Lughnasadh -When Paradise is a Garden

I explained on one of my earier blogs that I had grown up in the north east of England, in an industrial town, in a house like this one.

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The “garden” at the front  was paved over and I grew up yearning for plants, for the countryside and to make a connection to Nature.

Now, I am very fortunate and so grateful that I have a garden to call my own.  At this time of year, harvest time, or Lughnasadh, the garden is vibrant with colour.

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Here are a couple of apple trees in our tiny orchard.  Such a thrill to be growing apples to eat.  There is something truly magical about apples – no wonder they are associated with the Goddess.

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The vegetable beds are full of kale, onions, squash, salad leaves and Brussel sprouts.

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Parsley gone to seed

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Chamomile ready for harvest

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Flowers!

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Borage!

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Calendula

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Such great bounty to be had at Lughnasadh. Some flowers have passed the peak of their beauty but there are others just reaching theirs.  Seeds are ready for collection and with the autumn light everything seems golden.

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Lughnasadh is Irish for August and marks the beginning of Autumn.  It is a cross quarter day on the Wheel of the Year and is a time dedicated to Lugh the Sun God.

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He was a Shining Warrior and a Master of All Crafts. In the past, Lughnasadh was celebrated with communal games, crafts, races and feats of strength and in giving thanks to Lugh the Sun God for the abundance of the harvest.

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The garden at  Lughnasadh is also a wonderful place to celebrate, not only the harvest but also all the things that make life wonderful; our loved ones, the security of our homes, our health, the things that make us happy and fulfilled.  It is a good practice to stop for a moment and just think of all we have, of all that we have “harvested”.  I also like to encourage people to think of all the things that they have mastered in life, whether it be playing an instrument, being good at art or at practical crafts, being a good listener, gardening, teaching, being a kind friend.  We are all masters at many things but tend to dismiss our talents through a misguided false modesty.

In my spiritual journey I associate the goddess Airmid with Lughnasadh.  She is the Irish Goddess of Herbalism and with so many herbs in abundance at this time it seems fitting to think of her too.

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Happy Lughnasadh everyone, may the bounty in your life ever increase.

Welcome to An Bhean Feasa – My Life in Connemara

Welcome to my blog!  I am very excited to be starting off on this adventure and I would like to explain what my objectives are and where I started from.

north-eastGrowing up in an industrial town in the north east of England made me yearn for Connemara.  Every time we visited my dad’s home place something deep inside of me was calmed and satisfied and at peace.  Looking out one way, there was a ruined castle, (which to my child’s imagination was just magic) and looking out the other way was the view of the majestic Twelve Bens. Playing out from dawn to dusk, running through green fields and along golden beaches was paradise for a child from a dirty old town.  As a young adult I became aware of environmental issues – to be concerned was the right thing to be but I was naive and didn’t really know what to do and of course, this was long before social media.  When I bought a little house, two up and two down with a back yard, I tried to created a beautiful garden in that cramped space.  I even planted a tree.  It seemed to be important and only natural to encourage plants to grow. Our visits to Connemara continued and moving back was always on my mind.  Finally, in 1994 I sold up and came to live here in Connemara.

My dad very generously gave me a site for a house and planning permission was applied for.  Our little cottage was built in 1998.  Once we settled in I wanted to start growing a garden, growing vegetables and being self sufficient as my ancestors had been.   I thought my two little girls would love to have their own garden patch to grow what they wanted.  One daughter was not interested in gardening then and the other one developed hay fever so found it difficult to be outside in the summer months.  It was just me, and only occasionally because real life kept getting in the way. The “garden” was pretty neglected.

Eventually after various jobs and a long spell at teaching and after meeting my new husband, I was inspired to open a health shop.  Something prompted me, whispered in my ear, pestered me until one day I jumped out of bed and said to my husband, “I’m going to open a health shop and call it An Bhean Feasa”.  That is Irish for the wise woman and  that was the start of a new chapter in my life. today-3-035