Christmas Eve in the West of Ireland

There was  a full moon on the Winter Solstice, an unusual event and not occurring in my lifetime again, so, very special to me. As my ancestors before me, I celebrate the Solstice, marking the longest night of the year and with the promise of all that lies ahead… The ritual of fire and feast, music and drink, gathering of family and friends are all important aspects of the Winter Solstice. The youngest member of my little tribe was here, forming a focal point for us all as we gathered to celebrate. She is displaying a love for the natural…

Remembering…

As the days grow shorter and the evenings longer there is a quietness in the gardens and around the cottage that is rather haunting. Much of what I do now is centred around preparing for the Midwinter Feast and the continuing festivities of Yule. Family and friends will be arriving from as far away as Canada.  A house has been rented for the days that are in it, for Bealtaine Cottage is small! Baking is underway in the kitchen, making full use of the hot oven in the even hotter Stanley stove that is burning constant to keep the cottage…

Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

Origins of Yule The great Festival of Yule, beginning at the time of the Winter Solstice and lasting for a full twelve days, summed up the cycle of the Celtic year. The word Yule, according to the Venerable Bede, came from the Norse word Iul meaning ‘wheel’ and suggested that this was the time when the Great Wheel of Existence had completed its circle. “In later Celtic folk-belief, Yule had a dual meaning, it symbolised the death of the old year and heralded the birth of the new… Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and…

Country Cottage Journal

Preparing the cottage for Yuletide and the Midwinter Feast has been underway for the past week or so. A smaller stove has been installed in the sitting room and much of the furniture in the cottage has been moved around…a great swap has taken place! The end of all this turmoil is almost in sight…I breath a big sigh of relief, for the organising of sleeping arrangements, food and fuel is next on my “To-Do” list! This is a great time of the year for working indoors and in many ways it’s also a good time to prepare for the…

Moving with Orion Towards Midwinter

The signs are everywhere… Nights drawing in… Unexpected sunshine on frosted mornings. The bare beauty of trees silhouetted against clear winter skies.  As Orion strides across the evening sky, we draw closer to the Winter Solstice and the darkest, stillest, nights of the year. Winter Solstice celebrations begin on the 21st of December, a time of hope and joy for all, regardless of belief or religious observances. Magical Midwinter! Ancient tribes all over the world observed rituals around Solstice time. We too can  celebrate Winter Solstice, integrating it into our own traditional celebrations. A chance to step outdoors and observe…

Who Controls You?

Midwinter approaches. The holiday season draws near. There is no television here at Bealtaine Cottage, so I am unaware of the masses of advertising you are being bombarded with! I realise that the pressure is upon you to spend, spend, spend! But, hold on a minute or two and think about this… Every pound, euro or dollar you spend this Yuletide will put you deeper and deeper into debt and force others to compete with the madness that is gift-buying! As you spend, so the debt piles up around you, pressing you down, deeper into the mire of anxiety! Many people spend to…

The Great Collapse

The great collapse of society, as we know it, is under way. Most people are unaware of this. Every aspect of controlled living is the same as ever it was. The television keeps pumping out much of the same. Supermarkets hum with shoppers. Christmas lights flicker in shopping centres. The madness of more predominates a world in crisis. The populations of countries, channelled to look one way, as governments and the one percent carry on their relentless rendition of acquisition and destruction. Look at how we live compared to a few decades ago… There is no longer a mentality of…

Angels and Animals in an Irish Cottage on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve at Bealtaine Cottage. Snow has fallen. The air is cold and a bitter wind blows. It rained hard last night and the streams are in flood. The blackbirds are hungry and have taken to stealing cat biscuits from the bowls on the veranda! The blackbirds are clever creatures and have watched both cats enter the lodge through the cat door, where they now sleep away the day, their bellies filled with food and milk. Jack stays by my side, in and out of the cottage, as I work. Jack looks out for me and is a wonderful friend…