The Celtic Festival of Beltaine which marks the beginning of summer in the ancient Celtic calendar is a Cross Quarter Day, half way between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice. While the Beltaine Festival is now associated with May 1st, the actual astronomical date is a number of days later. The festival was marked with the lighting of bonfires and the movement of animals to summer pastures.
In Irish mythology, the beginning of the summer season started with the Fire Festival at Beltaine. Great bonfires would mark a time of purification and transition, heralding in the season in the hope of a good harvest later in the year, and were accompanied with rituals to protect the people from any harm by otherworldly spirits.
In my novel, The Keepers of Éire, the Tuatha dragon clan members renew their sworn oath to protect the land and its inhabitants, and rejuvenate the dragons’ magic by reciting the clan motto: Ni neart go cur le cheile (There is no strength without unity) and flying over the ley lines at the Beltaine Fire Festival on the Hill of Tara. Also, my two protagonists, Christian and Devan, officially pair up with their dragons (Roarke and Dochas, respectively) in a Chosen Ceremony, and end with both humans in great peril. To find out how the story ends, check out The Keepers of Éire.
May you enjoy Beltaine with this image from http://www.irelandcalling.ie
Want to celebrate “being Irish”, even if you’re only Irish for one day? Would you like to get a taste of Éire, but can’t afford the travel expenses?
My debut fantasy novels, The Keepers of Éire and The Keepers of Éire-YA Edition are set in modern-day Ireland and feature an American woman and an Irishman searching for their destinies and a way to stop a dragon killer. Readers will be transported to the lush, rolling hills, spectacular stone circles, and bustling cities of Ireland. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I am offering both Kindle e-books at reduced pricing for one week starting Thursday (3/16). Visit here to get your copy.
Enjoy the read. Let your imagination take flight! Sláinte!
I have just released a YA (Young Adult) Edition of my first novel, The Keepers of Éire. Same great story, just without the more adult scenes. Print version is now available on Amazon here. The ebook edition will be available shortly.
The Winter Solstice has come and gone for 2016, but I wanted to share a photo of the famous Irish landmark: Newgrange during the winter solstice at dawn.
Tickets for this special couple of days are selected by random lottery. I’ve never been lucky enough to get selected, and I’ve not been able to visit Ireland during the 3-4 days surrounding the winter solstice.
Some interesting facts about Newgrange: It was built during the Neolithic period, around 3200 BC, making it older than Stonehenge and the Egyptian pyramids. The site consists of a large circular mound with an inner stone passageway and chambers. The mound has a retaining wall at the front, made mostly of white quartz cobblestones, and is ringed by engraved kerbstones. Many of the larger stones of Newgrange are covered in megalithic art. Its entrance is aligned with the rising sun on the winter solstice, when sunlight shines through a ‘roofbox’ and floods the inner chamber. It is the most famous monument within the Neolithic Brú na Bóinne complex, alongside the similar passage tomb mounds of Knowth and Dowth, and as such is a part of the Brú na Bóinne UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Newgrange plays a large role in my novel, The Keepers of Éire. After each murder, the killer places the human victim’s body propped against the Entrance Stone at Newgrange. Check out the Entrance Stone.