The Permaculture World According to William Blake

William Blake, born in 1757, was a wise man, a great poet, artist and seer.

According to William Butler Yeats, he was also of Irish stock, originally bearing the name I share with him, ‘O’Neill’.

The story goes that Williams’ father married Catherine Blake and took her name to evade the shame associated with a being in a debtor’s prison.

William adopted the name his father took, despite being the stepson of Catherine, but, I digress…

These two lines from Blake, memorised when a child at school, have helped shape my life and influenced my perception of the world…

“A Robin Redbreast in a Cage

Puts all Heaven in a Rage.”

This, for me, simplified the connection between Nature on this planet and the entire Cosmos/God/Cosmic Energy/Higher Power…whatever one connects with and understands.

030
This intuitive understanding of right and wrong, of how to live in harmony with Nature rather than trying to control and dominate this magnificent, regenerative force, has guided me into Permaculture. The more planting one does, the more evident it becomes…the inter-connectedness of all life on this planet.

The world in which Blake lived was markedly different from what it is today.

His empathy with the sentient world was profound and inter-connective, something we could all learn from as a way of trying to live in harmony with the Earth, rather than the continual domination man seeks:

A dog starv’d at his master’s gate

Predicts the ruin of the state.

A horse misus’d upon the road

Calls to heaven for human blood.

Each outcry of the hunted hare

A fiber from the brain doth tear.

***********************

From the poem “Auguries of Innocence.”

Planting for the bees is the next most important thing to growing food in my book!

Always trying to ensure a steady supply of food for the bees,  Michelmas Daisies spread into bigger clumps each year and bloom all the way through late August, all of September and well into October.

They seem to be happy just about anywhere as I have them growing in all parts of the garden.

The birds are happy to feast on the seed-heads and the bees will feast before that!

June 2014 permaculture@bealtainecottage.com 031

When one thinks about, it is easy to understand the vital connection between both, for without the bees, we have no food!

William Blake understood that more than most, for he was attuned to the Earth, both physically and spiritually.

**************************

Thank you for supporting this blog

A Life in the Country ~ Knocknarea, Queen Maeve and W.B. Yeats

The sun shone brilliantly today and as it heralded the first day of winter, I felt it was a good time to visit the magical mountain of Knocknarea and the grave of Queen Mebh.

The huge cairn that sits on the top of Knocknarea Mountain and marks what is probably a passage grave housing the ancient Queen, is 55 meters in diameter by 10 meters high.

 It was constructed for the mythical Iron Age Queen Maeve, whose father, the high king of Ireland, gave her Connacht as a gift. Archaeologists believe it may really date back to 3000 BC.

It is considered bad luck to remove a stone from the cairn, and good luck to take one up the hill with you to deposit on it.

The view from the top of Knocknarea is spectacular!

Medb (old Irish spelling, pronounced Maeve), was the queen of Connaught. She ruled from Cruachan (now Rathcroghan, County Roscommon).

Maeve features in the story known as “The Tain.” This is also known as “The Cattle raid of Cooley.”

This is the incredible view across from Knocknarea to Ben Bulben. William Butler Yeats is buried at the foot of that great mountain!

Nestled in on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean…descending Knocknarea today!

The Atlantic Ocean on this calm first day of winter!

From: The Old Age of Queen Maeve, by William Butler Yeats

MAEVE the great queen was pacing to and fro,
Between the walls covered with beaten bronze,
In her high house at Cruachan; the long hearth,
Flickering with ash and hazel, but half showed
Where the tired horse-boys lay upon the rushes,
Or on the benches underneath the walls,
In comfortable sleep; all living slept
But that great queen, who more than half the night
Had paced from door to fire and fire to door.
Though now in her old age, in her young age
She had been beautiful in that old way
That’s all but gone; for the proud heart is gone,
And the fool heart of the counting-house fears all
But Soft beauty and indolent desire.
She could have called over the rim of the world
Whatever woman’s lover had hit her fancy,
And yet had been great-bodied and great-limbed,
Fashioned to be the mother of strong children;
And she’d had lucky eyes and high heart,
And wisdom that caught fire like the dried flax,
At need, and made her beautiful and fierce,
Sudden and laughing.

A Life in the Country ~ The Land of Heart’s Desire

Faeries,
come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the
wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And Faeries
like a flame.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

Living in Ireland, at Bealtaine Cottage, it is easy to believe in Fairies.

Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels.  But their magic sparkles in
nature.  ~Lynn Holland

The elemental spirits of Nature are all around…

As a child I was enraptured by the possibility of Fairies and often spent time constructing little altars to Nature wherever I went…arranging stones, plants and sacred things like I have done in the picture above and all over the smallholding that is Bealtaine…

Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly!  ~

 ~Author Unknown

Princess Edane… heard a voice singing
on a May Eve like this, and followed half awake and half asleep, until she came
into the Land of Faery, where nobody gets old and godly and grave, where nobody
gets old and crafty and wise, where nobody gets old and bitter of tongue.

~William Butler Yeats, “The Land of Heart’s Desire,” 1894

And the land at Bealtaine has been softly planted to embrace the possibility of Fairies…always keeping the inner child in mind and mindful of the great force that is Nature!

When the winds of March are wakening the crocuses and crickets,
Did you ever find a fairy near some budding little thickets,…
And when she sees you
creeping up to get a closer peek
She tumbles through the daffodils, a playing
hide and seek.

~Marjorie Barrows

We call them faerie.  We don’t believe in them.  Our loss.

~Charles de Lint

 The Celts…Enya…enchanting http://youtu.be/rGwUpsyDJTk

Fairies…  http://youtu.be/Vu_GyfW_AhI

The Stolen Child…in memory of half a million children of Iraq who will never grow up.

Willie Yeats is one of my favourite poets.

He shares a place in my heart with Seamus Heaney and several others.

I found this enchanting animation of one of Yeats most remembered poems, “The Stolen Child,” and thought it would be good to share it with you.

The words of Madeline Albright, US Secretary of State, burns in my heart…500,000 dead Iraqi children “was worth it”…

http://youtu.be/g9hnUYV06t4

 

Autumn and the changing light…that’s my favourite aspect to the season.

The next few weeks are going to be all about cutting back and filling the compost heaps.

Paths that have closed up over recent months will be opened up again through a lot of hard work…but then this is a lovely time to be outdoors.

Cow Parsley…this will stand for most of the Autumn and sometimes into the winter.

Spiders will spin webs and leave a fairy-like strands that connect the skeletal shapes.

As the EU imposes sanctions on Iran, we wait for the death toll of children to mount there too.

Ireland now holds the Presidency of the EU.

Ireland can make a difference…or be complicit in the genocide of a nation.

Ireland should know better!

If you get close enough to Tony Blair to attempt a peaceful citizen’s arrest, you will qualify for the reward which has already been paid a number of times.

For details, see http://www.arrestblair.org/