Posted in Celtic Mythology, Celts, Ireland, magic, Poetry

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.

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, woodland walk, woods

Equinox Magic in the Woods

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Equinox was a magical day, spent in the beautiful woodland around Lough Meelagh, about three miles from Bealtaine Cottage.

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Equinox is always a special time, with day and night perfectly in balance, a time to enjoy the last long stretch of day before time moves inexorably towards the dark.

This is a Bog Oak sculpture by the Lough…beautiful, isn’t it?

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Herons are widespread in this region, with many visiting the ponds at Bealtaine Cottage.

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Pathways wind and snake their way into the depths of the woods, where an ancient Court Tomb, from the Neolithic period, is hidden among the old, tall trees.

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Ancient trees stand sentry around the Court Tomb, laid out in the shape of the womb of the Goddess.

This magical place of my Celtic ancestors.

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One is in awe of the beauty of this sacred place.

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Fairies abound in this ancient place…can you see them?

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I wrapped my arms around this beautiful tree and inhaled the energy.

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Breathtaking trees…looking up makes me feel dizzy!

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Can you see the smiling Green Man within the tree?

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Here’s another Green Man…

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And every now and then a little path leads down to the water’s edge.

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Wishing you all a Blessed Equinox…time to prepare to snuggle into the darker nights!

Posted in Animals, Bealtaine Cottage, Celts, Personal

A Rite of Passage

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A mighty storm rages around Bealtaine Cottage as I write.

The morning is filled with roars and whoops of wind as it smashes in from the Atlantic Ocean, enveloping the land with angry energy.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe gable end of this little cottage faces into the west and the worst of Nature’s wrath.

The trees slow it down, calming and sifting its robust anger.

I sit by the table near the window on the north-side, occasionally glancing out when the tempest noise rises.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0341.jpgOver recent days, the need to be with my mother has taken over, as she gently leaves this world, moving and shifting in little caresses of energy, back, towards the Divine.

cropped-0056.jpgHer rite of passage will be completed sometime very soon.

I have watched her quiet dignity hold sway over the comings and goings of support staff, family and friends.

My Mother greets her final journey safe within the home of my brother, her first-born child.

Her bedroom, where she grows smaller, like a womb, comfortable and quiet.

cropped-www-bealtainecottage-com-0162.jpgThis week has been filled with indescribable emotions, but all relating to love.

During this time, my computer has gone on the blink and I have been unable to write and post as I need to…

I need to write… and having a fully functioning computer, that I can use in the warmth of the little lodge, where I over-winter by the wood-burning stove, will be comfort itself.

This will be the beginning of a portable Bealtaine Cottage too, as I will be able to write and post wherever I go.

I am grateful for that!

Thanks and blessings to you, my generous friends!

old pictures saved by Dylan 4421My mother in the early days of Bealtaine Cottage, surrounded by animals, her grandson and magic in the gardens.

This is where some of her lovely energy will be found, for me, in the coming days.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI found my father here after he passed and came to understand that energy does not disappear…we simply have to re-focus our eyes and listen with our hearts to recognize it. (Mum and Dad, on a visit to Bealtaine about five years ago. I took them to the top of Kilronan Mountain!)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Celts believed in the Transmigration of the Soul.

Living at Bealtaine for almost ten years now, I have come to understand that belief.

Death is not the end, but a Rite of Passage.

Blessings and thanks to you all XXX

(My Mother passed away this morning. I spent yesterday with her.)

Posted in Autumn, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Woodland

The Girdle of Green

www.bealtainecottage.com 002An old castle on an island in the forest, not far from Bealtaine Cottage, and where I walked today with my daughter, Cara, whose birthday we celebrated, with a walk through this magical landscape on a glorious autumn day.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007This is Lough Key and the castle once belonged to the MacDermott clan who lived here hundreds of years ago.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003The castle is mentioned frequently in the ancient annals, being a focus for both fighting and partying.

Brian of the Carrick, Chief 1585-92, is reported to be last head of the clan to live on the island.

www.bealtainecottage.com 004 There is reference to Castle Island in the annals of Lough Ce as early as 1184.

During this time the park was called Moylurg and the Kings of Moylurg were the MacDermotts.

www.bealtainecottage.com 017The real pleasure lies in walking among the mighty Oaks that guard the Lough.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031This Oak tree was warm and welcoming…an ancient heart holding the history of the land within.

www.bealtainecottage.com 021Just resting against this tree made me feel joyous…what amazing energy and strength emanates forth from trees like this!

The mighty  Oak has had importance and great significance to the Celts, from ancient to modern times.

www.bealtainecottage.com 034This is where the ancestors worshipped and held important events in the old calendar, for the Oak Grove was considered sacred.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048Oak trees grow in almost every part of the world.

The Druids made their magic wands from only three woods…Yew, Oak and Apple.

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As the sap begins to drop in the trees and the leaves turn colour, Ivy, that has previously been shaded out by canopy, emerges into its own, as a permanent reminder to us all that spring will return.

www.bealtainecottage.com 057The evergreen girdle of Ivy, on many trees, keeps a host of small birds and insects warm and fed over the dark days of winter.

www.bealtainecottage.com 043Similarly, the girdle of Moss, around the base of the mighty Oak, will secure the winter for many small creatures.

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Posted in Books, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Climate, Cottage, Current Affairs, Eco-Living, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Politics, Smallholding, Sustainable Living, Thoughts, Thrift, Uncategorized

Light, Midwinter Sun, Signs and John Seymour

Light

What an opportunity!

As we descend into the dark days of midwinter, what better thing to do than light a candle and enjoy the soft light and warmth.

I was making candles today to add to my stockpile for the coming weeks, when candlelight is really the best light medium to illuminate the darkness.

Midwinter Sun

Sun worship was a common practice among the Celts…one only has to look at the amazing amount of motifs from that time to see this.

The god Belanos, known as, “the shining one,” had his feast on May 1, also known as Bealtaine!

The festival of Bealtaine was celebrated right up until 1895 at a place known as Mount Callan, near Ennis in County Clare.

There remains a sun altar at this place.

There is another sacred stone near Macroom, a standing stone known as “Stone of the Sun.”

It is easy to see and perhaps understand this Celtic fascination with the sun, when looking at the life and vibrancy exuded by the midwinter sun, on a clear morning at this time of year.

Signs

It’s possible to assess the insulation needs of any house by looking at the roof.

There are obvious signs to look out for!

For example, does the frost or snow remain on the roof as the house heats up?

If it does, then all is well, insulation is adequate up above.

Bealtaine has a double layer of sheep’s wool insulation added this year and it is paying for itself already.

Walking in this weather can identify insulation needs just by looking at the houses…snow or melt on the roof?

Insulation is one of the many ways we can help ourselves to live better and more frugally in these times of hardship.

I think it is time to re-visit what John Seymour, in his wisdom, had to say…

“…We have allowed ourselves to get where we are because of the ‘blind workings of the market’.

But we are not blind, so we must now start using our good sense to ‘break this sorry scheme of things and remould it to our hearts desire,’ as old Omar Khayam had it.

To allow ourselves to be dependent on some vast Thing created by the Merchants of Greed is madness.

It is time to cut out what we do not need so we can live more simply and happily.

Good food, comfortable clothes, serviceable housing and true culture – those are the things that matter.

The only way this can happen is by ordinary people, us, boycotting the huge multinational corporations that are destroying our Earth – and creating a new Age – an Age of Healing in place of the current Age of Plunder.”

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts

A Time of Early Shadows

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Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

Scents of woodsmoke and compost fill the air.

Samhain is close.

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The Celts divided the year into two parts…the light and the dark.

Samhain is the crossover point into the dark.

Seamus Heaney wrote a wonderful collection of poetry entitled, “Into The Dark.”

One of my favourite reads at this time of the year.

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Poetry is like that…it can be turned over again and again, extracted from the past into the present and enjoyed afresh.

The turning of the year towards the light is heralded in the Feast of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054Bealtaine also means, “May,” in Irish and is why I named this cottage Bealtaine Cottage…for it was in May I first spied it!

Bealtaine celebrates the beginning of summer as we turn towards the light and short shadows.

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In Ireland the Tribes gathered for Samhain, at the ritual centres across the land to celebrate this most important festival of the year.

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It was a time to reconnect with the past, a time of early shadows and light veils of separation.

A time of magic.

Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, Celtic Mythology, Earth, Ecology, Fairies, Folklore, Gaia, Garden, Ireland, Permaculture, Spirituality, Uncategorized, Woodland

Permaculture Cottage ~ The Root of Our Unhappiness…from 2011

It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cold evening too.

I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top.

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Dell Woodland.

It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place.

There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches.

I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone.

I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone can mark the resting place of a person whose body was not allowed to be interred in the graveyard…the churches had all sorts of rules regarding who could and could not be interred in so called sacred ground…unbaptised babies, suicides etc…all of great sadness and shown little mercy…


And so, while Jack plays with his football…for some reason he believes I want to steal it…I think about this tree, the Fairy Dell and…fairies…

Fairies are widely regarded as magical spirits who can help humanity get closer to Nature and embrace harmony in the natural environment.

To the Celts, nature embodied the sovereignty of the Goddess.

In comparison, within the church view, Nature is widely regarded as something amoral and fearsome, needing to be dominated and put to service.

All this has led us away from our deep relationship with Mother Earth…we are now in a state of flux and near abandonment and we feel this deeply, with some more aware of the root of our unhappiness and others less, or in severe denial.

My cardigan dries on the back of a chair this evening…

Maybe we need to think again about Fairies, for until we respect the natural world and our precious environment, we are doomed to be cast aside as Gaia struggles on her own…

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!