Thoughts on The Total Solar Eclipse 2017 & The Illumination of Ancient Ireland, Land of The Rising Sun

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Todays Full Solar Eclipse was a remarkable event, which wont be repeated until 2090 based on the latest estimates from NASA. The States were extremely luck to have perfect viewing conditions and I watched the live footage from Oregon absolutely fascinated. Unfortunately here in the West of Ireland, it had been raining all day and the cloud cover completely obscured any view we might have had.

This is my third Solar eclipse, the last was about two years ago and I remember how blinding bright it was beforehand and how everyone left the library I was working in, to go outside and observe this rare opportunity.

tumblr_m9m1u0YtGb1rfnh9co1_500The first Solar eclipse I remember was when I was quite young and it was a hot summers day. My mum and brother had prepared a pin hole camera from a cardboard box and we set it up in the back garden, which is on a hill so has a good vantage point.

I remember the awe and wonder I felt, the same I felt today at seeing how the flickering fires of the sun was slowly devoured by the moon, the shock of total darkness and the joy, when we saw the sun emerge again unscathed.

lunar-eclipse-december-2010-nasa-keithburns.jpgI have seen a few Lunar eclipses, which are vastly different to a Solar eclipse and will be talking more again about how the moon affects us.

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Today’s Solar Eclipse has excited an interest in space and astronomy that hasn’t been seen in a long time. I hope it inspires people to think more globally, rather then insularly.

The excitement has been such that bands, celebrations and eclipse viewing parties were held all over the world and a new drink was even invented for the occasion!:)

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The wonderful thing about todays eclipse is that it encourages people to look up from their phones, to pay attention to all the wonder and beauty around them and to live in the present moment.

I freely admit, I could not live without my phone. Like almost everyone, it is so much more then just a phone to me. I use it to make calls and texts of course but it is also my alarm clock, my meditation app, my weather app, period app, my email, news, Facebook, blog, camera, recorder,  internet browser, google drive, documents, notebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Youtube, Files, Gallery, Calendar, Music, Videos, Calculator, Radio, Mirror, Torch…

 Mobile phones have become everything to us and because of the very nature of their portability, they have become an essential part of life.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my phone, I depend on my phone. It is an absolute necessity to me living in the 21st century and in so many ways, I cannot emphasise enough how mobile phone technology has enhanced our lives.

I can apply for a job, write a blog post, take photos, videos, talk to anyone anywhere in the world and a million other things but there is a dark side.

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By spending all our time on our phones, heads down, gaze concentrated between our hands, we miss so much. We miss seeing all the beauty around us, the look of love a mother gives her child, the silent caress of a lover, a stunning sunset, the joy in a good meal…

We forget to live in the present moment but maybe we can find a middle ground. If we even took a few minutes each day to set aside the phone, to just be present, the rewards will be immeasurable.

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Todays Solar Eclipse made me think about the rich heritage we are fortunate to have here in Ireland. The eclipse has reminded me of how people have always looked up to the sky and wondered in awe.

Ancient monuments built by our ancestors remind us of how universal and deep is the fascination of humans with the movements of planets and celestial bodies, the cycles of the Moon and Sun and their effects on our planet.

Newgrange is without a doubt, Ireland’s most famous monument built by the ancients to mark the day of the winter solstice using the light of the rising sun to pinpoint the exact place to build their astonishing monument. Every year there is a lottery of Irish Citizens who wish to stand inside the inner chamber and witness this marvel of light and stone, and hopefully, I too will see it for myself someday.

 

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Newgrange solstice 3D model Sean Doran 1

The Hill of Tara is another famous site built around the ancient’s fascination of the moon, sun and stars and their great knowledge of astronomy. The depth and scale of these sacred places leave a lasting effect on all those who visit there.

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The famous Dolman in Co.Clare in the Burren is another example of this advanced understanding of our ancestors off the cosmos.

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Coming closer to home, I remember being blown away by learning the fact that the beautiful village of Cong is based on an axis of Ley lines, [great lines of energy crossing the earth], a nexus point of vital earth energies.

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If you stand at the top of Ballymacgibbon Cairn in Cong, you will realise that it was built on a direct line with Crough Patrick, a important place long before Christianity existed.

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The cairn lines up with Cong’s Stone Circle and if you were to draw lines connecting the cairn, circle and mountain on a map, you would start to realise the importance and significance our ancestors paid to the turning of the seasons, the movement of the stars and the sacredness of the land.

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Another example of the incredible attention of our ancestors to their surroundings below.

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In conclusion, I just want to say how glad I was to see the eclipse today, if not with my own eyes, at least live on tv and how glad I am that every one of you who took time out of their day, to stop and stand and stare, were there also.

Although the total Solar eclipse is over and wont be happening for another seventy years, it is important not to forget the many other wondrous cosmic events such as meteorite showers, solar flares, lunar eclipses and other phenomena that occur so often but apart from a very few, go mostly unnoticed.

The breathtaking beauty of witnessing the rise of the life-giving sun casting its luminous light over stone, illuminating that which cannot be seen at any other time of year, is in a word, magical.

I will bid you goodnight, gentle reader and leave you with this stunning photo of a remote forgotten hilltop, where the wild grasses grew and dance in the breeze and where stone kisses the sun.

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13 Ways to Grow Your Hair Long Faster Naturally

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So I don’t know about you but in the last four years, I’ve being having a lot of bad hair days, not just every other day or once in a while but like everyday, all the time.

Unfortunately, I’m not Rapunzel, no matter how hard I wish, quite the opposite alas.

Four years ago this September, I had a near fatal anaphylactic shock to kiwis in a smoothie [ah, the irony, trying to eat more healthy almost killed me!], which caused both physical and psychological trauma, which had a dramatic effect on my hair. To cut a long story short, on that day, my hair stopped growing.

Not just growing quickly or healthily but point blank, stopped growing at all.

In the last four years, I have tried diet, vitamins, fancy expensive hair treatments and even more expensive trips to hairdressers for professional advice.

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I changed my supermarket hair colours to health shop natural more gentle plant based hair colours.

I have tried alternatives such as energy healing, reflexology, aromatherapy, meditation and even affirmations and listening to metaphysical healing videos at night.

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I have soaked my hair in oils, creams, mud masks..practically half the contents of my fridge!

In the last year, I have been trying DIY methods to grow my hair, here are 13 of the things I’ve tried and how they worked out.

1) Rice Water

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I heard that in Japan, Rice water is all the rage and is in everything from skin creams to hair tonics, so I decided to try it for myself.

I cooked my rice as usual, then took the cloudy water left behind in the saucepan, put it in a jug and let it cool. After washing my hair as usual, I poured the rice water over my hair and wrapped a towel around it and left it on for a hour as recommended.

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I went to rinse it out and my hair was a matted mess. It took two rounds of shampoo and conditioner to finally detangle it. So, not one I shall be trying again.

2) Coconut Milk & Coconut Oil

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I love the scent of coconuts and have became a BIG fan of Coconut oil and use it all the time. I have tried several variations of the above hair mask using coconut as the key ingredient and have had very mixed reactions.

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My hair looks all glossy and satiny soft for a few hours after but by the next day, it looks like I haven’t washed it in weeks.

My hair does feel better but so far, using coconut milk or oil once a week hasn’t made any difference to my total lack of hair growth.

3) Bread Soda

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I have grown to love Bread soda and use it for cleaning the house, stains on clothes and brushing my teeth, so it sounded like a good idea to use it for my hair.

If you use a lot of products, its good to detox or clarify your hair every few weeks and bread soda is supposed to be super for that. Some people love it so much, they have stopped using shampoo and only use bread soda day in, day out.

So, I found the simple recipe above and gave it a go. After rinsing out, my hair is bizarrely frizz central and I resemble someone who has stuck their hand into a live socket! Epic Disaster!

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4) Henna

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I have used Henna for years off and on but decided to go back to it, in the hopes it might help.

I applied the henna paste as usual and washed out and then conditioned as usual.

Result? Thick matted hair that took several washes to detangle, many hours of painful combing out and brittle ends the full length of my hair 😦

Totally bizzare as in the past, Henna used to make my hair look and feel awesome but not anymore I guess…

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5) Red Onion

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I keep coming across articles from fellow bloggers raving about using onion juice to stimulate hair growth and how amazing it, so although I don’t like onions in general, I decided to give it a go.

I peeled the top layer of my two red onions and then washed and roughly chopped them. I put them in the blender with some water and blended until it was a smooth texture.

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The first thing I noticed putting it on my hair was that it reeked to the point of making my eyes water.

After only 15 minutes, my scalp started burning and I had to wash it off.

It took several washes to get the smell out of my hair and any benefit from the onion must have been well washed off!

I tried mixing it with coconut oil, I put essential oils in it…but it still reeked and still burned so that was that.

6) Eggs

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I have only two words for this – Epic Fail!

I whisked up the 2 eggs and rubbed it into my scalp. Left it on for twenty minutes and then tried washing it out and washed and washed…and washed!

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***Rookie DIY Tip: Only use very cool water to rinse your hair after using a egg mask, or else you will literally end up with cooked egg on your head!***

 7) Apple Cider Vinegar

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Using my own scrap apple cider vinegar recipe, after shampooing my hair as normal, I rinsed my hair with the vinegar and towel dried.

It was quite refreshing and my hair felt cleaner and softer, while my scalp felt pleasantly cool.

I didn’t like the scent but some essential oils helped with that and I have to say, I use this rinse once or twice a week and quite like it. My hair isn’t growing but it feels better.

Hopefully one day, my hair will be like this:

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The Dream

8) Yoghurt

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I know yogurt is packed full of protein and other good things so I tried the above as masks for my hair but again, really didn’t like the smell and found it very drying, so not for me alas.

9) Banana

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Bananas always sound like a good idea, yummy to eat and packed full of nutrients but oh my word, they are a total nightmare to wash out of your hair!

They smell fabulous and they are easy to make it onto a diy hair mask but after many washes to get it out of my hair, I ended up looking like this:

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10) Honey

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So honey, seemed a good idea but apart from turning my hair into something resembling a birds nest, it didn’t help at all, which was very disappointing as I had high hopes for it.

11) Rosemary Oil

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One essential oil I have been using a lot for my hair is Rosemary. It smells nice and is super easy to use, I simply put a few drops into my usual shampoo, conditioner and hair masks or for extra benefit, occasionally, mix coconut oil and rosemary oil and rub it into my scalp, leave on overnight and then rinse in the morning.

Hopefully with time, my hair will look like this girl’s mane:

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12) Aloe Vera Gel

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Aloe vera is supposed to be really moisturising for your hair so since I usually have some in the fridge, I tried it one evening. It felt very sticky but washed out easily enough. I didn’t see any difference, good or bad, so will maybe try this one again and see how it works out.

 

13) Horsetail

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I have become a passionate forager for horsetail and out of everything I’ve tried, it is the best. It grows near water or marshy areas and is instantly recognisable.

Its so easy to use, wash under the tap, twist the stems and place in a glass bowl. Pour boiling water over it and then use as a simple rinse when cool. Don’t throw your horsetail away, as you can usually get a second bowl from it.

I’m not sure if it has helped my hair grow at all but it’s gorgeous verdant green colour and fresh clean scent make using it a delight.

Conclusion

I still have many things to try yet for my hair, herbs like Amla, Beer, Fenugreek seeds, Castor Oil, Garlic juice…maybe I need to take a page out of John and Yoko’s book and have a ‘Bed In’ for Peace and maybe just maybe, if I get enough sleep, my hair might start to grow again…

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And one day, my hair will be like this:

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Why We Need to Believe in Dragons, Once Upon a Time and Fairies living at the Bottom of the Garden

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Why because the world would be a poorer place without magic, without Fairytales, without wonder, mystery and the power of the Imagination.

Because we live in an age, where it seems everything can be explained by science, by facts that are taken as ultimate truths and yet many of these facts only become facts, if we believe in them, which leads me to wonder are they really facts at all?

Can the truth be fully known, be fully discovered? Is one person’s truth another’s fiction? Are universal truths constructs of society, of mass belief?? Maybe.

I’m a child of the 21st century, I’ve grown up in a world of mass media, social media, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Twitch…where everyone is online, all of the time, where everything is knowable and any question can be answered by Google in seconds.

We know so much and yet there is still so much left to discover and this is what will save us.

Many years ago, my brother wrote in a birthday card: ‘May all your dreams come true, save one, so you always have something to strive for’ and those words have stayed with me to this day and I wanted to share with you the thoughts they inspired in me.

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Despair, depression, self-harm and suicide continue to prevail in our world despite all the advances in human rights,  medicine, technology and all the other marvels of our modern age.

Speaking as someone who has known the dark abyss of the human soul, I have come to believe that the answer may lie in our lost sense of wonder.

It is only when we look with eyes anew at all the daily marvels around us, that a sense of hope, of empowerment and excitement can start to emerge. Think about how marvellous it is that with some taps on my laptop in a tiny apartment at the edge of the shore, I can communicate instantly with anyone, anywhere in the world. It is truly amazing.

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Belief in the extraordinary, in magic and fairytales can inspire us to strive to create a better word, a better future, to dream beyond the present, to dream beyond the blue sky to worlds amidst stars undiscovered as of yet.

Neil Armstrong would have never set foot on the moon if we hadn’t looked up at the night sky for hundreds of years and wondered and dreamed.

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Belief in Once upon a Time, in heroes and heroines, who will rise from the ashes, defy the odds and save the day inspire us all and give us hope.

When times are at their worst and the world is bleak and dark and all seems lost, stories of those who don’t give up, who fight for those they love, for freedom, for justice help us carry on, help us become more then we are, to be the best we can be, for one and another.

Every child grows up hearing of once upon a time and how the prince finds his princess and they all live happily ever after and that is the dream. It can be a dangerous dream in that we may miss what is right in front of us but it can also motivate us to seek out adventure, romance, love, magic and without these, life would be meaningless. Love, hope and belief are as essential to life as breathing.

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The popularity of shows such as ‘Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Game of Thrones’ and films like ‘The Hunger Games’, the Marvel series and the many remakes and new interpretations of ageless fairytales show us that there is still something in us that wants to dream, to believe.

Fairytales are not so much about dragons, magic or fantastical lands but about us, about our deepest desires, fears and hopes.

They help us make sense of a world that can be overwhelming, chaotic and seemingly random. They give us a sense of purpose, of destiny, of possibility.

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Often people dismiss fairytales and talk of magic and mystery as being for children or the gullible and naive but it is quite the opposite, for it takes a brave heart to believe in something that can’t be proven.

It takes a open mind and clear eyes to see the beauty all around us and even clearer eyes to see the beauty that is yet unseen.

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I urge you to look up to the skies, to see beyond the horizon, to let yourself dream…

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And if someone asks me ‘Do you believe in Dragons, in Once Upon a Time and Fairies living at the bottom of the garden?’ My answer will be ‘Always’.

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On The Importance of Good Friends & Six Other Ways I Stay Grounded in a World that Won’t Stop Spinning

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Does anyone else feel like the world is spinning too fast, that the day is gone in an instant and you don’t remember what happened yesterday, much less today? Do you feel as if you are on a constant rollercoaster and you just want to get off? Do you feel snowed under, overwhelmed, lost or that everyday is a struggle?

I often feel this way and suspect others do also. We live in a world of 24 hour live News Coverage. We are bombarded with information every second of everyday. The world has never been smaller or more connected, you can communicate instantly with anyone anywhere and yet isolation, depression and suicide continue to rise.

It is so terribly easy to lose sight of who we are really are but if we don’t take time to reflect, to breathe, to dance, laugh or just sit still, we will all be lost.

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I have been thinking about what helps me stay grounded, brings me back to my fundamental truths, to freedom, joy and peace.

In the hopes this may help another find their way, here are

My Seven Ways to Ground Yourself

1) Friends

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I am very fortunate to have a few close friends and one BFF or Boo, as I like to call her. When things get crazy and the world becomes too much and I don’t know how I will cope or get through this, my BFF has always been there for me. She is the sister I never had.

I know, no matter what, she is at my side, my rock. She is the keeper of all of my secrets. The first person I think of when I have news to tell or need advice or just want to spend time with, whether that be on great adventures exploring foreign lands or just sitting together on the sofa at home, it doesn’t matter what we do, the main thing is we do it together.

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Countless hours talking on the phone, talking through the night, sorrows and joys shared, so many years of wonderful memories. Many of the best moments of my life have been with her.

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She helps be me more then I am, to be more me. So many times, amidst great change and dizzying turns of events, I felt uncertain & unsure but she brings me back to reality and always, always keeps me grounded.

Apart, the journey is long and often scary and confusing but together, the impossible becomes possible. I cannot express my gratitude enough for having her in my life.

2) Hugs

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One of the most wonderful and simple ways to ground yourself is to hug another, whether that be a family member, a friend, a colleague, a pet or a tree. The benefits of hugging cannot be emphasised enough.

article-2332853-1A0E4C03000005DC-283_634x418There is a lady in India called Amma The Hugging Saint, who brings joy and happiness around the world through hugs. She came to Dublin last year but unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it there but definitely next time.

Amidst all the terrorist attacks of the last few months, a young muslim man blindfolded himself and stood on a street in Paris with a sign, saying ‘I’m Muslim, I trust you, Do you Trust me, Give me a Hug’. This brave young man wanted to show the world that love is the answer, not hate and war. He was quickly surrounded by hundreds of people who wanted to give him a hug. A simple gesture with profound ripple effects throughout the world.

 

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In Ireland, we are not the best for hugging, we can tell a story, dance up a storm or bring the house down but not so good at hugs. However times are changing and I am determined to hug more, one person at a time, so remember, hug often! 🙂

3) Going on Adventures

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There is nothing like the joy of going on an adventure to remind you what its like to live fully in your skin, to remember who you really are and why you want to be.

You don’t have to climb the highest mountain or travel the seven seas or leave Earth’s orbit and step on the moon to find adventure. Adventure can be found in a turn of the road or a path you haven’t gone down before, a view never seen before, a glade never walked in before…

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The very best adventures are the ones that are unexpected, where strange and wonderful things happen and you meet people you will never forget, experiences that change you forever and all because you decided to take a slightly different path.

The heart delights in new horizons and in this case, I cannot recommend going adventuring enough, as when you come home, you will not just be refreshed and energised but you will also be grounded.

4) Take off your Shoes, your socks and Dare to walk on Bare Feet

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There is nothing like the sheer pleasure and tactical sensation of bare feet on sand, almost all my best memories are when I was up to my ankles in the cold Atlantic sea, walking across a summer meadow full of wild grasses that tickle, sinking my toes into warm sinking sand the colour of moonlight or feeling the silver cool bark of my favourite Ash Tree I used to spend countless hours in growing up.

To touch the earth is to literally ground ourselves, to reconnect with the great earth mother, to be renewed and to instantly be in our own body again. The power of bare feet to instantly transport you into the present moment is truly wondrous. Give it a go and see how it makes you feel.

5) Dance

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One of the greatest pleasures in life surely most be locking the door, turning off the phone,  turning the music up loud and dancing your heart out. In dance, I find a place, a way of being, that allows me to express things I could not express in any other way. I lose myself in the music and it is only then that I find myself.

So many people are afraid of looking silly or feel they have two left feet but the benefits of dancing are so numerous I urge you to be brave. It is true what they say, dance like nobody is watching and you will become one with the music. In the centre of the dance floor, when you can feel the beat drumming in your chest and feeling becomes movement, let yourself go.

Two of my favourite dance videos are below if you would like some inspiration:

6) Yoga & Meditation

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I’ve talked about yoga and meditation before and all of their the wonderful health benefits but one of the most rewarding aspects of yoga & mediation is how your thoughts can be chaotic and all over the place at the beginning but gradually you become calmer, your breathing slows and you remember what it is to be in your body, to be present, how that feels and how to let it go.

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Mediation and yoga can both seem daunting or even intimidating practices to learn and even if you don’t want to go to local classes, with so many books, dvds, cds and youtube videos, there has never been a better or easier time to start.

I find it difficult to allow regular time for these things but even a 15 minute video practise can be incorporated into our hectic lives.

7) Laughter

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My last recommendation is laughter and lots of it. There is nothing like laughter to lift the spirits, to bring back joy into ones life, to share a connection with another person. I came across this video of a man laughing on a train and how quickly his joy and laughter spread to the whole carriage even though they were all strangers and did not know what the man was laughing about. It didnt matter what caused him to laugh but the infectious nature of joy and laughter can bring us all together.

So these are seven of the ways I ground myself, I hope you find them useful or at least thought provoking. There are so many ways you can ground yourself, I wish you a fabulous journey discovering them 🙂

Xx

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Foraging on the Banks of Lough Atalia in Galway, How to make Honeysuckle Ice Cream and other Nectar of the Gods

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Last Sunday, I went foraging in the lush wild meadow that runs along the side of Lough Atalia, the small lake that runs to the sea in Galway harbour. It was a stunning day, I felt almost light headed with the scent of wild flowers, fresh running water and the earth warmed by the heat of the midday sun.

Two swans followed me for a while and the meadow hummed with the sound of happy bees drinking nectar. A ladybird landed near me on a patch of clover and small wild birds called and flew overhead. 

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Everywhere I looked, I was overwhelmed by the incredible bounty of nature, I felt like how a child must feel in Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. I didn’t know where to start, so many colours, scents, textures called to me. My attention was snagged by the most magnificent bush of Wild Roses and braving the thorns, I gathered some petals to make Rosewater, a recipe which I will include in my next post.

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The flowers were as big as a child’s hand and the petals as soft as pure silk and the scent, oh my word, the scent, if only I could breathe in that scent all of my days…

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The heart of the meadow was a sea of colour composed of every shade of red and pink and green and all the colours in between. Red Clover was all around me, as far as the eye could see. I gathered several stems and the flower heads.

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I will be using Red Clover to make a healing tea, cream, salve, syrup…So many things, it is such a remarkable herb.

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There was also White Clover, not as profuse and much more delicate then its red cousin but also beautiful. It has a subtle sweet taste that makes for a lovely syrup for use in a cordial.

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Its late in the year for Dandelion but I found some clumps in the more shady areas of the meadow and harvested the young leaves for smoothies, salads and the flowers to make honey. Once autumn is here, I’m going to dig up as many dandelion roots as possible for making coffee.

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I found Plantain along the waters edge, its distinctive narrow leaves and long seed laden heads nodding in the breeze coming off the lake. I have started a mason jar infusion of Plantain and Oil for healing creams but Plantain has so many other uses as well. I will talk more about this next week.

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I was lucky to come across a patch of Horsetail, which often grows near water and has been around since the time of the Dinosaurs. It has many uses but one of its most well known is its wonderful ability to stimulate hair growth. A simple hair rinse can be made by washing the stems of horsetail to get rid of any soil or insects, place in a large glass bowl and pour boiling water over the plant. Leave overnight,compost the stems and then after washing your hair, pour over your head and dry hair as usual.

Meadowsweet

Meadowsweet otherwise known as the Queen of the Meadow was scattered here and there. I made a syrup from the flowers to use to create a sorbet or simply to pour over ice cream or pancakes as a delicious treat.

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One of my most favourite wild flower are Daisies. They can be found everywhere, in all shapes and sizes and colours but their purity and innocence instantly transport me back to my childhood and memories of making daisy chains as crowns and garlands. Daisies make a lovely addition to any homemade skin creams.

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I found several sprays of Milk Thistle and am currently drying these and some of the other herbs I gathered for use. I am looking forward to finding ways to use Milk Thistle to heal both myself and those I care for.

Smiling Mouse on YarrowThe next herb I came across was Yarrow, one of the most ancient and sacred of all plants in the lore of herbs, a plant with many fascinating abilities. I have dried the small amount I found and will be keeping a keen eye out for more to stock up before the winter.

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Another lovely herb I across was Self Heal, a plant long used for healing wounds and infections, as well as sore throats.

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I spent three wondrous hours beside the lake and by the time I returned home, I was suntanned and windswept, all my cobwebs blown away. I laid my herbs out in the sun on my balcony to dry and for any insects to flee.

In the end, I found over thirteen different herbs in the space of an afternoon in just one of the meadows on the banks of Lough Atalia. I was awed by how only a short walk from my apartment in Galway city, I was able to find so many remarkable healing plants. I think, living in a city, many people forget to look, to seek out the wilderness that grows up from between the cracks and finds itself a home in even the most starkly urban of places.

It is truly amazing what you can find and all this goodness, beauty and healing is free. I love to go foraging but always remember to only take what you need and to give thanks for its blessings.

Its late and I grow weary but let me finish this feast of the senses with all things Honeysuckle.

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I will leave you with two divine recipes I found online using this most exotic flower with its otherworldly nectar and golden blossoms.

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Honeysuckle Ice Cream

From the website: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/

Ingredients

  • 1 and a half cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 cups honeysuckle blossoms (this is approximate)
  • seeds from 1 vanilla bean

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Method

  • Put the cream, milk and sugar into a saucepan and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the honeysuckle flowers into the pan and and bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring occasionally.
  • Turn off the heat and let the mixture come to room temperature. Then cover and refrigerate overnight.
  • In the morning, strain the blossoms out and add the vanilla bean seeds. Mix well to break apart any clumped seeds.
  • Process the cold mixture in your ice cream machine according to its directions.
  • Put the soft ice cream in the freezer to firm up before serving.

 

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Honeysuckle Sorbet

Ingredients

5 cups cool water

4 cups honeysuckle blossoms, tightly packed but not smashed

2 cups sugar

1 cup water

Few drops lemon juice

Dusting of cinnamon

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Add cool tap water to flowers. Place in a glass bowl and leave overnight.

The next day, make a simple syrup by heating sugar and 1 cup of water in a saucepan over low heat until the mixture is clear, then boiling it for a minute or so, until the syrup begins to appear lustrous and slightly thick.

Remove from heat and add a few drops of lemon juice to prevent the sugar from recrystallizing. Cool the syrup.

Strain the honeysuckles, gently pressing the blossoms so as not to waste any of your efforts.

Combine the honeysuckle and the simple syrup and add just the merest dusting of ground cinnamon — a hint will enhance the honeysuckle flavor; even a bit more will overpower it.

Put the mix in a glass baking dish, let it freeze a little, stir and smash with a fork. Wait another couple of hours and do the same thing until it’s almost frozen through, then put it all in a blender. It needs to be taken out of the freezer a few minutes before you serve.

Bon Appetit! 🙂

Xx

What it means to Be A Wild Woman

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When I was little, I wanted to be a Knight, a Healer, a Explorer…and when I grew up, I realised I could be all those things and more for it is only recently, I have discovered that my heart is that of a Wild Woman.

What is a Wild Woman you ask?

  • She loves all creatures great and small
  • She loves to be in nature, whether that be the forest or the lake shore
  • She feels the need to help others
  • She has no time for oppressive beliefs or governance
  • She believes in Equality, Freedom and Justice
  • She does not blindly follow the Status Quo but questions anything that causes another harm or limits freedom

 

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  • She vows to not judge or preach but asks the same in return
  • She keeps her heart open to love and forgiveness, her mind open to new possibilities and her soul open to the universe around her
  • She is a person of integrity and honour
  • She keeps any promises or vows she makes

 

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  • She will fight with her last breath for those she loves, for the helpless, the innocent, those with no voices or rights and for the earth beneath our feet
  • She dares to shine a light into the darkest corners of the human mind
  • She fears not the dark, for without the dark, there would be no light

 

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Throughout time, there have been so many wise and wonderful Wild Women, who have changed the course of history and have handed down a treasure trove of knowledge and learning.

 

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We must not forget those who went before us and the legacy they have left behind. The bravery, courage, sacrifice and integrity of these women who dared to follow their hearts, listen to their soul and love without borders. These women are our heroines, our ancestors, our soul sisters and will help guide us on our path.

I make this my vow, to find true freedom, true peace and my reason for living through Rewilding myself, my quest to find the Wild Woman Within.
 

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My personal journey began in the magical west of Ireland. I grew up amidst the trees, near a castle on the lake, with the call of the Sparrow-hawk in the sky above me and the limestone plateaus beneath my feet and deeper still, far below, hidden rivers rushing through the earth.

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I live in Galway city now, for now. I must admit, that I find it at times, almost unbearably hard, for I miss my home so. Yet Galway is where I rest my head at night, where I work to pay the bills and where I have made good friends, met people from all over the world and seen so many remarkable plays, films, parades, concerts, ballets, operas…For someone who loves the Arts as I do, it is a great city to live in. 

One day, I will go home and there I will stay but until then, I shall open myself up to all this city has to offer.

One of the best things about living in Galway is living so close to the sea. Another wonderful thing about Galway is its willingness to accept people as they are, no matter how strange or unusual. So in many ways, it is the perfect place for me to find the Wilderness within my heart, to see where this path, the road less travelled leads me.

 I feel so excited, thrilled and utterly alive for the first time in ages and it is all because I am rediscovering the truth of who I am and I am slowly but surely turning this truth into reality.

I invite you to join me on this journey of the soul and let me know how your Rewilding is going, the truths you find along the way, the people whose lives touched your own…the whole schubang 🙂

Rock on Sisters! Xx

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Foraging in the City: How to make Herb & Flower Infused Oils at home, as well as Uplifting Eucalyptus & Mint Shaving Cream

l1.jpg.galleryForaging in the city can be truly enjoyable, challenging and always rewarding. The joy and satisfaction of making your own remedies, cosmetics and food from herbs and flowers you gathered yourself  is immeasurable.

The heart of summer is an excellent time to gather your herbs for making creams, balms, salves, oils, tinctures, tonics, teas and other necessities for the winter ahead.

I recommend going out at midday when the sun is at the highest point, as this is when the flowers will be fully open and at their most potent. Living in the city, foraging is a bit more difficult but parks, small patches of wilderness and river sides are all good places to search. Make sure to only pick flowers away from traffic fumes.

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How to make St. John’s Wort Oil

Ingredients

  • Two to three handfuls of fresh St.John’s Wort Flowers
  • Olive Oil or Rapeseed Oil

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Equipment

  • Glass Mason Jar
  • Muslin Cloth for straining
  • Sieve
  • Glass Jug
  • Glass Bottle to store Finished Oil

Method

  • Gather two to three handfuls of Fresh St.John’s Wort Flowers
  • Wash throughly
  • Leave to dry overnight on a Tea Towel
  • Fill your clean Mason Jar with the flowers
  • Pour enough oil to completely submerge the flowers
  • Close lid and place on a sunny windowsill for a month
  • Clean the lid every second day to prevent mould
  • After a month has passed and your oil has turned a bright cherry red, it is time to filter
  • Place muslin cloth over a sieve over a glass jug or bowl
  • Pour the oil in
  • Squeeze out any oil left from the flowers using the muslin cloth
  • Pour into Clean Sterilized Glass bottles and label with the date bottled.
  • Store in a cool dry place.

Uses

  • Use the oil directly on skin for inflamed painful joints
  • Use the oil as the base for healing creams, salves and ointments

 

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How to make Plantain Oil

Ingredients

  • One to three handfuls of Wild Fresh Plantain Leaves
  • Olive Oil

Equipment

  • Glass Mason Jar
  • Muslin Cloth for straining
  • Sieve
  • Glass Jug
  • Glass Bottle to store Finished Oil

 

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Method

  • Gather two to three handfuls of Fresh Plantain Leaves
  • Wash throughly
  • Leave to dry overnight on a Tea Towel
  • Fill your clean Mason Jar with the leaves
  • Pour enough oil to completely submerge the leaves
  • Close lid and place on a sunny windowsill for a month
  • Clean the lid every second day to prevent mould
  • After a month has passed and your oil has turned a dark green,  it is time to filter
  • Place muslin cloth over a sieve over a glass jug or bowl
  • Pour the oil in
  • Squeeze out any oil left from the flowers using the muslin cloth
  • Pour into Clean Sterilized Glass bottles and label with the date bottled.
  • Store in a cool dry place.

 

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Uses

  • Use as a healing First Aid cream and salve
  • Use as base for own homemade Soaps
  • Use as base for lotions and body butters
  • Use in Body Scrubs

 

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Eucalyptus and Mint Shaving Cream

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Ingredients

  • Half a cup of Organic Shea Butter
  • Half a cup of Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
  • Half a cup of Olive Oil
  • One Tablespoon of Witch Hazel
  • One Tablespoon of Aloe Vera Gel
  • Ten drops of Eucalyptus essential Oil
  • Ten drops of Mint essential Oil

 

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Method

  • Place the Shea Butter, Coconut oil and Olive oil in a glass bowl over a saucepan of water
  • Stir gently until it is fully melted
  • Allow to cool for half a hour
  • Stir in the Aloe Vera Gel, Witch Hazel and essential oils
  • Place in your fridge until solid
  • Using an electric whisk, beat until light and fluffy
  • Spoon into a clean glass jar and label
  • Use as needed as you would any shaving cream and enjoy clean fresh and moistened skin! 🙂

 

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Next Time

I will be going foraging again tomorrow, weather permitting along the lake and will be talking about all the wonderful plants I’m sure I will find! 🙂