Like Noah

Start a huge, foolish project,
like Noah.

It makes absolutely no
difference what people
think of you.

Rumi

IMG_0387Another five days.

IMG_0385Bealtaine.

IMG_0386The beginning of Summer.

IMG_0388This Bealtaine is the celebration of thirteen years of the Bealtaine project.

IMG_0384A project once considered the silly dream of a ridiculous woman.

IMG_0383Against all financial advice it was conceived and against all horticultural wisdom it was planned.

IMG_0382Planned, planted and grown!IMG_0381

The Bealtaine Project is now complete.

IMG_0389This land is both resilient and regenerative…it can grow abundance without me.

IMG_0390I am now free to observe and delight, potter and sit, all the while simply ensuring the gentle maintenance of the edges and paths, free to harvest and raise plants for the Potager Beds which provide some of my food and much of my pleasure.

IMG_0391I have embarked on writing my second book, happy with the good reception of the first, “A Cottage and Three Acres.”

IMG_0392I recently read this quote by W. H. Murray and found it to be true to my experience at Bealtaine Cottage over the past thirteen years…

IMG_0393“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, the providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. “

W. H. Murray 

IMG_0394Wise words…live your life!

IMG_0396Click here to purchase the book… “A Cottage and Three Acres…One Woman’s Return to Ireland in Her Quest for Eden.”

Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at Midwinter

Origins of Yule

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

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the window

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

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015

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

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

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

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

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter Garden

 

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

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

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

From Complete Guide to Celtic Mythology by Bob Curran

winter solstice 2012 at Bealtaine Cottagemidwinter cottage 015midwinter cottage 012

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

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage

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

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

For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 85 new blogs and hundreds of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

An Open Portal in Time…

dsc04452SAMHAIN…The Celts believed that Oidhche Shamhna, Samhain, was an open portal in time.

dsc04451This weekend marks the prelude to Samhain.

https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=QE3V4W5FYDFA8

dsc04450Monday 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.

dsc04449It 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/

dsc04447 The Celts understood the year to be divided into two halves associated with the dark and the light. dsc04446The dark half begins at sunset on October 31st with Samhain.

https://bealtainecottage.com/2012/10/15/the-celtic-new-year-festival-of-samhain/

dsc04445

Samhain ends at Bealtaine, when the light half begins at sunset on May 1st.

dsc04444Both festivals are closely linked, but Samhain is considered to be the most important.

dsc04443 In Ireland, years ago, great preparations were made for the sharing of a  feast that included the departed as guests of honour.

dsc04442To enable them to come and go freely, all doors and windows were left unlatched; a special cake was made exclusively for their consumption, and a certain amount of other food was set aside just for them.

(http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Samhain.html)

dsc04441This had to be left untouched by any mortal hand for the duration of the ritual period. Eating the food of the dead was considered to be a major sacrilege and it condemned the perpetrator to becoming a hungry spirit after death, forever banned from sharing in the Samhain feast.

(http://www.irishcultureandcustoms.com/ACalend/Samhain.html)

dsc04440

As I walked out this morning, taking these photographs, it was apparent that Samhain was close, both in the colours of the trees and the Dragon’s breath along the valley.

dsc04438

So how did Samhain become All Saints Day?

dsc04434As Bridget Haggerty writes in “Irish Culture and Customs,” “…As with many of the old festivals, Christianity stepped in to do whatever it could to eliminate pagan rituals.

dsc04437In this case, it was Pope Boniface who took the festival of the dead and made it the festival of all saints and martyrs.

dsc04436 Originally it took place on May 13th, but a century later, Pope Gregory III shifted it to November.

dsc04435In Ireland, All Saints Day was instituted in 998 AD by Abbot Odilo of Cluny and by the 13th century, although many of the old Samhain rituals persisted as folk customs, November 1st had become firmly established as a Christian festival.”

dsc04433All Saints Eve is now 31st of October…Samhain!

dsc04432So what was always and only a great Celtic celebration has been claimed by a relatively contemporary religion as its own!

dsc04431However, Ireland being an island and its people being thinly removed from its cultural heritage, as John B. Keane once wrote in the play “The Field,” we have not forgotten our roots!

dsc04427In the play, “The Field,” the parish priest proclaims Christianity to be a “thin veneer” over Irish people, in a derogatory reference both to the people  and pre-Christian Paganism alike.  

dsc04426Regarding the compassion displayed for those who grieved and mourned the loss of family and loved ones, we were far removed from how the Romans described us as “Barbarians!”

dsc04425As for the souls of the dead, all were honoured, unlike the Christian church here in Ireland which regarded the souls of un-baptised babies as being condemned to “Purgatory”.

dsc04424Such was the the belief as I grew up and for the countless generations of those in my family before me.

Imagine the suffering of mothers who birthed at home and lost their babies, only to be sent to a place of darkness and nothingness.

Too cruel!

dsc04423This Samhain I will try to remember and honour all my family and friends no longer in this mortal sphere.

And celebrate with them in joy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Please feel free to share this blog on any of the social media sites you are on.

Blessings X Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

To The Mountain!

DSC01770I’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!

DSC01861I 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…

DSC01860I posted a number of pics on FB this morning, as so many people delight in seeing Bealtaine Cottage!

DSC01859It is, however, almost impossible to respond to comments left on FB as I simply do not have the time and am resolved not to negate my commitment to this blog and the second website at bealtainecottage.org

DSC01853Those of you who have followed this blog for any amount of time will be aware of the enormous workload I carry and will, therefore, totally understand this.

DSC01852Recently I came across this quote by Joseph Campbell and was deeply moved to meditate upon it for a while. 

We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come. –

Joseph Campbell

DSC01850It has inspired me to “go with the flow” much more and to simply get on and do whatever tasks need doing, rather than planning and then becoming despondent at what I have not achieved…I can be my own hardest and most severe taskmaster!

DSC01846I am determined to come away from this driven approach and relax into life more!

DSC01784DSC01787I could do with taking lessons from Sammy-bear, seen here by the Catnip in the tunnel, out of his mind!

DSC01786DSC01785DSC01781Cats remind us all how we should relax…frequently and often!

On the other hand…looking at his spaced-out expression…maybe not!

DSC01846There is another quote I wish to share with you. It is on a slightly different note, but one that you may find meaningful at this time…for I am aware of the events in our world recently…

DSC01845This is a dark time, filled with suffering and uncertainty. Like living cells in a larger body, it is natural that we feel the trauma of our world. So don’t be afraid of the anguish you feel, or the anger or fear, because these responses arise from the depth of your caring and the truth of your interconnectedness with all beings.

Joanna Macy

DSC01844I have found this to be comforting as I attempt to make sense of the chaos!

There is so much to rejoice in when out in Nature…

DSC01837DSC01836This is a bank holiday weekend here in Ireland, and also the great festival of Lughnasadh!

DSC01835DSC01834DSC01832 I will stride forth on Lughnasadh Eve to a high point on a nearby mountain to welcome in the new season and pay tribute to Mother Earth and in particular, Mother Ireland.

DSC01829DSC01823DSC01820DSC01818To celebrate the season is to turn one’s back on the machinations, arrogance and hubris of Man, seeking instead, the warmth and generosity of the Great Mother…Earth, in all her beauty!

DSC01777DSC01772Before I go, just to let you know, I am writing a blog on the Bealtaine Cottage Good Life website, all about using sheep wool in the tunnel as I prepare it for the Autumn/Winter sowing and planting.

I am still clearing, but once I begin using the wool I shall take lots of pics and post them in the blog, along with detailed explanations of how and why.

You can become a member of the site here…

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

DSC01797

See you on the other site tomorrow!

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

 

 

 

Goddess Harmony

www.bealtainecottage.com 064“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment. Patriarchy may try to negate body and flee earth with its constant heartbeat of death, but Goddess forces us back to embrace them, to take our human life in our arms and clasp it for the divine life it is – the nice, sanitary, harmonious moment as well as the painful, dark, splintered ones.

If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same. It will free us to be in a sacred body, on a sacred planet, in sacred communion with all of it. It will infect the universe with holiness. We will discover the Divine deep within the earth and the cells of our bodies, and we will lover her there with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

This quote from Sue Monk Kidd has served as a wonderful source of inspiration for me, as I move slowly on my journey through this world.

In working so closely with the land over the past years, I have come to understand the meaning of the holiness of every single living thing.

Last summer, for example, I came across a beautiful Wasp nest in one of the trees.

When I put the photo of it onto my Facebook site I was immediately alerted by several people to destroy the nest and kill the wasps.

Why, I thought, must this thing of beauty be destroyed if it not causing harm to me?

Wasps are pollinators and help keep a balance among pests too, such as aphids.

In the eleven years working the land here, I have never been stung, by bee or wasp. Creatures only attack when under threat!

“If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same.”…and nothing has been the same in this little three acre plot since becoming aware of the deep connectivity between myself and Mother Earth…call her the Goddess if you will…but the Divine presence for me is compassion itself.

“Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, ‘fertility cults,’ we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as ‘sterility cults.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman 

Much of my journey has involved stripping away layers of religious and cultural imposed identity.

This is a hard task, as one tries not to alienate others.

At times this journey has felt like one is walking on eggshells, attempting to negotiate a path between questioning/understanding and simply being part of family and community.

In search of an understanding of soul… a communion with the sacred…and being unafraid of where that takes me.

Bealtaine in June 2011 046

This website is free for you, always.

Enjoy reading the 1,000+ blogs and seeing over 4,500 photographs.

To subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, the second website, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published each week.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Metamorphosis

DSC08018

2016 is a year of transformation for Bealtaine Cottage.

Changes are being put into place this month in preparation for the year ahead.

Last year was the busiest year ever for visitors to the cottage…I lost count somewhere around June and with almost every day welcoming new visitors, work on my writing and gardening began to suffer as a consequence.

DSC08019I was guilty of what many enthusiastic people are guilty of…spreading myself too thinly! Already I have many requests from would-be visitors, so have made the decision to take a year off from opening the gardens.

DSC08020There is so much work to be done, as I have plans to create new beds and paths around the three acres. Talk about work…I haven’t even had time to move my Lemon tree in from the veranda! Thank goodness it’s been a mild Winter!

DSC08021

The Kale I planted into the old wheelbarrow has made good strides in growing through January! As the days lengthen the growth will increase and I look forward to harvesting leaves of Kale very soon!

For those wishing to visit, the garden gate will not be permanently closed…

Sunday May 1st is Bealtaine Day, a very special day in the gardening year for lovers of all things Celtic and Mother Earth!

DSC08022

May 1st is the first day of Summer in the Celtic Wheel and Bealtaine Cottage will be hosting an OPEN DAY of celebration!

Unlike the photograph taken today, the gardens will be awash with colour, as well as the hum of bees and the sweet scents of herbs and flowers!

I will also organize another Open day or two as the Summer progresses.

DSC08023Time is of the essence for me, as I attempt to fit in so many aspects of my life!

Bealtaine Cottage is home to me and I have come to realize that it is also home in a spiritual way to so many others…that is why my writing and photographing of this little place must come first.

DSC08025Out of metamorphosis comes new, better and stronger.

Seeds are available from Bealtaine Cottage…all grown, open-pollinated and saved here!

For an up to date selection, click on

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

To subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, click on

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

Blessings for a happy weekend XXX Colette at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland.

Rising to Imbolc

The morning in the garden is bitterly cold.

These are the days before Imbolc.

001

We have endured the long sleep and are ready to waken to Imbolc…

002

Magical days, filled to the brim with anticipation, a sense of urgency too, as the precious days of sleep and hibernation in the gardens comes to a close.

003

As I walk around the gardens this morning, I become increasingly aware of short time left in which to prune and cut back, clear and prepare, the gardens for Spring and Summer.

004

Ah, Summer, just the thought of Summer on this cold, white morning of late Winter, comforts the bones.

005

The days of walking barefoot in the damp grass lie ahead of me.

006

The promise of a warm Summer makes the cold of the day recoil.

007

Imbolc heralds Spring here in the West of Ireland.

It is one of the four big Celtic celebrations in Ireland.

008

Imbolc was also Christianized into Saint Brigid’s Day.

010

Imbolc is a festival of purification, hence the “Spring Cleaning” and a celebration of the first signs of Spring.

011

Walking along the paths that wind through the gardens, the colours of an all year round planting scheme are evident.

012

Here and there are stacked reminders of work to be completed, in this case, wood to be taken up to the barn, to be cut and stacked for the next winter.

013

As the snow melts on the upper hill of Ballyfermoyle, so the water flows through the ponds to be carried further into the mighty Shannon and beyond into the Atlantic Ocean.

014

Coming round once more to Imbolc, reminds one of the eternal cycle of renewal and one we are all a part of, though less understood today as by our ancestors of past millennia.

017

Willows, Birch and Dogwoods fill ground where once only the Rush held sway. This is the new cycle here of regeneration and renewal…a return to a fertile Earth.

015

And, where clean water flows, so does life!

To the ancients peoples of this sacred isle, the water was life and honoured in such a way.

018

The starkness of these remaining days are etched with beauty…a rare kind of ethereal beauty that is both proud and alone.

025

In a garden so welcoming of the sunlight, for this all faces north, each tree receives these low rays with grace.

027

The old name Imbolc occurs only in the very old literature, as many have forgotten it’s magic as the move towards modernity was embraced…but what is lost?

028

The Ancient Ways have been suppressed by all invaders and religions, and much dogma of uniformity, without thread of meaning.

029

For many in the western world this is now Candlemas in non-Gaelic speaking areas.

However there appears to be a revival of many traditions as people seek to understand their tribal ancestry and re-establish the threads of the tapestry to an older time.

030

And so we rise to Imbolc, as our faces seek out the sun and count the lengthening days.

032

We strain our necks to peep out onto sunsets, remarking on the time that’s in it.

033

Rising, from our long darkness, to Imbolc.

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

I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 1,000 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

Most of you are familiar with this Bealtaine Cottage website.

Bealtaine Cottage is free to all, as it has been for the past five years.  

With over 1,000 blogs and 4,000+ photographs, Bealtaine Cottage continues as a free to access website.

As a way of supporting the work of Bealtaine Cottage, I have developed a second website… Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

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

Blessings

The Midwinter Archives

www.bealtainecottage.com 005

Midwinter, past and present…all here for you to see!

www.bealtainecottage.com 016

Feeling a touch nostalgic, I decided to share some of the magic of Midwinter with you from previous years.

midwinter cottage 010

The silvery light of a midwinter sun captures a sense of magic indoors.

22 dec 10 002

We are all deeply affected by light and respond in varying ways to it, though mostly it makes us feel happier and more positive about life.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The light of both the sun and moon proved so important for our ancestors that they integrated all aspects of both into their spiritual lives.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Somewhere in the depths of Winter was born a sense of the light returning and the cycle beginning once more. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

At midwinter, the sun appears to stand still, for three days, before rising on its ascent back up into the southern sky. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

The light changes. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Shadows grow shorter. Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

Our bodies and minds ascent with the sun towards Midsummer, filled with joy and optimism.

sat morn 18 12 10 019

Much of humankind has forgotten the importance of observing the heavens and being mindful of our connection to them.

fri night 17 12 10 003

The star that flashes red and green, (I was told was Arcturus), has moved from its midsummer position above Kilronan Mountain to the north, to one high in the south eastern night sky.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

I have come to be more aware of the night sky over recent years…

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As we continue on the descent towards Midwinter, with clear, cold night skies, this can be a good time to look to the heavens.

012

Midwinter will pass soon enough and the cycle will begin once more.

monday morn 6 12 10 014

The darkness will lift.

007

Days will lengthen.

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

And life emerge anew!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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

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

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

Latest Podcast and Blog at BCGL…

LILITH AND THE WELL

Or…simply make a donation

Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage.