear the birds move through the bushes, as they dip and swoop along the paths in the gardens.

Rustling sounds entice me along the paths towards the stone circle…the cats are at play in this magically wild field to the north of the cottage.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 015Sammy-Bear sits atop the stone seat, watching Che-Mousy as he creeps towards him…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 016It’s a delight to watch young animals at play…I wonder what they’re thinking and saying to each other…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 017The streams around the land are beginning to flow, as the rain returns.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 007This summer has been very dry and the land is quite firm to walk upon.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 020As the vernal equinox approaches, the rhythms of Nature beat a pace to follow towards Samhain.

The days of cutting and clearing and making haste the harvest are upon us.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 025The last of the herbs will be harvested before the equinox.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 026Willow and Dogwood, grown tall, will be cut, or trimmed, according to the use.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 027New beds, like this one, will be completed and shredding continued to be applied throughout the months of winter, up until the new planting.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 028But, I digress…my journey into the gardens this morning took me in search of breakfast…I must keep going…

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 029More distractions catch my eye…the bees continue to work on the Sunflowers nestling among the Apple-mint.

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 030As I turn around, I see part of my breakfast, fresh to pick and juice!

Autumn in the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage 034Finally! Picked and ready to wash, then juice…Kale, Apples and Celery.

Living off the land!

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Fairies, Folklore, Garden, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Trees, Uncategorized, Woodland

Discovery in the Fairy Wood…

fairies 021Yesterday afternoon and evening was spent down in the Fairy Wood, cutting back the paths and lifting the canopies on some of the bigger trees.

fairies 022My work was intensive and totally absorbing, as you can imagine.

fairies 023It wasn’t until several hours of hard labour had passed that I began to look around me…

fairies 026… for I had moved about ten metres through the wood, without taking much note, other than look at what I was sawing.

fairies 027Taking a breather, I stopped and looked around at the unfamiliar surroundings…I was in a place unknown to me in all the nine years I have worked and planted this land!

fairies 028This is the most amazing aspect of the Fairy Wood…that it had transformed itself as I planted, worked and took daily walks through this magical place.

fairies 029I walked around to the far side of this ancient Ash tree, one that had stood in among the briars and thorns, alone, for all the time I have planted here.

The tree looked totally different on the other side…

fairies 031The Ash tree has been coppiced at some point in the past and has grown into a multi-stemmed tree which now has an underground cave.

fairies 037Almost all kinds of trees found in the Celtic countries have been thought to have special powers, or to serve as the abode of the fairy folk, but especially the magical trio of the Oak, Ash and Blackthorn.

fairies 035The Ash was a sacred tree to the Druids and it’s wood was highly prized in making wands.

This a a very special tree and quite magical as you can see…

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Hi Colette,

I just received this petition. Perhaps you can mention it in your blog and get other people to sign it.

Love and best wishes

Terri

Bayer has just sued the European Commission to stop the ban on its bee-killing pesticides — despite clear evidence its products are behind the massive bee die-offs.

We can’t let Bayer and Syngenta get away with this blatant threat while the bees disappear. Sign the petition to tell them to drop the lawsuits now!

Sign the Petition

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, Bees, Buddha, Cats, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Edible Gardens, Food, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Monsanto, Organic Garden, Permaculture, polytunnel gardening, Seed-Saving, Seeds, Uncategorized

Images on the First Morning of Lughnasa

bealtaine Cottage windowThe first day of Celtic Autumn has arrived.

It’s cool.

Last night seen the hot water bottle come out of storage and be filled.

Rudbeckia at Bealtaine CottageRudbeckia has opened its beautiful deep orange petals…a marker of the time of year. This has been grown from seed, this year.

I started it off in the tunnel in February, from seeds I collected last Autumn.

Sammy-BearAs I walked the gardens, Sammy-Bear walked in front of me, finally stopping in the tunnel and rolling in the dirt!

Sammy-BearFor a white cat, he can be a dirty little rascal at the best of times!

Sammy-Bear passing BuddhaOn the plus side, he doesn’t seem to mind the rain, so cleans up well!

bee on Lavender at Bealtaine CottageSeed-saving continues apace and the bees keep up the good work, even on a wet morning like today…

Bee on lavender at Bealtaine Cottage…this is where the tunnel works really well!

purple-Sprouting Broccoli seed headsThese are seeds from the three year old Purple Sprouting Broccoli, still in the pods, drying.

These seeds are big and plump and represent the very strongest, biggest, most productive and oldest of the Purple Broccoli.

Monsanto eat your heart out!

Pom-Pom Dahlias at Bealtaine CottagePom-Pom Dahlias are making a show of themselves.

This is the first year I have grown these.

Buddleia growing in two tyres at Bealtaine CottageThis Buddleia was grown from Bealtaine Cottage seed and planted in the tyres two years ago.

Lunaria seeds drying on the veranda of the Lodge Many followers of Bealtaine cottage ask me for Lunaria (Honesty) seeds…and here are some drying on the veranda of the Lodge, hung up last evening.

This is a nice airy place to start off the drying process, though I may need to bring them indoors, if the wet weather prevails for much longer.

Apple havest at Bealtaine CottageThe Apple harvest continues to delight as the fruit appears so healthy and untarnished for another year.

Apple harvest at Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandI NEVER spray my Apple trees, or, for that matter, ANY of the fruit trees, and am rewarded with a bountiful, healthy crop year after year!

Truly Organic!

Leaves of the Crocosmia MontbretiaThe rain settles onto the leaves of the Crocosmia Montbretia, a beautiful harbinger of Autumn!

Bealtaine CottageA pot of tea beckons…

Sammy-Bear CatSammy-Bear is sad to see me go indoors…

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Folklore, Garden, Lughnasa, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wild Flowers

Celebrating Lughnasa

The carved head of Lugh looks in all directionsLughnasa (earlier, Lughnasadh) was the feast of Lugh.

Lughnasa Lugh, carved by Michael Quirke A harvest festival, its celebration marked the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

Lugh, carved by Michael Qirke of SligoIts original name does not survive in popular tradition, that being now the common word in Irish (Lúnasa) for the month of August. 

Lugh of LughnasadhThe festival is rather known as the Sunday of Crom Dubh (the god of harvest), or in varying areas as Lammas Sunday, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, or Fraughan Sunday.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe first weekend in August marks Ireland’s changing-of-the-season festival of Lughnasa.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe Irish playwright, Brian Friel, wrote the now famous,“Dancing at Lughnasa” which is all centred around the pivotal point in the Celtic calendar, Lughnasa.

Bealtaine flowers at LughnasaThe Celts regarded the Earth as a fertile Goddess, to be nurtured and honoured…a way of living I now follow, as a care-taker and care-giver to Mother Earth.

flowers for MichelleThe gate-keeper to the sanctuary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Lughnasa flowers for Michelle's weddingToday is the final day of summer in the Celtic Calendar…Happy Lughnasa!

 

Bealtaine Cottage is also on YouTube…with over 100 videos about Permaculture, planting, growing and living.

Thank you for supporting this blog

Posted in Art, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Crafts, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Cottage Garden Harvest

Cottage garden harvestRed onions and seeds dry in the heat of the afternoon sun at Bealtaine Cottage. cottage garden harvestThe Permaculture harvest is on it’s way.

cottage garden harvestI am saving lots of seed from the biggest, healthiest and tastiest plants!

cottage garden harvestThe rain came and has left a little water…not much, but enough to fill the tank in the loft!

Cottage Garden HarvestHerbs and seeds are coming into their own!

potato harvest at Bealtaine CottagePotatoes are appearing where none were planted…these have grown from seed dropped last year and have not been earthed up!

cottage garden harvestBlackcurrants are taking over the gardens!

Apple harvest

Apples are plumping out…

Runner beansRunner beans are seeking Heaven…

Raspberry harvestRaspberries are being eaten straight from the garden!

broad beansBroad Beans are looking monstrous!

potager beds at Bealtaine CottageAnd the Potager beds have received their second planting…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 006My brother Hugh O’Neill has made some very special Bog Oak pendants for the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy shop.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 003Hugh has carved some Rune and Ogham symbols on some of these special little pieces of Bog Oak.

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 004The wood is carved and polished by Hugh into these amazing pendants, each accompanied by glass or wooden beads…

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 005 A little piece of Ancient Ireland to wear around your neck!

Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop 002You can find these on the Bealtaine Cottage Etsy Shop…

https://www.etsy.com/listing/157732408/ancient-irish-bog-oak-pendants

 

Posted in Cats, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Fairies, Folklore, Inspiration, Ireland, Woodland

In Search of Fairies on a Summer Eve…

In search of fairiesIt could be the way the light hangs in the sky this evening…

Lysimachia Punctata and stone stepsOr the stillness of the air as a mist starts its’ way up the valley…

Entrance to the Fairy WoodOr may even be the predominance of moths fluttering in the still air down in the Fairy Wood, in the gardens below the cottage…

entrance to the fairy wood at bealtaine cottageI’m walking the gardens in search of the Fairies.

entrance to fairy wood at bealtaine cottageAlthough most people here in the West of Ireland will tell you they’ve left the fairy faith in the past, there is a lingering moment, between asking whether or not they believe in the Fairies, and the reply in the negative.

That moment of hesitation is all one needs to be aware of!

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageFairy faith is the belief in fairies, of course.

fairy wood at bealtaine cottageWhen the Milesians, the mythical race described by an 11th century scholar in Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of Invasions), came to Ireland they banished the natives to the underground and they became the Sidhe, the fairy folk.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodThey reside in old ring-forts, stone circles and inside and under magical trees like the Hawthorn, or Fairy Thorn as it is known here in Ireland…particularly one growing alone in a field.

A path from the Fairy WoodNo farmer disturbs the Fairy Thorn, for to do so brings almighty bad luck!

In the Fairy Wood below Bealtaine CottageThere is a Fairy Thorn in the wood below the cottage, hence the name, Fairy Wood or Dell, as it lies in a hollow, well below the cottage.

Willow Fedge leading away from the Fairy WoodAnd so I ramble the gardens, quietly, patiently looking here and there for movement or unexpected light.

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I would really appreciate if you’d take the time to vote for me in this Irish award…

Colette O’Neill

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