Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

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

Magical Spirits

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

From Lughnasadh to Samhain

  We have entered the final month of Lughnasadh and the wonderful Indian Summer continues here in the west of Ireland! 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. Today I have collected Flat Leaf Parsley and will be adding Celery seed this weekend. As we begin to make plans for the final Harvest Feast…From Lughnasadh to Samhain…enjoy today’s…

Midsummer Rising

Farewell Bealtaine! Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine. The heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond. Rising 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. Festivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. Midsummer customs prevail in much of Europe…

The Most Sacred Thing

    Marija Gimbutas was a most extraordinary Archaeologist, perhaps the first archaeologist to look at how life was lived in the days before war! Yes, 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. What 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. The work of Gimbutas…

Ghosts

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. The evening sky turns a cold blue. Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen. Winter is here! Sliabh 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….

Country Living and Magic

Red berries and silver light, weather changing frame by frame and night skies opening up to endless stars…country living, or maybe just observing. For as I type, a fierce storm moves across the tree tops, sweeping leaves before it like a Samhain broom! Yet in the stillness of the sheltered gardens of Bealtaine, Perscaria blooms stand tall and erect, like soldiers guarding Summer…but not for long! (Persicaria amplexicaulis is a species of flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae, native to the Himalayas.) Che-Mousey-Bear chases around the gardens, delighting in Autumn and curiously keeping watch as I take photographs this morning….

Half Light and Shadows

The 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. Any 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. The stillness of the…