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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How to make Lush Inspired Shower Jellies & The Many Remarkable Uses of Egg Shells!

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So having a shower is just about getting clean as fast as possible? Nope! These days, its a way to wake up, soothe the senses, nourish your skin and more recently to awaken your childhood sense of wonder and play!!:)

One awesome way to bring more joy and fun into your shower routine is to make your own DIY Lush inspired Shower Jellies! Super easy to make and they look, smell and feel great 🙂

Ingredients

  • Gelatin Powder [I used two Sachets 12mg each] There are vegetarian options available also.
  • Water
  • Hand Soap or Shower Gel
  • Food Colouring [Optional]
  • A Mold
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Spoon
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • Essential Oils (Optional)
  • Glitter Or Eyeshadow Pigment (Optional)

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Method

  • In a mixing bowl, first add the gelatin powder and then the water. …
  • Add the shower gel to the gelatine mixture. …I used Original Source Shower Gel which is not tested on animals but you can use any favourite shower gel
  • Add an essential oil of your choice and/or a drop or two of food coloring, if desired. .
  • Mix in the salt.
  • Pour the mixture into the silicon mould, then put the mould in the refrigerator.
  • Enjoy! 🙂

I recently learnt a mind-blowing fact, did you know that eggshells are a great, inexpensive, natural source of calcium & have many awesome uses?

An egg shell is made of calcium carbonate. Each medium sized egg shell has about 750-800 mgs of calcium.

***Important, buy only Free Range Organic Eggs, farm fresh if possible***

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Eggshells can be used in:

  • Homemade Toothpaste to remineralise your teeth and heal cavities
  • Face Masks
  • As a totally natural calcuim supplement
  • To start off Seedlings
  • To deter slugs and snails
  • In Art
  • To enrich your compost

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    How to Make Eggshell Calcium and Why You’d Want To

    Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our body.

    While most of our calcium resides in our bones and teeth, it’s also important for muscle contraction, nerve health, enzyme activity and cell formation.

    In fact, our bodies need ample, daily amounts of calcium… and if we don’t get what we need, our bodies have no problem pulling excess stores from our teeth and bones, which is obviously not a good thing!

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    Method

  • Use up your eggs as you usually would, keeping the shell in the carton to make your supplement
  • When you have your dozen shells, rinse them well in water. Remove any whites that might be stuck but don’t remove membrane as these have extra nutrients.
  • Fill a stock pot with approximately 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.
  • Carefully put your eggshells into the water. (This will kill any harmful pathogens)
  • Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Drain shells.
  • Spread the shells on a baking tray and let dry overnight. In the morning, put in a warm oven for about 10 minutes to completely dry out.
  • Once they are dry, put a few shells into a coffee grinder and run until they are pulverized into a fine powder. Continue until all of your shells are powder.
  • Store in a tightly sealed glass jar in the cupboard away from heat or moisture.
  • How to Consume Eggshell Calcium

    1 tsp. contains approximately 800-1,000 mg. of calcium. Consume by mixing in a small amount of water with a meal or with a smoothie or yoghurt.

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There are so many ways to use eggshells, I will keep you up to date on all the ways I test out myself.

On a interesting note, I came across a a belief in folk lore, that eggshells were buried or burned in healing spells (often after having been carried by the patient so the eggshells “absorbed” the illness). Eggshell powder can be used for protection spells too.

Eggshells also make a good womb symbol in which energy can be nurtured to maturity. Be sure to consider the colour of the eggshell. For instance, use blue eggshells to nurture peace and joy.

Next Time

21et20nI will be talking about the role and significance of Magic in our lives, my endeavours to convince my hair to grow and the importance of enjoying your food! 🙂

Xx

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