Thursday, 1 December 2016

CHRISTMAS, THE GREAT LIE

SUNRISE

In a few weeks billions of people around the world will be celebrating Christmas on December 25th, others will celebrate the same event on January 6th.
Unfortunately neither of the two dates are correct and the theologians and other church administrators have gone along with this great lie rather than rock the boat.

There is definitely a great deal of uncertainty in regard to this topic with suggested dates ranging from late March to April 3rd, 7th, 17th, 20th, 21st, whilst others think it might well be in August or even September.
What they do all agree upon is that Christmas and the birth of Jesus is definitely not on December 25th.


There is an uncertainty in regard to the year of Jesu’s birth, was it 8 B.C.E. or 4 B.C.E. ?
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI says that there is an error in the calculations of Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk.  Exiguus, who is considered the inventor of the Christian calendar, “made a mistake in his calculations by several years. The actual date of Jesus’ birth was several years before.”

Benedict explains that the Gospel of Matthew claimed that the birth of Jesus was in the time of Herod the Greats’ rule in Judea, however, given that Herod died in 4 B.C. Jesus must have been born earlier than Exiguus originally documented. 

In earlier times the Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a week long period between December 17th and the 25th.

The Celts also celebrated. For them the deep darkness of Winter Solstice, 21st December, was important, followed by the immediate rebirth of the Sun and the lengthening hours of daylight.

So to whom do we attribute the great misnomer to? 

The Sun surrounds Jesus


I suggest that it was none other than the Roman Emperor Constantine, a Pagan who married Sun worship with Christianity.
The Sun became the Son. 

Emperor Constantine constructed a single canon with the connivence of Christian leaders to help him unify the remains of the Roman Empire. 
Until this time Christian authorities could not decide which books would be considered "holy" and thus "the word of God" and which ones would be excluded. 

By bribing the leaders of the Church the "word of God" was voted into existence at the Council of Nicaea. These "holy" scriptures were not completed until the Council of Trent, 1,238 years later, when the Catholic Church pronounced the Canon closed. 

So it appears that the approving editor of the Bible was not God.
The process began with Constantine and it is him we have to thank for the Christianised midwinter celebration which will see millions of people awaiting the birth of the ‘Son’.



The Sun entering the chamber at Newgrange
in Co. Meath


In our home we recognise the rebirth of the Sun, the growth of light and the start of a new cycle in nature.
What does this time of the year mean to you, how will you celebrate ?

Sunday, 20 November 2016

A Creation Myth



Hazel is a wonderful character with many attributes, some of which you all know about and a lot of others which may only colour your dreams. 
I can best describe him as being a great old lad, though there are still many things which I do not know about him. On occasions we have long talks on a variety of subjects which interest us both.
The greatest problem I have with him is knowing when he is telling the truth and not simply filling in time with nonsense.

One night we were sitting by the fire and I asked Hazel about his fosterlings’ name.

“Her name is very unusual. I have heard of your folk using Irish and English names like Sean, Seamus and even Siobhan or Bizzie for women folk, but never before have I come across Droocta ? ”

Hazel leaned back in his favourite corner and scratched his head for a while and then with eyes twinkling he leaned forward and with a big smile and said,

“Ah her true naming will take awhile, may be even years afore her character comes shining through and she be named then for what she be. Do you see ?”

“I didn’t realise that Hazel, yes, I can see the rightness of that, but what does Droocta mean?”

Hazel gave an even bigger smile saying, 

“Well, rightly it isn’t her name at all, it’s her growth-place. 
What you call a Pod, is in human Irish Druchta, in our language it is Droocta.
Our language has differences and is older. Now do you understand ?”

I frowned at what he had to say for I was mystified.

“So are you saying that she doesn’t have a name at all yet ? ”




Hazel then spoke without a smile on his face.

“Ha’h now you be getting it, no, she don’t have no name of her own. 
After while I shall be considering a seedling name for her when I know what might be fitting. Then down along the row of time another will give her a different name and that too might change, who knows?”

Hazel stopped talking and looked me firmly in the eye. 
This time there was no twinkle in his eyes, no humour about him. 
He was as serious as I had ever seen. I knew to stay silent.

Time passed and eventually Hazel momentarily gave a slight smile and started to speak. 

“We, who you humans have many names for such as Elves, Faeries, Gnomes, Trolls and Pixies or Piskies, are created by Mother Nature. 
We know Her as the Goddess Derbilla. 
Our creation of each individual occurs at a time when the stars and planets, together with the sun and moon are aligned, for it is then that stirrings take place deep within the earth. 

Our new ones are formed, each seeded within a green fungus, the droocta, which protects the new life. Similar to a mushroom, the droocta pushes its’ way through the earth out into the sunlight and the new one is cradled within. All of my folk began this way and we stay within our ‘pod’ for five years.”




Hazel then stopped, returning to his normal self he said, 

“I have done a lot of talking, me throat is fierce raw so now how’s about filling 
me cup Boss ?”

“It is a pleasure Hazel and thank you for telling me about your creation” I replied. 
For the rest of the night the whisky flowed down his throat until all the bottles were empty.


Drifting off



Poor old Hazel fast asleep and snoring loudly after too much excitement!

***

Perhaps you, my readers, would like to help Hazel and suggest a name for her early years and you never know what Good Luck may come your way !



The nurturing and caring Hazel.

©MRL 2016




Tuesday, 15 November 2016

An Ancient Irish Custom

Hazel


Fosterage is an ancient Irish custom where children were placed with an elder to be educated and reared in the ways of the clan. 

So perhaps it is of no surprise that this school of thought is also the hereditary method of rearing the young by those of the otherworld, namely the Sidhe or as some would term them the Faerie Folk.

Many of you will already know of our long term resident, the truculent and sometimes irascible Hazel who has a fondness for more than a drop of the hard stuff, though as he frequently reminds me, it is just his nature and who can argue with that, for he is one of natures’ beings.

We arose the other morning and Hazel was missing from his normal abode. Not a sight nor sound came from the undergrowth where he rests and with no tracks to follow we did not bother to do a search. He was gone from us for several days and so we concluded that he was off on an important mission.

I felt that he would be back by the time of the next Full Moon, it being an important one.
It is at this time of year, especially when the moon is bright, that he and the lads have many a game of hurling at midnight, running up and down the pitch that lies between the two ancient Whitethorns that stand within three hundred yards to the south of our cottage.

Yesterday was a chilly winter’s day, being one of those when you are glad to be indoors with the heat of the stove flowing over your back, warming you into a sleepy contentedness. 
So here was I, sitting in the corner of the front room at my desk staring idly at the computer screen in a world of my own, when the room suddenly went black. The only light came from the screen so my eyes went to the window to see what the cause of the darkness was. Peering through the glass I saw a giant dressed in colourful stripy trousers.


You can imagine how shocked I was. 
I grabbed my robe from the peg where it always hangs, draped it around me then went outside.
There he was. An eight foot tall Hazel standing in the backyard next to the hedge. 
Well, I had often been told that they were capable of re-sizing themselves but this was the first time that I had been a witness to that fact.


Giant Hazel and little me.

The giant Hazel smiled warmly at me and said

“ I hope that my size did not frighten you,
 if you would just close your eyes for three seconds I will return to my normal height.”


“I am glad that you have returned to us,” I replied, “you have been missed, Hazel and my intuition told me you were on an important mission so I didn’t worry. 


“ Yes, you were right, a very important mission indeed,” answered Hazel.
“I have brought my fosterling to stay, her name is Droocta. As is the custom she will stay in her pod for the next five years.”

Hazel pointed to the stone circle so I turned to see a strange, green pod sitting amongst the leaves.


A strange pod amongst the leaves.

“ Errrr, what can I say? I hope that you will have fun together.” I stammered.


Let me tell you, Droocta is a strange looking child, of different proportions to human children; but  part of creation nonetheless.



Hazel and Droocta

When I left them Hazel was sitting in the circle with Droocta in her pod upon his lap. 
They both seemed very happy.

I really wanted to ask him if the five years that Droocta had to stay in the pod was in their time or ours, for there is, as you probably know, a big difference. 
So do you my readers in the blogging world have any friends like Hazel ?

© MRL 2016

For further Hazel stories please click on links below








Monday, 7 November 2016

Odds and Ends

This squat round tower is situated somewhere I know not where
in the west of Co. Kilkenny.


Grangefertagh round tower which as usual claims to be one 
of the tallest in Ireland.


Grangefertagh Abbey, Co. Kilkenny.
The most oddest thing about the building that part of it was converted into a ball alley ! 
Which is something that I never seen done before, however both now are in ruin.





In a corner of a farmer's field called Ladywell in Co. Laois sits this shrine to 
She, to whom I know as  the Ever present Goddess, Christians know her by other names.


This is me your host in my druid garb
I am showing it to prove that we don't all
wear white robes.




Saturday, 29 October 2016

Where the Gentry Played

I am going to take you on a short tour to a special cottage. A cottage that is one of kind and the only one to be found on the island of Ireland. The name of this place is SWISS COTTAGE for it was meant to represent an abode in the Alps.



The River Suir 2km east of Cahir in Co. Tipperary.
After parking our car we walked along a path through the woods
and down to the river bank and across an iron bridge.


Up the stone steps to the arched entrance and under a stone carving.


The Cat with two tails a symbol of the Gobán Sáor.

The legend is that one day Gobán Saor was wandering and looking for a job so he saw a church being built and asked the site master if they needed a worker. The master asked Gobán what he was able to do, and to test him he asked him to carve a cat with two tails out of a block of stone while the other men stopped for lunch, because nobody could carve something like that in such a short time. Which he did. When they finished their lunch the stone was finely carved with a cat with two tails.



We entered a long white tunnel to enter Swiss Cottage. 



 A delightful "cottage ornée" built in 1810 by Richard Butler, 1st Earl of Glengall to a design by regency architect John Nash. The interior contains a spiral staircase in the hall linking two downstair rooms to the two bedrooms all of which are elegantly decorated. The wallpaper in the Salon and bedrooms is a cotton linen paper by the Dufour factory and was one of the first commercially produced Parisian wall covering. 







I was told by the guide that the four roomed cottage cost £10,000 to build an enormous sum of money. No expense was spared every window pane is a different size, no two walls or doors are of the same shape or thickness, every step of the spiral staircase is of a different height and width. Even the exterior designs on the outside change.





In this cottage the Lords and Ladies played at being peasants, for them it was an entertainment, not so for their servants who still had to prepare the food in an underground room and deliver it to a doorway at which they were not allowed to go beyond. For here they were met by her ladyship dressed in similar garb as themselves only of better quality.



The Dining Room


The Salon - a place of entertainment and horseplay.



The two likenesses of her Ladyship: herself in formal wear
wearing a hat and in peasant costume.

You my readers need to visit Swiss Cottage for yourselves to truly appreciate the place. 
I have visited twice and found that to be sufficient for me, I can best describe it as a unique experience and building is definitely 
an oddity.









Sunday, 16 October 2016

LACKEEN CASTLE

Lackeen Castle, built possibly in the early 15th century is a fine example of an Irish tower house.
Situated a few miles north west of Lorrha in North Tipperary.



Lackeen belonged to Brian Ua Cinneide Fionn, chieftain of Ormond, who died in 1588. The castle passed to his son Donnchadh, the last Ua Cinneide chief of lower Ormond who further fortified by building a bawn - a defensive wall (of which little remains other than a low wall) against the Cromwellians and ended up surrendering in 1650’s .  
The name ‘Ua Cinneide’ meaning Cinneide is the Irish word for ‘Helmeted Head, was anglicised to 0‘Kennedy’.



An aerial view of Lackeen

In post Cromwell times, the Kennedy family regained possession of Lackeen Castle in the 18th century. Whilst renovating Lackeen John O'Kennedy discovered a 9th Century manuscript hidden in the castle walls. Written in Latin, this manuscript, the Stowe Missal, was a mass book of the early Irish Church. The missal was in use at the monastery of St. Ruadhan in Lorrha, Co. Tipperary around the year 1050 and at some point was hidden at Lackeen for safe keeping.

The Stowe Missal was eventually sold to Duke of Buckingham and in 1883 purchased by the British Government which in turn returned it to the Royal Irish Academy and can be viewed online here :-




Folklore tradition states that O'Kennedy from Lackeen Castle is one of the few men to have caught a Púca, a fairy shape shifter, capable of assuming a variety of terrifying forms.
The story goes that O'Kennedy was chasing some hags whom he had caught stealing from a body left for burial, when the hags called on the Puca to protect them.

With red eyes and nostrils flaming with fire, the creature came at O'Kennedy.
Luckily he was as strong as an ox and as fast as lightning and he slashed at the creature with his sword, sending him flying. O'Kennedy had the Púca tied up and slung over his back in no time with the diabolic creature cursing the whole way back to Lackeen Castle, for not one of his kind had ever been caught.

Arriving back at Lackeen, O'Kennedy called on his servants to help him with his prize.

The Púca shouted to all “If you dare to bring me in your castle I'll burn you all with my breath and you'll be truly gone to the blazes!”

A servant Tim O'Meara, being loyal to O'Kennedy opened up the castle but pleaded with his master, “For goodness' sake let the creature loose or neither yourself, nor your family nor none of us will have any peace or ease, or be able to get a decent night's sleep again!”

Eventually O'Kennedy listened to the advice of his servant and let the Púca go, but first took a promise that the Púca would harm no breed, seed or generation of the O'Kennedy family. 

Over the years many people have seen the shapes of an otherworldly creatures lurking about Lackeen Castle but so far the Púca has kept his promise.

Lackeen Castle is owned by the Irish State and is freely open to the public. 
Do be very careful if you visit!



Wednesday, 12 October 2016

BIRDS and BOATS

A few metres along the road from the Priory we come to a new project a pair of small harbours nestled together on the western bank of the River Shannon and an easy walk from the town of Portumna.


A pair of harbours. 

I calculate that about twenty motor cruisers or narrow boats 
could be finally moored here. 

The small boat harbour and dinghy park is nicely
situated away from the larger craft.

A Mallard taking a duck!

Note the curved transom and slight tumblehome at the stern.

Looks like these lads are off out for the day ?


The swan must have found herself a tasty
nibble?

In almost every harbour I always find one craft that takes my eye and the AH Kathleen has done
that. For she reminds me of similar craft that I was used  to seeing in the harbours of Devon, places like Brixham, Torquay and Teignmouth. She looks to be a very seaworthy and practical boat to manage with her neat side decks and safety rails. 
The boaters amongst you will notice that she has a slight tumble-home at the aft end and a curved transom can be seen on the photo three up.







Thursday, 6 October 2016

PORTUMNA PRIORY

Aerial view showing close proximity
of Castle and Priory.


Within the demesne of Portumna Castle exist, the ruins of Portumna Priory built around 1254. 
It was originally a Cistercian chapel, a sister house of the monastery at Dunbrody, Co Wexford. 
In 1426 the priory was taken over by the Dominicans when a papal indulgence was granted for its completion.
The Priory came under the patronage of the Earl of Clanricarde, de Burgo, in 1577 and contains the tomb of the Earl and his wife, although the location is unknown. 
During the Reformation the Priory was suppressed and then revived again in 1640.  
Eventually it was abandoned by the Friars when their numbers reduced to three in 1712 .  

After lying unused for fifty years Portumna Priory was taken over by the Anglican Church of Ireland until 1832 when they built their own church.



The Cloisters
 were partially restored in 1954 by the Office of Public Works.

The long shadows where monks once strolled


They stand as sentinels of a bygone age.


Under the splendid arches to the chancery window.


I felt nothing but a contemplative peacefulness as I strolled
around.


As with Portumna Castle, the ruins of the Priory are now a national monument.