Without wanting to seem extreme, I think it might be worth pointing out how modern consumerism, that seems to touch every aspect of our lives, often leaves us out of touch with the deeper spiritual and deeper cultural connections that our ancestors experienced when they moved through the seasons of nature. Modernity, with all the trappings of technology, seems to have cut us off, almost in a vulgar way.
This time of the year, the harvest well in and gathered and a good stock taken of everything, our people, our forbearers, respectfully prepared for winter. Nothing was wasted and when an animal was slaughtered, it was respectfully cured and dried and hung. Our ancestors had a deep awareness of Samhain. There is an abundance of folklore that is relevant to this period of time when there is no growing season. Rituals and remedies reflect heightened spiritual awareness. Our ancestors would ritually summon the spirits in order to get sound advice as they move into the winter.
Apples were plentiful and were carefully stored away. The ritual of peeling an apple, so that as you peel it makes one long the entire piece of apple skin, thereby falling into a position on the table, resembling the initial of a young person’s future husband or wife! Isn’t that a nice way to encourage the dating game?
Our ancestors understood themselves very intimately and in relationship with the wild birds, the trees of the woodlands that surrounded them and in their connectedness with the wild creatures with who they shared the land.
In creating a series of artwork images, now expressed in a simple greeting card style form, based on native Irish birds, trees and creatures, I have delved into the fascinating and endlessly absorbing world of folklore. We are blessed to have so many authors and researchers who supply us with an abundance of material, continuously enhancing and deepening our understanding of folklore. My series of artwork, essentially, grew out of this absorption with our ancestors and with the respectful and complex relationship they enjoyed with trees, with their fellow creatures of the earth, of the water and of the sky.