Samhain blessings

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The clocks have gone back, the nights are long, the last of the harvests are now all in... and tonight, it's wild out there with high winds battering our hillside and rain lashing on the windows. It's Samhain, the celtic festival that takes us into the darkest weeks of the year. Summer is well and truly over now.

Yesterday, I spotted a soggy rudbeckia standing alone in the big pot by the woodsheds, the last one, poised to give in to the elements and give up blooming. Today, it was a clump of forgotten about and now decaying poppy seed …

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Calan Gaeaf Hapus!

Tonight is Noson Galan Gaeaf in Wales. This translates from the Welsh as Winter's Eve: Nos(on) is the night (before), Calan (or Galan when the spelling of the word has a mutation applied to it) means the first day and Gaeaf is Winter. It originates from the ancient celtic festival of Samhain, celebrating the end of autumn and harvest season and the beginning of Winter.

If we divide the year into light and dark, we are now about to enter the darkest segment, between Samhain and the Winter Solstice, when the light returns to us once more. For me, this …

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Restoring balance at the Equinox

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This afternoon, at 2.31 pm, the Sun crosses the celestial equator (or the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth's Equator) from South to North and the Autumn Equinox will occur. At that particular point, days and nights are of equal length, a moment of balance between light and dark, a threshold between two seasons.

As I write this, the scene on our patch of Welsh countryside is typical of Mabon time. Looking out, the landscape is still mainly green with only a few dots of autumnal yellows and oranges here and there and the blue sky continues the …

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Lammas... the first harvest

As we move into August, we pass the half way point in the calendar between the Summer Solstice and the Autumn Equinox. The long days of Summer are drawing in and we are making our way towards Autumn. On the Wheel of the Year, this point is Lammas, a celebration of the first harvest, the Grain Harvest. The word 'Lammas' comes from 'loaf mass' and indicates how important and meaningful the first grain and the first baked loaf of the harvesting cycle are.

We are now at peak Summer when the harvest season begins in earnest. Growth of early Summer …

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First signs of Spring

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Imbolc, the half-way point in the Wheel of the Year between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox, is nearly here and Nature is stirring... Waking up from its Winter sleep, it is preparing for Spring and the start of the growing season.

Here on our smallholding, the broad beans sown in November have germinated and are sprouting up from the soil. The garlic too. The rhubarb is growing again. There are dainty snowdrops emerging victoriously after Winter. Daffodils are also popping up through the ground here and there. The many bulbs I planted in pots in the Autumn are …

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A natural nod to Halloween

Halloween here yesterday was an uneventful affair: neither the commercialised side of this festival - with all its spook, blood and gore - nor trick-or-treat'ers found their way up to our remote location!

Halloween, Samhain (ancient Pagan Celtic festival meaning “Summer’s end” in Gaelic), Nos Galan Gaeaf and Calan Gaeaf (Welsh for “the first of Winter” interestingly) and the Christian All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day celebrations all intertwine at this time of year. Traditionally now is the time when the harvest is in and our pantries - and freezers! - are filling up; we remember our dead and …

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