The Last afternoon of March 2016
This afternoon is bright and sunny
between the mountain clouds,
Springtime is in the air,
The weather is mild on this late March afternoon,
the breath of April is rising fast,
I am alone on the quiet mountain top
looking down on an old untried illusion
Some shadows sit on the green landscape below
memory’s rise from their sleep,
The crows fly above while others rest
on the stone walls of this mountain side,
In the air as hunting birds call
the fast hover of the kestrels wings.
Knockroe, county Kilkenny
Kilmartin, Argyll, Scotland
A link through time
These two mystical European locations stand two hundred and fifteen miles apart, Knockroe is in county Kilkenny republic of Ireland and the other, Kilmartin is in Argyll, Scotland, about 15 miles south of Oban.
The reason I displaying these images in the same post is simply to highlight something that only occurred to me when one year I happened to visit them only weeks apart. The fact is you could view these two sites individually and study them by themselves all you like, however you would be missing something very important!
The people’s who created these sites shared the same time period and clearly the same beliefs and culture. They lived in Europe both in Ireland and Scotland located in the Geographical British Isles; however some 5500 years ago they knew nothing of recent nations and nationalism , of national borders or even the concept of a European nation.
Both monuments are passage tombs, placed for their dead to be remembered, they both also contain elements for marking the passing of the year and its seasons, by measuring the movement of the sun and the moon.
The structures in these places along with the cultural function they served is identical, to me this shows that these people traveled the seas and not only shared goods and beliefs they in fact where the same peoples. They did not just get on with each other through trade they were each other as brother and sister, mother and father, family and friends.
When they knew nothing of modern boundaries and divisions, what else could they be?
These same people who traveled from one place to another in order to expand their options and abilities did not in any shape or form see themselves as English or Scottish or Irish they were family to each other and nothing more or less!
Easter in Ireland is clearly these days viewed as a religious time in the sense of modern Christianity, however Easter or Ēostre, as a festival has been celebrated for many thousands of years before our current state accepted beliefs….
During last weekend we visited the hill of Tara one of Europe’s and Ireland’s oldest pagan monuments, It was a great time of the year to visit as the air was full of springtime with a feeling that summer was only just around the corner,warm days and long evenings. This is the exact feeling that surrounds the beliefs of the people who made this place so Sacred to their Pagan beliefs in the elements of nature and the seasons. I am never sure if these belief’s can fully be called a religion in modern terms, feeling that they were more a philosophy towards the world that they lived in and cared for very much!
here is a little about the long history of the hill of Tara:
Teamhair is the ancient name given the Hill of Tara. One of the most religious and revered sites in all of Ireland, it was from this hill that the Ard Rí, the High Kings of Ireland, ruled the land. The place was sometimes called Druim Caín (the beautiful ridge) or Druim na Descan (the ridge of the outlook). When walking the path that leads to the top of the hill today, one can easily appreciate why. The long gradual slope eventually flattens at the top for an amazing view of the broad plains in the Boyne and Blackwater valleys below. All that remains of the complex is a series of grass-covered mounds and earthworks that say little about the 5,000 years of habitation this hill has seen.
Most historians, including Biblical scholars, agree that Easter was originally a pagan festival. According to the New Unger’s Bible Dictionary says: “The word Easter is of Saxon origin, Eastra, the goddess of spring, in whose honour sacrifices were offered about Passover time each year. By the eighth century Anglo–Saxons had adopted the name to designate the celebration of Christ’s resurrection.” However, even among those who maintain that Easter has pagan roots, there is some disagreement over which pagan tradition the festival emerged from. Here we will explore some of those perspectives.
Resurrection as a symbol of rebirth
One theory that has been put forward is that the Easter story of crucifixion and resurrection is symbolic of rebirth and renewal and retells the cycle of the seasons, the death and return of the sun.
Hill of Tara Gallery
Is a design engraved on one of the stones inside the middle chamber of Newgrange is probably the most famous Irish Megalithic symbol.
It is often referred to as a Celtic design, but it was carved at least 2500 years before the Celts reached Ireland. At 12 inches in diameter the tri-spiral design is relatively small in size, less than one-third the size of the tri-spiral design on the entrance stone.
Believed by many people to be an ancient symbol of pre-Celtic and Celtic beliefs, the triple spiral appears in various forms in pre-Celtic and Celtic art, with the earliest examples having been carved on pre-Celtic stone monuments, and later examples found in the Celtic Christian illuminated manuscripts of Insular art. The triple spiral was possibly the precursor to the later triskele design found in the manuscripts.
The megalithic tomb of Newgrange in Ireland features several examples of the triple spiral as petroglyphs. These particular examples do not feature three-fold symmetry of later renderings but feature two intertwined spirals with the third originating from the indentation between the other two. This particular feature is rendered with high fidelity in each instance at Newgrange and would suggest a non-tripartite interpretation. One possible interpretation could be the union of male and female (the two entwined spirals) to engender an offspring though how this relates to its setting in a tomb begs explanation.
Last night in order to highlight the uniqueness of the Newgrange spirals, I produced the following versions by tracing over a photograph I took of the original, thus producing different drawings using both the positive an negative spaces of the relief.
You can read into these your own interpretation of the original meaning ….
Happy Spring Equinox 2016 to everyone …..
Yesterday Marked the start of spring time, so over the weekend I spent sometime visiting both Newgrange and the Hill of Tara. Both perfect locations to gain a little understanding as to how our European pagan ancestors both recorded and celebrated the movement of the sun and universe they lived in.
It was exactly, one quarter of a year that had passed since the shortest day of the year, the day when at Newgrange the rising sun can be seen to travel all the way into the passage tomb at the centre of the monument.
The Spring equinox 2016 celebrating
Yesterday marked the arrival of spring, the date of the vernal equinox, or spring equinox as it is known in the northern hemisphere. Spring equinox. During an equinox, the Earth’s North and South poles are not tilted toward or away from the sun. (Ref :Wikipedia)
This means the sun will rise exactly in the east and travel through the sky for 12 hours before setting in the exactly west.An equinox happens twice a year around March 20 and September 22 when the Earth’s equator passes through the centre of the sun.
For those in the southern hemisphere, this time is the autumnal equinox that is taking people into their winter.
Druids and Pagans like to gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox, to see the sunrise above the stones.
The Pagans consider this is the time of the ancient Saxon goddess, Eostre, who stands for new beginnings and fertility. This is why she is symbolized by eggs (new life) and rabbits/hares (fertility). Her name is also where we get the female hormone, oestrogen.
From Eostre also come the names “Easter” and “Esther” the Queen of the Jews, heroine of the annual celebration of Purim which was held on March 15. At Easter, Christians rejoice over the resurrection of Jesus after his death, mimicking the rebirth of nature in spring after the long death of winter.
It is also a time to cleanse your immune system with natural remedies. In Wiltshire and other parts of rural Britain it used to be tradition to drink dandelion and burdock cordials as the herbs help to cleanse the blood and are a good tonic for the body after a harsh winter.
Newgrange a Gallery
Happy St Patrick’s day everyone !!!!!
For the last few St Patrick’s day Holidays, I have posted some of my Landscape images from around Ireland , today I want to do the same as I feel that for me today is about celebrating the great landscape’s Ireland has to offer and getting outside to enjoy the real Ireland that surrounds the people who have made it their home.
Ireland: a St, Patrick’s Landscape Gallery
The Wellington Tower Grange Crag, County Tipperary
The Wellington Tower stands on the Crag above Grange, county Tipperary, it was built in 1817 by Sir William Barker Bar to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s victory over the French at the battle of Waterloo. Today it is nearly two hundred years old and for a long time it has only formed a feature in the loop wall around the forest above the small village of Grange.
However over the last months it has been restored and transformed into a viewing platform as you can see from the images here, it has been amazing to see the work that has been performed to give the tower a new life and a new purpose in life.
The walk to the top of the tower is via a metal spiral staircase with a viewing platform at the top , if you are a little heady with heights its best not to look down through the steps and to just keep going until you get to the top.
Once you are on the platform above and walk to the chest-high wall in front of you the view of county Tipperary below is just amazing. There is a display of all the sights below on a board the looks out and to the distance you can see modern Ireland in it greatness form with its small towns and up to date Wind farms.
Wellington Tower , Grange Crag, Tipperary GALLEY …
My Name Is Gossip
I am a mysterious phenomenon
I am a menace to the society and families
An element of devastation and destruction
People can’t fathom my destructive powers
I thrive on losing or questioning people’s sanity
I hurt without killing
I plant hatred and jealous in people’s heart
I break hearts and ruin lives
I am sly, cunning and malicious
And gather strength with age
The more I am quoted, the more I am believed
I flourish at every level of society
My victims are helpless
They cannot protect themselves against me,
For I have no name, no face
I sneak and sow the seed of doubt in the soil of innocent hearts
to extinguish their joy
I sometimes hide behind a smile,
Or simply behind an innocent tear
Most of the time, I creep and stab from behind
To track me down is impossible
The harder you try, the more elusive I become
I target the vulnerable or the hurt
I simply don’t let happiness chance
I am nobody’s friend
Once I tarnish a reputation it is never the same
The wound I inflict never heals
I overthrow governments and ruin marriages
I destroy careers and cause sleepless nights
I generate suspicion and grief
I make innocent people cry
My name hisses hate
Yes, my name is Gossip
The quiet places in my day ….
Charcoal black tip of arrowhead,
among these ancient, stones – stained red
Heartbeats share rhythms of ghostly drums..
Winds carry haunting, chanting hums
I feel your blood, flow here with mine,
outlasting, even decaying time
I’ve been told the stories, told to you,
I know we’re just spirits, passing through
When thunder, shakes awake the night,
I vision warriors by firelight
Their voices echo, around mountain’s soul,
while moon and stars watch us below
Respect the sky, and mother earth,
borrow the beauty, from time of birth
Then give in death peacefully
yourself, to rest eternally
Among these ancient, stones – stained red,
my mirror reflects traces, of those long………..