Another Trip Around The Sun!

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IMG_9956My birthday has passed.

IMG_9961 It was a wonderful day and here I am in a new year of my life, another journey around the sun!

IMG_9951It’s been an extraordinary journey so far and, as usual, it’s been a wonderful time for casting the occasional, cursory glance over my shoulder to the past.

IMG_9960To this end, I have recalled many aspects of my relationship with my parents, especially in my younger years, realising more and more just how wonderful they both were!

IMG_9962When one is in the thick of it all it’s sometimes very hard to see the people behind the parent mask.

IMG_9959As a parent it became obvious to me how much of a mask one had to don, at times…from the tough to the understanding and sometimes with little in-between!

IMG_9963However, I recall much of my memories of my parents with enduring humour, for I now am fully cognisant of what I put them through!

IMG_9965And so my birthday was a time to celebrate with both my parents in mind, especially my Mother! IMG_9969Her permanent optimism must have been difficult to carry at times, especially when faced with loss, grief, unhappiness and the all-permeating poverty.

IMG_9970I admire her more than ever with each passing year of wisdom and reflection.

IMG_9968Love endures.

IMG_9971I am fortunate to have reached a point in my journey where it is possible for me to understand the woman who was my Mother and the man behind the mask of fatherhood…one he rarely let slip, but I was lucky enough to see the interesting and caring man behind that mask.

IMG_9974The celebrations continue into Samhain, the 31st of October.

IMG_9972Tomorrow the fire will be lit and the ancestors invited into the midst of the family and friends who will gather.

IMG_9975The following day will herald in the first day of the Celtic New Year…a great time of renewal, wishes and hopes for the journey ahead.

IMG_9973On another note, I am aware that Thursday will be the first day of November and I have several boxes of calendars here in the study, waiting to be re-homed!

IMG_9978So if you want to think about possible Yuletide gifts, then look no further!

IMG_9979I am happy to post on your behalf to anywhere in the world!

IMG_9980There is also a wonderful selection of Bealtaine Cottage books and a magical, mythical map…here are the links:

 

Bealtaine Cottage Calendar for 2019

Price includes postage and packing worldwide! The calendar hosts a page of colour photographs from Bealtaine Cottage for each month of the year. The months of the year are written in Celtic script…ie: May is Bealtaine, August is Lughnasadh and so on…many of you are already familiar with the Celtic Calendar. The pictures on each month also feature some added wisdom from Bealtaine Cottage and information on the ancient festivals of Celtic Ireland.

€17.00

 

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

 

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

 

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

 

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

An Open Portal in Time…

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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)

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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.

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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!

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

Blessings X Colette at Bealtaine Cottage

Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

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dsc03481

Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain. 

dsc03482Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar.

dsc03483The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance.

dsc03484This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth.

dsc03485It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring.

dsc03486Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve.

dsc03487It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin.

dsc03488A time of possibilities.

dsc03489A time to pay honour to those who are no longer with us in human form.

dsc03490This was a time of endings and the promise of beginnings, a time for stillness and reflection.

dsc03491It was understood that in the dark silence of Mother Earth, when all appears dead, comes the promise of new beginnings, the stirring of the seed beneath the ground.

dsc03492 It is on this night, some believe, that time stands still, allowing access to other worlds and into new consciousness.  

dsc03495As I walked the gardens today, taking these photographs, there was a real sense of endings and beginnings, of approaching a marker in time.

dsc03496 A sense of anticipation and readiness for the sabbatical that is Winter…for Samhain means “Summer’s End” and as the Celts believed, this was Winter’s Beginning.

dsc03497As an integral part of their culture and interpretation of life, the Celts held strong the tradition of The Transmigration of Souls, a philosophy I believe in.
dsc03498The Celts believed in two lands after death, the Underworld and the Otherworld.

 dsc03499The Otherworld was the abode of the dead.

dsc03500This is interesting, as it strongly suggests a “life alongside the dead”…and in that an understanding of the “Night of the Thin Veil,” 

https://bealtainecottage.com/2013/09/29/the-night-of-the-thin-veil/

dsc03501Archaeological evidence has drawn attention to the richness of Iron Age tombs and the abundance of grave goods within them.

dsc03505 There is literary evidence from Caesar that seems to confirm at least part of the Celtic Beliefs system.

dsc03513In his description of the Druids, he alluded to some of their lore that related directly to the movement of souls between one world and another or between one individual and another. He states:

‘…the druids attach particular importance to the belief that the soul (or spirit) does not perish but passes after death from one body to another’
(Julius Caesar: Gallic Wars VI)

dsc03514Lucan (Pharsalia: I) stated that the Celts considered death as merely an interruption in a continuous life, as the spirit passed from one form into another, or from one world to another. dsc03515Other writers, such as Diodorus Siculus drew attention to similar beliefs – that the soul was immortal and, as its body deteriorated with age, it simply moved to another, usually located in another world.  

dsc03516

It is little wonder then that the Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”. dsc03517And so we celebrate Samhain…

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Please consider making a small donation to the Fundraiser for

LEITRIM ANIMAL WELFARE CENTRE (once the home of Jack)

https://bealtainecottage.com/leitrim-animal-welfare-fundraiser/

“Animal companions come into your life for an infinite number of reasons, each one being in service to you, your current life experience, and moreover, your soul’s growth and evolution.”
Amy Miller, Beyond Companionship: Connecting with Kindred Souls of Animal Companions.

Between Worlds We celebrate

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Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

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

wed 24 11 10 013

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…

https://soundcloud.com/bealtaine-cottage/between-worlds-we-celebrate

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.

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                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

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There are seeds for sale, as well as hand carved Bog Oak Pendants…see the links at the top of the Home Page.

Thanks for your support!

The Passing of Samhain

8

www.bealtainecottage.com 009Autumn remains, despite the passing of Samhain.

Nasturtiums hold their blooms and the occasional bee busies himself with work, inside the generous flowers of orange and yellow.

Sammy-Bear and Che-Mousey have drunk all their milk and turned their noses up at the biscuits…they may be spoiled!

www.bealtainecottage.com 010The leaves of the Nasturtium appear to grow huge, as the season of growth comes to an end…capturing and reflecting the dew of the morning.
www.bealtainecottage.com 016Giant Willow, (Biomass), drops its leaves and the winter duvet, that will cover the earth, spreads.

This Willow grows at the top of the gardens and is pollarded, to allow for ground space.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018

Few gardeners here in Ireland pollard Willow, so these trees always attract attention from visitors to Bealtaine!

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Che-Mousey has taken to following me around the gardens, as I take pictures.

He has even managed to develop a feint miaow!
www.bealtainecottage.com 024The reflective quality of the rainwater improves, as the air cools into early winter.
www.bealtainecottage.com 025Vivid colours are manifested on the Copper Beech trees…
www.bealtainecottage.com 028Cats are all around on this first day of winter!
www.bealtainecottage.com 031Can you believe these colours?

Grapevine on the veranda against blue sky…it actually appears photo-shopped, but is not!
www.bealtainecottage.com 032The raw beginnings of a basket, hung into the eaves of the veranda, now appearing, as the leaves fall away from around it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 033The Pumpkins are ready to store away in the pantry…I must remember to do this today!
www.bealtainecottage.com 036I’m just enjoying all this green, before Jack Frost steals it!
www.bealtainecottage.com 041Have a wonderful weekend everyone XXX

Cottage Industry

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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

The Celtic Roots of Samhain

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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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www.bealtainecottage.com 035

The Moon of Samhain

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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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The Promise of Mist

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www.bealtainecottage.com 001The evening falls a little faster, the light fades in the west and the cottage warms up to greet the night.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011Missy has been reluctant to go outside today, as the rain fell steadily all afternoon.

The warm air ensures a light mist will rise from the valley tonight.

If the morning is clear, the mist will rise up through the valley and embrace the mountains of Arigna.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Rose-hips are flopping out from hedgerows…is this the sign of a cold winter to come?

We shall see!

www.bealtainecottage.com 048Tea, lovely hot and comforting, the cup that cheers…thank you Jane for the beautiful mugs you made for me in your Bandon Pottery.

Crocosmia Montbretia in the rainThe flowers of the Crocosmia are in their final stages of bloom.

The vibrancy of this orange flower was brought to Ireland from South Africa over 100 years ago and have become naturalised here in the west of the country, where the Gulf stream makes the climate that little bit softer!

Che Mousey Bear relaxes on the benchThe days of sitting on the bench are not yet over, for the seasons here in the magical west of Ireland, never played by the rules.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere, Mother Nature goes her wilful, wild way, delighting in surprises that open into warm January days and balmy February afternoons in sheltered places like the south side of Bealtaine Cottage, set here in its own little micro-climate.

www.bealtainecottage.com 002Tiny pumpkins decorate the sitting room, reflecting the season of fruitfulness.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003The light play of Autumn continues…

www.bealtainecottage.com 025Bunches of drying herbs, cast shadows on the wall, as the season begins its final lunar cycle.

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I write and post about Bealtaine Cottage, on this website and YouTube (ad-free) videos.

  Making this (almost daily), commitment is simply to provide inspiration and empowerment for all seeking a better way of living on this precious Earth. Donations help me do that :)