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Posts tagged “Pagan

Celebrating the Spring Equinox 2015, with its Pagan traditions

Sunrise behind the standing stone. Knockmealdown Mountains. County Waterford. Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Sunrise behind the standing stone.
Knockmealdown Mountains.
County Waterford.
Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The Spring equinox 2015 celebrating

Today marks 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)

The oldest footprints in the world 2

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.

In English there is open access to Stonehenge tomorrow. Access will be from 05:45am until 08:30am.

Druids and Pagans like to gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox, to see the sunrise above the stones.

Knockroe pasage tomb 4

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.

The Equinox of the sun : Gallery

Slievenamon 13 11 2013

Yesterdays Sun 1

Sigma SD15 Kilkenny sunset 1

That sun on Midwinters day 2013


Visiting an empty Church , Kilcash parish church, Co. Tipperary

Killcash parish church County Tipperary  Nigel Borrington

Kilcash parish church
County Tipperary
Nigel Borrington

I so very rarely visit a church when a service is being held these days, Weddings and Funerals apart. It the weekend so get out into the country 4

When I am out walking however, I will often wander into a local church, just for a look around. I am not so sure about the christian story anymore, I was as a child and into my teens but moved away the more I got into the great outdoors and into the nature that surrounds us.

Personally What I find is OK about visiting an empty church is that I have time to think about the spiritual massage they attempt to bring , the very fact however that there is no priest at the alter, well preaching! at you, just gives you a little more space to think for yourself about your own beliefs. These days my own beliefs lay more outside the church as to me if there is a God then he is to be found in nature and not inside the walls of a church.The road not taken robert frost 3

Its not that I have anything against a church mass or service, its more that I find being outside is more spiritual than being inside a church walls, to me like many, I feel that if there is a god ( such as the church depicts ) then he is as likely if not more to be found in the life that can be found in the forests and the fields as sitting down and listening to a priest.

I feel that if he is to be found then its along a path of discovery in the world of nature that surrounds all of us.

Inside Kilcash Parish Church

Irish church images 1

Irish church images 2

Irish church images 3


Pagan Monday : The Spiral and Nature

Rock art 2

The Spiral In the Natural Pagan world

If you have taken many nature photographs or sketched and/or painted outside, you may have noticed just how often you come across one of natures repeating patterns, the Spiral.

From Lichen on rocks to the way the bark grows on some trees, water spinning in a rock pool and the form that galaxy’s take in the night sky.

The last image below was taken at the Local Pagan location of Knickroe, County Kilkenny where most of the stones are marked with the spiral pattern. In this image you can just about make out the form of the Triple Spiral, Possibly representing the : ( “three realms” – Land, Sea and Sky ). Clearly our Pagan ancestors noticed the spiral and give it a significant place in their lives. Today the spiral takes a leading place in Modern Re constructionist Paganism being used in Art and artifacts.

Pre-Christian symbolism

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.
Christian Celtic symbolism

What the symbol meant to the pagans who built Newgrange and other monuments is unknown; but, as Christianity came into the forefront in Ireland before the 5th century, AD, the triskele took on new meaning, Kidnapped somewhat as a symbol of the Trinity (i.e., Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) and, therefore, also a symbol of eternity. Its popularity continues today as a decorative symbol of faith for Christians of Celtic descent around the world.


The triple spiral

The triple spiral is one of the main symbols of Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, often standing for the “three realms” – Land, Sea and Sky, or for one of a number of deities who are described in the lore as “threefold” or triadic.[1] The god Manannán is probably most often the one symbolized by the triskele, though some also use it for the goddess Brighid. Some Celtic-inspired Wiccans also use the triple spiral symbol, most often to represent the concept of the triple goddess.

According to Uriel’s Machine by Knight and Lomas (2003), the triple spiral may represent the nine-month period of human pregnancy, since the sun takes a fourth of a year to go from the celestial equator (an equinox) to extreme north or south declination (a solstice), and vice versa. During each three-month period, the sun’s path across the sky appears to form a closely wound quasi-helical shape, which can be likened to a spiral, so that three spirals could represent nine months, providing an explanation for a link between fertility and the triple-spiral symbol.

Natures Spirals

Andromeda Galaxy

The Spiral in Nature trees

Knockroe pasage tomb 4


Gorse flowers – in mythology

Irish Gorse flowers Nigel Borringtpn

Irish Gorse flowers
Nigel Borringtpn

Gorse flowers – in mythology

Gorse, also known as furze, is a sweet scented, yellow flowered, spiny evergreen shrub that flowers all year round.

In fact, there are several species of gorse that flower at different times of the year making it a much-loved plant for the bees and giving it the appearance of being in bloom all year long. There is an old saying that goes, “When the gorse is out of bloom, kissing is out of season.”
Gorse Tree copyright Ireland Calling

Gorse is often associated with love and fertility. It was for this reason that a sprig of gorse was traditionally added to a bride’s bouquet and gorse torches were ritually burned around livestock to protect against sterility. However, one should never give gorse flowers to another as a gift for it is unlucky for both the giver and receiver.

Monday Mornings in Kilkenny 02
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Beltane bonfires

Gorse wood was used as very effective tinder. It has a high oil content which means it burns at a similar high temperature to charcoal. The ashes of the burnt gorse were high in alkali and used to make soap when mixed with animal fat.

Onn, meaning gorse, is the 17th letter of the ogham alphabet. It equates to the English letter O.

In Celtic tradition, gorse was one of the sacred woods burned on the Beltane bonfires, probably the one that got them started. It was a shrub associated with the spring equinox and the Celtic god of light, Lugh, doubtlessly because of its ever blooming vibrant yellow flowers.

In Brittany, the Celtic summer festival of Lughnastdagh, named after the god, was known as the Festival of Golden Gorse.


Flowers used in wine and whiskey

The flowers have a distinct vanilla-coconut aroma and are edible with an almond-like taste. They can be eaten raw on salads or pickled like capers. They have also been used to make wine and to add colour and flavour to Irish whiskey. However, consuming the flowers in great numbers can cause an upset stomach due to the alkalis they contain.

The prickly nature of gorse gave it a protective reputation, specifically around livestock. As well as providing an effective hedgerow, gorse made an acceptable flea repellent and the plant was often milled to make animal fodder.


Sunrise behind the Knockmeal downs standing stone.

Sunrise behind the standing stone. Knockmealdown Mountains. County Waterford. Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Sunrise behind the standing stone.
Knockmealdown Mountains.
County Waterford.
Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Standing at the top of a hill in the knockmealdown mountains, county Waterford is this amazing standing stone, it rises about 2 meters from the ground. It must have been here for some four thousand years.

I took this images one morning just after sunrise while walking through these mountains that look down over the Waterford coastline.

I placed the rising Sun behind the stone as I wanted to capture the idea of the function of these stones, the tracking of the sun as it moved position on the horizon during the year.


The Elements : Fire

Element of Fire

In modern-day Wicca and Paganism, there is a good deal of focus on the four elements – Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. A few traditions of Wicca also include a fifth element, which is Spirit or Self.

The concept is hardly a new one. A Greek philosopher named Empedocles is credited with the cosmogenic theory of these four elements being the root of all existing matter. Unfortunately, much of Empedocles’ writing has been lost, but his ideas remain with us today and are widely accepted by most Pagans and Wiccans.

Each of the elements is associated with traits and meanings, as well as with directions on the compass. The following directional associations are for the Northern hemisphere; readers in the Southern hemisphere should use the opposite correspondences.

Fire

Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, associated with the South, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Wand suit. For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire

The element of Fire is both creative and destructive, its qualities are Brightness, Thinness and Motion and its mode is Active. It is fire that we and our ancestors used to warm our homes, we use it to cook our food, we sit around it to ward of the darkness of night, and it fuels our passions. Fire, unlike the other elements, does not exist in a natural state. Its physical form can only take place by consuming some other element. Fire is the transformer, converting the energy of other objects into other forms: heat, light, ash, and smoke.

To feel the manifestations of this power, go out on on sunny day and feel the warmth and light of the Sun, hear the crackling of logs and smell of smoke from a burning fire. As you gaze into the transformational flame of a candle, immerse yourself in the energy of Fire. Fire is the natural element of animals and mankind, and they “have, in their natures, a most fiery force, and also spring from celestial sources.”

In order to gain benefit from the energy of this element, we need to control Fire’s destructive aspect. When we light a candle, we are not only calling upon the energy of Fire, we are also limiting its power. This destructive aspect should not be seen as negative, forest fires, actually help, clearing away underbrush and encouraging seeds lying dormant within the Earth to burst forth into new life.

Fire

Fire is a masculine element, its aspects being change, passion, creativity, motivation, will power, drive and sensuality. It is sexuality, both physical and spiritual. Fire is used in spells, rituals and candle magick for healing, purification, sex, breaking bad habits or destroying illness and disease. Fire is the element of authority and leadership.

The properties of Fire, Heat, Making things fruitful, Celestial light, Giving Life to all things. Its opposite the Infernal Fire are a parching heat, consuming all things and darkness, making all things barren.

Each of the four cardinal elements – earth, air, fire and water – can be incorporated into magical practice and ritual. Depending on your needs and intent, you may find yourself drawn to one of these elements more so that the others.

Connected to the South, Fire is a purifying, masculine energy, and connected to strong will and energy. Fire both creates and destroys, and symbolizes the fertility of the God. Fire can heal or harm, and can bring about new life or destroy the old and worn. In Tarot, Fire is connected to the Wand suit (although in some interpretations, it is associated with Swords). For color correspondences, use red and orange for Fire associations.

Let’s look at some of the many magical myths and legends surrounding fire:
Fire Spirits & Elemental Beings:

In many magical traditions, fire is associated with various spirits and elemental beings. For instance, the salamander is an elemental entity connected with the power of fire – and this isn’t your basic garden lizard, but a magical, fantastical creature. Other fire-associated beings include the phoenix – the bird that burns itself to death and then is reborn from its own ashes – and dragons, known in many cultures as fire-breathing destroyers.
The Magic of Fire:

Fire has been important to mankind since the beginning of time. It was not only a method of cooking one’s food, but it could mean the difference between life and death on a frigid winter night. To keep a fire burning in the hearth was to ensure that one’s family might survive another day. Fire is typically seen as a bit of a magical paradox, because in addition to its role as destroyer, it can also create and regenerate. The ability to control fire – to not only harness it, but use it to suit our own needs – is one of the things that separates humans from animals. However, according to ancient myths, this has not always been the case.

Fire appears in legends going back to the classical period. The Greeks told the story of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods in order to give it to man – thus leading to the advancement and development of civilization itself. This theme, of the theft of fire, appears in a number of myths from different culture. A Cherokee legend tells of Grandmother Spider, who stole fire from the sun, hid it in a clay pot, and gave it to the People so they could see in the darkness. A Hindu text known as the Rig Veda related the story of Mātariśvan, the hero who stole fire that had been hidden away from the eyes of man.

The Power of Fire

Fire is sometimes associated with deities of trickery and chaos – probably because while we may think we have domination over it, ultimately it is the fire itself that is in control. Fire is often connected with Loki, the Norse god of chaos, and the Greek Hephaestus (who appears in Roman legend as Vulcan) the god of metalworking, who demonstrates no small amount of deceit.
Fire and Folktales:

Fire appears in a number of folktales from around the world, many of which have to do with magical superstitions. In parts of England, the shape of cinders which jumped out of the hearth often foretold a major event – a birth, a death, or the arrival of an important visitor.

In parts of the Pacific Islands, hearths were guarded by small statues of old women. The old woman, or hearth mother, protected the fire and prevented it from burning out.

The Devil himself appears in some fire-related folktales. In parts of Europe, it is believed that if a fire won’t draw properly, it’s because the Devil is lurking nearby. In other areas, people are warned not to toss bread crusts into the fireplace, because it will attract the Devil (although there’s no clear explanation of what the Devil might want with burnt bread crusts).

Japanese children are told that if they play with fire, they will become chronic bed-wetters – a perfect way to prevent pyromania!

A German folktale claims that fire should never be given away from the house of a woman within the first six weeks after childbirth. Another tale says that if a maid is starting a fire from tinder, she should use strips from mens’ shirts as tinder – cloth from women’s garments will never catch a flame.


The Elements : Earth

Suir valley from Tullahought - Kilkenny landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Suir valley from Tullahought – Kilkenny landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Connected to the North,

Earth is considered the ultimate feminine element, Earth is fertile and stable, associated with the Goddess. The planet itself is a ball of life, and as the Wheel of the Year turns, we can watch all the aspects of life take place in the Earth: birth, life, death, and finally rebirth. The Earth is nurturing and stable, solid and firm, full of endurance and strength. In color correspondences, both green and brown connect to the Earth, for fairly obvious reasons! In Tarot readings, the Earth is related to the suit of Pentacles or Coins.

Mother goddess is a term used to refer to a goddess who represents motherhood, fertility, creation, or who embodies the bounty of the Earth. When equated with the Earth or the natural world such goddesses are sometimes referred to as Mother Earth or as the Earth Mother.

Kerry Ring forts 3

Celtic Goddess

The Irish goddess Anu, sometimes known as Danu, has an impact as a mother goddess, judging from the Dá Chích Anann near Killarney, County Kerry. Irish literature names the last and most favored generation of deities as “the people of Danu” (Tuatha De Danann). The Welsh have a similar figure called Dôn who is often equated with Danu and identified as a mother goddess. Sources for this character date from the Christian period, however, so she is referred to simply as a “mother of heroes” in the Mabinogion. The character’s (assumed) origins as a goddess are obscured.

The Celts of Gaul worshipped a goddess known as Dea Matrona (“divine mother goddess”) who was associated with the Marne River. Similar figures known as the Matres (Latin for “mothers”) are found on altars in Celtic as well as Germanic areas of Europe.

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 16

In many cultures, earth spirits are beings that are tied to the land and plant kingdom. Typically, these beings are associated with another realm, the forces of nature that inhabit a particular physical space, and landmarks like rocks and trees.

In Celtic mythology, the realm of the Fae is known to exist in a parallel space with the land of man. The Fae are part of the Tuatha de Danaan, and live underground. It’s important to watch out for them, because they’re known for their ability to trick mortals into joining them.

Grange Crag Walk 5

Gnomes feature prominently in European legend and lore. Although it’s believed that their name was coined by a Swiss alchemist named Paracelsus, these elemental beings have long been associated in one form or another with the ability to move underground.

Likewise, elves often appear in stories about the land. Jacob Grimm collected a number of stories about elves while compiling his book Teutonic Mythology, and says that elves appear in the Eddas as supernatural, magic-using beings. They appear in a number of old English and Norse legends.


The Elements : Water.

The elements , Water Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The elements , Water
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The Pagan element of Water and the pagan Irish Goddess : Boann and the Irish God : Nechtan

Water, is of a great necessity, without it nothing can live. Only earth and water can bring forth a living soul. Such is the greatness of water that spiritual regeneration cannot be done without it.

Thales of Miletus concluded that water was the beginning of all things and the first of all elements and most potent because of its mastery over the rest. Pliny said “Water swallow up the earth, extinguishes the flame, ascends on high, and by stretching forth as clouds challenges the heavens for their own, and the same falling down, becomes the cause of all things that grow in the earth.

Water is a cleansing, healing, psychic, and loving element. It is the feeling of friendship and love that pours over us when we are with our family, friends and loved ones. When we swim it is water that supports us, when we are thirsty, it is water the quenches our thirst, another manifestation of this element is the rainstorms that drench us, or the dew formed on plants after the sun has set.

The power of the energy of Water, can be felt by tasting pure spring water, moving you hand through a stream, lake, pool, or bowl full of water. You can feel its cool liquidity; it’s soft and loving touch, this motion and fluidity is the quality of Air within Water. This Water energy is also contained within ourselves, our bodies being mostly composed of Water.

As well as being vital for life, within the energy of this element is contained the essence of love. Love is the underlying reason for all magic. Water is love.

Water is a feminine element, it also the element of emotion and subconscious, of purification, intuition, mysteries of the self, compassion and family. It is psychic ability; water can be used as a means of scrying or as an object for meditation. Water is important in spells and rituals of friendship, marriage, happiness, fertility, healing, pleasure, psychic abilities and spells involving mirrors.

Ref : Pagan elements of Water

The Elements Water 2.

Irish Goddess : Boann, Irish God : Nechtan

Celtic (Irish) Goddess of the River Boyne and mother of Angus Mac Og by the Dagda. She was the wife of Nechtan, a god of the water. Likewise, Boann was herself a water-goddess, and one of her myths concerns the water. According to legend, there was a sacred well (Sidhe Nechtan) that contained the source of knowledge. All were forbidden to approach this well, with the exception of the god Nechtan (as was noted, Boann’s husband) and his servants. Boann ignored the warnings, and strode up to the sacred well, thus violating the sanctity of the area. For this act, she was punished, and the waters of the defiled well swelled and were transformed into a raging river, a river that pursued her. In some versions, she was drowned; while in others, she managed to outrun the currents. In either case, this water became the river that was known henceforth as the Boyne, and Boann thereafter became the presiding deity.

Another aspect of the myth of Boann is that she bore Angus. She and the All father of the Tuatha De Danaan, the Dagda, engaged in an illicit affair that resulted in the birth of this god of love. However, since both Boann and the Dagdha wished to keep their rendezvous a secret, they used their divine powers to cause the nine month gestation period to last but a single day – or so it seemed, for the sun was frozen in the sky for those nine months, never setting and never rising. On this magical day, Angus emerged into the world. She held the powers of healing. Variants: Boannan, Boyne.

The Elements Water 3


The Elements : Air

Pagan Elements : Air Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Pagan Elements : Air
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

The pagan elements :

Air

The element of Air is vital to human survival, without it we would all perish, its aspects are Thinness, Motion and Darkness and its quality is Active. Air is the manifestation of movement, freshness, communication and of the intelligence. Sound is another manifestation of this element. As an element, it is invisible, but its reality can be felt in the air that we breathe in every day.

To connect with the power of this element, find a place with clean air and breathe deeply, touch a feather or inhale the fragrance of a heavily scented flower. Let yourself experience the energy of this element, and reflect that we also possess Air energy within ourselves.

In magical terms, Air is the power of the mind, the force of intellect, inspiration, imagination. It is ideas, knowledge, dreams and wishes. Air is the element of new life and new possibilities and is essential to spells and rituals of travel, instruction, finding lost items, some types of divination, and freedom. Air aids us in visualization, a vital technique in magic.

Air is a masculine element and governs the magick of the four winds. It is the vital spirit passing through all things, giving life to all things, moving and filling all things. Thus Hebrew doctors ascribe it not as an element but as a medium or glue that binds all things together.

Air

The first element of the alchemical tradition.
Air is the essence of intuition and learning, the element of the nature of the mind.
Astrological Signs: Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius.
Represented by: Feathers, Birds, incense, fans, flags, flowing garments and sheer material.
Season: Winter
Color: White
Chakra: Crown

Celtic air god and goddess:

Arianrhod

“The Silver Wheel”, “High Fruitful Mother”. Celtic Goddess, the sister of Gwydion and wife of Donn. Deity of element of Air, reincarnation, full moons, time, karma, retribution. The palace of this sky Goddess was Caer Arianrhold (Aurora Borealis). Keeper of the Silver Wheel of Stars, a symbol of time and karma. Her ship, Oar Wheel, carried dead warriors to Emania (Moon-land).

Arianrhod (Welsh pronunciation: [arˈjanr̥ɔd]) is a figure in Welsh mythology who plays her most important role in the Fourth Branch of the Mabinogi. She is the daughter of Dôn and the sister of Gwydion and Gilfaethwy; the Welsh Triads give her father as Beli Mawr.[1] In the Mabinogi her uncle Math ap Mathonwy is the King of Gwynedd, and during the course of the story she gives birth to two sons, Dylan Ail Don and Lleu Llaw Gyffes, through magical means.

Ref:

GODDESSES: Aradia, Cardea, Nuit, Urania.
GODS: Enlil, Kheohera, Mercurym, Shu, Thoth.


Bullaun Stones – Water worship in Pagan life.

Bullaun Stone – Bonane Heritage park , county Kerry Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Bullaun Stone – Bonane Heritage park , county Kerry
Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Bullaun Stones

The original purpose of bullan stones is not really known, but they have an undisputed association with water and worship. A ‘bullaun’ is a deep hemispherical cup hollowed out of a rock. Bullaun Stone refers to the rock itself, which can have many bullauns in it, although many are single.

Water in Pagan life

Water (Uisce in irish / place names after : Adare, the ford that feeds the oak tree.) is a feminine energy and highly connected with the aspects of the Goddess. Used for healing, cleansing, and purification, Water is related to the West, and associated with passion and emotion. In many spiritual paths, consecrated Water can be found – consecrated water is just regular water with salt added to it, and usually a blessing or invocation is said above it. In Wiccan covens, such water is used to consecrate the circle and all the tools within it. As you may expect, water is associated with the color blue.

Ten thousand years ago, before the coming of Christianity in Ireland, the rivers served a very important role in the lives of the people living along its banks. It was their source of food, and a place where their cattle and crops thrived on the nourished plains. It also acted as a barrier between opposing armies and clans. People saw the rivers as powerful objects and worshipped river gods. Often people placed weapons and ornaments of precious metal in the river as offerings to these gods.

Irish Goddess :Brighid

Location: Ireland.

One of the triple Goddesses of the Celtic pantheon. She is the daughter of The Dagda, the All Father of the Tuatha de Danann, one of the most ancient people of Northern Europe. Some say there are actually three Brighids; one is in charge of poetry and inspiration; one is in charge of midwifery and healing, and the last is in charge of crafts and smiths.

She probably began as a sun Goddess. According to legend, she was born at sunrise and a tower of flame beamed from her head.

As Goddess of fire and water, she is immortalized by many wells and springs. Most important of her monuments, though, was a shrine at Kildare where there was a perpetual flame burning for Brighid. It was tended by nineteen virgins called the Daughters of the Flame, wearing deep crimson habits and bearing swords. They would not talk to men, nor could men come near the shrine. Her feast is St.Brighids Days in Ireland and is the Pagan Festival of Imbolc

When Christianity began its onset, so loved was Brighid that she was made a saint. However, the upkeep on her flame was considered pagan by the church and it was extinguished out of more than a thousand years of burning. St. Brigit remains one of the most popular Irish saints today, along with Saint Patrick.

Identical to Juno, Queen of Heaven. Symbolizes human potential. Also known as Brigit, Brigid, Brigindo, Bride.

Dark the bitter winter,
cutting its sharpness,
but Bride’s mantle,
brings spring to Ireland.

Irish Goddess :Fland

Location: Ireland.

Description:

Daughter of woodland Goddess Flidais. A lake Goddess who is viewed in modern (Post Christian) folklore as an evil water faery who lures swimmers to their death.
She rules over: Water magick, rivers and lakes

Gallery

Bullaun Stones 1

Bullaun Stones 2

Bullaun Stones 3

Bullaun Stones 4

Bullaun Stones 5


The Autumnal equinox 2014 (Mabon)

autumnal equinox
autumnal equinox 2014 over Slievenamon, County Tipperary
Irish Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

What is the autumnal equinox

Our year is divided into four season’s(Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn), the starting date of these seasons is determined by the movement of the sun as our planet orbits around it with a little help by the tilt of the earth’s axis.

On the autumnal equinox, day and night are equally 12 hours long . As the Sun crosses the celestial equator going southward; it rises exactly due east and sets exactly due west.

From tomorrow we start the slow movement towards the winter season, marked my the shortest day , the 21st of December.

Autumnal equinox in the Pagan world.

The holiday of the autumnal equinox, Harvest Home, Mabon, the Feast of the Ingathering, Meán Fómhair or Alban Elfed (in Neo-Druid traditions), is a Pagan ritual of thanksgiving for the fruits of the earth and a recognition of the need to share them to secure the blessings of the Goddess and the God during the coming winter months.

The name Mabon was coined by Aidan Kelly around 1970 as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology. Among the sabbats, it is the second of the three Pagan harvest festivals, preceded by Lammas / Lughnasadh and followed by Samhain.

Ref : Wheel of the Year


Sunday with Kilkenny’s ancient stones , Discovering nine megalithic Court Tombs

harristown Tomb 8
kilmogue portal Tomb , 6000 years old,
The Standing Stone and Tombs of County Kilkenny,
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Sunday with Kilkenny’s ancient stones and tombs

Earlier in the year I posted this article about the kilmogue portal Tomb , Located Near Harristown , County Kilkenny.

Sitting at the end of a short path near Harristown, county kilkenny, it is a 6000 year old tomb, know nationally at the Kilmogue Portal Tomb but locally as, “Leac an Scail” – stone of the warrior/hero in English.

This tomb however has become just the first of many ancient remains I feel I have found in this small area of County Kilkenny, since I posted the above post in April (2014).

Full woods labels

The above is a map of a wooded area located above the Kilmogue Portal Tomb, Harristown, Kilkenny.

When back in April when I re-visited the portal tomb, I took a good look at its surroundings, its a dairy farming area with some very defined field patterns, I had a very strong feeling that this tomb could not be the only local ancient remains, there just had to be more.

It took some weeks of walking the local roads and wood-lands to find what I was looking for and the above map shows clearly the amount of sites I feel I have now found (Ring forts, standing stones and Tombs), while walking through the above woods there are many different type of megalithic remains.

I visited the another of what I felt was a possible megalithic site last Sunday and this Sunday morning, a collection of Multiple tombs and wanted to share some of the pictures and feeling below.

To get to this location I had to navigate through the trees and get over a wall into the field but once in I was amazed at what I found. There are a total of nine tombs that could as important as the Kilmogue Portal Tomb, they are possible megalithic Court tombs or Portal tombs. I feel that to find so many Tombs in one field is very special and reflects on just how important an area this must have been to the people who lived here over a vast period of time.

I need to keep working on this location and study a lot more as to my possible findings but feel its very exciting to find such a large collection of Tombs in one place.

I did at first wonder if these tombs where just collections of rocks that a farmer in the past had cleared from his fields but on getting closer and spending sometime walking around them, as you can see in the pictures these rocks are very large and in the correct formation and organisation to be Tombs.

They have large rocks forming a boarder with a raised area in the centre, they have a single gap forming an entrance and what looks like smaller grave area inside the tombs themselves. These features fully match the definition of what are defined as court tombs.

You are welcome to have a good looks at the pictures below and form you own impression but for the moment I am very pleased to have found such an impressive ancient location.

The Tombs of Harristown, Kilkenny ; Gallery

Kilkenny court tombs 10

Kilkenny court tombs 1

Kilkenny court tombs 2

Kilkenny court tombs 3

Kilkenny court tombs 4

Kilkenny court tombs 5

Kilkenny court tombs 6

Kilkenny court tombs 7

Kilkenny court tombs 8

Kilkenny court tombs 9

Local Standing Stones : Gallery

The standing stone Kilkenny 2

Standing stones 6


The Oak tree in Pagan life, Poems and Oak tree stories.

The Oak tree

Mighty Oak Tree

By : Russell Sivey

The mighty oak tree sits near
Orange and red leaves
Looking like it is on fire
They clog up the eaves
Beautiful to see Sight
unlike any around In awe completely

The Oak tree in Pagan Mythology

An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus, of the beech family Fagaceae, having approximately 600 extant species.

The Pagan world gave the Oak tree the following properties :

Planet: Jupiter and Mars
Element: Water
Symbolism: Sovereignty, rulership, power,
Strength & Endurance, Generosity & Protection, Justice & Nobility, Honesty & Bravery
Stone: Diamond, Aventuring
Metal: Gold
Birds: Oriole, Wren
Color: Gold
Deity: The Dagda, The Green Man, Janus, Diana, Cybele, Hecate, Pan
Sabbat: Summer Solstice (Litha)
Folk Names: Jove’s Nuts, Juglans

Medicinal properties:

The medicinal park of the Oak is its bark, because of the strong astringent properties. Internally as a tea it helps fight diarrhea and dysentery. Externally it can be used to treat hemorrhoids, inflamed gums, wounds, and eczema. The tannin found in oak can help reduce minor blistering by boiling a piece of the bark in a small amount of water until a strong solution is reached, and applying to the affected area. To cure frostbite, American folk medicine called for collecting oak leaves that had remained on the tree all through the winter. These leaves were boiled to obtain a solution in which the frostbitten extremities would soak for an hour each day for a week.

Magickal properties:

Dreaming of resting under an oak tree means you will have a long life and wealth. Climbing the tree in your dream means a relative will have a hard time of it in the near future. Dreaming of a fallen oak means the loss of love. If you catch a falling oak leaf you shall have no colds all winter. If someone does get sick, warm the house with an oakwood fire to shoo away the illness. Carry an acorn against illnesses and pains, for immortality and youthfulness, and to increase fertility and sexual potency.

Carrying any piece of the oak draws good luck to you (remember to ask permission and show gratitude.)

Oak twigs bound together with red thread into a solar cross or a pentagram will make a mighty protective talisman for the home, car, or in your desk or locker at work.

“Oaken twigs and strings of red Deflect all harm, gossip and dread.”

Celtic Moon sign – Oak Moon

The oak tree endures what others cannot. It remains strong through challenges, and is known for being almost immortal, as is often attested to by its long life and ability to survive fire, lightning strikes, and devastation. If you were born under this sign, you have the strength of character and purpose to endure, too – no matter what your challenges. Direct your energies wisely, make sure your your risks are well-calculated, and you’ll overcome whatever seemingly “impossible” quests are sent to you.
Written by Kim Rogers-Gallagher, and Llewellyn’s Witches’ Datebook 2000

The Oak moon falls during a time when the trees are beginning to reach their full blooming stages. The mighty Oak is strong, powerful, and typically towering over all of its neighbors. The Oak King rules over the summer months, and this tree was sacred to the Druids. The Celts called this month Duir, which some scholars believe to mean “door”, the root word of “Druid”. The Oak is connected with spells for protection and strength, fertility, money and success, and good fortune. Carry an acorn in your pocket when you go to an interview or business meeting; it will be bring you good luck. If you catch a falling Oak leaf before it hits the ground, you’ll stay healthy the following year.

Growth and fertility spells work best at this time of the year. Focus on building and consolidation your wisdom, endurance and security.

Lesson of the Oak

from The Wisdom of Trees

by Jane Gifford

The oak represents courage and endurance and the protective power of faith. The tree’s noble presence and nurturing habit reassured ancient peoples that, with the good will of their gods, their leader, and their warriors, they could prevail against all odds. As the Tree of the Dagda, the oak offers protection and hospitality without question, although its true rewards are only apparent to the honest and brave. The ancient Celts deplored lies and cowardice.

To be judged mean spirited could result in exclusion from the clan, which was one of the most shameful and most feared of all possible punishments. Like the oak, we would do well to receive without prejudice all those who seek our help, sharing what we have without resentment or reservation. The oak reminds us all that the strength to prevail, come what may, lies in an open mind and a generous spirit. Inflexibility, however, is the oak’s one weakness and the tree is prone to lose limbs in storms.

The oak therefore carries the warning that stubborn strength that resists will not endure and may break under strain.

The Oak Fairy

by Teresa Moorey

Oak is one of the most sacred trees, traditionally prized by the Celts and Druids. The oak fairy is very powerful, and imparts strength and endurance to any who stay within its aura.

Each oak tree is a very metropolis of fairies, and each acorn has its own sprite. Bringing one into the house is a way to enhance contact with the fairy realm. Oak beams are often used to make doors, but the tree itself is a great portal to the other realms.

The oak is associated with many gods all over the world, notably Zeus and Thor. In sacred groves of oak, the Goddess was believed to impart her wisdom through oracles. The oak has sheltered many a king and hero, in myth and real life. The oak spirit is distinct from fairies, and may become very angry if trees are felled or wildlife harmed.

The oak fairy brings courage and a stout heart, necessary to brave the challenges in this world and to journey in the Otherworld. Bearing strength from the heart of the earth, oak fairy can bring steadiness and a deep joy that endures through all.

Oak Tree.

By : Bernard Shaw

I took an acorn and put it in a pot.
I then covered it with earth, not a lot.
Great pleasure was mine watching it grow.
The first budding green came ever so slow.

I watered my plant twice a week
I knew I would transplant it down by the creek.
One day it will be a giant oak,
To shield me from the sun a sheltering cloak.
Lovers will carve their initials in the bark,
An arrow through a heart they will leave their mark.

It will shelter those caught in a fine summers rain,
Under its leafy bows joy will be again.
Creatures of the wilds will claim it for their own,
Squirrels will reside here in their own home.

Birds will build nests and raise their young,
They will sing melodies a chorus well sung.
Under it’s branches grass will grow,
Here and there a wild flower it’s head will show.

My oak tree for hundreds of years will live.
Perhaps the most important thing I had to give.


Kilkenny’s Standing stones, Time – a Poem by : Anthony Zeigler

The standing stone Kilkenny 1
Standing stone at Owning, County Kilkenny
Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

County Kilkenny has many Standing stones, often located on farm land and hidden from public eyes.

They are a reminder of times past, long ago, so long few know their original purpose or anything about the people who first erected them.

It is thought that they were used to mark the passing of time , the Hours, days and months of the year.

Time

By : Anthony Zeigler

Time is where we are
And time is where we’ve been
Time is being lost
And found again

Time is the day we were born
the day we die
Time is the hours that pass
As they come just then fly

Time is what we know
what we learn
Time is what it is
Some times it will hunt and some times it will burn

Time is all we have
Though it seems so little
Time is all around us
We are caught in the middle

Time is when we’re there
what we’ve missed
Time is our biggest fear
But we try to make the best of it

The standing stone Kilkenny 2


Celebrating Mid summers day 2014

Mid summers sunset over Slievenamon, county tipperary, Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Mid summers sunset over Slievenamon, county tipperary,
Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

Mid summers day 2014

Happy Mid summers day !!!

This mornings sunrise over slievenamon county Tipperary was at 04:57am and by the time it sets again on the other side to the west the time will be 21:57 , thats seventeen hours of sun light and the most anyone can witness during the suns movement across the sky during any one year.

Today is also called the Summer Solstice

Solstice, or Litha means a stopping or standing still of the sun. It is the longest day of the year and the time when the sun is at its maximum elevation.

Wiccan blessing for Summer

As the sun spirals its longest dance,
Cleanse us
As nature shows bounty and fertility
Bless us
Let all things live with loving intent
And to fulfill their truest destiny

This date has had spiritual significance for thousands of years as humans have been amazed by the great power of the sun. The Celts celebrated with bonfires that would add to the sun’s energy, Christians placed the feast of St John the Baptist towards the end of June and it is also the festival of Li, the Chinese Goddess of light.

Pagans are in awe of the incredible strength of the sun and the divine powers that create life. For Pagans this spoke in the Wheel of the Year is a significant point. The Goddess took over the earth from the horned God at the beginning of spring and she is now at the height of her power and fertility. For some Pagans the Summer Solstice marks the marriage of the God and Goddess and see their union as the force that creates the harvest’s fruits.

This is a time to celebrate growth and life but for Pagans, who see balance in the world and are deeply aware of the ongoing shifting of the seasons it is also time to acknowledge that the sun will now begin to decline once more towards winter.

Lugh (Celtic) god of the summer soltice

Similar to the Roman god Mercury, Lugh was known as a god of both skill and the distribution of talent. He is associated with midsummer because of his role as a harvest god, and during the summer solstice the crops are flourishing, waiting to be plucked from the ground at Lughnasadh.

Mid summers day 2014


A local walk through History, Megolithic – Ring forts, Tombs and Standing stones.

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 5
Ring fort on the Hill, County Kilkenny
Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

A local walk through History, Megolithic – Ring forts, Tombs and standing stones.

Last Month I posted the following two articles talking about the history of some historic remains and geology around the area where I live, on the County Kilkenny and Tipperary Boarders.

Pagan ring forts and passage tombs , From Kerry to kilkenny

Landscape and Geology around Slievenamon, county Tipperary

The image below shows the area around the mountain of Slievenamon, County Tipperary ( left ) and the foot hills that flow to the right and form the shape of an oval from the north and south of the mountain.

The Boarder between county kilkenny and Tipperary flows about half way through this image from north to south.

Slievenamon Panorama 2.

Over the last few weeks and during the summer of 2014, I want to study and post about the Stone age – Iron age, pre Christian remains that can be found in almost every one of the woods that can be seen in the above image ( Mainly visible as dark green) along with the remains on the mountain of slievenamon itself.

I have lived here in county Kilkenny for about 11 years , moving from the UK in 2003, from the very first walks I took locally it was clear that this area is full a history in the form of old buildings, farms, churches and grave yards.

The remains that interested me the most have been those of pre-Christian times, Ireland became a Christian country between 300 to 400 Ad. These local pre-Christian remains then date from betweem 300Ad to 6000 or 8000 years ago.

The remains that can be found locally take the form of (Ring forts, Graves and tombs, Standing stones and stone circles) all can be found within the area covered in the pictures above.

South Kilkenny. Woodlands

South Kilkenny. Woodlands

During last weekend and this week, I have been visiting the above woodland to the south east of the larger area I am studying and have marked on the image below the types of remains I have found :

Full woods labels

The remains that I have walk past on woodland paths and the ones that I have looked for by going deeper into the woods are by themselves amazing but by themselves do not tell you a story of who these people were and how they lived.

Over the next few weeks I want to uses four areas in total including the mountain of Slievenamon, to draw a picture of how I feel the people who built these structures lived.

How they worked this land, how they built their homes and how they buried and remembered their ancestors.

Structure of a ring fort

Structure of a ring fort

.

Image Gallerys

The Images below are all pictures of the structures and remains I have found in the woodland area shown and labelled in the images above, I have split them into groups as follows:

Ring forts, these were used for – homes and cattle pens.
Standing stones, used to record time and mark areas.
Graves and tombs, Hill top Burial grounds .

One last thing worth pointing out is that below in the Grave Gallery are two large tomb cap stones, shown in the first two images.

When I first found the stone in the first image, I wondered if it could be anything more than just a large stone left from ice sheets, during the ice age some 10,000 years ago. However I then found the stone in the second image a couple of days later, both these stones are almost the exact same dimensions. It is very unlikely then that these stones can be the result of the ice age and that they are cap stones to large tombs lying underneath.

This web sites show some examples of excavated tombs from this period : Mesolithic tombs

I also have a great example of a tomb like this here : The passage tomb of olioll olum king of munster

Image gallery of the ring fort

Ring fort, marked above the woods

Ring fort, marked above the woods

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 1

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 3

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 4

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 6

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 7

A ring fort in the KIlkenny hills 8

Gallery of Standing stones within the woods

Standing stones 5

Standing stones 3

Standing stones 4

Standing stones 6

Gallery of Graves and Cap stones within the woods

Grave and cap stone 1

Graves and cap  stones 2

Grave and cap stone 3

Grave and cap stone 4


Pagan ring forts and passage tombs , From Kerry to kilkenny

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 15Knockroe passage tomb, county Kilkenny
Irish landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Pagan ring forts and passage tombs , From Kerry to kilkenny

During July last year 2013, I visited two ring forts near Cahersiveen, County Kerry and posted on them as below :

Kerry Ring forts 3.

Cahergall ring fort

Cahergall ring fort is a massive stone construction, built between 400BC and 500AD, It can be found close to Cahersiveen, County Kerry. Leacanabuaile feels very much more like a dwelling place for people to both live and keep themselves safe from the surrounding Environment. This included raiders and wild animals stealing cattle.

Kerry Ring forts 6

Leacanabuaile, stone ring Fort

Sitting on a hill side near Cahersiveen in County Kerry is Leacanabuaile Stone Fort, it is considered one of the best examples of an Irish ring fort.

The name translates to ‘Hillside of the Summer Pasturage’.

Returning home

The visit to both these locations was one of the most interesting history trips I have ever done and left me with a great sense of the History of Europe and of the people who lived here before Christian times.

On returning to county Kilkenny I fell like I was living in a place with a much more limited sense of history, Tipperary and Kilkenny feel much less remote than the coast line and mountains of county Kerry and their history seems to be much more modern.

Well it has taken me almost a year since the visit to Cahergall and Leacanabuaile to realise that this impression of my local area is far from true. Apart from the location of Knockroe (Post here), I have started to visit and find more and more local remains of Ireland’s past and it clearly goes way beyond the days of St Patrick and the early church.

The images below are satellite images of many passage tombs and ring forts, within 10km of our home :

KIlkenny ring forts 5

KIlkenny ring forts 4

KIlkenny ring forts 3

KIlkenny ring forts 2

KIlkenny ring forts 1.

Finding these locations was a real eye opener and showed to me that these forts and passage tombs must have been located through out the country.

The forts in Kerry have been restored over the last 5 years and may well have been in the same poor condition as the local ones here.

It is more than likely that the stone from these locations has been used in more modern times to build local Churches, Farms and stone walls on farm land, Yesterday I posted on the high cross at Kilkamerry and talked about this re-use of Pagan sites to build Christian locations.

It is very likely then that current church yards and grave yards have also been constructed on more of these sites, many more circular features exist on the local landscape and are possibly also ring forts but for these ones time has made things a little less clear.

What does becomes clear from looking deeper is that the pagan history of Ireland was extensive and that the pre-Christian population of this Island was as big as any other location on the European continent.

The images here are of the tomb or ring fort on Ballinlinagh hill, county Kilkenny and of the passage tomb of Knockroe :

Gallery

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 10

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 11

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 12

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 13—————–

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 14

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 15

KIlkenny and tipperary ring forts 16


Killamery High Cross

Killamery high cross 1
Killamery High Cross, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Landscape Photography, Nigel Borrington

Killamery High Cross

Located in an old grave yard very near the county Kilkenny and Tipperary border, is one of the most impressive of the Irish High crosses. There was a unique early Medieval tradition in Ireland and Britain of raising large sculpted stone crosses, usually outdoors.

These probably developed from earlier traditions using wood, perhaps with metalwork attachments, and earlier pagan Celtic memorial stones; the Pictish stones of Scotland may also have influenced the form.

The earliest surviving examples seem to come from the territory of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Northumbria, which had been converted to Christianity by Irish missionaries; it remains unclear whether the form first developed in Ireland or Britain.

The Killamery High Cross, is one of the western Ossory group of crosses. The cross stands at 3.65 metres high and the west face of the cross bears most of the figure sculpture. The east face pictured right, is decorated with three marigolds on the shaft and has a boss in the centre of the head surrounded by intertwining serpents with an open mouthed dragon above the boss.

The cross is known as the Snake-Dragon cross and has a gabled cap-stone and the narrow sides have double mouldings. At the end of the southern arm of the cross there is a panel depicting Noah in the Ark and the end of the northern arm features four scenes centered around John the Baptist. There is also a worn inscription on the base of the western side of the cross which is said to read as ‘OR DO MAELSECHNAILL’ a prayer for Maelsechnaill. Maelsechnaill was the High King of Ireland from 846 to 862.

The western face has a Sun Swastika at the centre and has figure sculpture around the whorl, to the left is a hunting scene and to the right a chariot scene above the whorl is scene showing a figure holding a Baby with another figure to the right of them, below the sun disc is a crucifixion scene. The shaft of this face bears two ornate panels. The top one is a fret pattern and the lower panel is a key pattern.

County kilkenny has five such high crosses, most a likely still in their original setting but being over a thousand years old must of their location will have changed.

Some people have a theory that these high crosses were originally larger standing stones used in pagan stones circles or passage tombs, the form of the cross being sculpted into them during the times of the pagan’s conversion to Christianity. In Ireland this would have been during the time of Saint Patrick.

It was felt much more effective when converting people to Christianity to convert original locations for the use of the early church, including fresh water springs.

Standing stone marking a well/spring

Fallen standing stone marking a well/spring

In Ireland most springs would have been the location of worship to river or fresh water gods or goddess, in post pagan times many of these locations became holy wells dedicated to a Christian saint. Most even the forgotten spring above still have the original pagan standing stone in place , used to help find and mark the location of the spring and to leave offerings to the gods and goddesses ( Well dressing ).

Gallery

Killamery high cross 2

Killamery high cross 3

Killamery high cross 4

Killamery high cross 5


Sunset over the mountain of Slievenamon , Star break and Poem.

Sunset over the moustain 1
Sunset over slievenamon, County Tipperary
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Evening walks near the mountain of Slievenamon, county Tipperary can bring some great evening views, the sun sets right over the top on the mountain where there is a cairn, a burial place of a king dating back over six thousand year.

On one of these walks I was lucky enough to get these sunset images and I put some words to them in this poem:

Star break, a Poem

Behind the High cloud the sun is coiling and uncoiling
a dragon wrapped around itself spitting fire behind the mountain top

For a moment as I think of older days it is eclipsed entirely
aith a hidden God in the ground where six thousand years ago

A star fell from nowhere and lit up this very mountain’s top
turning westward by day, into oblivion leaving its mark.

Sunset over the moustain 2.

A king wise in these things called this a “star break”
and of no danger to the integrity of his vision

Star, soon the mountain will shrug you off you will drop below
the ragged edge line into tomorrow while I take the only path.

I came to find what I left, now ahead of me and waiting behind
a light of dawn, time of ages drifting through the night.

Me…..


World wide megalithic Portal tomb’s a connection to county Kilkenny .

Resting place of the kings 1
portal tomb at NewMarket, county Kilkenny
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Portal tombs, Dolmen’s, portal graves or quoit are a type of single-chamber megalithic tomb, usually consisting of two or more upright stones supporting a large flat horizontal capstone (table), although there are also more complex variants. Most date from the early Neolithic period (4000 to 3000 BC). Dolmens were typically covered with earth or smaller stones to form a barrow. In many instances, that covering has weathered away, leaving only the stone “skeleton” of the burial mound intact.

It remains unclear when, why, and by whom the earliest tomb’s were made. The oldest known tomb’s are in Western Europe, where they were set in place around 7000 years ago.

County Kilkenny has two such Tombs , the Newmarket tomb and the Kilmogue Portal Tomb at Harristown, both are dated to some 6000 years of age.

I did a little more reading on these tombs and it is very clear that they are very widely spread through out the world as the link below details :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolmen

The link shows their world wide locations as :

3.1 Asia
3.1.1 Korea
3.1.2 India
3.1.3 Eurasia (North Western Caucasus) Circassia
3.1.4 Middle East
3.2 Africa
3.2.1 Horn of Africa
3.2.2 North Africa
3.3 Europe

T-shaped Hunebed D27 in Borger-Odoorn, Netherlands.
T-shaped Hunebed D27 in Borger-Odoorn, Netherlands.

Flint Dolmen in Johfiyeh, Jordan
Flint Dolmen in Johfiyeh, Jordan

You can see the full details by the link above!

I have been visiting these sites in Ireland for sometime as in Ireland we have many passage tombs through out the country.

Understanding however just how international these locations are is very fascinating.

It needs to be remembered that some 6000 years ago very few of the nations we know, if any existed and people travelled without boarders.

The first time anyone gave Ireland a name as such, it was called “Hibernia”.

Hibernia is the Classical Latin name for the island of Ireland. The name Hibernia was taken from Greek geographical accounts. During exploration of northwest Europe (c. 320 BC), Pytheas of Massilia called the island Iérnē (written Ἰέρνη). In his book Geographia (c. 150 AD), Claudius Ptolemaeus (“Ptolemy”) called the island Iouerníā (written Ἰουερνία, where “ου”-ou stands for w). The Roman historian Tacitus, in his book Agricola (c. 98 AD), uses the name Hibernia. The Romans also sometimes used Scotia, “land of the Scoti”, as a geographical term for Ireland in general, as well as just the part inhabited by those people.

Something that becomes very clear is that the peoples who lived in many different world wide locations often shared the same culture, they lived very closely to and with their environment, they were clearly pagan in their beliefs and as such very close to their surroundings.

Life would have been completely different from the life we know, they lived and moved to the cycles of the seasons, they eat and lived of the wildlife and nature that surrounded them, in some season they would have little food if any.

They clearly had Gods and figure heads, yet we have a tendency to place our own modern religious understanding on-to what this meant to them directly.

It is likely that their Gods were Mythical in nature and derived from memories of real people who they connected with different elements and forces of life that affected the way they lived and survived.

This wikipedia page lists some of the celtic Gods and Goddesses and shows the forces of life and nature that they were related to.

Kilkenny Portal tomb Gallery

NewMarket Portal Tomb

Resting place of the kings 2

Resting place of the kings 3.

Kilmogue Portal Tomb

harristown Tomb 8

harristown Tomb 7

harristown Tomb 2

harristown Tomb 3


Easter (Ostara) Holidays in the Landscape.

Easter in the Landscape 5
Easter Holidays in the Irish Landscape
Landscape Photography : Nigel Borrington

Easter (Ostara)

Easter to many Christians marks a religious holiday and the two weeks around Easter weekend is traditionally a Holiday time.

Before the Christian tradition however it was still marked as Ostara by the Pagan world, marking a time of rebirth and new life, Life has returned to the landscape with new growth and natural foods available. Wild life is on the move again starting to make plans for a new breeding season, finding foods themselves and getting to put some much needed body weight back on.

Over the next two weeks I want to get out and capture these changes, as the march towards the summer months feels ever closer and closer.

Image Gallery

Easter in the Landscape 4

Easter in the Landscape 1

Easter in the Landscape 2

Easter in the Landscape 3

Easter in the Landscape 5


Spring equinox 2014 and Pagan traditions

Spring equinox 1
Spring equinox sun sun 2014
Landscape photography : Nigel Borrington

The Spring equinox 2014

Today marks 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)

The oldest footprints in the world 2

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.

In English there is open access to Stonehenge tomorrow. Access will be from 05:45am until 08:30am.

Druids and Pagans like to gather at Stonehenge early in the morning to mark the Spring Equinox, to see the sunrise above the stones.

Knockroe pasage tomb 4

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.

The Equinox of the sun : Gallery

Yesterdays Sun 1

That sun on Midwinters day 2013

Sigma SD15 Kilkenny sunset 1

Slievenamon 13 11 2013


Midwinters day and the pagan goddess of the winter

Midwinters day 2013
The stone circle at Castlerigg
Landscape photography: Nigel Borrington

Today is Mid winters day or the Winter Solstice.

History and cultural significance

The solstice itself may have been a special moment of the annual cycle of the year even during neolithic times. Astronomical events, which during ancient times controlled the mating of animals, sowing of crops and metering of winter reserves between harvests, show how various cultural mythologies and traditions have arisen. This is attested by physical remains in the layouts of late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites, such as Stonehenge in Britain and Newgrange in Ireland. The primary axes of both of these monuments seem to have been carefully aligned on a sight-line pointing to the winter solstice sunrise (Newgrange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Significant in respect of Stonehenge is the fact that the Great Trilithon was erected outwards from the centre of the monument, i.e., its smooth flat face was turned towards the midwinter Sun.

That sun on Midwinters day 2013
The Solstice Sun set.

The winter solstice may have been immensely important because communities were not certain of living through the winter, and had to be prepared during the previous nine months. Starvation was common during the first months of the winter, January to April (northern hemisphere) or July to October (southern hemisphere), also known as “the famine months”. In temperate climates, the midwinter festival was the last feast celebration, before deep winter began. Most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter, so it was almost the only time of year when a supply of fresh meat was available. The majority of wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking at this time. The concentration of the observances were not always on the day commencing at midnight or at dawn, but the beginning of the pre-Romanized day, which falls on the previous eve.

Since the event is seen as the reversal of the Sun’s ebbing presence in the sky, concepts of the birth or rebirth of sun gods have been common and, in cultures using winter solstice based cyclic calendars, the year as reborn has been celebrated with regard to life-death-rebirth deities or new beginnings such as Hogmanay’s redding, a New Year cleaning tradition. Also reversal is yet another usual theme as in Saturnalia’s slave and master reversals.

Midwinters day 2013 CAILLEACH BHEUR

CAILLEACH BHEUR : The Celtic Goddess of winter

CAILLEACH BHEUR : Scottish, Irish, Manx, Great Goddess in her Destroyer aspect; called “Veiled One”. Another name is Scota, from which Scotland comes. In parts of Britain she is the Goddess of Winter. She was an ancient Goddess of the pre-Celtic peoples of Ireland. She controlled the seasons and the weather; and was the goddess of earth and sky, moon and sun.


Irish National Heritage park

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All images using a Nikon D700
Irish National Heritage park – A Crannog
Landscape photography : Nigel borrington

One place in Ireland you have to visit, in order to get a good sense of the nations history is the National heritage park.

Location

The Irish National Heritage Park Ferrycarrig, is Located in the South East of Ireland, approximately 3 miles from Wexford Town off the Dublin (N11) Rosslare Road (N25). Eleven miles from Rosslare Europort.

Sat Nav: N: 52.348 W: -6.51673

This park is Unique in Europe, occuping 35 acres and has 16 archaeological and historical reconstructions all located in their natural settings. The Heritage Park outlines the history of Irish life as the story of 10000 years unfolds before you. It is history presented in a unique way in magical and varied settings.

A Crannog

The images in this post are from the reconstructed Crannog, Wiki-pedia defines a Crannog as follows

“Crannogs were used as dwellings over five millennia from the European Neolithic Period, to as late as the 17th/early 18th century although in Scotland, convincing evidence for Early and Middle Bronze Age or Norse Period use is not currently present in the archaeological record. The earliest radiocarbon determinations obtained from key sites such as Oakbank in Loch Tay or Redcastle, Beauly Firth approach the Late Bronze Age – Early Iron Age transition at their widest interpretation at 2 sigma or 95.4% probability, falling after c.800BC and therefore could only be considered Late Bronze Age by the narrowest of margins. Crannogs have been variously interpreted as free-standing wooden structures, as at Loch Tay, although more commonly they exist as brush, stone or timber mounds which can be revetted with timber piles. However, in areas such as the Western Isles of Scotland, timber was unavailable from the Neolithic onwards. As a result, completely stone crannogs supporting drystone architecture are common here.

Today, crannogs typically appear as small, circular islets, often 10 to 30 metres (30 to 100 ft) in diameter, covered in dense vegetation due to their inaccessibility to grazing livestock.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crannog

Crannog images

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