Samhain and the ancestors

Samhain and the ancestors

Traditionally, in the Gaelic (Irish and Scottish) cultures, Samhain was a time – among other things – for honouring the ancestors. Samhain, as you’ll be aware, was a ‘thin’ time of year: a time when the veil between worlds thins, and the Otherworld...
A few good women

A few good women

Sometimes, I think I’m one of the luckiest people on the planet. As well as living in a place I love, with a family I love (husband, dogs, cat and all), I also deeply love my work. After a few early decades of twists and turns and too much time off the path, now my...
Re-enchanting the Winter Solstice: an invitation

Re-enchanting the Winter Solstice: an invitation

(Image by Catherine Hyde.) In my last post, I wrote about building a new folk culture based on our native traditions. This seems especially urgent to me now, surrounded as we all are at this time of year by the consumption-driven madness that calls itself Christmas....
Building a new folk culture

Building a new folk culture

Last week I was the guest speaker at a joint meeting of the Trinity College Dublin Literary and Environmental Societies. I was speaking at their request about the intersection of myth, feminism and ecology in my writing, and as I always do, I was stressing the value...
The storied days

The storied days

There is something about the all-too-fleeting days between Samhain and Winter Solstice. Something about the sudden sharp shock of early-morning air, about the mists rising from the surface of a thousand scattered Connemara lochs. The bog grasses have transformed...
The mythology of women working together

The mythology of women working together

One of my favourite stories in Irish mythology is called ‘The Only Jealousy of Emer’ – the Emer in question being the wife of the great warrior (but not so great husband) Cú Chulainn. I love it because it wonderfully subverts the usual ‘betrayed...