The first week of July and there’s a feint scent of Autumn in the air this morning.
The morning brings a quiet and gentle beginning to the day, untouched by the continuing perplexities of man.
“Man has drawn artificial lines on the chest of the Mother Earth, which have no significance, except for the sake of war and clashes between countries. The soil seems to be the same, the trees the same, the grass the same, and the fragrance of the air, the smell of the earth the same.”
~ Girdhar Joshi
Yes it is…all the same…at most times hard to believe when one watches the circus of life on MSM.
Bread and circuses, but we all know and recognise real life.
It has a colour and fragrance all of its own.
“The earth is a mosaic, and most fail to notice the gossamer tesserae floating down from the realm of the mind that form its images of beauty and horror.”
~ Lawren Leo
I often receive letters and emails from those who have visited Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens.
I treasure them as the words therein inspire me to keep on this busy path of sharing Bealtaine and caring for the Earth.
This evening I have taken more photographs to share with you, as I share the words penned by Christine, who visited Bealtaine some days ago.
“Thank you dear Colette for the wonderful time with you in Bealtaine Cottage yesterday.
We felt so nourished and inspired, your inspirational company, wise words and delightful home so full of beauty, vitality, and a healing presence. Almost like a dream for me waking this morning and feeling – wow – I was actually sitting with you yesterday in your garden, stroking Jack, enjoying our conversation, my eyes feasting on the plants, flowers and trees, the sounds of the light rain, the chimes, the birds and your soothing voice…a real treat. (Of course eating your gorgeous vegan brownies too). We all feel very grateful to you.
It’s a total inspiration having you create and share Bealtaine Cottage and being not far from us here, a ‘wake-up’ and an eye opener!
We each felt so comfortable, at ease and at home…of course many questions bubble this morn inspired from our visit. And also some grief…some of what you shared about deep sadness for how we are living as a civilisation, how we have lived with such lack of respect for the earth, the animals and plant kingdoms and also each other.
Such disconnection…and some of that being reflected in the challenges we have to face… We went up to the Queen Maeve Cairn at Knocknarea after leaving you…such breathtaking views…
I felt very grateful and blessed for good souls like yourself, living from the heart, soulfully, passionately, the warrior energy to follow one’s own heart-calling and live it, a real warrior path…takes courage tuning into one’s own heart, not that of the tribe or the need to be accepted and fit-in. So thanks again dear Colette. Much love to you, to Jack and Sammy Bear and of course your beautiful space and it’s healing spirit. Christine x (Nick and Raphael xx)”
On this night of the first new moon of Lughnasadh, I am content to be compared to a warrior.
For, in so many ways, my journey to this point has been a battle at times…not with Mother Earth, but over the twelve past years, on my own, when I have had to motivate myself to stay with the project.
There have been times along the way, when I have felt nurtured by others, the kindness of strangers on the internet who have supported me when I have needed it most.
Serendipity has played a huge part in the Bealtaine Project!
You know who you are…and my blessings are many and often as I think of you!
This year has witnessed a beautiful maturity in all I have planted and continue to love. I, in turn, feel nurtured by Mother Earth… There is a lot still to be done as we move into uncertain times.
There are important messages to share that empower us to act in support of Mother Earth, such as I share on my Twitter and FaceBook accounts…
Digging Mother Earth releases #carbon into the atmosphere…and why I don’t dig! Likewise…#Plants absorb #carbon from the air, through the small holes (stomata) present on the lower side of #leaves.
We are putting out double the amount of #carbon that can be absorbed by plants on Earth…Plant more!
Carbon is a gaseous food absorbed by plants…so let’s plant more!
Social Media is a powerful tool and can be used for great good in getting simple messages like these out there!
And, like all old warriors, I’ll just keep on keeping on!
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.
It was James Lovelock who first suggested that there would be a very few countries which would escape the worst vagaries of the oncoming Climate Change…
Much of our media remains silent about the problem and there hangs an eerie silence in the air around centres of political machinations.
Our extractive mentality and the demand for higher profits combine to destroy our very own habitat..this is the truth of what’s happening worldwide…we cannot escape our acquisitive nature! We appear to be caught in a vicious circle of greed versus need…and we know which one of those two is winning!
This is another Bank Holiday weekend here in Ireland and the pubs, takeaway food shops and restaurants are doing a roaring trade!
Over 56 billion farmed animals are killed every year by humans.
These shocking figures do not even include fish and other sea creatures whose deaths are so great they are only measured in tonnes…has anyone else noticed the scarcity of fish like Cod and Haddock in our supermarket deep freeze and the sly introduction of Pollack?
Yes, fish stocks are in decline, as evidenced in the supermarket offerings!
We are gobbling up our habitat at an alarming rate!
Throughout the world, about 900 million trees are cut down annually, as of 2014.
That equates to about 2.47 million trees cut down every day.
But, hold on, I hear you say…what was that you said about James Lovelock and…?
According to The Irish Times report in 2009: James Lovelock is perhaps the world’s leading thinker on environmental issues – and his prognosis for the future of humanity is grim. In Ireland to speak at University College Dublin this week, he tells RONAN McGREEVY why he thinks climate change is irreversible and why Ireland may become ‘a lifeboat for humanity’
Yes, that’s right, ” a lifeboat for humanity!”
According to scientist James Lovelock, we are on the cusp of a global catastrophe that will make the present recession look trivial.
Within 30 years, he believes, the Arctic’s floating summer sea ice will all be melted. The polar caps will no longer reflect sunlight back into space and, instead, the ocean will absorb sunlight, heating up. The permafrosts in northern Canada and Siberia will thaw out, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2). At the same time, the tropical forests, which play a critical role in taking CO2 from the atmosphere, will die out. Global temperatures will rise by between five and six degrees in a short period of time, rendering most of the world uninhabitable for the vast majority of mankind.
What sets Lovelock apart from other climate scientists, most notably the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is the swift timetable he envisages and his belief that such change is irreversible and will take most of the human race with it. (Irish Times 2009)
Lovelock is a former NASA chief scientist.
James Lovelock invented the electron capture device (ECD) whch alerted the world to the depletion of the ozone layer…remember the aerosol crisis?
However, he is most famous for the Gaia hypothesis, now a theory, that the world is itself a living organism…and one I know to be true!
Though his predictions for the world are dire, his predictions for Ireland are of some small comfort. Because of our proximity to the sea, our relatively high latitude and our low population density, we may be spared the worst excesses of global warming.
He says Ireland, along with New Zealand, will be the “most fortunate countries on earth”. We will be a “lifeboat for humanity”, but a lifeboat can only take so many passengers.
~ Irish Times 2009
Personally I think there will be many places that will make the transition successfully, but the criteria for these places will be different according to geographical regions.
How do any of the generation that will meet this head on prepare for the crisis?
Well we can begin by practicing living with less, using less, consuming less and growing more…and build a new way of living with Mother Earth from there!
It continues to be developed at Bealtaine Cottage…
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.
James Lovelock mentions other countries in his forecasting that will also have the climatic conditions to sustain life…from my reading, these include the British Isles, Northern Scandinavia, New Zealand and Northern Canada. In this interview with The Irish Times in 2009 he was directly referencing Ireland.
I have been reading much of late…in particular, two books by James Lovelock, setting out the case for Gaia and the ensuing extreme weather generated by a change in our climate, among other things, some would argue!
This is not a blog about Climate Change or, even, extreme weather…enduring it is quite enough!
This is about an extraordinary human being, who, 400 years before James Lovelock, set out the case for our Earth being alive…as I know her to be today!
For this and other beliefs, Giordano was burned at the stake in the year 1600.
He is remembered for his cosmological theories, which conceptually extended the then novel Copernican model.
He proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets and raised the possibility that these planets could even foster life of their own (a philosophical position known as cosmic pluralism).
He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its “centre”.
In short, Giordano Bruno was burnt at the stake just over 400 years ago for maintaining that the Earth was alive!
After many years of isolation in the science community, James Lovelock was acknowledged as the bearer of truth, sometimes a painful burden to carry in a society fixated with staying well inside the box!
I know from my intimate work with Mother Earth, that she is indeed alive.
I open myself to her communication.
Her voice grows louder with each passing day…indeed, many of you hear or feel her communication.
The change in acceptance of James Lovelock’s Gaia theory was summed up in a declaration published by scientists from the four international research programmes in 2001 which said…
“The Earth system behaves as a single, self-regulating system,comprised of physical, chemical, biological and human components. The interactions and feedbacks between the component parts are complex and exhibit multi-scale temporal and spatial variability.” We need to make peace with Her…and to do that we need to listen!
Thank you for supporting Bealtaine Cottage…there is a link at the top of this page where you may choose to purchase a book, calendar or map. Blessings X Colette
After so much rain during the past few weeks, it was a relief to have a relatively dry day! You may remember that last week I visited the Atlantic shoreline to harvest some seaweed to use on the garden. The strands to the south of Sligo town have piles of loose seaweed here and there along the beaches.
Always only ever take the loose stuff…don’t pull seaweed from stones as these form habitats and are essential to the ecology of the seashore!
In the end I managed about three big bags of seaweed and headed home with my foraged booty!
The first thing I do is to spread it on the gravel around the cottage and allow the rain to wash out excess salt.
After about a week, I start to spread the seaweed around established plants in the garden and tunnel.
The seaweed acts as a wonderful feed and a weed-suppressing mulch!
One of the best things about growing food in the garden is the opportunity to use local and near resources that are free to be foraged or collected…seaweed is an organic fertiliser! Seaweed is washed in by the tide, so is easy to forage!
Only ever take what you need!
It can be used straight away too by the way!
It’s packed with Potassium and Nitrogen, bot wonderful for the garden!
In the next blog, over at Bealtaine Cottage Good Life, I will explain how to make Liquid Seaweed Manure…along with lots more pics of the vegetable beds mulched with seaweed and how this feeds the plants!
“…the care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope.”
― Wendell Berry
Many permaculture garden visitors ask me why I have no solar panels?
My stock answer is that I cannot afford them…but that hides all the other reasons why solar panel are not high on my wish-list of add-ons to Bealtaine Cottage!
I see the issue in much more simple terms…frugality!
Over the past ten years of developing Bealtaine Cottage, I have successively scaled back on my use of electricity.
From getting rid of many of my original electrical appliances and refusing to replace those that have given up along the way, I have the equivalent of a roof load of solar panels!
We are a wasteful society that is easily swayed towards consumerism, failing to take responsibility for our waste, when there is NO AWAY…just Mother Earth!
Studies in America, for example, have shown that 20% of all electricity produced is wasted. (Dr Helen Caldicott)
This is interesting as Nuclear power represents 20% of all the electricity produced!
The correlation between what we waste and our environmental concerns can be very revealing!
According to statistics produced by the WWF “Power plants typically only turn about 30% of the energy input into usable electricity.
We are losing up to 75 % of the energy in the fuel at the start of the process. Energy companies could do much better – combining power and heat production can lift efficiency to over 70%.”( http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/aboutcc/cause/wasting_energy_eff/ )
In a detailed study in 2001, the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that from 3% (Switzerland) to a scarcely credible 13% (Australia) of residential electricity used in OECD countries was standby.
“I was amazed when I first learned the dimensions of standby power,” said Robert Priddle, IEA executive director. “In my own home, appliances that I thought were ‘off’ were actually consuming considerable power.”
You have immense power…the power to choose!
Your power to consume is there as a choice.
It is MY DESIRE to have a wind turbine and solar panels, but it is MY CHOICE to live lightly with Mother Earth.
Understand power…but more importantly, understand YOUR power!
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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.
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The start of the week in this sacred place, where edges meet and overlap…a cooling, calming morning.
Yesterday was a day of visits and creating bouquets to take with me.
The gardens are flourishing and birthing beauty all around me, so there was much to gather and choose from.
This is the tenth year using the roll of cellophane bought for me by my eldest daughter all those years ago as a leaving London present!
Small investments can and do go on giving!
Walking the gardens this morning, after the rain, with the earth scents rising all around me, it was a delight to see the apples well on their way to a grand harvest.
I continue to drink the apple juice saved as frozen juice from the harvest last year.
The “poor” land here has given me more food than I can cope with…a continuing surplus builds year on year.
In this tenth year, it is no longer a surprise that the main stream media has steered clear of permaculture, for the truth of biodiversity undermines the huge Agri-business pushed by governments and those in power.
Permaculture has been pushed out to the fringes of society by ignoring the outcomes of such an approach.
This is why I write and photograph and film and keep putting it out there.
I don’t mind being ignored, but Mother Earth WILL have her voice heard and those tuning in are rising in numbers to a point where the mainstream media will have to take notice or end up being overtaken.
The compost heaps continue to rise toward the sky, dropping back down to earth as they bio-degrade. Newly planted beds promise a rich return all Autumn and well into the Winter. Natural Spring water flows in abundance from an aquifer that is unabused by demanding “flush it away,” toilet cisterns.
There is no away and besides which, water is sacred!
Why use clean water to flush our human waste into the rivers and oceans…no way, there is no away! Taking care of people means taking care of the Earth…how simple is that philosophy to put into practice?
Not if you are a corporation or a politician on the make and take, for there is no money in caring, just an abundant, real economy!
Our abiding relationship is with Mother Earth.
It is the only physical relationship which surpasses all others in this life.
If we imagine our world as a tapestry, then where are you on the stitching?
Where do you want to be on the weave?
Here’s a thought: one of the biggest and most powerful supermarket chains in the UK and Ireland spent a small fortune on creating this advertising slogan, “Every Little Helps!”
This is the tenth anniversary of Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Smallholding.
It’s hard to believe that ten years ago this was a desolate cottage on three acres of the poorest agriculture land imaginable.
Wet, north-facing, thin, dauby soil promised little in the way of growing.
It was a challenge few in their right minds would have contemplated, let alone sink their life savings into, as well as borrowing from the bank!
But, I fell in love with the land, for it looked immeasurably forlorn and abandoned.
My approach was simple…it was holistic, nothing was separated or apart…all was connected and that included being connected to me, as the new caretaker and caregiver.
I have never taken a Permaculture course, but read every book on the subject and applied the principles. As a teacher I had created environmental gardens in primary school grounds in London, bringing Mother Nature to children living, in many cases, remote from Mother Nature and all her wonders!
In the early days I was physician and surgeon, intensive care nurse and visitor, channeling all my energy and hope into the sick land.
Working on my own was a blessing, for the land took all my time and love.
After ten years, this once barren little place is one of the most fertile and productive pieces of land in all of Ireland…in fact I would like to issue a challenge to The Botanical Gardens in Dublin and it is this: Bealtaine Cottage has more biodiversity in it’s flora and fauna than the Botanical Gardens, Dublin!
Early, matrilinear civilizations held certain areas as sanctuaries, for religious purposes.
These 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.
Here in Ireland it is still possible to walk and sit in these sacred places near water, rock and remnants of ancient forest.
In ancient societies the Earth Mother was one of the earliest deities.
Her marriage with the Sky God produced life on Earth.
This was a way of understanding the interconnectedness of life, for people evolving societies.
These are some of the Sacred Spaces that have evolved in the gardens of Bealtaine, each one co-created with Mother Earth.
The 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.
Alignments that engage the human interacting within the gardens are particularly interesting…
I watch where the visitor is attracted to and the position they hold upon entering that space.
These alignments indicate energy pathways, referred to as Ley Lines.
Regarding the Earth as sacred, allows one to engage with the possibility of co-creating Sacred Space.
It is a way of opening portals to allow the Earth a sacred space in which she can re-generate herself.
Abundant energy flows from these spaces, connecting the land around and drawing in more energy.
This is the most remarked upon aspect of Bealtaine Cottage from visitors far and wide.
This is the time to create Sacred Space…
…for when we regard Mother Earth as sacred…
…we will cease to abuse her, or, more importantly, allow her to be abused!
The decision, once made, gathers energy and slowly, slowly begins to move…like a baby discovering it can crawl!
And so it begins…the first small movements of the Forest of Bealtaine, barely perceptible, but felt and experienced.
The Forest of Bealtaine is emerging through seed…seeds collected, saved and sown into pots of Bealtaine compost, that will travel with them, to their final destination, here, somewhere, in Mother Ireland.
Where in Mother Ireland I do not know, but, somewhere on this land bereft of the comfort of cover and canopy, open to the growing harshness of rain, that once fell soft like dew…for the changing weather patterns and climate are taking their toll!
And so She grows!
Today the rain falls heavy and my visitors from Dublin have gone.
The heavy rain assures me we need forest…for we are the rocky outcrop of a failing empire
There is no mistake in that word…for it is She with a capital letter, She with a need to grow and nurture.
The land we have collectively failed…our governments collecting carbon taxes whilst fracking the bowels of Mother Earth! The failing Empire of the EU paying Irish farmers to rip out trees, so land can be mapped out for Google Earth Maps!
And all so politicians and bureaucrats can peer and measure and post out cheques…
But what use is money to a people living on a land being ravaged by Climate Chaos?
But here at Bealtaine, the Goddess, the Mother, our Earth is nurtured for in her womb is cradled Eden, waiting to be birthed.
And Bealtaine is one of many birthing places, for the Mother is us and we are her…there is no separation.
And in these little pots of hope, She grows, and slowly, barely noticeable to visitors, the magic begins to manifest.
She stirs, awakens and is…