This Week

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Things of interest that have grabbed my attention recently:

I am beginning to awaken, I feel the energy and sensations of Spring within my grasp and in my sights - The sap is rising. 

Being aware of the seasonal and lunar cycles which govern us has become very profound to me in more recent years (there are less distractions now than in my wilder days of living).

It is comparable to being in the presence of someone or something that has an effect on you, it can be slightly alarming and very distracting. However there is nothing that you can do to contain that natural force and energy, It is going to occur - 

Present and profound. Be grateful.

This Week

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Things of interest that have grabbed my attention. 

There is truly something magical about this time of the year. I'm not sure if it is the familiar rituals and sharing of customs within the community or the rest and deep inhale that nature takes and in turn urges us to take. 

Of course Yule time can also offer up its fair share of stresses and strains, we often think that we need to get EVERYTHING done before that one day. 

This week we will celebrate mid-winter and the continuing cycle and rhythm of the seasons, a little extra light will slowly seep into each day - An intimate impression on us.

The bond that we have with these natural rythms is engrained deep within ourselves. It is better not to work against them. In fact, In my experience doing this only results in internal and external conflict and stress on the body, which usually manifests in illness of some form.

Yule and mid-winter is the festival that we still have the strongest connection with, the one which still manages to infuse itself into our modern rituals and lives. Symbols and images can have a profound effect on people - Enjoy the lights, the candles, conifers, feasting, spices and herbs, the loving, the gifting and of course the fun, messing and playing!

So roll with the season, 'winter' and rest, sleep and hibernate. Eat winter foods, don't bother with strawberries imported from the other side of the world - Strawberries are for summer! Bake some apples instead. 

Embrace the slow pace of winter and re-connect with its natural rhythms.

Newgrange - Source Unknown

Newgrange - Source Unknown

Newgrange 

Newgrange 

Lens and Larder

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About two weeks ago now, I once again had the pleasure of working with the dynamic duo Imen and Cliodhna on their most recent Lens and Larder workshop retreat. 

The theme for the workshop was Smoke / Fire / Feast - All very exciting!

What was nearly even more exciting was that it was to be facilitated by the super talented photography team Gentl and Hyers.

I had met Andrea and Martin (Gentl & Hyers) on the last Lens and Larder workshop, so was really looking forward to re-kindling and building upon the short, yet significant friendship that had originated nearly a year ago. 

My contribution to the photography and storytelling workshop was to prepare two cocktails, The Chrysalis (pictured above) and a warm fireside spicy Wassail. 

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Day One - I arrived at lunch time on day one, where we spent the afternoon at Riot Rye Bake House and Bread School  in Cloughjordan Eco Village - And what a pleasure it was. 

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Day Two - Lots of food was prepared and photographed, all of which ended up being devoured and relished in a late outdoor feast.

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Autumn Equinox

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Autumn Equinox 

We are at the halfway point between the Summer and Winter Solstice - The beginning of Autumn here in the northern hemisphere. Today we have 12 hours of daylight and 12 of darkness - A perfect celestial balance.

The harvest is winding down and the fields are becoming bare. The light is growing dimmer at the end of each day and those familiar evocative autumnal colours are taking over the landscape once again - The cycle continues.

Autumn seems to have appeared overnight, today there is crispness in the air, signifying that it is that time once again to withdraw with the final harvest, to burrow, hibernate and take stock. Nourishing ourselves with all that is wholesome - Resting and preparing for the dark months to come.

Lughnasa

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Lughnasa is a time for intentions and reflection - Harvesting and processing ALL which nourishes us.

Lughnasa represents a time for us to re-connect with our past community, to those that tended and prepared the earth for us. A day to reflect upon that which we have cultivated, grown and nurtured over the prosperous growing season.

It is also a useful time to forget about and relinquish the things that no longer feed us and allow us to flourish.

A time to re-choose what it is that we truly want to harvest.

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Midsummer's Eve

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Today is the eve of Midsummer - Summer Solstice, one of my favourite times of the year. This year the summer solstice occurs on Monday 20th June - The very same day as the June full moon.

The full moon occurring on the same day as summer solstice hasn't happened since 1948. This is something to celebrate!

The celestial magic of the solstice always stirs something within me, that sense of closeness and connection with the universe. It reminds me yet again of how we are all part of an interconnected weave - For me, it signifies a time to shift, change direction and re-new. The sun appearing to stand still seems like a good time to reflect and refresh.

'Strawberry Moon' is the name that native Americans gave to the June moon - What better moon to sit under whilst opening your heart to a new cycle. This moon is going to be dramatic, large and orange as it will sit low in the sky (due to the sun sitting at its highest).

The Strawberry moon moment of fullness is on Monday morning, so it will be as dramatic tonight on Midsummer's eve as tomorrow on the Solstice itself - It is like getting two full moons for one!

Midsummer's eve is a time to gather and celebrate light. It's a magical time of faeries and folklore. The aperture between our embodied conscious self and wider consciousness is opening, listen to that inner voice, your instinct, let the light in and bathe in its energy - Tomorrow heralds a new day. 

Source:http://oneeyeoneheart.tumblr.com/?og=1

Source:http://oneeyeoneheart.tumblr.com/?og=1

This Week

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Things of interest that have grabbed my attention. Things to inspire, fascinate, educate and generally get you buzzing.

  • Mind blowing plant intelligence.
  • Time to get your Tussie Mussie on, it's Bealtaine tomorrow.
  • If you like crafting, foraging and making things, these botanical prints may be a lovely way to spend a bank holiday afternoon.
  • Organic farming and feeding communities -
  • The Leaf & Root CSA will be commencing again soon - This excites me, I'm already scheming CSA cocktails and kitchen creations. If you value food and wish to support a couple who are attempting to feed communities and make a living from a small patch of land, now is the time to get in touch with them.
  • There has been a lot of talk of late about Carbon Farming, but what exactly is it?
  • Another reason why projects like Leaf & Root and an awareness of where your food comes from is important. 
  • Why does this continue every time there is a hint of fine weather in Ireland?
  • A cooperative herbal board game - Wildcraft. 
  • St. Brigits Garden, here in Galway, offers so many fun and interesting workshops and courses, I particularly like the look of this one, during the long summer school holidays. 
  • As well as tomorrow being Bealtaine, it is also International Dawn Chorus Day!  
  • I have a busy month of May ahead with the Ballymaloe Litfest of Food and Wine and the Sheridans Food Festival - You will find the travelling apothecary at both, with lots of treats in tow! 
  • It's the first day of summer tomorrow - Sex on the Beach? 

Bealtaine is celebrated approximately half way between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice, or the 1st May, which is tomorrow. The folklore associated with Bealtaine, as with the other cross quarter festivals, offers us an insight into a time when the spirit and natural world prevailed.

Bealtaine marked the beginning of summer and growth, bonfires were lit to celebrate and late spring flowers, such as primrose, gorse or hawthorn blossoms were gathered before dawn and placed in bundles in doorways to ward off evil. 'May bushes' were erected by locals and decorated with rags, coloured paper and ribbons. 

I'll be busy in the kitchen today baking some botanical treats for our Bealtaine Brunch Apothecary Gathering tomorrow - Free food and coffee, as well as a May Bush to decorate - Why wouldn't you join us?! 
 

America village
America Village
Bealtaine
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Dream

America Village Apothecary

I have been thinking a lot recently about dreams and dreaming - 

The ritual of dreaming allows us to perceive insights, to connect with the 'other' world around us. By 'other' world, I mean that which we tend to ignore often in our modern, digital image filled lives. We are probably bombarded more now with images and stories at our fingertips than we have ever been in the past. This constant, easily accessible flow of stories and images, allows us to forget and disregard our own internal, innate, instinctive and often irrational images and insights - Our 'other' world, our wider consciousness or self.

There are many theories regarding dreams and what they mean. The native American people and other indigenous peoples held firm beliefs in the power of the dreaming process, they trusted their unconscious mind and their irrational behaviour during these visions, it provided a healthy balance between their embodied conscious self and their wider unconscious self.

Religion and the 'white' man took over from the dream and visionary wisdom and way of living that many native people enjoyed and respected. They introduced a more rigid rational, religious lifestyle, that is of course, also much easier to control!

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So what do we mean by the notion of the 'other' wider self, of the conscious and unconscious self? There are many theories, my own is that we are all intrinsically linked and connected to every natural (that is, everything that exists in nature, not made by people) thing around us, above and beyond the stratosphere, through a woven energy.

Much of the substance of this energy is strange, exotic and mysterious to us, often left unnamed, unidentified and concealed - The sense and intention of the weave, however, is still rooted somewhere deep within us.

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The ritual of dreaming brings us closer and connects us to the world around us, this interwoven tapestry of life and our wider consciousness. A self belief and acceptance of your wider other self generates a wellness of both body and mind.

Our unconsciousness is a part of who we are. As a people, many of us find it difficult to interact with that side of ourselves nowadays, which can lead to self doubt and conflict, both internally and externally.

America Village Apothecary

Through the ritual of dreaming we allow ourselves to re-connect with our wider self, this insight may often be irrational and make no sense on awakening -We should take heed though and acknowledge that however bizarre, strange, profound, wonderful and beautiful our dreams are - They always have an essence and a meaning. 

They allow us to connect.

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