Peace hath an altar there. The sounding feet
Of thunder and the wildering wings of rain
Against fire-rifted summits flash and beat,
And through grey upper gorges swoop and strain;
But round that hallowed mountain-spring remain,
Year after year, the days of tender heat,
And gracious nights whose lips with flowers are sweet,
And filtered lights, and lutes of soft refrain.
A still, bright pool. To men I may not tell
The secrets that its heart of water knows,
The story of a loved and lost repose;
Yet this I say to cliff and close-leaved dell:
A fitful spirit haunts yon limpid well,
Whose likeness is the faithless face of Rose.
Flow from the Mountain Spring : Gallery
Peace hath an altar there. The sounding feet
Devil’s-Bit Scabious ,Scientific Name(Succisa pratensis)
Abundant in marshes, pastures, and hedgerows, this little plant is quite unfussy about where it grows and even brightens up many a bog when it flowers from June to October. It’s a medium sized perennial with untoothed, deep green, blotchy, oval shaped leaves. Its pretty hemispherical flowerheads are blue-violet, 25mm across with prominent magenta anthers and on long slender stalks. This is a native plant to Ireland belonging to the family Dipsaceae.
Our local woodlands in September begin to fill with many kinds of fungi, its an almost magical sight, they make great subjects for Macro photography. You need to be happy getting down into the damp and muddy forest floor but the results can be well worth the effort.
Here are some basic facts about Fungi …..
Mushroom Magic and Folklore
Go for a walk in the woods on any given summer day, and you’ll see fungi galore popping up, nestled in amongst the ferns and trees. After a rainstorm, peek out in your backyard and you may see tiny spores beginning to sprout in the grass, forming what’s known as a fairy ring. Mushrooms grow in all shapes and sizes and colors, and – depending on where you live – you might find some that are conducive to magical practice.
It is important to note that unless you are absolutely positive about the type of mushroom you have picked, you should never ingest it or take it internally. There are many toxic mushrooms which look similar to edible ones – if you’re unsure about what you have found, check with a naturalist or other mushroom expert.
That having been said, there are a number of folk magic uses for mushrooms, and you can incorporate these at a symbolic level, rather than actually ingesting them. Let’s take a look at some of the legends and myths about mushrooms from around the world.
In many areas, the appearance of a ring of mushrooms on the ground is cause for either rejoicing or alarm. In Great Britain, these circles are known as fairy rings – and they are where the Fae come to dance and frolic after a rainstorm. However, like many other locations associated with faeries, humans who dare to enter such a ring may find themselves asleep for a hundred years, or worse yet, whisked off to the land of the wee folk, never to return.
In Holland, these rings are believed to be left when the Devil sets down his milk churn – once he picks it up, there’s a big circle left in the grass. In some countries, such as France and Austria, these rings are associated with sorcery and malevolent magic, and travelers are well-advised to steer clear of them.
Vance Randolph says in his book Ozark Magic and Folklore that in many parts of the Ozarks, it is believed that “mushrooms must be gathered when the moon is full – gather ’em at any other time and they will be unpalatable, or perhaps even poisonous.” He adds that it is said that mushrooms growing in an orchard where apple trees are in bloom are always edible.
One of the best known mushrooms, at least in European culture, is the red-and-white Fly Agaric. This mushroom appears often in illustrations of fairy tales – you might see a gnome or a fairy perched on top of one. Experts believe that the Fly Agaric was used as a hallucinogenic by northern European shamans and religious leaders. Interestingly, it contains two toxins that reduce the body’s response to fear stimulus, so it may have been ingested by warriors prior to battle. In central Europe, the Fly Agaric is associated with the Yule season, and there is a theory that Santa Claus’ red and white suit originated in the colors of this magical mushroom.
In ancient Egypt, mushrooms were a rare delicacy indeed. They were associated with immortality, and as such, only royalty could consume them – because, after all, royal persons were descended from the Egyptian gods themselves. Hieroglyphs found in Egypt indicate that mushrooms were being consumed with meals as long as 4,500 years ago.
In China and Japan, mushrooms were associated with longevity and strength – partly because some of the most popular mushrooms that grew there were known for stimulating the immune system. Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, in particular, have been used in herbal remedies for centuries.
Mushrooms have been used by many cultures throughout time as part of ritual and religion. The toxin psilocybin is found in certain mushrooms, and the use of hallucinogenic fungi has been documented in rituals dating back thousands of years. Entheogen researcher Giorgio Samorini describes the discovery of rock art representing mushroom cults in Libya and Algeria from 7,000 – 9,000 years ago in his article The oldest Representations of Hallucinogenic Mushrooms in the world (Sahara Desert, 9000 – 7000 B.P.).
Artist : After Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775–1851
Title : Ancient Rome, engraved by A. Willmore
Date : Published 1859–61
Medium : Engraving on paper
Collection : Tate
Acquisition: Transferred from the British Museum 1988
Its a good while since I posted here about some of my most loved artists and art work, I want to start again to share some of my most liked works of art over the next weeks.
I last visited Rome in December 2015 and took a few landscape images along the banks of the river Tiber, this river is a great location for photographers and artists alike.
Some years back while I was studying art history, I took a close look at the art work created by many artist who lived in Rome or who had visited this great city and done their best to capture its atmosphere.
Art work such as this great engraving by A. Willmore in the style of J._M._W._Turner, this is a fantastic etching as it captures the river and it location perfectly, live along the river banks.
it is not to hard to imaging this work as a great black and white print in modern terms.
Today the river Tiber is still used in many of the same ways as you can see in this drawing, it is now even the home to many people who live in house boats. the banks are today acting as walking routes and cycle paths.
Alone, all alone, by the wave-washed strand
All alone in the crowded hall
The hall it is gay, and the waves they are grand
But my heart is not here at all.
It flies far away, by night and by day
To the times and the joys that are gone.
But I never will forget the sweet maiden I met
In the valley of Slievenamon.
It was not the grace of her queenly air
Nor her cheek of the rose’s glow
Nor her soft black eyes, not her flowing hair
Nor was it her lily-white brow,
‘Twas the soul of truth, and of melting ruth
And the smile like a summer dawn
That sold my heart away on a soft summer day
In the valley of Slievenamon.
In the festival hall, by the star-washed shore,
Ever my restless spirit cries.
‘My love, oh, my love, shall I ne’er see you more.
And my land, will you never uprise?’
By night and by day, I ever, ever pray
While lonely my life flows on
To see our flag unfurled and my true love to enfold
In the valley of Slievenamon.
Charles Joseph Kickham
Poems by Charles Joseph Kickham
My Midnight Dream
As I lay here in the land of dreams
where nothings ever as it seems
the stars dance on the stage of night
and I sit and watch this awesome sight
they turn and shine and dip and sway
and beckon me to come and play
and as I come to join the dance
I finally get to have the chance
to bring you close enough to see
the light you shine envelop me
the stars are there to light the way
and there we’ll dance till the break of day
Langley Park is a beautiful place to ‘escape from it all’ from taking the dog for a walk to go horse riding, cycling or just walking. you can relax with a picnic by the lake or under the beautiful trees and simply watch the world go by. With patience you may even be lucky enough to see some of the wide variety of wildlife in the park such as deer and foxes along with the Swans, and if you listen carefully you can hear the Great Spotted Woodpeckers tat tatting on many of the veteran trees.
Langley Park is located off the Uxbridge Road (A412), Iver, Bucks, SL0 0LS, and is on the opposite side of the road to Black Park. The car park is in Billet Lane, which is the first turning on the left after the Tesco garage if coming from the Crooked Billet Roundabout.
The Landscape of Ireland is some of the most idyllic on the European continent, counties Kerry and Mayo have some of the most stunning mountains and the west coast along with west cork have some of the most beautiful beaches and coast line. The North is wild in the winter months and county Wexford warm and sunny in the summer. While this is all very true and these places are great to visit, very few People live in these remote locations.
For most of us who live here it is landscapes like the one above (The River Dawn) that we get to see and visit most often, the local countryside with its low lying farm-land and rivers that flow slowly through it. Rivers like the River Dawn in the picture above that flows through county Waterford before joining the River Suir close to waterford city.
Even though I love to visit the most iconic places here, it is the everyday landscapes I love to photograph the most …..
Wild woodbine was beyond my reach
in the thick hedges round Lough Gill.
The heavy scent filled the house for days
when my father brought it in
and it stayed fresh far longer
Because I loved the delicate
pink and white wild rose
he picked it too, cursing the thorns, muttering
“it dies too soon,
you’d be better leaving it alone”.
Yet once, when my mother
swept its petals from the floor
I saw him rescue one
and place it carefully
in the small wallet
where he kept her photograph.