Remembering…

dsc05339As the days grow shorter and the evenings longer there is a quietness in the gardens and around the cottage that is rather haunting.

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens Much of what I do now is centred around preparing for the Midwinter Feast and the continuing festivities of Yule.

BgQ7qv3CEAAL835 Family and friends will be arriving from as far away as Canada.

dsc05353 A house has been rented for the days that are in it, for Bealtaine Cottage is small!

cropped-bealtaine-cottage-dec-11-011.jpg

dsc05352Baking is underway in the kitchen, making full use of the hot oven in the even hotter Stanley stove that is burning constant to keep the cottage warm.

bealtainecottage.com permaculture 043

dsc05329Cakes and bread are then being moved to the freezer in the barn and will be ready to assuage the hunger of visitors and guests alike. dsc05349The cake stand has been dusted off for the festivities.

dsc05331I am transforming the Lodge into a big dining room, moving beds and other furniture out and a huge extending dining table in.

cropped-sitting-room-at-bealtaine-cottage-bealtainecottage-com-008.jpg

dsc05333dsc05334This was brought over from the tunnel where it had been in use for years as a potting table, but a good clean down and polish, followed by the adornment of a starched table cloth, has lent the old table an air of noble gentility.

dsc05335dsc05336Candlelight will soften the decrepitness of the piece and even add a touch of shabby chic!

dsc05337In the event it isn’t really about grandeur or showing off, but about coming together to celebrate…something we have almost forgotten how to do.

dsc05338The remembering that less is more…that a pot of well made soup and home baked bread is unique to that day and all who partake of the feast.

dsc05348

dsc05345It is not about shop bought, ready-made food, or flashy decorations that will still be intact in the landfill when you are long gone from this sacred Earth. dsc05343

dsc05344My little bathroom has had a coat of paint applied and a polish-up!

dsc05346Remembering the importance of gathering and celebrating…this is real civilisation!

 

 

The Other Website… https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-good-life/

 

 

 

Yule and the Turning of the Wheel

Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Garden at Midwinter

Origins of Yule

The great Festival of Yule, beginning at the time of the Winter Solstice and lasting for a full twelve days, summed up the cycle of the Celtic year.

Bealtaine Cottage candles in the window

The word Yule, according to the Venerable Bede, came from the Norse word Iul meaning ‘wheel’ and suggested that this was the time when the Great Wheel of Existence had completed its circle.

barn window reflection Permaculture @ Bealtaine Cottage 015

“In later Celtic folk-belief, Yule had a dual meaning, it symbolised the death of the old year and heralded the birth of the new…

winter sunrise at Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardens

Although the ground was cold, it would soon be warm again and Nature would burst forth at the festival of Imbolc.

The low-point of the period of Yule became the central festival of a number of formal religions, one of which was Christianity.

Bealtaine Cottage Midwinter Garden

 

After Yule, the Great Wheel began to turn again, bringing the festival of Imbolc around once more. Gradually some festivals assumed less importance and four great functional festivals – Imbolc, Bealtaine, Lughnasadh and Samhain dominated the Celtic year. Many of these became major Christian holy days – Imbolc became Candlemas (1 February) with its own rhyme: ‘On Candlemas Day, Throw a candle away’.

Christmas Eve in an Irish CottageChristmas Eve, 2012 at Bealtaine CottageChristmas eve moon above Bealtaine CottageChristmas Angel 2012In Ireland, because of its close association with the goddess Brigit, it became Saint Brigid’s Day.

Where the festivals of local deities persisted, they became ‘pattern days’– the feast of a local or patron saint.”

From Complete Guide to Celtic Mythology by Bob Curran

winter solstice 2012 at Bealtaine Cottagemidwinter cottage 015midwinter cottage 012

The winter solstice, the rebirth of the Sun, is an important turning point, as it marks the shortest day, when the hours of daylight are at their least. It also the start of the increase in the hours of daylight, until the Summer Solstice, when darkness becomes ascendant once more.

Midwinter mist at Bealtaine Cottage

This Yule, my family will gather at Bealtaine Cottage for a coming together, a “gathering,” to celebrate and mark the Great Turning of the Light, before dispersing to celebrate with others the wonderful celebration of Christmas.

friday 10 12 10monday morn 6 12 10 014monday morn 6 12 10 006Yuletide continues to be marked at Bealtaine Cottage through to it’s end on the first day of January. A time of great hope and lifting of one’s head towards the ascending sun.

For lovers of Bealtaine Cottage, there is a second website, growing daily and now with over 85 new blogs and hundreds of unseen photographs, as well as podcasts and stories… Visit:

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life Membership~ Subscribe Today!

The Night of the Thin Veil

www.bealtainecottage.com

September has been an extraordinary month of sun and still air, little has moved and time has appeared to stand still. www.bealtainecottage.comSunrises and sunsets have been spectacular.

www.bealtainecottage.comIndeed, September 2013 will be remembered here in Ireland for the “Indian Summer,” often promised and rarely received!

www.bealtainecottage.comTomorrow 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”…

www.bealtainecottage.comI have spent as much time outdoors as possible, walking and watching the light play with the changing seasons.

www.bealtainecottage.com

The Celts believed in the sacredness of times and places “in between”.

www.bealtainecottage.com

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.

www.bealtainecottage.comBealtaine 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.

www.bealtainecottage.com

‘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.

www.bealtainecottage.comI 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.)

www.bealtainecottage.com

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.

                                                          Click on button below to join the website…

Thanks for your support!

The Quickening

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 002As we approach the Equinox, the sun appears strong and bright in the morning sky, a clear sky at that, gathering together the ingredients for a perfect Autumn day.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 001A day for walking, stopping often and observing the quickening of change, in all that grows and flies.

I watched the Swallows flying high in the clear sky above the cottage…one of many preludes to the incredible migratory flight to Africa.

I looked down, earthwards and noticed the Sedum opening clusters of pink, one of the last meals of the year for the bees.

All is change.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 003All is good, on this calm bright morning.

Tomatoes slowly ripen here on the veranda.

Thank you Tara Angell from New York, for the amazing little seeds these grew from.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 008They’re all over the garden and have become more Irish than the Irish as the saying goes!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 005The spiders spin and weave their magic all over the gardens too.

I hear people say, “Where has the summer gone…is time speeding up?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 007Perhaps it is, but my body is more and more in tune with the seasons and time seems almost irrelevant.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 009The morning merges into afternoon and the quickening of autumn  reveals itself in the darker evening…yet to come!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 011If time is the measuring stick of our existence, then we are not living in the present, in the here and now.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 012I often reflect on these pictures I take, and ask myself, “What was I feeling then, at that moment?”

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 015The clock was a horrid invention really…it ticks and measures and makes us panic and fret!

Today, I don’t need a clock or a calendar…I smell the season, I see the time…it’s morning, for the sun shines in from the east!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 016The light has weakened and changed, the summer is behind us.

Flowers on the Buddleia have turned into heavy droplets of seeds for the birds to feast their way through winter.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 017Pumpkins stand to attention!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 019Masses of red berries assure the birds of a kind over-wintering at Bealtaine Cottage, where Nature has bestowed abundance on all living creatures.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 020The lacy cobwebs dance in the morning sun.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 021And the mellowing leaves of the Ribes reflect in the mirror stillness of the water barrel.

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 024Time to light the stove and boil the kettle…this is a morning, where stepping back outside, with a mug of tea, seems the only really sensible course of action to take!

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 025The light beckons…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 031Missy observes from under the table…

Autumn 2013 at Bealtaine Cottage 029And I pass through the cottage to return to the gardens…

A Time of Early Shadows

www.bealtainecottage.com 003
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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 026

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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 001

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.

www.bealtainecottage.com 012

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

www.bealtainecottage.com 021

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

A time of magic.