Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Winter Solstice births a new solar year: The New Year.

quote : "This is the new year of the old Irish calendar," explained archaeologist Sam Moore. "The event marks the rebuilding of the sun -- the days get longer from this point. It is a time of renewal and hope."


Life is born out of darkness. We as people are born out of the dark womb and into the light, so too is the sun born out of the deep darkness of the year immediately after the long nights of the winter solstice.(Solstice means the sun standing still)

Commonly, the idea is that the shortest day is Winter Solstice, Dec 21st however there are in fact two days of the same length. Each being of 7 hours 29 minutes and 53 seconds. This year many have celebrated WS on 21st December but they could have legitimately done so on the 22nd too!

On the 23rd the daylight increases to 7hrs 30 minutes and 1 second.

I am not sure whether the ancient people of over five thousand years ago would have been capable of measuring such a slight increase but they were certainly able to align the light box at Newgrange so that the sun enters the inner chamber at Winter Solstice.

(The daylight times I have given are only for Dublin)


Within some of the many and various pagan traditions are stories relating to that which occurs during the sun's stand still. Some say a form of chaos takes place in the darkness and that the Goddess reforms the world back into order again.In ancient Ireland the sun was seen as feminine, which perhaps gives some credence to that story.

Myself, I always dwell on the darkness within and meditate on questioning my motives during the past year, the pluses & minuses. Finally I welcome in the reborn sun, for doesn't everything look better in the light ?

© Jane Brideson

The picture I have chosen is one painted by Jane Brideson. It depicts the Great Goddess delivering the new born Sun, the back ground is Glastonbury Tor in Somerset. In the foreground is the Glastonbury Thorn that flowers twice a year, depicted here on Wearyall Hill, believed to have been planted by Joseph of Arimathea. Sadly some misguided person or persons have recently attacked this old tree and it is not known whether it will survive to flower again.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A cold winter's morn

On a cold winter's morn a surprise !

Delivered to our door, a wide white mystery

A package from England.

Addressed in a hand I knew not,

a sender address & postal code so vague.

Yet vaguely it tripped my memory

'TA' ? Taunton' said my mind but who ?

For those that I knew there,

Now are long dead

At the package I stared and felt carefully

Slim both ends yet fat in the middle.

Mystified I looked and listened

(No the English don't … send ?? )

So in normal fashion I tried

to prize paper apart - failed.

'Use scissors!' said She who knows

'O yes that's easier, how clever

Thank you' I said

The bright white outer layer removed

revealed a cat food box intricately cut.

Then playful poly-wrap with bubbles

that pop when squished.

(I enjoy to play as a boy !)

Layers next of fine dark blue tissue

with a carriage label attached

A private secret message from

A lass, an artist well read.

So unwrapped, lay a gift crafted by hand

In pride of place it now hangs and

Capturing early eastern light, flies

A Heron bright in clear centre panel

Etched, engraved forever in flight.

Our gratitude and thanks

to you dear liZZie

Monday, 6 December 2010

The Travails of Grandpa's Traveling

I arranged to fly out to the UK on 30th November for a short visit to my daughter & son in-law's home, primarily to see my grandson who was born on 20th October.

The journey ought to have been plain sailing however mother nature decided to give us some early snow. Our snow normally does not amount to much & generally arrives as a slight dusting on Christmas Day, followed a month or two later with a couple of inches.

We awoke on the morning of 27th November to about 3 inches of frozen snow, sub zero temperatures and a wild wind. By the time Tuesday came around there had been no improvement in the weather, with the temp down to -10C and my only way to the railway station for the Dublin train was by a friend's 4x4 jeep. I had decided to catch an earlier train than planned to allow for delays, it was just as well for the trains were running forty minutes behind schedule, all due to frozen points.

My arrival at the airport was uneventful, the check-in and subsequent security checks brought no problems. That is apart from my carelessness of spilling the two coin currencies across the floor. This caused a great laugh from the security staff and some jovial remarks cast in my direction, to which I could only give a big smile, as together we scrambled under the conveyors to gather up my loot.

I need not have bothered catching an early train, for the plane took off about three and half hours late, for the forty-five minute flight to Birmingham and then onwards to see my grandson Oliver.

At six weeks old he is a bright little fellow with an array of facial expressions and such sideways glances with his eyes, that I can only think that he is an old soul who has returned for some particular mission. I felt an instant connection with him and am greatly looking forward to watching him mature, for I feel sure that we shall have many things to talk about. Oddly enough he actually reminded me of my present wife's late father; I think it was the manner in which Oliver sleeps with his mouth open & lips pursed. Time will tell whether I be right or wrong.

Two old boys

The least said about my return journey the better as it took even longer all due to the flight being delayed for four hours.
I do though have to mention the great kindness shown to me by a fellow passenger: Paul Duggan, who gave me a lift in his car from the airport to the Midway Hotel in Portlaoise. Had he not, I would have had to spend the night in Dublin Airport.
As it was I did not arrive home until 2 a.m. and into the arms of my loving wife!