Enchantment on the Last Day of November

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There was always understood to be a contract between the people and the land. 

IMG_0810This reminder formed the words as I walked the woodland sanctuary, on this last day of November.

IMG_0813The leaf-covered earth I walked upon reminded me of that sacred contract, one long since forgotten by humankind.

IMG_0814From the sacred well flows the life-giving force of the Otherworld.

IMG_0817All the ancient races of the Earth understood this.

IMG_0821The contract was broken by those who nurtured a greed for more and more wealth.

IMG_0824This continues today and is the reason why Mother Earth has been brought to the edge of destruction all across Her land and seas.

IMG_0826The native pre-Christian mythology of Celtic Ireland is highly Goddess-centered.

IMG_0806This is in recognition of the understanding that the Earth is female and the force is that of the Creatrix.

IMG_0804Irish mythology, in particular, is filled with stories of powerful women.

IMG_0795These women, often revered and greatly honoured, were seen as incarnations of the ‘Sovereignty’ goddess.

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On these mornings near Midwinter, the moon continues to move across the sky as the sun rises.

IMG_0716The land speaks.

The Goddess is imbued in the chalice and has become the sacred quest of folklore, that of the Holy Grail.

Here at Bealtaine Cottage she is the land Herself.

IMG_0724It is a most blessed time of the day, when the energy is rising.

IMG_0723My morning ritual is the same…I walk the land and listen, not just with my ears but with my whole being.

IMG_0720The energy of the Goddess flows out from the spring well and across the woodland…I listen.

IMG_0682I walk always in awareness of the Otherworld  which influences my own.

IMG_0686I walk in service to the land.

IMG_0684This Goddess-centred land feels a part of me and I a part of Her.

IMG_0690The Otherworld is inextricably linked to the land I walk.

IMG_0783The Otherworld is not about the dead.

IMG_0727The Otherworld is referred to as the ‘land of the living’ in ancient lore.

IMG_0746The Goddess has a great propensity for shape-shifting…so as I walk the land it is oftentimes I am followed by birds.

IMG_0816Tomorrow marks the first day of December and the descent towards the Midwinter Solstice.

IMG_0679This will herald the return of the rise of the light, as we move towards Imbolc.

IMG_0764Yule begins on the Midwinter Solstice and continues until the first day of January.

IMG_0772The sacred walks of Winter continue…

 

A Peaceful Passing

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IMG_1847There is something so simple, yet so unique about Goddess Permaculture. IMG_1848It’s evident to all who visit Bealtaine Cottage. IMG_1849It is the connectedness of everything. IMG_1851Earlier today, whilst walking the woodland gardens, I discovered the body of a fox. IMG_1855It had come to Bealtaine to die…a safe place, a quiet place where only the birdsong held sway in the shady gardens near the silt pond. IMG_1860The beautiful creature had already made itself known to me in the preceding days… IMG_1864Sometime last week, in the early hours of the morning, between three and four, I was awoken by a cry and then Jack barking. IMG_1869I got up and looked out through the glass of the front door. IMG_1873There it was, one of the oldest foxes I had ever seen, quite thin and scraggy, crossing the gravel by the front of the cottage. IMG_1876It is rare for me to rise out of bed at that hour, but something drew me to look. IMG_1877I now know it was this beautiful, old fox bidding me farewell…one last lap of honour around Bealtaine Cottage, before it laid itself to rest in a quiet, cool spot of safety for it’s final hours. IMG_1881I feel honoured that this once beautiful creature chose Bealtaine Cottage to die. IMG_1884A place of sanctuary. IMG_1888Somewhere, in a world where it was hunted, reviled and pushed out, that it found a place to simply die. IMG_1889This evening, as I write, I feel honoured and blessed to have witnessed such a life and peaceful passing.

 

Times of Insanity…Seeking Reality

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I rarely dip into the outside world in terms of mainstream media, for it unnerves me!

dsc04158I keep myself occupied in the world as I know it…the one where I weave wreathes from Willow and Dogwood…

dsc04159The one where cruelty and chaos are not allowed entry!

dsc04187You’ll understand my terror, for that’s why you’re here…to touch base with reality!

dsc04186Yes, this is reality…as it was meant to be and in the world most inhabit, is not!

dsc04185I have always chosen this reality, both as a child living in poverty and as a mother creating sanctuary for her children in London.

dsc04184I have always sought out Mother Earth, wherever she was hidden from view by retail parks and shopping centres, housing estates and suburbia.

dsc04183I chose this reality.

dsc04181I planted it, brought it forward, share it and allow it’s force to move out in waves of healing and peace.

dsc04180We all choose our own realities and what we allow carelessly in or strive to keep out!

dsc04179The Lughnasadh Garden is another reality being birthed at Bealtaine.

dsc04178Just as wanton destruction is being justified all over this Sacred Earth, the need for creation is more necessary than ever in the history of what we laughingly refer to as “civilisation!”

dsc04178 And, if you are brain-washed enough to think for a minute that politicians will lift us all up to a better life, then you should really seek your inspiration with them… and not here at this little portal!

dsc04177 Regardless of party/gender/colour or creed, politicians take us to war and care nothing for the protection of Mother Earth…and that in my view is unforgivable!

Today I am feeling angry with what I saw as I looked at the world through the poisonous media.

Even Social Media is being taken over by hate and vitriol!

dsc04171As I approach my birthday and my 61st year, I am becoming convinced more and more of the need to keep one’s head down and continue to nurture and care for Mother Earth.

dsc04170It’s all I care to do, for there is much destruction and violence all around that has reached a point of insanity!

dsc04169I don’t know where to go from here, except to keep doing as I do and keep this website going…where, I do not know! 

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(Thank you Alana!)

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Creating a Sanctuary for Yourself!

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“Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, nihil deerit

He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing”
Marcus Tullius Cicero 

DSC07990This is very apt today as I have been in and out of the garden, working and reading…Dictator by Robert Harris, the third and last book in the Cicero trilogy.

DSC09029Many of you are aware that I do not have a TV, nor want one, come to that!

I spend my time between the garden and reading mostly.

www.bealtainecottage.com 018Marcus Tullius Cicero was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist.

Cicero lived through the fall of the Republic and the installation of Caesar as dictator.

Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture GardensIt was a time when Roman fought Roman and the fabric of society was torn apart.

Cleopatra was on the throne of Egypt and Mark Anthony was waiting in the wings, (…most of you know of the tempestuous love affair between them both!)

10 July 2014 005But, to return to the quote above…Cicero had life sorted in my opinion.

There is much anguish and depression in society today, and, in my opinion,  exacerbated by the lack of connection we have to Mother Earth and each other, but particularly by noise!

Bealtaine Cottage PermacultureThere is a background noise that seems to permeate home life, emanating from TVs, computers and screens linked to the internet.

Gaming seems to be the order of the day for many young people.

In short, home, for many people, is no longer a sanctuary! 

Autumn permaculture at bealtainecottage.com 018Creating a private space where you can go to read, write, pursue a craft, or simply unwind is a positive step towards establishing good mental health and physical relaxation, in other words, a body and mind space!

If you are lucky enough to have a garden, then that can be a wonderful environment to create “space”…or, as I did when I lived in London, a garden shed on my rented allotment was my personal retreat!

Feverfew and stained glassThe words of Cicero are particularly relevant today as society seems to struggle to keep a grip on sanity and calm.

It was difficult enough for Cicero over two thousand years ago…and you know what they say about history and it’s apparent repetitive nature… 

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Morning

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Morning in the west of Ireland on a perfect day in late June.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 021The back door of the cottage is open; wood pigeons call softly to one another as blackbirds swoop noisily in and out of the blackcurrant bushes, feasting on the heavily laden stems.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 022Morning…full of stillness and promise, the prelude to a hot, dry day of high summer.

The cottage will remain a cool sanctuary, as the heat of the day rises golden over the hill of Ballyfermoyle.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 024Birds will swoop along paths of shade, wings outstretched catching the earthy updraft of chill. 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 026“Summer was our best season: it was sleeping on the back screened porch in cots, or trying to sleep in the treehouse; summer was everything good to eat; it was a thousand colors in a parched landscape; but most of all, summer was Dill.”
― Harper LeeTo Kill a Mockingbird  

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 031“Summer set lip to earth’s bosom bare, and left the flushed print in a poppy there.”
― Francis Thompson 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 028The hill at the back of the cottage captures the sounds of the birds, holding them close before echoing onto the walls and through the open door into the cool recesses of the stone.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 029Leaving this sacred place would never sit easy in my heart, for all that is Bealtaine Cottage has been co-created with the great Mother: Earth, Gaia, Nature…whatever insufficient name we draw upon to express the mystery of the Divine.

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 033My dream to plant a forest will come to pass…in some divine way… 

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 036I dream and manifest the vision in sleep and wakedness.

One day, a beautiful morning such as this will shine through onto a young forest floor, illuminating the darkness of a greed-stricken world. 

Permaculture Woodland

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Isn’t he lovely?

www.bealtainecottage.com 015This little Robin followed me around the gardens today as I walked Jack.

www.bealtainecottage.com 029I say the gardens, but after spending time walking all the paths, I am now of the opinion that I have 3 acres of woodland…and am delighted at the ongoing transformation from bare, barren, rushy fields, to magical, thronging-with-life, woodland!

www.bealtainecottage.com 032The trees have dropped a huge lot of leaves this year and the paths have taken on a woodland feel,  as I walk, kicking up the colourful debris.

www.bealtainecottage.com 045Such an amazing amount of wood to be cut this winter…and that’s only in tidying up, as the real harvest is ongoing and spans the year.

www.bealtainecottage.com 046In years to come this little cottage will be merged into the Fairy Wood.

www.bealtainecottage.com 048I think that was Nature’s plan from the beginning, when I first opened the door for her!

www.bealtainecottage.com 035Here and there, as I walk through the woods, I look skywards into canopies of blue and white.

www.bealtainecottage.com 050Bealtaine Cottage has given me great hope for the future of our lovely Earth.

www.bealtainecottage.com 054This place has revealed to me the health and vitality in Nature, despite our stupidity in ignoring her needs.

www.bealtainecottage.com 053With just a little bit of help, she is creating what she wants most…woodland!

www.bealtainecottage.com 005And in the middle of all this beauty, a little sanctuary.

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Blessings X

Celebrating Lughnasa

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The carved head of Lugh looks in all directionsLughnasa (earlier, Lughnasadh) was the feast of Lugh.

Lughnasa Lugh, carved by Michael Quirke A harvest festival, its celebration marked the end of the period of summer growth and the beginning of the autumn harvest.

Lugh, carved by Michael Qirke of SligoIts original name does not survive in popular tradition, that being now the common word in Irish (Lúnasa) for the month of August. 

Lugh of LughnasadhThe festival is rather known as the Sunday of Crom Dubh (the god of harvest), or in varying areas as Lammas Sunday, Garland Sunday, Bilberry Sunday, or Fraughan Sunday.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe first weekend in August marks Ireland’s changing-of-the-season festival of Lughnasa.

Burlap and lace flower arrangementThe Irish playwright, Brian Friel, wrote the now famous,“Dancing at Lughnasa” which is all centred around the pivotal point in the Celtic calendar, Lughnasa.

Bealtaine flowers at LughnasaThe Celts regarded the Earth as a fertile Goddess, to be nurtured and honoured…a way of living I now follow, as a care-taker and care-giver to Mother Earth.

flowers for MichelleThe gate-keeper to the sanctuary of Bealtaine Cottage.

Lughnasa flowers for Michelle's weddingToday is the final day of summer in the Celtic Calendar…Happy Lughnasa!

 

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In Search of Sanctuary

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Barn at Bealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens

“Sanctuary” refers to a place set aside or designated as a protected spot.

Under EU Agricultural Policy there is a “Set Aside” plan for farmers to fence off small, protected areas for biodiversity.

However, this does not apply to Bealtaine Cottage, as the holding is too small to be significant!

Plant diversity at Bealtaine CottageI plant and protect for the love of Nature, not for the money from the EU!

Maybe that is why there is such diversity packed into these three acres!

Protected plants at Bealtaine CottageThe more well-known forms of sanctuary are areas set aside by humans for the protection of land wildlife, sea life, or ocean life.

Plant sanctuary at Bealtaine Cottage IrelandHere at Bealtaine there are areas of woodland, fresh water ponds and wetland, as well as other significant areas.

Plant Sanctuary, Bealtaine Cottage, IrelandBealtaine Cottage Permaculture Gardens is, in essence, a wildlife and unique sanctuary.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageWithin these three acres exist a flourishing ecosystem, as well as  areas set aside to maintain functioning natural habitats.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageThese ecosystems act as refuges for species, whilst maintaining ecological processes that cannot survive beyond Bealtaines’ boundaries in most intensely managed landscapes.

Bealtaine Cottage permaculture gardensProtected areas act as benchmarks against which we understand human interactions with the natural world.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine CottageToday they are often the only hope we have of stopping many threatened or endemic species from becoming extinct.

Permaculture Gardens of Bealtaine Cottage

In the midst of EU sponsored monoculture, Bealtaine Cottage is an Ark for Nature.

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