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

Rituals of Midwinter

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In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835Preparation is everything.

December 2011 Permaculture Bealtaine 009This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering.

cropped-cropped-dsc02856.jpgI am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach.
cropped-cropped-mon-25-oct-10-003.jpgThere is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas.

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThe Winter Solstice  has been celebrated for thousands of years.

It was celebrated by my Great Grandmother who lived in the cottage above.

cropped-bealtaine-cottage-dec-11-011.jpgIndeed, Newgrange  here in Ireland, was constructed five thousand years ago, as a homage to the Midwinter Solstice, so this festival of Yule was immensely important to our ancestors.

cropped-22-dec-10-036.jpgThis was because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months.

permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 005 Food and wine was ready to eat and drink ,as fruit fermented and animals were slaughtered as feed stocks dwindled.

light a candle at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandEven during the morning, parts of the interior of this Irish cottage can be dim during the months of Midwinter.

stained glass wheel of life Bealtaine Cottage 011Light is what our seasons are measured in.
midwinter cottage 013Light was and remains the important aspect of winter and our ancestors realised the connection this had to all life.

cavan burren 2That 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.

The standing stone at Bealtaine Cottage February 2013Here in Ireland, Newgrange is the most important, monumental reminder we have of this elemental connection.

Stone Circle at Bealtaine CottageSo today has been a day of tidying and ordering…cleaning the area around the cottage, sorting wool,  and listening to gentle music as I go.

Fox in the garden at Bealtaine CottageFor lovers of Bealtaine Cottage and all aspects of ancient Celtic life and Goddess Permaculture found therein, there is a 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!

Midsummer Vigil

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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

Magical Woodland by an Irish Castle

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www.bealtainecottage.com

Stepping into a magical woodland can be one of the most healing and re-energizing acts of care for oneself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis morning I ventured into the woods around Kilronan Castle and the mystical Lough Meelagh, a short distance from Bealtaine Cottage.

www.bealtainecottage.com I’m glad to have brought my little camera, as am now able to share this enchantment with you.

www.bealtainecottage.comThis sacred place nestles into the valley that sweeps off towards Sligo and the Atlantic Ocean.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough is dotted with Crannogs…ancient dwelling places constructed by ancestral forces on the Lough itself. You can just see this Crannog in the distance.

www.bealtainecottage.comThese were places of safety in times of a forested land where wild animals posed a threat and tribal invasions were part of life.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe Lough has risen high along the gentle shoreline, where moss and lichen hold sway.

www.bealtainecottage.comTree roots have loosened in the storm ridden rain and some have given way into the dark, watery depths.

www.bealtainecottage.comBirds sing out merry above me as I walk and trees groan in the windy heights… the wind has washed the sky a summer blue.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is here that I remember my mother and her gentle passing…her energy has joined the forces sweeping in Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com If it were just possible for a moment in time to lift the veil and peer inside, for it seems that this woodland hides many secrets.

www.bealtainecottage.comAnd so the path bears me forward on this fine day…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs the blue sky deepens and colours…

www.bealtainecottage.comLittle wonder our ancestors regarded these places as sacred…

www.bealtainecottage.comFor they are!

www.bealtainecottage.comThe path diverges as in the Robert Frost poem, though choice is not difficult, for the path loops round and brings one back.

www.bealtainecottage.comBy this time my spirit has been lifted high into the trees, my mind calm and serene and energy charged.

www.bealtainecottage.comAll is well.

The magic flows within.

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If you wish to make a donation in support of the work at Bealtaine Cottage…

 

“…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

It’s wonderful to be appreciated…so please take a moment to like, share or even comment on Bealtaine Cottage website…blessings X

Midwinter, Newgrange and Sacred Light

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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.

Newgrange, Ancestors and Preparing…

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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…

From Reproductive to Extractive Growing…What Lies Ahead…

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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!

Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. Permaculture in Ireland.

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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!