Brides Snowdrops

Walk with me through the bare woods as winter retreats into the earth. As the frost seeps away into the deep earth, the ground beneath our feet is warming, and stirring with new life. Let’s linger a while in this space of soft change. Birds freshly free of their winter prisons sing rivers of song, guiding us onwards into the trees. If we drop down close to the earth we will tumble into a forest of tiny flowers lit from within by the growing sun.


Tiny lanterns of sunlight, sway all around us, in a sea of white and green. A subtle sweetness drifts in the soft breeze as the snowdrops are drawn sunwards in a wave of pure joy. Delighted to see the light once more after a winter held in the dark earth, we can almost see them opening with yearning before our eyes.


As we lie here on the forest floor we too become woven into the greening cloak of Bride. Goddess of the Scottish spring, she softens winters hold, and fills the land with beauty and hope for the year ahead. These flowers of hers flow like rivers of milk between the roots of ancient trees, bringing colour and movement back to the old cold world beneath us.Lets rest a while here, in the soft flow of spring as she awakens around us and within.


Snowdrops are named Galanthus in Latin, meaning milk flower, and they spring from the bare winter earth as heralds of spring. Known in Scotland as Brides flowers, because of the link between them and the Scottish Goddess of spring. 

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The Goddess of Winter Mist

Winter was doing her best to cloak the growing light of the sun. She threw a shroud of freezing mist across the sky, to try to gather away all of the light and the warmth, and she almost succeeded. The sun however was determined, and she shone with all of her might, through the cold winter sky of the mountains. Layers of landscape were whispered, almost forgotten, across winters breath. The golden disc of the small winter sun gleamed white hot in her heart, against the cruel cold grip of the Cailleach Bheur.


Black bare branches rattled like the antlers of the hill. The sun rested a little among the arms of the trees, after all her efforts. She was beginning to weaken and sinking slowly back towards the dark curve of the earth. The power was fading from her fast, and winters cold fingers were closing in, drawing the day to an end.


In one last gasp, the sun drew a line of gold across the face of the loch. She smouldered down into mist and water, as they became one with the light. Day was over, and winter held us all again in her cold frozen spell of night. The Cailleach Bheur it seems is not ready to relinquish her crown just yet.
These images were taken on my iPhone, deep in the heart of the Scottish Highlands around 3:30pm on Saturday afternoon. 

The Cailleach Bheur is the goddess of Scotlands winter, and of the earth and stones of her mountains.

See another post about the Cailleach Bheur here.

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Snow Mounds and Cancer Care

These are some snow shots of the beautiful and inspiring centre which I have moved north for. Set in the heart of historic Inverness, the capital of the Scottish Highlands, they make a bold and challenging statement in the grounds of Raigmore Hospital. Inspired by the shape of diving cells, the earth mounds and the copper building offer a truely inspiring place to creatively support families living in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland who are dealing with cancer. Last Thursday under the full Wolf Moon, a hare lead me out between the mounds into the glittering snow, and the hushed air. All was timeless and still between the raised earth coils, and only the moon saw as I walked the path of the hare, on into the darkness…..

The wonderful landscape and architecture create an ever shifting magical ambiance…..which fits beautifully with this weeks WordPress Weekly Challenge.

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Winters Weary Light

Winters weary sun

Rolls over earths frozen hills

Leaking cold sharp shafts

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Winters Light

The small winter sun shimmers low and weak. Unable to climb high into the sky, its warmth and light are quickly lost to sparkles at sea. Colour and flowers pass from the cold earth which holds her breath, waiting for Spring. Our worlds shrink in the darkness pushing in at the edges, and we too wait, paused and silent, for the suns power to return. We turn inwards looking for inner light to show us the path onwards in winters weak light. In the light of the small sun, winter grips the earth, and we all shiver with longing for heat and light.

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Summer Mist

  Summer in the land of mist leaves veils scattered carelessly across the landscape. Whole mountain ranges and islands can be swept in and out of view in moments, as the mist drifts through, trailing mystery in her wake. Some days the air is so still that the mist sits cloud like, unmoving, altering the familiar landscapes into vistas previously unseen. The sea shimmers like liquid silver, and a timeless air surrounds the earth. All sorts of people and creatures can cross through time in the veiled folds of warm summer mist. A hush holds the air breathless waiting for mystery to unveil herself and reveal the present to our hungry eyes.
 
These photos were captured last month around Plockton and Kyle of Lochalsh, the day after a wild lightning storm.

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Old Rocks and Bones Menorcan Style

  

There’s a magical isle of ancient fossil filled limestone, scattered liberally with ancient hand carved monuments of stone. It sits just east of mainland Spain washed by the turquoise blue of the Mediterranean waves and gentle tides. Baked beneath 4,000 years of hot Spanish sun, these rocks evoke a sense of the ancient people of this isle, who washed, worshiped and baked bread among these stones. At this site, ‘Torralba D’en Salord’ which translates roughly as the white stones of Salord, a bronze bull and statues of the Punic goddess Tanit were discovered still resting beside a stone altar as they might have done for thousands of years.  

 Here among golden grains, whispering into the sun filled breeze, this ancient Phonecian goddess was worshiped by this famous and far reaching race of sea faring merchants. Phonecian merchant ships plied their goods all across the Mediterranean Sea for thousands of years before Christ was born, even establishing routes to Britain, up the east coast of Ireland and the west coast of Britain. Beautiful jewellery, wine and glass from the warm shores of the Mediterranean are still being discovered scattered up long forgotten rich trading settlements of western Scotland. Perhaps these goods left from these very shores, after the merchant had invoked the blessing of this goddess, among these white stones. Tanit was a moon goddess of grain and fertility, a virginal mother, a heavenly goddess of war and consort of Baal. Linked with Ishtar, she originated just across the waves in Carthage, North Africa, in modern day Tunisia.  

 But the people who raised these hand shaped rocks were here before the name Tanit was ever whispered. Found only on Minorca, these evocative T shaped monuments are found all across the heart of the isle. They are enclosed within limestone walls to form a shrine called a Taula, which is unique to this island. As new waves of people washed through they brought their gods and added them to the already ancient holy sites. They built their homes into a village which surround the holy ground, and kept goats and sheep and threshed grains of wheat and barley. It’s not hard to imagine them going about their daily lives as you walk through the ruins they left behind.  

 There are also hand chiseled burial caves within the village, with some houses being built over old ancestral caves. These were communal tombs where burial rites were carried out, and bodies were laid out to decompose, before the dried bones were added to those who came before them. They feel like comfortable intimate  spaces where the ancestors were loved and honoured.  

 The layers of history here are tangible, emerging in layers beneath your feet as you wander among the stones and bones of people whose lives were over many millennia ago, and yet who have influenced the far away,  less sun washed isle of Britain. They roamed far across the ocean waves to trade, and came back here to these villages to live and love their families in ways we might find surprisingly familiar. The breeze stirs the golden sea of oats and butterflies dance upwards into the blue cloud filled sky. Sights as old as time itself. 

Find these atmospheric ruins near Alaior, sign posted off the Me-1, main road between Mahon and Ciutadella, on the isle of Minorca. North of the popular beach of Son Bou, there is a 4 euro fee.

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