Bridget

Posts Tagged ‘pagan’

The Longest Day.

In Ireland, nature, sustainable living on June 20, 2012 at 10:39 am

Summer Solstice is upon us once again. The high point of the Summer when everything in Nature is lush and abundant. This year the weather has been pretty good since March so it seems like we have had Summer for a long time already. We have also had lots of rain which combined with the warmth has enabled rapid growth of everything.

Now is a good time to propogate shrubs from cuttings. There’s always a place for new plants to be slotted in. Otherwise the abundance of the season can be shared with friends. A free plant always brings a smile to someones face.

A nice bunch of flowers is another welcome gift. This arrangement was collected from the garden yesterday morning. Given to a friend who is retiring from work,  it brought a beaming smile of appreciation. The flowers were placed in a glass which I then covered with this organza bag which was saved from I gift I had recieved. I always save nice packagings, ribbons and gift bags to be reused and recycled.

For me Foxgloves are the flower of Summer Solstice. They self seed everywhere here and most of them are left to reach maturity. It would be an insult to remove these gifts from Mother Nature. Far nicer than anything bought at the garden centre with the added bonus of no air miles attached. No patent attached here!

In the vegetable garden there is lots of produce. We are harvesting Lettuce, Spring Onions, Beetroot, Peas, Broad Beans and Mangetous right now. The Potatoes are just coming into flower. They will be ready for harvesting about 2 weeks after flowering. Of course leaving them longer gives bigger Potatoes but thats not likely to happen. These are Ballydoon which were planted on St. Patrick’s Day.

Summer Solstice is the time when bonfires are lit to celebrate the season here in north-west Ireland. This tradition which has been going on since Pagan times has died out in other parts of the country but alive and well in this area. It is now called St. John’s Night, the celebration of the birth of John the Baptist. Like many other Pagan celebrations it was masked by Christians as the celebration of a saint’s day.

To conclude I wish you all health, happiness and abundance at this special time of the Summer Solstice.  Happy Days!

Bridget x

The Light Returns…Imbolc.

In Garden, Ireland on February 1, 2012 at 12:09 am

Spring is here!  Imbolc, one of the cornerstones of the Celtic calendar, marks the start of the farming year. Imbolc is a Gaelic word meaning “in the belly”, this indicates the readiness of the Earth “to give birth”. to life again in the Springtime. We are enlivened by the lenghtening days and the stirrings in the land. The welcome return of the life giving forces. It is a time to come out of our Winter hibernation. Leave behind the darkness and our Winter contemplations. The light returns!

The abundance of Summer is not far off. Gardeners are powerless to resist the urge to till the land and plant seeds. These are rituals which are rooted in the ancient ways. Revel in them.

To the Romans this time of year, halfway between the Winter Solstice and Spring Equinox was known as Lupercalia. It was a celebration of Spring and also partly in honour of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled Romolus and Remus, the founders of Rome. The focal point of the festival was the Lupercal, the cave in which this nurturing took place. William Shakespeare’s play Julius Caeser begins during Lupercalia.

Here in Ireland February 1st is also the feast of St. Brigid. Brigid was the daughter of a pagan chieftain and the patron saint of cattle and dairy. Cows in her care were said to produce more milk than all others. Brigid had a very generous nature and much to her Father’s displeasure she gave most of the produce away. She is also reputed to have been the best mead and ale maker in Ireland. She is thought to have converted to Christianity and used rushes to make small crosses which carry her name to this day. St. Brigid’s crosses are thought to protect the house from fire. A new one is usually made each year. The tradition of making the crosses is still very much alive and most children in primary schools will make them at this time.

Brigid was also known as the Keeper of the Sacred Flame, signifying once again the return of light, the return of the sun,  hence the practice of lighting candles around this time. Of course when Christianity came the old Pagans festivals were outlawed and given new focus in Church activities. Imbolc became Candlemas. However in recent years people are once again returning to their roots and giving new life to these ancient festival times. Long may it continue!

Happy Imbolc, St. Bridgid’s Day or Candlemas. The light returns!