Magical Spirits

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It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cool evening too.

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

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

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

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

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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.

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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…

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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 Wood and…fairies…

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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.

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

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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.

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“The creatures I seek do not want to be seen.”
Annie Dillard

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“These folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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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…

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The Watchers

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Here in the study the light is low as the day fades into the west.  

DSC00106Ten O’Clock rings out as I take up my camera and head out into the warm evening.

DSC00107I have enjoyed visitors for much of the day, so stepping out into the evening allows me time to be quiet and absorb the ending of the day. 

DSC00108“Be calm…calm as a calm lagoon, then you will look beautiful as a beautiful calm lagoon crowned by the Moon and sheltered by the brilliance of the stars reclaiming your royalty of regal life…”
Oksana Rus 

DSC00109The light lends an ethereal touch to everything. 

DSC00110“When one tunes in into nature’s frequency, life becomes change, change becomes hope!”
Aniekee Tochukwu 

DSC00111The birds continue to fly to and fro their nestlings in a frenzy to keep them fed.

DSC00112Fortunately, Bealtaine Cottage can now support dozens of pairs of breeding birds and all from the plentiful supply of food in the gardens and food forest. 

DSC00113DSC00114DSC00115“It was that time of dusk when there is a—deepening of the interior shadows. It is a melancholy time: all you need do is switch on one lamp and the inside and the outside will separate, held apart by the reflections in the glass, and evening will begin.”
Rudolph Delson 

DSC00117DSC00116DSC00118As always at this time of evening, there is magic in the air.

DSC00120DSC00121DSC00125Flowers are dancing in billows of colour around the cottage.

DSC00137DSC00127DSC00138As I walk, snapping pictures here and there, I fancy my camera may capture an image of the other world that is veiled so very thinly at this time of day…

DSC00119DSC00124DSC00123I sense the watchers…

…and then

…something moves,

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(This photo is as it appears…I NEVER use photoshop!)

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Cottage Garden Style

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There was a full moon last night.

Sammy-Bear couldn’t make up his mind whether he wanted in or out.

Previous to this photo I had opened the back door for him twice to go out, whereupon he ran around to the front of the cottage and jumped up on the window sill, as you can see here!

DSC09962It’s always a strange time when the moon is full.

I’m sure you each have stories about weird happenings at this time!

DSC09961This May moon has cast it’s brightness over Ireland, presiding over an extraordinary time of growth.

DSC09960DSC09959 All around the cottage there are flowers opening, plants growing, seemingly overnight and trees now heavy with leaf and blossom.

DSC09958Where would an Irish cottage garden be without the beautiful and traditional Perlagonium?

DSC09957And, of course, every cottage garden has a little spot for Succulents…I plant these in terracotta pots and here in this old planter.

They love dry conditions!

DSC09956DSC09955Always lots of tasks to complete as in painting the old Buddha, so he may survive another winter!

DSC09954DSC09953DSC09952As in all cottage gardens, famous for their mish-mash of flowers, vegetables fruit and just about everything else, edibles share potager beds with their close relations!

DSC09950I have had to move many plants from pots and plant them in spaces wherever I can find them.

For, as always now at this time of the year, there is a drought…sometimes prolonged, but dry enough at the best of times!

DSC09948The nursery bed, essential to a cottage garden, is being cleared fast, with plants going into the long beds down by the road.

DSC09946DSC09943Pieris and Poppies…as always, flowers are squashed in beside the most unsuitable bed mates…the Poppy is planted in with Flowering Currant!

DSC09931And sitting in my chair on the veranda, looking up…the classic cottage garden rose.

DSC09941The all-forgiving Cottage Garden will tolerate just about everything one wants to “throw out!” Except, of course, I throw little away, favouring a good old re-purpose, as in this old, but very comfy, fireside chair!

DSC09937And…the beautiful Wisteria…tougher than it looks and essential “cottage garden!”

DSC09936DSC09933DSC09932Nothing pristine here!

No manicured lawn or well-placed fountain or garden ornament…yet everything knows how to behave itself without supervision.

DSC09930Even Jack…unlike Sammy-Bear!

DSC09927DSC09924Oh Jack, you are a little beaut!

DSC09923Opening my backdoor this morning I see the Fairies have tidied up again!

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Magic in the Fairy Wood

On such a morning as this, there can only be one place to gently go…come with me as I venture down into the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage. Nature spirits are in evidence in the lush new growth. Magic abounds…

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The Shining Ones

To understand Celtic Spirituality we must suspend the normal way of looking at the world and ‘sense’ the other worlds around us.”
– Donald McKinney, Celtic Spirituality for the 21st Century

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Looking North East towards Slieve Anieirin Mountain…

Slieve Anierin, known as the Iron Mountain, is a magical landscape, where Iron Age people once mined Iron Ore. 

Slieve Anierin in Leitrim; Sliabh-an-iarainn, the mountain of the iron; from its richness in iron ore.

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Bealtaine Cottage is surrounded by landscape, where traces of ancient peoples are to be found with ease. 

The Tuatha de Danaan were one of these ancient races and were also known as the Shining Ones.

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Few people are aware of the fact that it was these people who became the origins of what we know worldwide as the Fairies…or the Sidhe.

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This was the Tribe that became the Sídhe…the Fairy Folk.

The stories of the Sidhe abound in Ireland.

We live alongside our ancestors.

This path at Bealtaine leads down into the Fairy Wood.

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There is much written about the 

Sídhe, pronounced “shee”, and a lot of the writings are contradictory, much like the 

Sídhe themselves! 

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Living among the remnants of ancient tribes, as I do, here in the West of Ireland, watching skies with stars so bright, they illuminate the night, it is easy to believe in theSídhe…even revere them at times.

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There comes a shift in perception, when one’s closest allies are the invisible forces of Nature.

Where does reality begin and end?

What is actual and what is reflection?

For much of it is coloured by perception. 

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This was something debated by the Romantic Poets, as they often explored the world around them, using reflections, as they held up mirrors to gaze into Nature.

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There are many tales relating the emergence of Fairies in Irish Folklore.

Many legends recall how once  great Queens, Kings and Warriors became

Sídhe 

upon death.

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In turn, these mortals went on to  establish new kingdoms in the ancient mounds and hills of the landscape we know today.

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It is easy to regard these ancient sites with reverence and understanding, for even though there are millenia of time that separate us from them, they are part of our ancestral being.

Bealtaine Cottage moon rising over the permaculture gardens

The true origin of the legendary Tuatha De Danaan lies somewhere between the worlds of reality and perception of reality.

The name means literally “the folk of the god whose mother is Dana.”  

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It is merely recorded, that they appeared, as the clouds rose, from the mountain of Slieve Anierin, on the day of Bealtaine, the first day of May…Summer.

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Bealtaine cottage crafts 010Bog Oak Pendants are available from the Bealtaine Cottage Craft Shop. (Sorry, all are now sold. No longer available!)

Each pendant is hand-crafted from locally sourced Irish Bog Oak, an ancient and profoundly mysterious wood that’s been buried in the Irish peat bogs for thousands of years.

These pendants are made from wood dated as 5,600 years old.

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Angels

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Embracing one’s journey means being ready for change.

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To be ready, one has to be open and receptive.

This morning I searched for an explanation of what I experienced in my dreams; the kind of dreams that seem real, so real you get confused, almost trapped between two realms; that of sleep and wake.

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Before going to bed, I went through the usual ritual of walking Jack around and under the trees near the cottage.

The moon was full and very bright…it had risen late.

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The night was still and the moon was rising in a cloudless sky.

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The West of Ireland enjoys many nights of star-filled skies and amazing moons, but last night there was a strange feeling in the air…something akin to an ethereal experience.

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My rational mind simply couldn’t engage with it; I couldn’t explain what I was feeling.

I must have fallen asleep quite quickly after going to bed, for the dreams I experienced seemed to go on and on.

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My dreams were filled with angels, small moth-like beings that were also fairies, yet I knew there were angels.

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Isn’t it a strange experience to have rational thoughts in a dream and “know,” what things are about?

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As I walked through what appeared to be the world, the angels flew around and around like butterflies, whispering to me and making me smile.

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I don’t know what they said, but the whispers were happy and reassuring in their tones.

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Recently, like many of you, I have felt anxious and disturbed to see what humanity has done; atrocities committed and the blood of innocent children spilled so casually.

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The threat of war prevails.

Weather has become violent and unpredictable.

All around, this violence pollutes the Earth and humankind.

We stand near a precipice and dare not acknowledge it!

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However, upon waking, all my anxieties had disappeared…I felt renewed!

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I have felt for a very long time, indeed for the past ten years, that the Earth is trying to communicate with us.

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Mother Earth is desperate for us to live in peace with her, rather than against her!

Living in the simple way I do has allowed me time and space to consider her.

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There are no distractions at Bealtaine Cottage, no TV, radio or harsh intrusions, yet still I sense the formidable force of what lies beyond the gardens…it is dark indeed!

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There is a mighty transition taking place and those who would destroy are on a final rampage across our Sacred Earth.

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In the midst of all this darkness, I believe there are forces of light, unseen at most times, but gathering and sharing strength.

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Yes, we are living in a time of Apocalypse, but please, remember what the true meaning of the word really is…’lifting of the veil.’

Take heart…we are not alone.

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The word,“apocalypse” comes from Ancient Greek and pre-dates the Bible.
To source the word one has to look to writings from that period.
It is there.
 Apo=un
Kaluptein=to cover
Apokaluptein=uncover
Apokalupsis, from ancient Greek, to modern Greek then into Old French/Latin=Apocalypse.
The original meaning is lost in translation, though it is relevant to point out that the word is found in the Book of Revelation. Revelation coming from “reveal” or uncover!
Does make one think, does it not?
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Bealtaine Cottage is free and has over 850 blogs, as well as over 3,500 photographs.

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

To subscribe, a small donation of 12 euros per year, will add your name to the subscriber list.

You will then have access to the website and full blog as published twice each week.

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Ghosts

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Winter has finally gripped the land.

Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates.

www.bealtainecottage.com 016The evening sky turns a cold blue.

Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen.

Winter is here!

www.bealtainecottage.com 017Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun.

Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.

 Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place.

 Descending in a thick mist, the Tuatha De Danann found the mountain and the lough.

The mountain contained deposits of iron, and so the magical people proceeded to forge the first metal weapons in Ireland.

There followed a mighty battle with the Tribe of the Formorians, nearby at Magh Tuireadh…and so the legends began.

www.bealtainecottage.com 010Willful and determined, like ancient tribes who once battled on this land, Fuchsia continues to hold their flowers, in sheltered parts of the gardens.

There are pockets of Bealtaine that refuse to give up Summer, protecting and nurturing flowers through to Spring.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001Kilronan Mountain holds sway to the north of Bealtaine Cottage, washed with shades of purple in the early evening thin winter air.

www.bealtainecottage.com 003Of all of Ireland, the mountains and valleys of this part hold most history, legend and mystery.

The Tuatha De Danann, as legend tells us, never died, but were banished underground.

They became the Sidhe…the Fairies.

On an evening like this, the ethereal energy of the Tuatha De Danann is almost tangible…

 

A video from Bealtaine…Towards Midwinter…enjoy X

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOu72QAAkro

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Blessings X

In Search of Fairies on a Summer Eve…

In search of fairiesIt could be the way the light hangs in the sky this evening…

Lysimachia Punctata and stone stepsOr the stillness of the air as a mist starts its’ way up the valley…

Entrance to the Fairy WoodOr may even be the predominance of moths fluttering in the still air down in the Fairy Wood, in the gardens below the cottage…

entrance to the fairy wood at bealtaine cottageI’m walking the gardens in search of the Fairies.

entrance to fairy wood at bealtaine cottageAlthough most people here in the West of Ireland will tell you they’ve left the fairy faith in the past, there is a lingering moment, between asking whether or not they believe in the Fairies, and the reply in the negative.

That moment of hesitation is all one needs to be aware of!

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageFairy faith is the belief in fairies, of course.

fairy wood at bealtaine cottageWhen the Milesians, the mythical race described by an 11th century scholar in Lebor Gabála Érenn (The Book of Invasions), came to Ireland they banished the natives to the underground and they became the Sidhe, the fairy folk.

Fairy cats in the fairy woodThey reside in old ring-forts, stone circles and inside and under magical trees like the Hawthorn, or Fairy Thorn as it is known here in Ireland…particularly one growing alone in a field.

A path from the Fairy WoodNo farmer disturbs the Fairy Thorn, for to do so brings almighty bad luck!

In the Fairy Wood below Bealtaine CottageThere is a Fairy Thorn in the wood below the cottage, hence the name, Fairy Wood or Dell, as it lies in a hollow, well below the cottage.

Willow Fedge leading away from the Fairy WoodAnd so I ramble the gardens, quietly, patiently looking here and there for movement or unexpected light.

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Colette O’Neill

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