Adventures on the Forth and Clyde Canal

Pagan Date: Eostara

In the southern hemisphere, today marks the date of the Spring Equinox, also know n as Eostara. This is a time to celebrate new beginnings, regeneration, growth and the conception of new ideas. The venerable Bede mentions the name in reference to Eostre, the Germanic goddess of spring. In the northern hemisphere this rite coincides…

A roadtrip through the Bay of Plenty and Eastern Cape of the North Island

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape of New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

The ancient and elusive fairisle of Hy Brasil

Hy Brasil is a mysterious phantom island that was thought to exist off the west coast of Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean for hundreds of years. The area being nautically challenging for seafarers, it was an elusive and mysterious place, hailed in pre-Christian times as being the Celtic Elysium or land of promise. During Christian…

Cosmic Cuttlefish by Sylvia Ritter

Ancient words of the day: Glamour and grammar

Glamour is an 18th Century corruption of the word grammar. Or the occult processes that were traditionally associated with learning during the middle ages. The words grammar and glamour are also associated with the word grimoire - a spell-book. Glamourie: witchcraft, magic, fascination or a spell Glaumerify: to cast a spell over or bewich Glamour-bead:…

Ancient word of the day: hedgehog

Ancient word of the day: Hedgehog

The ancient word for today is hedgehog Erinaceus europaeus. In the Middle Ages, writers didn't make reference to hedgehogs, but to urchins. A term still favoured in some English dialects. It's also associated with the sea urchin, which is literally a sea hedgehog. The word urchin came over to England with the Norman invasion and…

Pagan Date: Imbolc

Pagan Date: Imbolc

In the southern hemisphere, today in the Pagan calendar is Imbolc. It's a Sabbat to honour the Celtic goddess Brighid. It's a time to purify oneself, dedicate oneself to a task. The word imbolc comes from Irish Gaelic and means 'ewe's milk'. It's in reference to the time when ewe's begin suckling with their young…

Travel: A roadtrip through the remote Eastern Cape, New Zealand

People seldom visit the Eastern Cape of the North Island because of its complete isolation from the rest of the country’s bustling travel routes. It’s quiet in terms of other cars – there are none, except for the occasional local farmer and logging truck ferrying wood from forests to the port in Gisborne.  It’s an…

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Pagan date: Winter solistice

Today is winter solistice in the southern hemisphere. This is a time of rebirth and a triumph of life over death. It's a reflection and renewal.  Winter solistice  Incantations Tonight is the night of the Solstice,the longest night of the year.As the Wheel turns once more, I know thattomorrow, the Sun will begin its journey…

Behold the tui: seductive songstress of the shaky isles

Behold the tui: seductive songstress of the shaky isles

Behold the tui. Songstress with the most gorgeous cadence and sonorous sonata, native latter day dinosaur of the shaky isles. Every throat gargle and warbling melodious titter could be experienced so much clear when viewed through the lens of our new camera. This little beauty was in our garden the other day crying out to…

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena's Owl

Ancient word of the day: Athene Noctua or Athena’s Owl

The Greek goddess Athena had as her sacred animal familiar the owl, also known as the Athene Noctua in Latin. The Romans, fond as they were of stealing from the Greek pantheon, renamed Athena to Minerva. Athena and her owl are considered to be symbols of wisdom, in both cultures. Silver tetradrachm coin at the…

What Montaigne And Deep Sea Aliens Teach Us About Humanity

Philosopher Michel de Montaigne lived in a time (the 16th century) when nobody batted an eyelid at the ritual murder and wholesale destruction of people, natural environments and cultures – let alone animals. Yet he was shocked and disgusted at these horrors. He was undoubtedly a kind and gentle man. An anomaly for his time.…

Welcome to the most remote island in the world...Bouvetøya

Welcome to the most remote island in the world…Bouvetøya

Bouvetøya, also known as Bouvet Island is definitely a contender for the most remote place in the world. I discovered Bouvetøya via an excellent Tumblr with the understated title of Map Design. This is a treasure trove of cartography. Another is the seminal book The Atlas of Remote Islands by Judith Schalansky.  This is a…

Historic Jukebox: Henry David Thoreau & Fleet Foxes http://wp.me/p41CQf-9V

Thirty great medieval epithets for people and beasts

Why do we say a gaggle of geese, a flock of sheep, a pride of lions or a swarm of bees? Well it harks back to medieval times when sportsmen grouped together collectives of beasties to refer to them in movement or attributing a quality to them - presumably while the poor creatures ran away…

Pagan Date: Samhain

Pagan Date: Samhain

In the southern hemisphere, today we celebrate the pagan new year or Samhain. This ancient gaelic word means Summer's End.  On this date it's a good time to reflect on and honour those that have come before us. It's also a time to release anything that no longer serves you.  Samhain Incantation for ancestors  This…

Pygmy marmoset. Warsaw Zoo Copyright Content Catnip 2019

Travel: The sensitive faces of animals in Warsaw Zoo

Something unexpected happened to me in Warsaw Zoo today. Instead of enjoying myself seeing all the animals I felt really sad. Why? Because they came across through my camera lens as being full of emotion, sensitivity and immense intelligence. I connected with them and their pain in the same way I would if I looked…

Ancient Australian Megafauna: Diprotodon optatum

Ancient Australian Megafauna: Diprotodon optatum

Diprotodon optatum was the largest marsupial to ever roam Australia, weighing over two tonnes. We rarely find its whole skeleton preserved in caves because it's sheer size prevented it from falling through crevices into the oblivion. Although phylogenetically Diprotodon optatum was closely related to the extant wombat and koala, in terms of its physiology in appearance it…

Ancient Australian megafauna: Procoptodon goliah

I don't know about you, but large Australian mammals and marsupials have got a special place in my heart. However of all of the large beasties to have lurched around in Terra Nullus I am most besotted with animals that have long ago passed into the dusts of yesteryear such as the behemoth 200 kilo…