30 April 2013

A Candle for our Ancestors

As the sun moves north of the equator on its way up to the Tropic of Cancer, the days continue to grow shorter and the nights longer.  This is the time of the An Ghrian Mór or “small sun” to the ancient Celts, that marks the commencement of the dark half of the year.  Now is the festival of Samhain.

The word Samhain is said to come from the Scots Gaelic samhainn and the Irish Gaelic samain or samfuin, both meaning “summer’s end” (at least from an etymological perspective) with sam meaning “summer” and fuin meaning “sunset” or “end”.  Within the Irish medieval myth mentioned earlier, Tochmarc Emire, Samhain is the first of the four quarter days mentioned by Emer to the Ulster hero Cu Chulainn: “Samhain, when the summer goes to its rest, ” records Ronald Hutton in his book, Stations of the Sun: A History of the Ritual Year in Britain.

19 April 2013

Entering the Dark Half of the Year

Autumn Colours
This morning, while I was waiting for the train to arrive to take me to work, I noticed that the wind had a real chill to it.  With Samhain just under a couple of weeks away, the boney fingers of the Winter Crone are beginning to stretch across the land as we are poised to enter the dark half the year.

05 April 2013

Ginger and Honey Tea

As the Wheel of the Year continues to turn, the Autumn Equinox has now passed, and we step into the dark half of the year.  Already the "cold and flu" bug has made itself known, and whilst I am not a herbalist, I thought I would share my Ginger and Honey tea recipe in preparation.

All you need are three simple ingredients - a piece of fresh ginger root (readily available at your local Asian supermarket, most other supermarkets as well as green grocers), one lemon and some honey.