Celtic Ireland~Imbolc Rising

And so the wheel turns towards Spring and its tentative beginnings in the West of Ireland as the sun rises tomorrow morn.

With the rising of the sun comes Imbolc!

Oftentimes it does not look or even feel like Spring, but the light has changed…something that animals see, feel and react to before we do.

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The understanding of the changing seasons grew from the deep connections between us and the natural world, as can be seen in the word itself, for “Imbolc” refers to sheep’s milk in Old Irish.

During ancient times, lactating ewes represented one of the first signs of Spring.

Imbolc is a Cross Quarter Day, which means it is midpoint between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox.

Depending on the year that’s in it, Imbolc can fall between the 2nd & 7th of February…the  calculations vary, despite the best will of man to box it all up into calendars!

Celtic festivals are based on astronomical events!

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Festivals like Imbolc are often claimed to be Wiccan or Pagan, but Imbolc belongs to the ancient peoples of Ireland who were neither Wiccan or Pagan!

Wicca itself is less than one hundred years old

Pagan was a term used to describe those in Ireland before Christianity…a sort of name-calling, in that it became and remains for many, a derogatory term.

My ancestors were never without spiritual beliefs!

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Paganism is a term that developed among the Christian community of southern Europe during late antiquity to describe religions other than their own, Judaism, or Islam–the three Abrahamic religions.

Imbolc (February 2) marks the lengthening days as the growing light awakens the Earth Goddess.

The warmth of the rising, growing sun fertilizes the Earth (the Goddess), and causes seeds to germinate and sprout.

And so the earliest beginnings of Spring occur.

As Imbolc rises on the second day of February, the last quarter moon is in Scorpio, my birth sign.

Now is the time to secure your seeds for the Spring sowing which is now well underway in propagators and sheltered places.

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You can place an order for seeds harvested here at Bealtaine cottage, from the plants seen growing here…all strong and vigorous. Click on the link below that will take you to the selection available:

https://bealtainecottage.com/seeds-for-sale/

I continue to clear out spaces in my cottage and renew many aspects of my life…always a good preparation for Imbolc!

Happy Imbolc to you all!

I’m happy to write, photograph, podcast, Youtube and Facebook on behalf of Mother Earth…it would be great if you could take a second or two to press the LIKE button, leave a comment, or even subscribe to Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…thanks for the appreciation! X

Happy Bealtaine, the 1st Day of Summer in the Celtic Calendar.

Summer dawn at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandThe Celtic Festival of Bealtaine, also spelt as Beltane, Beltain, Beltainne and Beltaine is a Cross Quarter Day.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine CottageThis means,  that it is half way between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.

Midsummer Magic at Bealtaine 003Of course, as nothing is static in the Universe,  the actual astronomical date is a number of days later.

  This year, 2013, the date when the cross-quarter day falls is May 5th.

Bealtaine Cottage May In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season started with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.

May in the Fairy Wood at  Bealtaine Cottage Great bonfires were held which would herald in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year.

May in the Fairy Wood at  Bealtaine Cottage The bonfires would be accompanied with rituals of cleansing and protection.

A small branch of the Rowan tree was hung over the door to protect from fire and ill health.

may at Bealtaine cottage permaculture wine makingI made a short video this morning to share the sights and sounds of this special day, the first day of Summer, with you…

The Magical Festival of Lughnasa…

The land approaches Lughnasa, (Lughnasadh), August and the beginning of Autumn.

Looking at the apples today on the trees at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to see how this is.

Harvests continue to be gathered and develop, ripening to plumpness and fullness.

Tomatoes, like the ones above, grown outdoors in areas of micro-climate warmth and shelter, continue to flower and produce.

The weather is promised good for the week ahead, as grass moves in the gentle breeze of a July afternoon…the only missing part of this picture is the beautiful Butterflies, so decimated by rain last year and almost finished off with rain and cold this summer.

There is little I can do to help this situation, other than continue to grow and plant out Buddleias and other shrubs and flowers much beloved of these fairy creatures with coloured wings.

Herbs are harvested, tied into small bunches and hung to dry in the warmth of the tunnel, with lots of air circulating, as both doors remain open day and night during summer.

Lughnasa is a harvest festival, marking the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

This is the time to save seed…as you can see, seed-heads have formed beautifully on the Leeks in the tunnel today.

I will save the seed of the strongest plant, for sowing next year.

Jostaberries are almost ready to harvest.

They come into season just after the Blackcurrant.

Many people think  that Lughnasa was a fire festival, but it was not.

Lughnasa was associated with water and earth, as seen in decoration of wells, making of corn-dollies, decorating and adorning with flowers, and climbing mountains.

Many of the most beautiful flowers come into flower at this time…the Crocosmia by the door of the tunnel will flower over the next week or so, as will the gorgeous Shasta Daisy!

The plant just peeping into the tunnel is Lemon Balm.

Wonderful scents arise as one brushes past it!

Wood cut last winter will be ready for the barn by Lughnasa.

It dries well when stacked like this!

Lughnasa is a Celtic cross-quarter festival, meaning it is not a Solstice or an Equinox, but falls between.

Perhaps this Lughnasa you will climb a mountain, visit a Holy Well, collect Bilberries, bring in the first potatoes…all celebrations of this special, magical, Celtic Festival!