Posted in Celts Celtic Festivals, Garden, Imbolc, Spring

Rising to Imbolc

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.

Bealtaine Cottage is free to all, as it has been for the past five years.  

With over 1,000 blogs and 4,000+ photographs, Bealtaine Cottage continues as a free to access website.

As a way of supporting the work of Bealtaine Cottage, I have developed a second website… Bealtaine Cottage Good Life.

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life is 12 euros per year for full access and allows me a small income, to keep doing what I love doing most…writing about Mother Earth and photographing her.

Blessings
Posted in Christmas, moon, Shopping

The Waxing Moon on Christmas Eve

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Evening approaches.

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The Eve of Christmas…Christmas Eve.

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A new moon rises on the day after Winter Solstice.

This is the third day after the New Moon.

Today it is known as the waxing Moon.

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It is always a time of hope and optimism.

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I have just returned from town and the craziness of shoppers who are ill at ease, attempting to buy food and fripperies they may not even use, for the siege mentality has taken hold.

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In reality, most shops are closed for only two days, but we have been conditioned to be reliant on shops rather than ourselves and neighbours.

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Yet the beauty is there to behold and it’s not found in shopping centres, that’s for sure!

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Step out, look up!

Better still, go for a walk and try to get into the real darkness, so that when you look up you can really see the glory in the heavens.

Blessings to you all X

Thanks for your appreciation.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, Cottage, Country Living, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Summer

Into the Turning

www.bealtainecottage.comThe bonfire of Midsummer night has died down.

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The midnight sky stays light on the northern horizon.

www.bealtainecottage.com 007Bats encircle the cottage, as stars emerge into the darkness.

cavan burren 2The day has passed into the Turning…of the light.

www.bealtainecottage.com 008As the light passes into the lazy warmth of an enduring summer, visitors to Bealtaine Cottage come and go.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003July and August nestle into the promise of sultry heat, with visits to the beach and afternoons spent in the shade of maturing trees.www.bealtainecottage.com 042Berries continue to ripen, as flowers provide a succession of colour.

www.bealtainecottage.com 011There is little to concern oneself with, as Nature holds sway.

www.bealtainecottage.com 031These are the gentle days of Midsummer. 

Posted in Current Affairs, E.U., Earth, Ecology, Food, Gaia, Garden, Growing Food, Inspiration, Ireland, Life, Organic Garden, Permaculture, Thoughts

Keeping the Darkness at Bay

MissyIn every crisis there appears opportunists, ready to make a fast buck on the back of suffering!

Summer shed at Bealtaine CottageAt this point in time, as the Earth is convulsed in sickness manufactured by mankind, it appears that the climate crisis has become a business opportunity for polluters!

Barn, gravel, Valerian and GeraniumMonoculture is extracting and mining and leaving us with raped Earth.

Nasturtiums and Ox-eye daisyThis monoculture madness is being aided and abetted by the EU…the same EU that paid Irish farmers to rip out hedgerows, some of which had been there for hundreds of years.

perlagonium in a pot at Bealtaine CottagePlanting trees on their terms means monoculture plantations that echo the pages of “Silent Spring.”

Sedum for the bees, Parsley for me!It’s time for those who care to step up to the front line!

It really is gloves off time.

We must call it out for what it is…ecocide…the rape, torture and murder  of the Mother!

Potager bed planting at Bealtaine CottageMonoculture plantations destroy the natural diversity of life, at a time when the balance is fast becoming a tightrope walk for Nature!

Rain on Nasturtium in the Permaculture GardensAnd it’s not just monoculture tree planting that is the cause of widespread diseases, destruction of native habitat and destitution for wildlife!

Rain on Nasturtium leavesModern farming practice is predicated on monoculture of the land and the mind.

What can we do?

Bee on Nasturtium flower at Bealtaine CottageEach one of us can do a lot.

Sugar snap peas from saved seed!Speak openly!

Confront the reality!

Vote with our wallets!

Harass our politicians!

Create an ark for Nature!

Ark for NatureAs my friend Marco reminded me this morning…

like Gandalf said “I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay.

Posted in Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Christmas, Country Living, Earth, Garden, History, Inspiration, Life, Lifestyle, Permaculture, Spirituality, Thoughts, Trees, Uncategorized

Yuletide Celebrations

Yuletide is an ancient celebration.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine CottageAs the mist encircles the cottage this morning and the stillness of the air creates echoes along the hill, Midwinter seems very close.

Painted Irish dresser at Bealtaine CottageThis is traditionally a time for people to come together and celebrate the midwinter, with feasting, music and dancing.

I have been busy painting and decorating the cottage in preparation for this special time.

Even the old dresser has been given a much needed coat of paint!

Mist and trees in the permaculture gardens at Bealtaine CottageYule is traditionally celebrated over twelve days.

This is where the Twelve days of Christmas come from.

It is also traditional to have a Yule log which will burn all night, on the longest night of the year.

The barn is filled with logs for the stoves.

Most of the wood comes from fast growing Ash, a tree which grows easily here in the west of Ireland.

Wood burning stove at Bealtaine CottageLight is important at this time and this is where the idea of Christmas lights comes from.

Opening the doors of the wood burning stove in the sitting room, allows light to fill the room.

There are many celebrations of light all across the world at this time.

Irish dresser in the cottage kitchen at Bealtaine CottageWe are drawn towards the light, in this time of darkness and mellow sunlight.

The winter will have reached it’s shortest day this week.

The Barn at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012 A time to celebrate, keep warm and look forward to the ascent towards Spring.

Veranda at Bealtaine Cottage, midwinter 2012Make the most of this beautiful aspect of the year, wrap up warm and spent time outdoors.

There is beauty in every day…and it allows you to appreciate the warmth of your home.

Happy Yuletide, everyone!