The autumn continues to progress through it’s mellow display of earthy colours.
Tomorrow is the Equinox and the beginning of the descent towards midwinter.
The time of year denotes the slowing down of all that is life as we know it.
Time to sort out the winter woolies and hang the heavy curtains to keep out the drafts.
One of the big tasks I have lined up here at Bealtaine Cottage is the coppicing of the majority of the trees that were planted eight years ago, in the first flush of restoring the fertility of the land.
Trees are one of the most important connections we have to the Divine, embodying the sacred fertility that anchors us all on this planet.
Where trees grow, life is abundant…without them we are bereft of all that makes life comfortable and good.
One of the great delights of the shorter days is the ritual lighting of the stove and the chance to sit around the fire and enjoy the scent of woodsmoke on the air.
There are few pleasures in life quite so comforting.
From this point in time the autumn will wend its way through to Samhain and evolve into the dark depths of winter, finally rising towards the light in the deep midwinter, a time of renewal, hope and promise.
Life is cyclical.
The builders of Stonehenge and Newgrange knew all about that.
Aquilegia, now growing all over the permaculture gardens and driveway of Bealtaine Cottage, from its beginnings here 8 years ago, with a handful of seed, saved from a some flowers growing in a garden in North London.
The time is near…Mayday, known as Bealtaine here in Ireland. It is pronounced “Be Al Tan Ah”
Irish mythology marks the beginning of May as the the start of the summer.
This was heralded in with the Fire Festival at Bealtaine.
Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition.
There was the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and celebrations were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits. Cattle would be driven through the dying embers of the great bonfires, to protect them from disease.
The Ancient Races who constructed Newgrange in Ireland aligned their monuments to the major solar events.
These were the Winter Solstice, the Spring Equinox, the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox.
The solar year was further divided to mark the half way points between the major solar events giving the cross quarter days of Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain.
Click on the link below for today’s video from Bealtaine Cottage
It was a common belief, long ago, that many conditions could be cured by bringing the patient into contact with the powerful life force or MANA represented by trees…
Nearly 800 trees have been planted here at Bealtaine and there is something so awesome about trees that makes me want to get more land and keep on planting.
Today has seen the transplanting of another 20 or so Birch trees, seedlings rescued from the road verge before the tractors mow the grass.
More Buddleias for FREE!
Managed to pull up 3 tiny Buddleias from the gravel around the cottage…gravel makes an ideal seeding ground for many plants and trees.
These too have been potted on and will make fine specimens for planting out next year.
This is a little Birch sapling planted only a few weeks ago and already grown over a foot in height and spread.
Grass cuttings have been spread around the base to deter weeds and provide food for the fast growing tree.
Apple Trees and Verbascum
Apple trees under-planted with Blackcurrants and perennial flowers…here is the Verbascum in bloom with Geranium and Calendula amongst others.
Many Magical Trees…
Willow, Birch, Copper Beech, Twisted Willow, Oak and Pine, all planted in very close proximity to one another…this is the permaculture way and very quickly excludes weeds and provides an excellent source of coppiced wood for the stove.
Ash trees were traditionally used in Folk Medicine against poison and evil. Lightning runs to the Ash…’Avoid the Ash, it courts the flash!’
Long ago, in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland, on the birth of a child, the midwife would take a green stick from the Ash tree and hold it in the fire. As the heat worked on one end of the stick, the sap would ooze from the other. This was administered to the newborn baby as the first liquid to pass its lips!
I write about, film and photograph Mother Earth, for Mother Earth, opening little portals of healing energy all over the world.