Posted in Abundance, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Cottage, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, photography, Summer, Uncategorized

Midsummer Rising

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Farewell Bealtaine!

Rising on the last morning of Bealtaine and looking out the window of the lodge to be greeted by mist and sunshine.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe heat of yesterday rose in a mist over the valley and mountains beyond.

www,bealtainecottage.comRising towards Midsummer is a most magical time in the west of Ireland.

Between the rain and the sun, the jigs and the reels, the land has grown a mantle of green.

www.bealtainecottage.comFestivals are held in every village as birds, from thousands of mile away, fly low over the feeding grounds of this small island. www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer customs prevail in much of Europe and certainly here in Ireland, where the traditional bonfire is part of the celebration.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe fire is lit exactly at sunset on the eve of the solstice and celebrations continue until sunset on the solstice itself.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe sense of abundance is quite tangible and visible at this time, helping to create a celebratory atmosphere.

www.bealtainecottage.comMidsummer  was seen as a time when the veil between this world and the next was thin, and when the spirit of the land itself held sway.

This is encapsulated in Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”

www.bealtainecottage.comThis year I shall be lighting the Midsummer fire with wood cut around the time of Midwinter, in honour of my  Mother.

www.bealtainecottage.com It is a time for gathering and spending time together and a celebration I look forward to…

www.bealtainecottage.comAs I walked I the gardens this morning, there arose a great sense of peace and harmony, again something which seems to be released from the very Earth herself each year, at this time of ascension to Midsummer.

www.bealtainecottage.comThe promise of a good harvest holds firm as the beautiful weather continues.

www.bealtainecottage.comHere is one of my favourite quotes by Carole Carlton…

“The festival of the summer solstice speaks of love and light, of freedom and generosity of spirit.

www.bealtainecottage.comIt is a beautiful time of year where vibrant flowers whisper to us with scented breath,

www.bealtainecottage.com (2)forests and woodlands hang heavy in the summer’s heat and our souls become enchanted with midsummer magic.”

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 For magical crystals…

https://bealtainecottage.com/charged-crystals-for-sale/

For seeds…

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

For Bealtaine Cottage Good Life…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

Posted in Animals, Cats, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Culture, Dublin, Fairies, Folklore, Ireland, Leitrim, Lughnasa, Permaculture, Tea, Thoughts, Woodland

Towards Lughnasa and an Open Weekend!

Stone planter at Bealtaine CottageThe festival of Lughnasa honours the Celtic god Lugh of the Tuatha de Danann.

Barn and Potager at Bealtaine CottageLugh was the  god of arts and crafts among Celtic tribes and Lughnasa sat high in the Calendar of festivals.

Polytunnel this morning at Bealtaine Cottage with Che Mousy Bear strolling through!Lughnasa ushered in the harvest season.

Che Mousy Bear rolls over in the tunnel this morning at Bealtaine CottageLughnasa was a celebration of, and for, the Divine, for a successful harvest.

Cats in the shade at bealtaine cottageThis ancient festival marks the first day of autumn in the Celtic Calendar, and thus the start of the harvest season.

The Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageIn Britain Lughnasa is known as Lammas, from the Anglo-Saxon hlaef-mass meaning ‘loaf-mass’.

Wild Hypericum in the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine CottageHere in Ireland the nearest Sunday to Lughnasa was known as Cally Sunday, the traditional day to lift the first new potatoes.

Astrantia by the Fairy Wood at Bealtaine Cottage this morningThe man of the house would dig the first stalk, while the woman of the house would don a new white apron and cook them.

Nettle seed forming at Bealtaine CottageThe floor would be spread  with fresh, green rushes in their honour.

Wild roses and Valerian at Bealtaine CottageLughnasa was celebrated on the hills and mountains as well as the valleys.

Valerian in abundance around the cottage this morningClimbing a hill or mountain and celebrating with lighting a bonfire was, and remains, a tradition.

Valerian this morning around the cottageIn addition to climbing hills, Lughnasa was also a time for visiting holy wells.

Front of cottage and porch surrounded with Valerian this morning.Lughnasa falls on August the 1st and the evening before is usually when the celebrations begin…

Che Mousy Bear today at BealtaineI am hosting an “Open Weekend,” for anyone who wishes to visit the Permaculture gardens of Bealtaine Cottage.

Bealtaine Cottage this morningThis will be over the weekend of the 7th and 8th of September and in aid of The Leitrim Animal Welfare Shelter, so there will be charge of ten euros per adult…and will include tea and home made cakes!

Bealtaine CottageThis wonderful animal sanctuary is where I have adopted two dogs from, including Jack!

Bealtaine Cottage this morning.If you would like to visit Bealtaine Cottage on this special open weekend, please let me know in advance, so I can make arrangements for cakes, teas and coffees to be available!

This is a link to a short film made by RTE TV all about this wonderful animal sanctuary!

Hopefully we can raise much needed funds for this cause so close to my heart!

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Thanks to the following lovely people who have donated to the Leitrim Animal Sanctuary…

Carole (wspines) from Whispering Pines Farm

Vivien Cruickshank

Posted in Autumn, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Culture, Earth, Fairies, Folklore, History, Inspiration, Ireland, Permaculture, Poetry, Samhain, Spirituality, Thoughts

A Time of Early Shadows

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Autumn is a time of early shadows as the season of summer passes over.

Scents of woodsmoke and compost fill the air.

Samhain is close.

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The Celts divided the year into two parts…the light and the dark.

Samhain is the crossover point into the dark.

Seamus Heaney wrote a wonderful collection of poetry entitled, “Into The Dark.”

One of my favourite reads at this time of the year.

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Poetry is like that…it can be turned over again and again, extracted from the past into the present and enjoyed afresh.

The turning of the year towards the light is heralded in the Feast of Bealtaine.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054Bealtaine also means, “May,” in Irish and is why I named this cottage Bealtaine Cottage…for it was in May I first spied it!

Bealtaine celebrates the beginning of summer as we turn towards the light and short shadows.

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In Ireland the Tribes gathered for Samhain, at the ritual centres across the land to celebrate this most important festival of the year.

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It was a time to reconnect with the past, a time of early shadows and light veils of separation.

A time of magic.

Posted in celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Celts, Country Living, Folklore, Imbolc, Inspiration, Ireland, Uncategorized

Imbolc at Bealtaine Cottage…and the sun is shining!

Today has been the finest day of the year so far!

Imbolc.

The first day of Spring on the Celtic calendar…and it hasn’t disappointed!

Even as I write this journal, at almost 4pm, the sun continues to shine…

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.” 
― Margaret Atwood

Nature is awakening from her winter rest – the long winter darkness begins to break as the daylight hours begin to get longer. 

Today is a good time to begin Spring cleaning!

This comes from the habit at Imbolc of getting rid of unwanted clutter and looking forward to the new season.
It is also a good time to finish old habits and make a fresh start,  for the world is full of new opportunities.

Imbolc is one of the four major Celtic Festivals.

It is closely associated with the goddess Brigid,who in turn gave her name to the Irish Christian Saint, Brigid.

Bright Blessings to you all on this beautiful day!

Posted in Autumn, Bealtaine Cottage, celebrations, Celtic Mythology, Culture, Ecology, Folklore, Gardening, History, Ireland, Permaculture, Smallholding, Uncategorized

Permaculture Cottage ~ Lughnasa and the Celtic Calendar

The feast of Lugh, Lughnasa, or Lughnasadh happenssoon…on the eve, which is the 31st of July. A time for a bonfire and celebrations of the harvest…celebrations here at Bealtaine Cottage will be focused around a rather small outdoor fire but with the equivalent gusto of the eve that’s in it!

 The Festival of Lughnasadh

This was  said to have been begun by the god Lugh as a funeral feast commemorating his foster-mother, Tailtu, who died of exhaustion after clearing the plains of Ireland for agriculture. Little changed there then, as most of the agricultural work in many African countries is carried out by women!

In days of old, Lughnasadh was a favoured time for  trial marriages that would generally last a year and a day, with the option of ending the contract before the new year, or later formalizing it as a more permanent marriage.

 Lughnasa is the first of the three autumn harvest festivals. The Autumn Equinox and Samhain, or Halloween, being the other two.

Already there is a feel of Autumn in the air and can be seen in the plant life as harvests begin and fruits ripen on the trees. The days have shortened, now over a month past the longest day.

Here, plums ripen on one of the trees at Bealtaine Cottage and nettles produce their seeds…

And…

Flowers like this Perscaria Bistorta, a late flowering perennial, begin to show a magnificence beyond their humble beginnings!

Irish calendar

is a pre-Christian, Celtic system of keeping the year and still in popular use today to define the beginning and length of the day, the week, the month, the seasons, quarter days, and festivals.

  The meteorological seasons  begin on March 1, June 1, September 1, and December 1.

The Irish Calendar observes the equinoxes and solstices and has a more realistic seasonal observance…

  • Spring – February, March, April.
  • Summer – May, June, July.
  • Autumn – August, September, October.
  • Winter – November, December, January.

These seasons are much more in keeping with the observations I make here at Bealtaine Cottage and I would abide by these dates rather than any other.