It Still Takes My Breath Away!

dsc04149Each morning I arise and embark on a series of rituals, that culminate with a hot cup of tea in one hand, my camera in the other and faithful Jack by my side.

dsc04146It is then that I step out…

dsc04145This has been my ritual, though not always with Jack, for the past twelve years.

dsc04147And so it continues…

dsc04133What has manifested here on this little piece of sacred Earth still takes my breath away!

dsc04134I touch base with it as many times a day as I can!

dsc04132I take thousands of photographs every year, for the sheer beauty of what Mother Earth can do on three acres of “poor land,” is beyond incredible!

dsc04126And this has manifested in one of the last remaining countries on Earth that continues to refer to itself as “Mother.”

dsc04125“Mother Ireland”

dsc04124The Great Mother, Mother Earth, Goddess, Creatrix!

dsc04089The Celts were one of the last remaining tribes of the Goddess…in that they recognised the spirit of the Earth as female. 

dsc04118There lies a message in that…

dsc04115I believe it to be simply this…”I am alive and filled with joy and waiting…”

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View from the cottage in 2004 

dsc04083And earlier today…

Those who answer her call become immersed in joy and surrounded with beauty…and so it is.

It still takes my breath away!

Goddess Harmony

www.bealtainecottage.com 064“The symbol of Goddess gives us permission. She teaches us to embrace the holiness of every natural, ordinary, sensual dying moment. Patriarchy may try to negate body and flee earth with its constant heartbeat of death, but Goddess forces us back to embrace them, to take our human life in our arms and clasp it for the divine life it is – the nice, sanitary, harmonious moment as well as the painful, dark, splintered ones.

If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same. It will free us to be in a sacred body, on a sacred planet, in sacred communion with all of it. It will infect the universe with holiness. We will discover the Divine deep within the earth and the cells of our bodies, and we will lover her there with all our hearts and all our souls and all our minds.”
Sue Monk Kidd, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter

This quote from Sue Monk Kidd has served as a wonderful source of inspiration for me, as I move slowly on my journey through this world.

In working so closely with the land over the past years, I have come to understand the meaning of the holiness of every single living thing.

Last summer, for example, I came across a beautiful Wasp nest in one of the trees.

When I put the photo of it onto my Facebook site I was immediately alerted by several people to destroy the nest and kill the wasps.

Why, I thought, must this thing of beauty be destroyed if it not causing harm to me?

Wasps are pollinators and help keep a balance among pests too, such as aphids.

In the eleven years working the land here, I have never been stung, by bee or wasp. Creatures only attack when under threat!

“If such a consciousness truly is set loose in the world, nothing will be the same.”…and nothing has been the same in this little three acre plot since becoming aware of the deep connectivity between myself and Mother Earth…call her the Goddess if you will…but the Divine presence for me is compassion itself.

“Yet rather than calling the earliest religions, which embraced such an open acceptance of all human sexuality, ‘fertility cults,’ we might consider the religions of today as strange in that they seem to associate shame and even sin with the very process of conceiving new human life. Perhaps centuries from now scholars and historians will be classifying them as ‘sterility cults.”
Merlin Stone, When God Was a Woman 

Much of my journey has involved stripping away layers of religious and cultural imposed identity.

This is a hard task, as one tries not to alienate others.

At times this journey has felt like one is walking on eggshells, attempting to negotiate a path between questioning/understanding and simply being part of family and community.

In search of an understanding of soul… a communion with the sacred…and being unafraid of where that takes me.

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Time to Redefine Beauty

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An old perfume bottle sits atop a stone, moss growing around it, soon enveloping and covering it…such is the growth in a wet climate like Ireland!

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The beauty of such a small thing never ceases to amaze me!

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder…maybe some people see this as only waste or junk…but see what Mother Nature makes of it!

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Beauty abounds in Nature.

It’s as though everything she touches manifests magic, transforming the mundane into the majestic.

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The gardens have lost their bloom, but little of their colour and the raw bareness of an early winter morning does not distract from their beauty.

Nature, when aided, cannot help herself.

She is the ultimate cover girl!

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Even the veranda on a cold November night is transformed into something more than what it is, as it takes on the magic of the night.

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The last of the Perlagoniums, the orange rose-hips and the battered old candelabra, together make a stunning début, without flash or enhancements!

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Wherever there are natural elements, you will find beauty and peace.

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As a society we have redefined beauty to express and value the bawdy and degraded.

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The Romantic Poets expressed a veneration for Mother Earth and redefined the beautiful for us.

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We have allowed the chemical barbarism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries to convince us of the beauty of the man-made. It’s time we re-defined beauty!

Thanks, Thanks, Thanks!

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Today I felt a tiny bit sad.

Not for any reason in particular…I’m sure we all feel like this every so often.

Permaculture gardens in April at Bealtaine CottageSo there I was, having a good old wallow in being down, when something caught my eye, causing me to look up.

www.bealtainecottage.com 015It was a simple cameo…a blackbird that peered inquisitively back at me through the kitchen window.

I “heard” the look.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054The beautiful bird brought me a message from Nature, saying, quite simply, “look!”

Parsley growing at Bealtaine Cottage beside old iron kettleAnd so I did.

www.bealtainecottage.com 052I looked out the window.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 001I stepped outside and looked.

Lower pond in flood at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensThere was an entire world around me that was saying, “Step in here and lift your heart up!”

Welcome to the Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageSince this morning I have looked and been lifted.

Sammy Cat on the roof of the porch at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandNow, here I am, sat by the keyboard, writing this blog and inviting you to share some uplifting pictures of what I have seen this year…

Buddha at BealtaineThanks to the Divine energy all around us that creates such beauty…Thanks!

fairy wood at bealtaine cottageThanks!

In the Gardens of BealtaineThanks!

Bealtaine Cottage PorchThanks!

The Colours of the Celts

Creativity was associated with orange, as well as sexuality and fertility.

Think of the egg yolk…only a deep orange yolk is really healthy and full of goodness.

Invoke this colour in areas of your home where you want to express these elements.

Wind Spiral in the Fairy DellGreen is infused with beauty and fertility, but also prosperity.

In Feng Shui, it is advised to paint the front door of one’s home red so as to attract prosperity, but my door is painted green and the real prosperity is quite tangible at Bealtaine Cottage.

As for beauty, well, that speaks for itself, for what is not beautiful in the flowing greens of Nature?

Brown is the essence of earth and the home.

The very centre of the home is the “hearth,” or home earth.

Brown is also for animals.

In old cottages in Ireland the animals were brought near to the “hearth,” or home for the winter.

Winter begins tomorrow in the Celtic Cycle.

The prosperity of purple is long associated with the royal families and indeed was not to be worn by lesser mortals in Europe, upon pain of death…not so the case today where we recognize the equality in all human life and the real meaning of wealth and power being unique to each one of us.

The blue of heaven heralds healing…I keep a long piece of blue silk to lay on a pillow or seat especially for those feeling poorly.

Blue also invokes peace and the sacredness of all under it’s mantle.

There are many colours that represent other aspects of our sacred journey.

As we wear a particular colour, our understanding of how it makes us feel infuses us with a little more knowledge and understanding of its importance to us.

We each have a favourite colour that we wear, one that looks good on us, matches our skin tones and brings out a certain energy.

That is a good place to begin to relate to the energy of colour.

The Illusion of Separateness and Our Sacred Mother

A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” limited in time and space.

He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a prison,restricting us to… our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ~Albert Einstein

The Earth, once regarded by ancient tribes as the sacred Mother, is , once more, regarded by the awakened mind, as integral to our lives.

I was reminded of this as I walked the land this evening, taking the photos below.

The moon was waxing and the sky crystal clear.

The thought occurred to me that we are not separate…

We are not separate.

We are all connected.

We are all one.

Do you doubt this?

Each time you take a breath, thank a tree!

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A Perfect Little Potager Garden.

Pumpkin flowers are open wide in the brilliant sunshine this morning at Bealtaine Cottage.

The bees appear to be basking in the golden petals as they flit from one flower to another, pollinating as they go.

It’s a truly beautiful morning for the sky is blue and the sun is climbing high into a Lughnasa sky over the west of Ireland.

These modest little raised beds, constructed in an afternoon or so of work, a mere eight weeks ago, are giving a magnificent harvest.

So far we have enjoyed tomatoes, salads, sugar snap peas, greens for the juicer and herbs.

There are onions, chard, pumpkins and courgettes to come…a proper little Potager.

And all outside the back door!

A potager garden is a vegetable garden which is designed to be attractive as well as functional.

The idea is French!

A Potager Garden possesses beauty,  practicality and can fit into a wide variety of spaces and climates.

A well-planted Potager garden can satisfy a lot of the vegetable needs for a household, as well as being pleasing to the eye.

In France, where the Potager garden was first conceived, there is a long tradition of laying out practical gardens in a way which is also aesthetically pleasing.

In a Potager garden, gardeners often increase  yield, utilizing advantageous plant pairings which help deter pests and enrich the soil.

By contrast, the traditional kitchen garden tends to be more stark, laid out with a purely practical eye.

The focus of a potager garden is vegetables, herbs and edible flowers…a truly edible landscape!

 Potager gardens can also be quite ornamental in design, to include vines on trellises, bright, colourful flowers, and water features.

Garden visitors are encouraged to eat the landscape!

Meanwhile, indoors, there is knitting going on as lots of leftover and recycled wool is being put to good use in the form of a winter shawl…nothing nicer to curl up inside as the nights draw in.

While in town yesterday, I called into the local charity shop and found this beautiful Michael Kennedy teal-light holder for two euros.

I adore Michael Kennedy’s work, for as an Irish potter he is second to none and have been lucky to have come across so many pieces such as this for very little.

Missy was rolling about in the sunshine as I walked to the tunnel this morning, loving the heat of the morning.

It looks set to be a lovely weekend…have a good one!

Waiting for the Storm…

 The weather is about to break…we are expecting thunder storms!

The earth is dry and the well is low.

Thunderstorms and rain, lots of rain, will be very welcome indeed!

It’s eight years since I laid this floor, bit by broken bit and I decided to give it a facelift of sorts, by simply colouring in the cement using some green masonry paint, sponged on and then wiped off the tiles…it has made the floor look good and the cost was zero!

The garden is sheer abundance at the moment!

Everything is growing and flourishing.

The vegetable bed I started on Sunday, is now extended even further and planted up as I go.

I can pop out with a torch and remove slugs…easily.

Having vegetable beds near the cottage, makes taking care of these precious plants easy!

This is how permaculture works…easy!

The Willow hoops are working great, keeping the cats away…they scowl as they pass!

Planting lettuce, which grow fast and have a short time in the bed, between plants like cabbage and cauliflower, makes perfect sense, helping to keep the weeds down.

I will whitewash the stones when the bed is completed.

The Valerian has grown up around this old bicycle, affording it an arty look…sometimes the natural evolution of a piece of junk takes on a beauty all of it’s own!

Roses on the Veranda and the Apples have set!

The roses have come out on the veranda.

I made a short video to show you some of the beauty… you can click on that below.

The apples have all set and are developing well.

There promises to be a magnificent crop this year, so all the recipes for apple wine, chutney,butter, cider and more will be perused and debated…will I make this or that or…

The Willow is now in leaf, as are most of the trees, with the Ash being the last to leaf.

The scent as I walk around the gardens from the blossom on the Hawthorn trees is heavenly!

Work in the kitchen is almost finished and the task of stencilling will start later in the week.

I thought that an Ivy stencil would be lovely, so will cut one out when I get the chance to sit down!

Anyway, here is today’s video, with love from Bealtaine Cottage…click and enjoy…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqX4Q4G8NPE&list=UUHkXJ9wsrdPEpzb-KMgmt-A&index=1&feature=plcp