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.
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 the night sky.
An opportunity to nurture and develop connections to family and friends.
From this day, there are 22 days to go before the descent into the Midwinter Solstice.
Yes, the coldest days precede the Spring, so January rarely feels like the prelude to that beautiful season!
But, here in the West of Ireland, with Imbolc on the first day of February, the signs are there for all to see, as new life emerges from the frozen earth.
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September has been an extraordinary month of sun and still air, little has moved and time has appeared to stand still. Sunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.
Indeed, September 2013 will be remembered here in Ireland for the “Indian Summer,” often promised and rarely received!
Tomorrow is the last day of September.
We are now past equal day and night and on the descent to Samhain and the night of the “thin veil”…
I have spent as much time outdoors as possible, walking and watching the light play with the changing seasons.
The Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”.
The places, “in-between,” the shore and land, thresholds, night and day, life and death.
The place between life and death was honoured in the form of a wake, for the soul took time to depart and journey onwards.
Bealtaine and Samhain are in-between times, when time stands still, as transition occurs.
Bealtaine is the transition to summer and Samhain the passing into winter.
‘Tis a pity that Samhain has been so commercialized, into the freak show of Halloween…it is not to be tolerated! Samhain is a lovely time of remembering and honouring the ancestors and all those who have passed from our lives during the year.
I hope you take the time to celebrate with a gathering of family, friends, feast and fire…reclaiming our precious traditions from the corporate nonsense of plastic pollution and Hollywood freak show!
(All photos today were taken by me, in the local area around Bealtaine Cottage.)
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.
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