They arrived today.  We don’t have post in Ireland at the weekend.  Well, this rural part of Ireland anyway, I don’t know about the rest.  Anyway, I digress.  Look at these lovelies:


Thank you Jane.  <3  The parcel smelled fabulous, even though my candles are unscented.  Your kitchen must be a delight to work in.

Getting ready to head off to the lovely Sarah in Ireland

Don’t these look lovely? Jealous? 😀
Why not head over to Jane’s blog and help get her new business flying by treating yourself to some delicious goodies. And you’d be supporting a bee charity. It’s a win-win-win situation!

Natures Gifts and Candles

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Familiar words can have different meanings in Catholicism.  “Passion” refers to the sufferings of Jesus after the Last Supper.  The passion flower has been taken to symbolise these sufferings.  For example, the five anthers are said to represent Christ’s five wounds and the three stigma the nails.  I thought I’d try to draw a passion flower halo for my Tree of Life design with the 72 radiating tendrils representing the crown of thorns.  Today is the Feast of Christ the King.  A king who has thorns for his crown.  A king who is not only just, but also merciful.  A king who loves us more than we love ourselves.


I’ve also done some more work on the border.


My New Hero

Raymond Leo Cardinal BurkeThe Sunday before last, I was privileged to be able to go to a Pontifical Mass celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke (pictured). However, that’s not what made him my new hero. The Catholic world has been in crisis since the Second Vatican Council in the Sixties, and Cardinal Burke, along with three other Cardinals, has just made a significant step in resolving that crisis.  He is the only Cardinal of the four who is not retired.  He has already been demoted and sidelined by the Vatican for his conservative stance.  He risks further reprisals with this latest move, even though what he is doing is absolutely legitimate and even a requirement of his position as Cardinal.  May God rain blessings down on this very brave man.

Sacred Music

I have a feeling that some of you might be in need of some soothing music today.

The YouTube channel “Callixtus”  has a nice selection of sacred (Christian) music illustrated with sacred art.

Faith in Wales

When people begin asking questions about the meaning of life, about the significance of things, they begin to touch on religious questions, but in general, people are not asking these questions, and I say this as one who has taught religious education for fifteen years here in Wales, and who has lived in this society most of his life.

Heiromonk Deiniol

This is a quote from an interesting article, which is itself an extract from a larger article by the Road to Emmaus magazine.  It gives an overview of the history of Christianity in Wales, and of the current situation there with regards to faith.

A Pure Heart

I would like to share one of my favourite Welsh songs with you.  There are loads of different versions on the net but I think it is best sung by a male voice choir so here is a nice version for you to try.  The translation in the centre of the picture is a little hard to read so I’ve copied it out below.

I don’t ask for a luxurious life
The world’s gold or its fine pearls
I ask for a happy heart
An honest heart, a pure heart

A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily
None but a pure heart can sing
Sing in the day & sing in the night

Evening and morning, my wish
Rising to heaven on the wing of song
For God, for the sake of my Saviour
To give me a pure heart…

‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God’ (Mt 5:8).

The heart in Hebrew psychology is the seat of thought and will rather than of emotion.  The pure heart, we may therefore say, is one in which the ‘citadel of the mind’ (a Buddhist phrase) has been cleansed and the will stabilised.  When this state is reached, according to the Hindu-Buddhist tradition, God is already present within the human consciousness…  what is promised to the pure in heart does not come as a subsequent reward – which is probably its Christian eschatological meaning – but is the other side of the coin, the complement, of the purity itself.  Bring the mind into the requisite condition, and God who is already there as the divine ‘ground’ of our being, is blissfully realised.

Excerpt from “Contemplative Christianity” by Aelred Graham

Tree Progress


So I got all the lettering done except for the initial “G”; the first draft anyway.

Please don’t ask me what is up with the animal head coming out of the “d”. I don’t know why his tongue has got knotted up with his mane. It’s just one of those things that happens in this kind of art. I guess the monks that spent so many hours of their lives making themselves blind doing this stuff liked to have a bit of fun with it. That, or they drank too much homebrew. Monks were/are pretty good brewers, or so I’m told.

Sad State of Churches in France

Having recently shown you some of the beautiful architecture in France I thought I would show you the danger that it is in.  As far as I know, the French state owns most of the churches.  It just allows the people use them for worship, and so on.  When I was in Rouen I saw impressive repairs that had been made to the cathedral but I also saw plants growing on the roof of St Ouen’s (see here for my photos of these buildings).  It seems that there isn’t enough money to go around.  The huge church of St Ouen holds only one Mass per year and is used for art installations, and the like, for the rest of the time.  It was very sad to see a consecrated church crumbling and full of inappropriate artwork.

If a church is a big tourist attraction then it is safe for the time being but the rest…

2800 churches in France have recently been, or are soon to be, demolished.

And, before I get complaints, I know this is not just a problem in France.  For example, I know that the Church in Britain has sold a lot of its old high-maintenance buildings in favour of cheaper modern ones.  At least there, a lot of the old buildings are being preserved by private owners after being deconsecrated.

Border Control

I’ve made a little more progress on my Tree of Life piece.  I wanted to take a break from spirals so I decided to start work on the border.  I based the border designs on ones I had sketched for an earlier project (which is currently on the back burner).  I also tried out some of the Book of Kells font that I created for that project.  For those interested in the technicalities, I created the font using Manga Studio but I’m doing this piece in Krita.  Sometimes one can export projects from Manga Studio in Photoshop format (.psd) and then open them in Krita.  It didn’t work this time though so I had to make do with just the bare image.