Christmas Eve in the West of Ireland

There was  a full moon on the Winter Solstice, an unusual event and not occurring in my lifetime again, so, very special to me. As my ancestors before me, I celebrate the Solstice, marking the longest night of the year and with the promise of all that lies ahead… The ritual of fire and feast, music and drink, gathering of family and friends are all important aspects of the Winter Solstice. The youngest member of my little tribe was here, forming a focal point for us all as we gathered to celebrate. She is displaying a love for the natural…

Rituals of Midwinter

In preparing for the season of Yule, I follow the age old traditions of all the women who have gone before me. Preparation is everything. This begins in the home and involves casting an eye over all that will be of importance during this sacred time of gathering. I am driven with the desire to instil a sense of order upon Bealtaine Cottage as the Midwinter festivities approach. There is a history to this festival that precedes the usual image we hold as the collective ideal…that of a more recent celebration, Christmas. The Winter Solstice  has been celebrated for thousands of years….

Old Year’s Night…Celtic Samhain

Between two worlds, that of Summer and of Winter, rests Samhain.  Samhain, (pronounced “Sow-when”) is the most important time in the Ancient Irish (and Celtic) Calendar. The time of Samhain starts at dusk, when the light and dark are in balance. This was never regarded as a time of death, but a time of incubation for Mother Earth. It was the onset of Winter that allowed the Great Mother to get ready the seed for Spring. Samhain is the Celtic New Year’s Eve. It is at this time, between worlds, that the veil is thin. A time of possibilities. A…

Evening at Bealtaine

Evening falls at Bealtaine Cottage. The nights are drawing in…have you noticed?  “The pale stars were sliding into their places. The whispering of the leaves was almost hushed. All about them it was still and shadowy and sweet. It was that wonderful moment when, for lack of a visible horizon, the not yet darkened world seems infinitely greater—a moment when anything can happen, anything be believed in.” ― Olivia Howard Dunbar “I love to watch the fine mist of the night come on, The windows and the stars illumined, one by one, The rivers of dark smoke pour upward lazily,…

Circling Celebrations

Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire:  it is the time for home. Edith Sitwell                    And so the story of Autumn and Winter begins, not in cold and dark, but comfort and light.                                                  A time to take stock and nestle into home.              …

The Midwinter Archives

Midwinter, past and present…all here for you to see! Feeling a touch nostalgic, I decided to share some of the magic of Midwinter with you from previous years. The silvery light of a midwinter sun captures a sense of magic indoors. We are all deeply affected by light and respond in varying ways to it, though mostly it makes us feel happier and more positive about life. The light of both the sun and moon proved so important for our ancestors that they integrated all aspects of both into their spiritual lives. Somewhere in the depths of Winter was born…

Earth Art

I work for the Great Earth Mother. I feel honoured to capture images of her and post them through Bealtaine Cottage. I believe that more and more of human life will come to honour the Great Mother through these images. This is her Art…Earth Art. (These images were captured here at Bealtaine Cottage during the Winter of 2010) “Remain faithful to the earth, my brothers and sisters, with the power of your virtue. Let your gift-giving love and your knowledge serve the meaning of the earth. Thus I beg and beseech you. Do not let them fly away from earthly…

The Light of Spring

Sammy-Bear lies concussed by the heat from the wood burning stove! It’s a tough life being a cat at Bealtaine Cottage! Over the past week there has been a struggle between Winter and Spring as temperatures have moved up and down the thermometer, with hard frost, heavy rain, warm nights and brilliant sun all in the mix! The rising sun reflected in the mirror at the far end of the veranda. The amazing light of early Spring… Moving closer to the mirror, the rising sun looks back at me over the head of the Buddha…quite otherworldly. This was how the…

Ghosts

Winter has finally gripped the land. Frost has dipped icy tentacles into the earth itself, no longer content to dust the trees and whiten the slates. The evening sky turns a cold blue. Freezing, white mist swirls up the valley from the deep waters of Lough Allen. Winter is here! Sliabh An Iarainn Mountain catches the dying rays of a winter sun. Cleaving  the south eastern shores of Lough Allen, Sliabh An Iarainn sits humped and heavy, a brooding reminder of ancient tales and times.  Ancient  legend tells of the Tuatha De Danann landing in Ireland in this very place….