Saturday, December 31, 2011

Hogmanay 2011

I've spent the day redding (readying the house) and then I went hillwalking. I just sent out the Gaol Naofa newsletter and now there's a fire going outside so I'm about to pop out there, have some supper and await the new calendar year with my family. Good Wishes to you all!

Bliadhna Mhath Ùr! Athbhiain Faoi Mhaise! Blein Vie Noa!

(PS: pop over to Seren's blog for a New Year's blessing)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Oíche Shamhna sona dhaoibh!

Scél lemm dúib:
dordaid dam,
snigid gaim,
ro-fáith sam.

(Translation: I have news for you: the stag bells, winter snows, summer is ended.)

Sunday, October 2, 2011

in honor of mí dheireadh fómhair

In the other gardens
And all up the vale,
From the autumn bonfies
See the smoke trail!
Pleasant summer over
And all the summer flowers,
The red fire blazes,
the grey smoke towers.
Sing a song of seasons!
Something bright in all,
Flowers in the summer
Fires in the fall!
-- "Autumn Fires" by Robert Louis Stevenson

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Lá Lúnasa 2011

Ah, finally have some time to write up about my Lúnasa festivities. More than any other festival (save Oíche Shamhna that is), Lúnasa is my most lengthy celebration. I'm a child of autumn and so I bask in all the turn of the season has to offer for as long as I can. Can I just praise the weather a bit here? A couple of days this month have given us a sneak peak at October's glorious weather and I couldn't be happier. We are in such a time now. Hurricane Irene has given us here in the southeast some breezy and extremely less humid air. I am loving it! Even if it's just a tease of autumn. But back to Lúnasa...

Monday, August 29, 2011

Book Review: Sleeping Naked Is Green by Vanessa Farquharson

In an effort to bring more content to the blog I thought I'd branch out some and instead of talking mainly about Gaelic Polytheism and Gaelic culture, I'd also talk about other subjects which are close to my heart and help make up who I am: green living, permaculture, domesticity, homesteading, frugality, deep ecology and bioregionalism. I might even bring in some photography tips at some point but we'll see. So expect more varied topics from now on and kicking it off is a book review...

Sleeping Naked Is Green is a blog-turned-book much like Julie & Julia but instead of dealing with a woman's trials through cooking, this tackles an eco-cynic's journey into green living. It chronicles 366 consecutive days in the life of Canadian film critic, Vanessa Farquharson.
Reading as an anecdotal memoir meets handy tip guide, Sleeping Naked Is Green has the friendly conversational tone one expects from blogs. Each chapter is a month and each day features one green change the author made such as using a handkerchief instead of tissues (March 20th) or walking home from work twice a week (October 1st).
What is so great about this book, I think, is just how small some of these changes are. I know a lot of people make excuses when it comes to being more green, “oh, I'm too busy to completely mess up my routine with new habits” or “It's such a life overhaul” ad nauseam … but really, there is so much out there that hardly takes any time at all.

Monday, August 15, 2011

"There is a true yearning to respond to the singing river and wise rock." 
 Maya Angelou

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lá Lúnasa sona daoibh go léir!

by OeilDeNuit

Lugnassad, luaid a hada
cecha bliadna ceinmara,
fromad cech toraid co m-blaid,
biad lusraid la Lugnasaid.

Lughnasa, its dues for telling:
In every distant year,
a taste of every fruit with flame,
a meal of vegetables on Lughnasa.

Book Review: The Earth Path by Starhawk

The Earth Path is certainly a book written from a Wiccan perspective yet it is one that harbors wisdom for any and all who read it, regardless of their creed. In fact, you could remove all religion/spirituality from this book and still be left with something wholly spiritual and educational.

Topics discussed within The Earth Path include organic and green living, ecology, ecopsychology, bioregionalism, climate change, activism, evolution, social change, permaculture, feminism (though not in the overt manner one would expect from Starhawk), paganism, earth-centered values and wilderness awareness.

The point of this book is to help people become more aligned and connected (or re-connected) with the thing that surround us all and sustains our well-being: nature. Regardless of what we may think, we are not apart from nature but an integral part within it. Nevertheless, until we realize this fact and balance our lives with nature and everything within it, we will always be apart from it.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pixar takes on ancient Scotland

I have mixed feeling about this lol. But having Kevin McKidd (yum!!) narrate the trailer did pique my interest. What do you guys think?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

About A Bull

About a Bull is a webcomic adaptation of the Táin Bó Cuailnge and updates a chapter at a time, roughly once every six weeks. Drawn by MK Reed:

I have to say, it's making me chuckle lol.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Lá Lúnasa is fast approaching

And so my thoughts are turning towards the harvest season ... corn is growing tall in the fields of our local farmers and we've already harvested about a cup of blackberries from my grandfather's brambles but sadly the kiddies ate them before I could get a taste. Our tomato plants are finally beginning to yield fruit and though the persimmon tree (see the photo in last post) won't be ready to harvest until early autumn, fruit is steadily growing on its branches. And not to mention all the flowers in the garden, particularly the zinnias. As soon as the heat allows, I'm going to check our wild blackberries, cherries and bilberries to see how their progress is coming along. This was our first year trying strawberries but the deer are eating most (though they are turning out rather weensy anyways)...

Aside from how the garden is progressing and all the rain we've been blessed with, I've been spending lots of time with family (Fourth of July was great, despite some drama from a certain family member who looks for every opportunity to blow things out of proportion), working and writing. One book is in second draft stage with the betas and another is the entering planning/research stage. I also submitted a 12-photo digital portfolio to Written River: A Journal of Ecopoetics and I'm pondering on sending in a few poems. So overall, things are oddly quiet and busy all at the same time.

And thus I leave you with a photo I took of the absolutely stunning sunset we had here on June 9th. Moments like these almost make me forget about the humidity ... almost ;) How's summer treating everyone else?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lament by Damian Byrne

Directed and produced by Damian Byrne. Lament is the winner of ReelshowInt Online March 2011 Film Competition.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Ulster Institutional Repository

Was doing some research on Airne Fíngein and came across this website. Some of articles are available for download so I thought I'd share the find:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Alliances and Betrayals: "Indians", NDNs, Irish and Irish-Americans

"There is a racist band of white Irishmen calling themselves "The Indians". They perform in face paint, fake war bonnets and similar costumes, and have misappropriated the names of honored NDN ancestors as their stage names. We have been blogging and tweeting about them, posting on their Facebook page, and reporting their page as racist."

Please, everyone I urge you to read this Facebook Note and share it on your page. We need to spread the word and show people we do NOT support people who commit cultural appropriation and blatant racism.

Wordless Wednesday, No. 5

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Carmichael Watson Project

The Carmina Gadelica is a collection of Hebridean charms, hymns, and songs that serve as a wonderful source of liturgy and traditions for us Gaelic Polytheists. The four-volume collection that was released was an edited version which cut out a lot of what Carmichael collected but thanks to a new project from Edinburgh University Library, we may learn what some of that cut information was as Carmichael's notebooks are being made available:
"The Carmichael Watson collection in Edinburgh University Library, centred on the papers of the pioneering folklorist Alexander Carmichael (1832-1912), is the foremost collection of its kind in the country, a treasure-chest of stories, songs, customs, and beliefs from the Gaelic-speaking areas of Scotland. It offers us fundamental insights into the creation of Carmichael's greatest work Carmina Gadelica, an anthology of Hebridean charms, hymns, and songs, and a key text in the 'Celtic Twilight' movement."

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grianstad an tSamhraidh 2011

"[Midsummer] is celebrated in both Isle of Man and Ireland, though in different ways. Scotland also observes Midsummer celebrations, but the customs are mostly duplicates from Bealltainn.
In Man, this is the time when the people paid the rents to Manannán from the highest hilltop. In Barrule, bundles of grass were laid down for Mannan beg mac y Lear (who often appeared as a heron, and would be there seeking out women to court). Other Manx offerings include yellow flowers.
In Ireland (specifically Munster), this is a day dedicated to Áine, and men would gather on Cnoc Áine on St John’s Eve (June 23rd) where they light torches of hay and straw tie them to poles and process round the top of the hill, then run down it, through the fields to bless the crops and cattle for the following year.

Cairn G. Photo (c) Denise Joyal

The 2011 festival year is still rather subdued for me. While I don't normally have big extravaganzas, I do make more of a do than I have been recently. I really hate to keep banging on about it (but I think I do because part of me is trying to convince the other that it's okay, sometimes people have bad years) but there's just so much going on that I'm so exhausted. For instance, right now I'm typing this from my grandmother's hospital room.*

But let's talk about the good things though shall we?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

wherein I prove I'm alive

So, it's been a while since anything of merit was posted here. To update you all: I moved back to Alabama from Tennessee in mid-February and since then have been buried deep in writing projects. I'm not talking about them right now but hopefully one should see publication by the end of the year. When I have downtime, I'm normally spending it with family, or behind the camera lens (okay, if I'm completely honest I do spend some of that downtime being a vegetable lol).

A good chunk of my time in late April was devoted to helping my community. I live in one of the town hit by the tornadoes. Half a mile from my home was almost completely wiped out and we were lucky to only be brushed by the outlying winds, but we still have some damage. We as a community are healing, and that's the good thing.

Outside of that, things have been happening, I'm just keeping a lot to myself (and within my group of close friends) but I hope to get back to posting here soon. Out of curiosity, what would you guys like to read here? Might give me some ideas for future posts :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

"Ink runs from the corners of my mouth
There is no happiness like mine.
I have been eating poetry."
— Mark Strand, "Eating Poetry," Reasons for Moving, 1968

Monday, January 31, 2011

"Always learn poems by heart. They have to become the marrow in your bones. Like fluoride in the water, they'll make your soul impervious to the world's soft decay."
— Janet Fitch (White Oleander)

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Long time, no see.

Yes. I am still alive. Things have been mad, for lack of a better term. 

Right after Nollaig, I moved to another state and began a completely new job. The area I am in now is suburban whereas my home was rural. I guess you could say I'm suffering from "spiritual culture shock" and I'm finding it hard to adjust my practice. On the advice of a dear friend, I'm attempting to take things slow and re-immerse myself so to speak. I don't think it helps that I moved in winter. I'm only three hours from where I lived, but since it's in the mountains and such, it's been cold. And snow is no longer a once-a-year visitor. I've only been venturing out when I must: to go to work and if I need to run to the store. 

Once warmer weather gets here, I hope to spend some time walking around the apartment complex's walking trail and lake, getting a feel for the land and seeing how to reacts to my Gaelic advances.

But yes, hi. I still breathe.