Enchantment on the Last Day of November

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There was always understood to be a contract between the people and the land. 

IMG_0810This reminder formed the words as I walked the woodland sanctuary, on this last day of November.

IMG_0813The leaf-covered earth I walked upon reminded me of that sacred contract, one long since forgotten by humankind.

IMG_0814From the sacred well flows the life-giving force of the Otherworld.

IMG_0817All the ancient races of the Earth understood this.

IMG_0821The contract was broken by those who nurtured a greed for more and more wealth.

IMG_0824This continues today and is the reason why Mother Earth has been brought to the edge of destruction all across Her land and seas.

IMG_0826The native pre-Christian mythology of Celtic Ireland is highly Goddess-centered.

IMG_0806This is in recognition of the understanding that the Earth is female and the force is that of the Creatrix.

IMG_0804Irish mythology, in particular, is filled with stories of powerful women.

IMG_0795These women, often revered and greatly honoured, were seen as incarnations of the ‘Sovereignty’ goddess.

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On these mornings near Midwinter, the moon continues to move across the sky as the sun rises.

IMG_0716The land speaks.

The Goddess is imbued in the chalice and has become the sacred quest of folklore, that of the Holy Grail.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage she is the land Herself.

IMG_0724It is a most blessed time of the day, when the energy is rising.

IMG_0723My morning ritual is the same…I walk the land and listen, not just with my ears but with my whole being.

IMG_0720The energy of the Goddess flows out from the spring well and across the woodland…I listen.

IMG_0682I walk always in awareness of the Otherworld  which influences my own.

IMG_0686I walk in service to the land.

IMG_0684This Goddess-centred land feels a part of me and I a part of Her.

IMG_0690The Otherworld is inextricably linked to the land I walk.

IMG_0783The Otherworld is not about the dead.

IMG_0727The Otherworld is referred to as the ‘land of the living’ in ancient lore.

IMG_0746The Goddess has a great propensity for shape-shifting…so as I walk the land it is oftentimes I am followed by birds.

IMG_0816Tomorrow marks the first day of December and the descent towards the Midwinter Solstice.

IMG_0679This will herald the return of the rise of the light, as we move towards Imbolc.

IMG_0764Yule begins on the Midwinter Solstice and continues until the first day of January.

IMG_0772The sacred walks of Winter continue…

 

Happy New Year from Bealtaine Cottage

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Seed from the sacred Rowan at Bealtaine Cottage now available.

The ancient peoples of Ireland considered their Earth to be sacred and experienced the natural world as Divine…many lessons to be learned from our ancestors of these islands of Britain.

Mother Earth had a womb…that which lies beneath our feet…and into that was planted the sacred seed. The Mother Goddess nurtured the seed and from that grew all life. Trees, being the oldest living embodiment of the Great Mother, were considered to be a connection to the Otherworld and the very heart of the Goddess.

Plant a portal from Bealtaine…

 

Thanks to Ferris Jay and Nuada for the wonderful music. From the album: Court The Sun by Nuada.

http://www.nuada.net

https://www.facebook.com/nuadamusic/

Good Magical Morning!

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The Stone Circle here at Bealtaine Cottage is infused with early morning light.

A wild wind blows in from the West carrying energy and a sense of renewal as it blows Hawthorn flowers in front of it.

The morning is defined by change and renewal.

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Stillness pervades the air at the back of the cottage where shelter holds sway…

Nearby a new sculpture of a Hare holds pride of place in one of the Potager beds…

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The Celts believed in the magical strength of the Hare.

The Hare belonged in essence to the Celtic goddess Eostre.

It was her most favoured animal, representing love, fertility and growth.

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In Celtic mythology the Hare was associated with the Moon, dawn and the belief in the transmigration of the soul. (I have written about this in a previous blog and can be accessed by typing Transmigration of the Soul into the search bar on this page).

Eostre was reputed to have changed into a Hare at the full Moon.

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The poet Robert Graves referred to the Hare as sacred to the White Goddess, the Earth Mother, being regarded as, and considered to be, a royal animal.

“…language of poetic myth anciently current in the Mediterranean and Northern Europe was a magical language bound up with popular religious ceremonies in honour of the Moon-goddess, or Muse, some of them dating from the Old Stone Age, and that this remains the language of true poetry…” ~ Robert Graves

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Boudicca, the Queen of the Celtic tribe of Iceni in England, was said to have released a Hare as a good omen before each battle.

The Druids were said to have been able to divine the outcome of battle by the hare’s movements.

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In some parts of Ireland hares continue to be celebrated, such as  the legendary ‘White Hare of Creggan’, a sculpture of which can be seen at the “An Creagan” Visitor Centre in County Tyrone.

Even in the local community, its white silhouette continues to adorn homes.

You Are Invited…

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Bealtaine celebration is almost here!

This is the biggest event in the Bealtaine Cottage diary and this year is the eleventh celebration of Summer in the permaculture gardens!

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As part of the anniversary celebration, Bealtaine Cottage and gardens will be open all day on Friday the 1st of May, Bealtaine!

And open to all well-wishers who want to celebrate Bealtaine with Colette on this most magical of places in the West of Ireland.

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

Sedge in flower today at Bealtaine

There will be food, drink and a festival ambience for all friends of Bealtaine Cottage, free of charge.

This is an All-Day Event…come at whatever time suits you during daylight!

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

Near the veranda at Bealtaine Cottage

Directions…

From Ballyfarnon in County Roscommon, travel on the R284 to Keadue for approx 4km.
In Keadue turn right at the top of Village, signposted Leitrim Village.
Travel for approx 2km and take right (L5036) and house is third on the left.

From Carrick on Shannon in County Leitrim, travel on the R284 to Leitrim Village, approx 5km.
In Leitrim Village go over bridge and take left road signposted Keadue.
Travel for approx 6km and take left (L5036) and house is third on the left.

Distance from:

Keadue 2km
Boyle 12km
Carrick on Shannon 11km
Sligo 35km
Dublin 160km

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The Shining Ones

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To understand Celtic Spirituality we must suspend the normal way of looking at the world and ‘sense’ the other worlds around us.”
– Donald McKinney, Celtic Spirituality for the 21st Century

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Looking North East towards Slieve Anieirin Mountain…

Slieve Anierin, known as the Iron Mountain, is a magical landscape, where Iron Age people once mined Iron Ore. 

Slieve Anierin in Leitrim; Sliabh-an-iarainn, the mountain of the iron; from its richness in iron ore.

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Bealtaine Cottage is surrounded by landscape, where traces of ancient peoples are to be found with ease. 

The Tuatha de Danaan were one of these ancient races and were also known as the Shining Ones.

Candle at Bealtaine Cottage

Few people are aware of the fact that it was these people who became the origins of what we know worldwide as the Fairies…or the Sidhe.

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This was the Tribe that became the Sídhe…the Fairy Folk.

The stories of the Sidhe abound in Ireland.

We live alongside our ancestors.

This path at Bealtaine leads down into the Fairy Wood.

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There is much written about the 

Sídhe, pronounced “shee”, and a lot of the writings are contradictory, much like the 

Sídhe themselves! 

www.bealtainecottage.com

Living among the remnants of ancient tribes, as I do, here in the West of Ireland, watching skies with stars so bright, they illuminate the night, it is easy to believe in theSídhe…even revere them at times.

www.bealtainecottage.com

There comes a shift in perception, when one’s closest allies are the invisible forces of Nature.

Where does reality begin and end?

What is actual and what is reflection?

For much of it is coloured by perception. 

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This was something debated by the Romantic Poets, as they often explored the world around them, using reflections, as they held up mirrors to gaze into Nature.

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There are many tales relating the emergence of Fairies in Irish Folklore.

Many legends recall how once  great Queens, Kings and Warriors became

Sídhe 

upon death.

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In turn, these mortals went on to  establish new kingdoms in the ancient mounds and hills of the landscape we know today.

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It is easy to regard these ancient sites with reverence and understanding, for even though there are millenia of time that separate us from them, they are part of our ancestral being.

Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardens

The true origin of the legendary Tuatha De Danaan lies somewhere between the worlds of reality and perception of reality.

The name means literally “the folk of the god whose mother is Dana.”  

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It is merely recorded, that they appeared, as the clouds rose, from the mountain of Slieve Anierin, on the day of Bealtaine, the first day of May…Summer.

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop. (Sorry, all are now sold. No longer available!)

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are made from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

Visit:

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Rising to Imbolc

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The morning in the garden is bitterly cold.

These are the days before Imbolc.

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We have endured the long sleep and are ready to waken to Imbolc…

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Magical days, filled to the brim with anticipation, a sense of urgency too, as the precious days of sleep and hibernation in the gardens comes to a close.

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As I walk around the gardens this morning, I become increasingly aware of short time left in which to prune and cut back, clear and prepare, the gardens for Spring and Summer.

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Ah, Summer, just the thought of Summer on this cold, white morning of late Winter, comforts the bones.

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The days of walking barefoot in the damp grass lie ahead of me.

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The promise of a warm Summer makes the cold of the day recoil.

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Imbolc heralds Spring here in the West of Ireland.

It is one of the four big Celtic celebrations in Ireland.

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Imbolc was also Christianized into Saint Brigid’s Day.

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Imbolc is a festival of purification, hence the “Spring Cleaning” and a celebration of the first signs of Spring.

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Walking along the paths that wind through the gardens, the colours of an all year round planting scheme are evident.

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Here and there are stacked reminders of work to be completed, in this case, wood to be taken up to the barn, to be cut and stacked for the next winter.

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As the snow melts on the upper hill of Ballyfermoyle, so the water flows through the ponds to be carried further into the mighty Shannon and beyond into the Atlantic Ocean.

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Coming round once more to Imbolc, reminds one of the eternal cycle of renewal and one we are all a part of, though less understood today as by our ancestors of past millennia.

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Willows, Birch and Dogwoods fill ground where once only the Rush held sway. This is the new cycle here of regeneration and renewal…a return to a fertile Earth.

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And, where clean water flows, so does life!

To the ancients peoples of this sacred isle, the water was life and honoured in such a way.

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The starkness of these remaining days are etched with beauty…a rare kind of ethereal beauty that is both proud and alone.

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In a garden so welcoming of the sunlight, for this all faces north, each tree receives these low rays with grace.

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The old name Imbolc occurs only in the very old literature, as many have forgotten it’s magic as the move towards modernity was embraced…but what is lost?

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The Ancient Ways have been suppressed by all invaders and religions, and much dogma of uniformity, without thread of meaning.

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For many in the western world this is now Candlemas in non-Gaelic speaking areas.

However there appears to be a revival of many traditions as people seek to understand their tribal ancestry and re-establish the threads of the tapestry to an older time.

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And so we rise to Imbolc, as our faces seek out the sun and count the lengthening days.

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We strain our necks to peep out onto sunsets, remarking on the time that’s in it.

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Rising, from our long darkness, to Imbolc.

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I write to encourage, help and inspire mindfulness for our beautiful world and have photographed and written over 1,000 blogs on the Bealtaine Cottage site, as well as over 110 videos on YouTube…all free from advertising!

Most of you are familiar with this Bealtaine Cottage website.

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Blessings

Human Resources

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The Corporate Christmas is well under way, de-humanizing society and sterilizing traditions and beliefs.

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Human Resources is the new term for people who are employed.

This is how the Corporation views you…as a receptacle for stuff…So much stuff!

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Who owns the stuff?

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Do you own it or does it own you?

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You insure it!

You clean it!

You watch it.

You worry about it!

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It does not care for you.

You die, the stuff remains!

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Keep acquiring the stuff.

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Send some of your stuff to the landfill dump.

There is nowhere for the stuff to go…there is no away…stuff rules!

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The precious life you have is dominated by stuff that doesn’t care.

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Every last bit of that stuff has been excavated or tortured from Mother Earth.

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Forests have been ripped from her for the creation of stuff.

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Trees are cut down to create elaborated hardwood boxes to inter the dead…impregnated with chemicals before being buried in the earth…decades of pollution for the Great Mother to have to deal with!

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The Great Mother…perhaps if we had more understanding of the Mother Goddess and less of the patriarchal dominant society that is predicated on universal abuse, we would be living more harmoniously on this Sacred Earth today!

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I’m off to clear out more stuff for the Charity Shop and simple gifting to others!

However, Teddy stays!

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Unseen

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“I don’t just use yarn from a store. I buy old sweaters from consignment shops. The older the better, and unravel them. There are countries of women in this scarf/shawl/blanket. Soon it will be big enough to keep me warm. ”
Laurie Halse Anderson, Wintergirls

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I love that quote.

Her words sum up for me the magic in up-cycling…materials already infused with the energy from other lives.

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 Energy is vital to our lives, not just what keeps us warm and dry, but what inspires us. many of us feel the energy of the full moon such as happened last night…it was a sparkling energy and one that had me fully awake at 6am today.

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The lovely energy one gets from holding a precious item, for that is all abut the energy it has been infused with.

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Have you ever noticed how small children often cling to an item given to them by a parent and often keep it near their mouth, as a way of scenting and tasting that energy.

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We are aware of how important it is for a baby in an incubator to have its mother as close by as possible, yet glass separates them!

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Somehow, this most important of energies, love, flows into the incubator and comforts the infant child. In these times of awakening, we are coming to understand the power of unseen energy…that of the spirit.

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“The energy of life entering and leaving your body flows evenly throughout the universe. With that current, the mind of the cosmos communicates with all things.”
Ilchi Lee  

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“Our exclusive dependence on rational thought and language has obscured our natural ability to sense the flow of energy.”
Ilchi Lee 

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And it is that flow that we are immersed in throughout our lives.

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It is that flow which we can influence at all times.

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Our disconnection from the essence of who and what we are causes us immense pain at times. DSCF0777

We are as disconnected from that universal flow of energy, as the premature baby in an incubator left alone.

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The quiet peace of Midwinter is a time for us to begin that immense and wonderful journey of reconnection.

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A message received from Patrick…

Hi Colette

I’ve been following and enjoying your blog for several weeks now. I should have been coming to Ireland from the UK with my partner in the New Year to start our own smallholding .. However she had a tragic accident last Monday and is now in a coma with an uncertain future. I have decisions to make, but I am at a loss , I don’t know what to do. I need the help and intervention of a higher being ! Please can you and your followers have Jess and I in your thoughts, Patrick.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Patrick, it is done…my blessings to you and Jess XXX

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Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

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The signs are everywhere…

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Nights drawing in…

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Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings.

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The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies. 

Full Moon at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture

As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year.

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Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances.

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Magical Midwinter!

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Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time.

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We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations.

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A chance to step outdoors and observe the night sky.

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An opportunity to nurture and develop connections to family and friends.

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From this day, there are 22 days to go before the descent into the Midwinter Solstice.

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Yes, the coldest days precede the Spring, so January rarely feels like the prelude to that beautiful season!

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture landscape

But, here in the West of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February, the signs are there for all to see, as new life emerges from the frozen earth.

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