Posted in ancient Ireland, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Garden, magic, midsummer, Shakespeare, Spirituality

Midsummer Vigil

DSC00868

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 celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Christmas, Culture, Folklore, Garden, History, Ireland, Life, Lifestyle, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Midwinter, Newgrange and Sacred Light

Mornings arrive later as the sun struggles to climb above the eastern horizon…we slowly descend into winter.

Blackbirds swoop low across bushes in the garden, as they protect their territory from other hungry birds.

The hours between dawn and dusk grow thin and precious light appreciated.

Our ancestors appreciated the light of the day and made great effort to welcome it.

Newgrange was erected as a passage-grave and aligned to receive the first rays of the midwinter sun.

Our ancestors knew the importance of the midwinter solstice and the importance of light to all life on Earth.

Newgrange is the place to be on this auspicious morning of the winter, the solstice…

Midwinter can be a magical time here in Ireland, as this photograph shot from my kitchen window last year shows.

The light is different from all other and must have held a sacredness for our ancestors as the darkness engulfed them through November and December…

Newgrange was built around 3,200 BC and belongs to a time before metal was used.

Despite this, the construction was specifically aligned using knowledge that included details of the tilt within the axis of the earth and the exact information to design and build a window above the door lintel to receive the light from the rising sun on the solstice day.

So, as the light becomes increasingly important to us during this slow descent into Midwinter, can I make these small suggestions?

Find time to be quiet.

Explore in your environment a peaceful, comfortable place.

In this sacred space keep comfort with you.

Place a little bell here.

When you take time out to be quiet, light a candle, ring a soft sounding bell and meditate on the season of welcome light.

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Christmas, Music, Permaculture, Uncategorized

Newgrange, Ancestors and Preparing…

www.bealtainecottage.com 007

In preparing for the season of Christmas, I follow the age old tradition of having a good old clear out and tidy-up…much to the discerning eyes and critical comments of family and friends…”but why are you changing the furniture around?”  “…re-painting that room…” etc.,  Well, don’t ask me…it’s just what I have always done!

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Yes, indeed, Christmas has some strange effects on people and it’s older than you think…

I am driven with the desire to instill a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the midwinter festivities approach.

There is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…Christmas.

The winter solstice was immensely important.

This was because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.

 Food and wine was ready to eat and drink as fruit fermented and animals were slaughtered as feed stocks dwindled.

Hyacinths continue to push their way up through the soil and moss in a pot, placed on a window-sill in the cottage. It’s good to have a reminder of what’s to come…

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Even during the morning, parts of the interior of this Irish cottage can be dim during the months of midwinter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Light was and remains the important aspect of winter and our ancestors realized the connection this had to all life.

www.bealtainecottage.com 027That connection, that sense of knowing the elemental forces that governed their lives, was so important to them, that many monuments were erected to this end.

www.bealtainecottage.com 005Here in Ireland, Newgrange is the most important, monumental reminder we have of this elemental connection.

cropped-old-pictures-saved-by-dylan-3678.jpg

So today has been a day of tidying and ordering…cleaning the henhouse, sorting wool, cleaning out one cupboard, (well, that’s a start!) and listening to the gentle music of “Altan,” as I go…

Posted in Abundance, Culture, Current Affairs, Earth, Eco-Living, Ecology, Gaia, Permaculture, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Uncategorized

From Reproductive to Extractive Growing…What Lies Ahead…

The permaculture students have all left, making their way home filled with enthusiasm and plans for what lies ahead…and that is what a permaculture course does for one…giving hope for a future where the land is viewed as to be looked after and nurtured…

The word ‘ecology,’ comes from the word ‘oikos,’ which means house or habitat.

Ecology is something we have to understand fully before we can begin to implement the changes that are necessary to preserve our environment and nurse it back to health.

Our resource base is what forms our ecology, or home…energy and materials.

All primitive communities relied on renewable energy.

Industrialism reversed the pattern and way of life followed for millenia by our ancestors.

Since industrialisation, we have used non-renewable energy and have done so to our own peril!

The way in which we view the earth has moved from feudalism to capitalism and has marked the end of the collective view of our resource base and the start of a much more egotisitical and self-centred view  of the world around us.

Not for the better, I hasten to add!

So, what happens when humanity has spent over a 150 years or more living off the capital instead of the interest?

The advent of industrial capitalism has changed the way in which we regard and relate to our environment.

We speak of the earth’s resources as ‘raw material,’ with little respect for the land which produces it.

And as we hurtle down this path of eventual destruction, Gaia struggles to maintain a balance…all is fast becoming unbalance and anarchic.

Biodiversity is lost to the devastation that is ‘economic growth!’

 The very essence of our survival is biodiversity.

Permaculture is the only model that provides abundantly and increases biodiversity as it does!

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Climate, Earth, Gaia, Garden, History, Ireland, Leitrim, Organic Garden, Permaculture, photography, Roscommon, Sligo, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Uncategorized

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Permaculture in Ireland.

Moon in the sky last night over Bealtaine, lighting the way back from the tunnel. the Cuckoo was still calling, even in the dark of the night and light of the moon. as we ascend towards Midsummer, the Cuckoo barely sleeps. I have heard him call in the middle of the night!

The garden becomes a jungle as the rain falls and the sun shines inbetween. Willow is shooting up and all of the trees are rapidly assuming a look of maturity, though they are far from it, being 7 years old and younger!

Permaculture is about connections, keeping mindful of our connections to the Earth, so walking the land is very important. Walking the land at dusk is an uplifting experience, hearing the Blackbird sing the last song of the day. Thousands of years ago our ancestors kept mindfulness of the seasons and the rivers and all that lived thereon. my ancestors, the Celts, believed that all living things had a spirit and God dwelt within all! It is easy to believe that same wonder of understanding…should not the creator be in all creation? An artist paints a picture…ask the artist how much of herself can be found therein?

The logs continue to be stacked in the barn in preparation for winter. Most of the wood is Ash and Sycamore and burns well, providing a good source of heat for the cottage which is sustainable and carbon balanced. I am aware that more and more people here in Ireland are returning to a multi-fuel source of heating for their homes, which can only be a good thing. For too long there has been a reliance on oil and a devaluation of our own resources!