What is wild cannot be bought or sold, borrowed or copied. It is. Unmistakeable, unforgettable, unshamable, elemental as earth and ice, water, fire and air, a quitessence, pure spirit, resolving into no constituents. Don't waste your wildness: it is precious and necessary.” ― Jay Griffiths, Wild: An Elemental Journey
Samhain - summer's end. Halloween its one of our wildest festivals, coming from the old end of year celebration of end of harvest. End of another growth cycle, its a time to be silly, dress up, and have a feast. A fire festival too, part cleanse; its ashes being the beginning of fertility renewal.
We have reached the end of a cycle for Carraig Dúlra, a year’s end and also a seven year cycle end. Like many Irish organizations, we struggled this year, with finances and energy to go on. We needed to find a bit of perspective on that struggle, and how to think about the next cycle of our development. So we set the year’s growing in motion, with the help of some great early season wwoofers, we planned and planted, started our new round pole barn with Rob and worked hard to free ourselves to go on a journey.
We fundraised for and travelled out to help the charity Gohelp by bringing a van and supplies overland to Mongolia. Our community here gave us huge support, enabling us to leave in July with a van and contents to be donated. We left with our younger boys, and were gone two months, crossing France. Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Russia, Kazakstan, (where our older kids joined us) on through Russia again and then to Mongolia.
And we did gain that fresh perspective, in terms of appreciation for all we have. How easy life really is in our green and easygoing land, in comparison to other landscapes strange to us, but home to the resilient nomads of the Steppe. We saw resilience, too, in people facing huge problems in mining towns, and in the city poor, driven off the Steppe by climate change. Suzie taught permaculture along the way and Mike shared his local food and natural beekeeping experiences too. We did this tentatively at first, and then with determination, as we reinforced in ourselves the belief in the relevance and ‘fit’ for these skills in the world today. Everywhere they were welcomed by those who see the changes that we are all having to adapt to. We came home seeing connections to all we do in Ireland, renewed and refreshed. We have spent the last two months reconnecting, settling back and seeing change in our personal lives as kids head off to college or start secondary school or other new phases, we are looking to the next Steppes for us.
We were lucky one day to happen upon a traditional Mongolian Shaman who offered to answer some questions for us. We made reference to this next step in our lives. She told Suzie that she would get her energy from nature and not from anything manmade and she told Mike that he helped many people and would continue to do so. Things we both know, but that magic of the outside perspective helped us.
Halloween was the traditional divining time, trying to bring clarity when uncertain. We will continue to work out what's next for us during the winter dreaming and prepare for a new cycle. We’ll keep you posted.
Halloween Open/Volunteer Day: Tuesday 29th October from 10am
Right now we are finishing last jobs before winter: getting the turf roof on the new barn and tucking up the garden for the season with mulches.
We are having a Halloween Open Day, Volunteer Day. Come help with some buckets of soil to the roof, or in the garden. Our hand cranked APPLE PRESS with be in operation during the day - bring some apples along to press fresh juice. We’ll play some apple games and maybe do a bit of divining too.