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…

 

My Best Ideas…

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IMG_8466…flit into my head as I walk the woodland sanctuary, for it is here that I feel able to simply be, unaware of even myself!

IMG_8459I imagine this is the same for most people, for it is in this state of unawareness that the creative mind begins to flow evenly, unstoppable.

IMG_8465It was in walking among the trees yesterday that thoughts began to emerge about writing and where it all began for me in earnest.

IMG_8462It was of course here at Bealtaine Cottage where I found “a room of ones own,” as Virginia Woolf referred to the creative space.

IMG_8422However it’s not just about space, but time also.

Here I have more time to simply be.

IMG_8417My brother Hugh understands the importance of creative space.

Hugh lives a solitary, happy life, in a small cottage without electricity, where he writes poetry and creates from hedgerow wood and excavated Bog Oak.

IMG_8432Although Hugh had never seen any of the images unearthed by Professor Marija Gimbutas, as she carried out her archaeological work in Old Europe, he was moved by the forces around his little cottage to carve this strikingly similar Bird Goddess image into an Ash walking stick for me. IMG_8431Much of the creativity I am immersed in is governed and directed on a deeply magical level by Mother Earth too.

IMG_8427I use the word “magical,” for what I cannot rationally explain.

Return

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IMG_8473The evening has drawn in without my noticing, a sure sign of Autumn quickening towards Samhain.

IMG_8474I have walked the woodland gardens this evening and made a video.

IMG_8471It’s so much easier to upload videos with my new laptop now that both phone and laptop are compatible.

IMG_8460I have missed the regular writing I do here on the website and was pondering on what to do in order to make the time for this?

IMG_8457This website was my very first and enduring foray into the world outside of Bealtaine Cottage.

IMG_8456I have decided to make this website a priority above FaceBook and Twitter…those who want to will find and subscribe here.

IMG_8452I may even get back to a daily journal of sorts…we shall see!

IMG_8454There are stories to be told and pictures to share…

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You may have noticed the change of title at the top of the website…this is because Bealtaine has evolved and is very determined to be a woodland…She was always wilful!

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Link to the calendar is at the top of the page…

2019 Calendar Now Available

The Woodland Cottage

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It is Lughnasadh, the last great festival of the Celtic Calendar!

IMG_7974The year is tipping towards an end as Samhain marks the beginning of the new year… IMG_7971There has been much change here at Bealtaine Cottage as the canopy of trees has merged to form what is now truly a woodland.

IMG_7977This evolution has happened at just the right moment in time as we have witnessed a terrifyingly hot summer and drought…the woodland gardens have come through the worst unscathed…no loss on anything!

IMG_7966Beauty now lies between the stones of the great circle. I have flowers to plant here and many, many happy memories of this visiting soul who decided to spend time with us here at Bealtaine.

IMG_7976And so the wheel turns…

Jack is happy I am home from London and SammyBear sleeps on my bed. I wonder the woodland gardens able to breath once more!

For much of my time away I was very aware of my shallow breathing.

Indeed my face looked older and more stressed.

I am happiest here keeping care of this sacred place.

IMG_7960Much of my holiday was spent walking, something I love about being in the city!

To walk and be able to peer into other’s lives, through windows that are close enough to touch in the winding streets of North London.

I continued on my Whole Food Plant Based Lifestyle while on holiday and was two pounds lighter upon my return home!

There are many more Vegan eateries and it was much easier to eat this way.

IMG_7980IMG_7990Rain had fallen in my absence and the Spring Well was refreshed enough to send water to the cottage down the hill…the tank in the loft is now full and filling!

IMG_7987IMG_7983IMG_7995I expected to see much more leaf drop, but as you can see for yourself here in these photos, the trees have come through unscathed!

IMG_7997The forecast for Autumn seems very much as it should be and may prove to be quite a spectacular colour show!

IMG_7999This website is now approaching two million views…wonderful to imagine all those who have stopped by and perhaps taken a little inspiration into their lives, shaking off the old paradigm of what a garden should be…

IMG_7998The gardens at Bealtaine are all dedicated to the Great Mother and thus are charged with her energy.

IMG_8008IMG_8009IMG_8012IMG_8016The energy of earth is healing, both of herself and all her life upon.

IMG_8039As I walked with Jack around the cottage I was stopped in my tracks by this image…that of a woodland cottage, for this year has seen the manifestation of my heart’s desire from fourteen years ago, that of a cottage in the woods.

One has an idea of scale when seen against the car…

IMG_8025IMG_8019IMG_8018IMG_8028Butterflies were out in force today, in time for the sweet flowers of the Buddleia!

IMG_8022IMG_8030I uploaded a video shot this morning showing some of the Butterflies feasting on the flowers!

IMG_8032I want to say a special “Thanks and Blessings,” to all of you who sent condolences for Beauty…such kindness and compassion, Bless you XXX

IMG_8042IMG_8041IMG_8034IMG_8031There is the beautiful month of Lughnasadh to enjoy and appreciate the changes as summer merges into Autumn.

The special offer on the books continues and prices INCLUDE postage WORLDWIDE

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

For more info on Bealtaine Books…

https://bealtainecottage.com/bealtaine-cottage-publications-books-and-maps/

So Grateful

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IMG_6042Mother Earth is thriving.

IMG_6039Her abundance is nothing less than magnificent.

IMG_6037Everywhere on this land She thrives.

IMG_6048I have found a great many Cherry Trees She has seeded and grown over the past two years, but have remained hidden in the general mayhem of Spring and Summer, only to be discovered this year as Spring seemed to struggle and lag behind, so allowing me to see.IMG_6043

It is simply delightful to behold. The mother tree was planted by me a mere 13 yrs ago and already she has brought forth abundance.

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This Field Maple is bearing fruit this year and the Bees are soaring around its topmost branches.

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I know that I have posted this quote before, but it speaks loudly and will not be quietened…IMG_6084

“Wherever forests have not been mowed down, wherever the animal is recessed in their quiet protection, wherever the earth is not bereft of four-footed life – that to the white man is an ‘unbroken wilderness.’ IMG_6080

But for us there was no wilderness, nature was not dangerous but hospitable, not forbidding but friendly. Our faith sought the harmony of man with his surroundings; the other sought the dominance of surroundings.IMG_6079

For us, the world was full of beauty; for the other, it was a place to be endured until he went to another world.IMG_6077

But we were wise. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.”
― Chief Luther Standing Bear

IMG_6076“Kinship with all creatures of the earth, sky, and water was a real and active principle.

IMG_6073In the animal and bird world there existed a brotherly feeling that kept us safe among them…

IMG_6075The animals had rights – the right of man’s protection, the right to live, the right to multiply, the right to freedom, and the right to man’s indebtedness.

IMG_6074This concept of life and its relations filled us with the joy and mystery of living; it gave us reverence for all life; it made a place for all things in the scheme of existence with equal importance to all.”
― Chief Luther Standing Bear

IMG_6072And so wherever we allow Her, enable Her and protect Her, abundance flows…

IMG_6071It’s humbling to witness…

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My Goddess helps me to keep in mind the great Life Force of the Great Mother, for I, as a human need symbols to ground me and remember that She is not just a life-force, but an intelligent sentient being.

IMG_6069Symbols have always resonated with us.

IMG_6067IMG_6066IMG_6064IMG_6063We possess an innate ability to read and understand symbols, for they transcend language and culture.

Yet even as I walk back along the veranda towards the door of the cottage, I see the abundance.

IMG_6086This time in a recently re-potted tree…lots of tiny Parsley seedlings. I have no idea where they have come from, except to add that I used home made compost and these are from the seed-heads of last Summer.

Support the Bealtaine Project

“A Cottage and Three Acres,” by Colette O’Neill

Please email Colette if you would like a particular inscription in your book. From a desolate cottage set in 3 acres of monoculture sadness, to a vibrant, thriving food forest of life…the journey back to Eden over 13 years… Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€25.00

In Search of The Goddess Rising

This is the second book in the Goddess Permaculture series from Colette O’Neill at Bealtaine Cottage, Ireland. In this book I explore the ancient landscape, mythology, literature and life around Bealtaine Cottage… in search of the Great Goddess. The price of the book includes all postage and packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€19.00

Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter

A little Yuletide book filled with colour photographs, recipes, reflections, lore, poetry and mirth to guide you through the wonderful days ahead. Fifty pages of sheer delight from Bealtaine Cottage to you. The book is fully bound and can be posted direct as a gift. Price includes P&P worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€13.00

Special Offer

In Search of the Goddess Rising and The Bealtaine Cottage Guide to the Deep Midwinter…both books normally cost €32.00 but can be purchased together for for €28.00 which includes P&P Worldwide. Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€28.00

Magical Mythical Map of Bealtaine Cottage and Gardens

Beautiful map created by the artist David Gascoigne, especially for Bealtaine Cottage. The picture shows one side of the map…it is printed on both sides, see the photos on this page. The price includes all Postage and Packing to wherever you live in the world! Bealtaine Books and Maps are printed in Ireland and posted from Ireland to support the people of Ireland.

€10.00

Mother

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“I was elected by the women of Ireland, who instead of rocking the cradle, rocked the system.”

~ Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland

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Walking through the upper gardens this morning and snapping photographs as I went…

DSC06686As I walked I thought about my Mother, my Grandmother and some of the women who have influenced my life, as Mother’s Day approaches…

DSC06687Mary Robinson, the first woman President of Ireland was certainly one of those women!

DSC06694“The Irish presidential election of 1990 was the tenth held in Ireland and the first to include a female candidate. Independent politician Mary Robinson would go on to hold office for the next seven years. In the 1990 election, the Labour Party let it be known that it would run a candidate for the first time and nominated Robinson, a former Labour Party senator, and liberal campaigner. The renegade had been involved in the Campaign for Homosexual Law Reform and is widely regarded and respected as atransformative figure in Ireland for liberalizing and revitalizing what was a conservative and low-profile political office. She was a remarkably popular president.” ~ http://www.irishcentral.com

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And so the transformation of Ireland and Irish politics began.

The patriarchal system of state and church had been given a bit of a shake down, but the real change began as we all began to feel more confident about questioning the world in which we lived.

DSC06672My own questions formed around the environment in which I lived, most importantly the Earth and our relationship with her.

I dreamed about returning to Ireland and challenging the status quo of land stewardship. Was it possible to do the seemingly impossible and recreate the Ireland of my deepest dreams?

A land of trees and woodlands, abundant wildlife, flowers and rich, seasonal colour?

A land of abundant food and shelter?

A land dedicated to the Great Mother…Earth?

Moreover, to even attempt to do this on some of the poorest land in Ireland?

DSC06682I felt empowered by Mary Robinson, as many women at home and abroad felt and continue to feel empowered.

DSC06683The opportunity to fulfil my dream came over a decade later, when, throwing all caution to the wind, I embarked on what was to become known as the Bealtaine Project.

DSC06685The book, “A Cottage and Three Acres,” picks up the story…

As I worked, sometimes into the night, planting and tending a hopeless looking land, I felt continual waves of compassion for Mother Earth.

I coaxed her, talked to her and sometimes even sang to her, the way one does with a seriously ill patient whose doctors have all but given up hope.

DSC06695I was not the only one though, for many, many others were embarking on a similar path all across Earth.

DSC06698I spoke with all who visited Bealtaine Cottage about Mother Earth, when few people seemed to recognise her plight.

But, something very incredible was happening…

DSC06699There was a distinct sense of energy rising from the very Earth herself…a form of communication at the most deeply intuitive level.

DSC06708 After years of feeling outcast because of what I sensed and felt, there happened a mighty shift in perception.

DSC06714As I began to write and photograph what was happening at Bealtaine, so many of you tuned in…often in the most serendipitous of ways!

DSC06715But, it was not accidental, for all is connected and often in ways we do not understand.

DSC06717And so the website began reaching  people all over the world.

DSC06718What began as an impossible dream, became a reality of hope for many…that nothing is impossible!

DSC06723That the doors of perception are not locked and barred!

DSC06724We are all, each and every one of us on an incredible journey, each one unique, yet deeply connected to all and everything.

We may live alone, but we are never alone.

DSC06730We are beautiful souls experiencing a human journey with the greatest Mother of them all…our own Mother Earth.

Happy Mother’s Day!

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

A Cottage and Three Acres by Colette O’Neill

It Still Takes My Breath Away!

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dsc04149Each morning I arise and embark on a series of rituals, that culminate with a hot cup of tea in one hand, my camera in the other and faithful Jack by my side.

dsc04146It is then that I step out…

dsc04145This has been my ritual, though not always with Jack, for the past twelve years.

dsc04147And so it continues…

dsc04133What has manifested here on this little piece of sacred Earth still takes my breath away!

dsc04134I touch base with it as many times a day as I can!

dsc04132I take thousands of photographs every year, for the sheer beauty of what Mother Earth can do on three acres of “poor land,” is beyond incredible!

dsc04126And this has manifested in one of the last remaining countries on Earth that continues to refer to itself as “Mother.”

dsc04125“Mother Ireland”

dsc04124The Great Mother, Mother Earth, Goddess, Creatrix!

dsc04089The Celts were one of the last remaining tribes of the Goddess…in that they recognised the spirit of the Earth as female. 

dsc04118There lies a message in that…

dsc04115I believe it to be simply this…”I am alive and filled with joy and waiting…”

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View from the cottage in 2004 

dsc04083And earlier today…

Those who answer her call become immersed in joy and surrounded with beauty…and so it is.

It still takes my breath away!

Magical Spirits

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It’s a wet evening.

It’s a cool evening too.

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I’ve lit the stove and the kettle begins to sing on the top.

It’s a tea and toast kind of evening.

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I was thinking about Fairies today as I walked through the Fairy Wood.

It lies below the cottage, in a natural dell and is a very special place.

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There’s a Fairy tree in the centre of the woodland with a huge stone underneath it’s branches.

I’ve often wondered about the history and meaning of that tree and stone.

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I have been told that such a tree planted by a stone can mark the resting place of a person whose body was not allowed to be interred in the graveyard…the churches had all sorts of rules regarding who could and could not be interred in so called sacred ground…unbaptised babies, suicides etc…all of great sadness and shown little mercy…

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And so, while Jack plays with his football…for some reason he believes I want to steal it…I think about this tree, the Fairy Wood and…fairies…

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Fairies are widely regarded as magical spirits who can help humanity get closer to Nature and embrace harmony in the natural environment.

To the Celts, nature embodied the sovereignty of the Goddess.

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In comparison, within the church view, Nature is widely regarded as something amoral and fearsome, needing to be dominated and put to service.

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All this has led us away from our deep relationship with Mother Earth…we are now in a state of flux and near abandonment and we feel this deeply, with some more aware of the root of our unhappiness and others less, or in severe denial.

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“The creatures I seek do not want to be seen.”
Annie Dillard

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“These folk are hewers of trees and hunters of beasts; therefore we are their unfriends, and if they will not depart we shall afflict them in all ways that we can.”
J.R.R. Tolkien

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Maybe we need to think again about Fairies, for until we respect the natural world and our precious environment, we are doomed to be cast aside as Gaia struggles on her own…

Bealtaine Cottage Good Life membership is 12 euros per year and allows me a small income to continue to grow the Bealtaine Project both here in Ireland and in the hearts and minds of good people all over the world.

Please join…

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Developing a Woodland from Zero

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From monoculture rushy land to woodland in under twelve years.

Not just any woodland, but a food forest woodland, as you can see from one of the thousand plus trees planted above…a Greengage!

This is the only lawn here, enjoyed by Jack!

DSC01549There follows a series of forty plus photographs taken here at Bealtaine Cottage in July 2016.

DSC01548DSC01494DSC01547 The Bealtaine Cottage Land Restoration Project was started in late 2004.

DSC01495It was a challenge for one woman with zero resources to restore what was deemed by the EU as “Poor Land”…a term I vehemently challenge!

DSC01496DSC01497There is no such thing as “Poor Land”  just ABUSED EARTH!

DSC01498DSC01499DSC01500As with all EU projects that entail putting Mother Earth first, there was zero funding for this!

DSC01501DSC01503DSC01504Not to be deterred…(I never am!) at the age of forty eight, I took on a mortgage to help buy this bereft, sad-looking little place, with the dream of returning it to Eden.

DSC01506DSC01507DSC01508I believe the Earth is sacred.

DSC01510DSC01509DSC01511The rest of the story is told here in these photographs…

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The fact that I have planted this entirely on my own, growing much of what you see from seeds and cuttings, makes this a workable model for anyone to follow…

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