Category Archives: holidays

Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze, Denver, CO

Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze ( - Halloween Fun 2016 - Sir Thomas and the Prince, Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 30, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze

Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze
~ 2005 S US Highway 287,
Broomfield, Colorado ~ (303) 465-9565 ~ ~

This year, for Halloween fun, we joined together with some close friends and high tailed it to the Rock Creek Farm for their miles of corn mazes to explore. It was my son’s first experience tromping around such custom-styled, aerial view famed mazes such as these. Rock Creek has hundreds of acres of pumpkin patches and corn fields ready to explore and enjoy for the Fall holidays. The U-Pick-Em pumpking fields are great places to get your festivity decor and pumpkins. They have a petting farm with pigs, ponies, goats, donkeys, chickens, and other farm animals. They have bouncy houses and inflatable slides, rolling balls, and other games to partake in. Many activities are free, others were a bit pricey. They did put a lot of work into creating these fields. We had a great time. Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze ( - Halloween Fun 2016 - Sir Thomas and the Prince, Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 - Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf  and Prince Cian.  Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 30, 2016.  To read the adventures, visit   To read reviews, visit:  All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 - by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.
Rock Creek Farm Corn Maze ( – Halloween Fun 2016 – Sir Thomas and the Prince, Denver, Colorado. New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken October 30, 2016. To read the adventures, visit To read reviews, visit: All photos and articles (c) 2015/2016 – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved.

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Shandon Center Samhain Dragon Parade 2011 * Dragon of Shandon Samhain Parade in Cork, Ireland on Halloween * Monday, October 31, 2011. This year’s parade featured creations from hundreds of community group participants, Irelands largest articulated sellotape Dragon, scary characters, musicians and an illuminated river parade by Naomhóga Chorcaí and Meithal Mara up the River Lee.

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Brigid’s Cross

Brighid’s Cross
* Kildare, Ireland *

Another blessed part of my pilgrimage to Brigid and Kildare was learning more about Brigid’s Cross. I had the pleasure of Faerie Moe as a guide, a local friend giving me the tour of Kildare and the sacred wells as well as giving me an on-hands explanation on how to weave a Brigid’s Cross. As a dedicant to the Goddess Brigid for over 20 years, in my early years i fumbled at making them, but never made anything as intricate and powerful as the crosses I saw at St. Brigid’s shrine and Sister Mary’s house. Amazing. Many say that the St. Brigid’s Cross, a.k.a. Cros Bríde, Crosóg Bríde or Bogha Bríde, is actually an Irish symbol of sun worship representing the sun in the center with rays of light coming from it in the shape of the arms of the Cross. Some say it represents a Brigid legend where in the story St. Brigid miraculously hung her wet clothes to dry on a sunbeam. It is also considered a Pagan sun wheel. They are traditionally made on February 1st for Lá Fhéile Bhríde (St. Brigid’s feast day). It is also a symbol of Ireland and its provinces. Ireland has four provinces, but in ancient Ireland there were five – an invisible one in the center of Ireland. To some, the Brigid’s cross represents the four provinces (in the modern standard design) and in the 5 handed cross like shown in these pictures, representing the 5 provinces. The arms represent North, South, East, West, and Center. The 5th Province, the invisible one, is the province of healing and reconciliation. Brigid’s Cross probably first appeared in Ireland between the 2nd century B.C.E. and the 2nd century C.E. It is a folk magic tradition of weaving together straw to create a equal-armed Celtic cross that represents the Goddess Brigid, or modern day St. Brigid. Taking rushes that are woven together into a swastica-like /Celtic cross-like ornament, with a central square and four spokes protruding from each corner of the square in opposing directions, that has some variations found in Celtic art both ancient and modern. Brigid’s cross appears often traditionally on February 1st, the eve of St. Brigid’s feast / Imbolc / or Candlemas. In some traditions, the Brideoga or Biddies, young virgin boys who would carry a churndash (post used to churn butter) that is dressed up as a woman or an effigy of St. Brigid, and would go door-to-door through their neighborhood collecting alms for the poor. While collecting alms, they would leave bundles of straw and rushes outside the homes that they visited. At nightfall, young virgin girls would pick them up and ask to be admitted to the homes in the name of Brigid and would weave the rushes into crosses. After traditional prayers and a meal at the homes, the crosses would be placed under the eaves in the house or in the outhouses and sometimes blessed with holy water. The leftover rushes would be woven into a girdle called a “crios” or a tie for cattle or sometimes as a Brid’s bed or mattress for the Saint. Just as cattle were traditionally led through holy lakes or doused in water from Brigid’s well, they were often led through uplifted arches of these girdles. The Brid’s bed or holy mattresses were often placed at specific sacred wells and believed to possess curative powers to counter barrenness and to protect families and animals from natural calamities, especially lightning and fire. Some see the Brigid’s cross as symbolic of the evolution of the Goddess into the Saint. The Brigid’s Cross magically is believed to protect a house where it hangs from evil and from fire. Because of this, it is often hung in kitchens.

The Brigid’s cross is commonly woven on February 1st or 2nd, the date of Celtic Imbolc or Candlemas, a time to celebrate Brigid in her maiden form – the winter elder “cailleach” is reborn the maiden in her phase of collecting kindling for winter fires and warming the hearth for spring when she becomes young again. (After serving the winter as the aged woman still collecting kindling to keep the fire going to rejoice the flame for her rebirth) As the inventor of “caoineadh” or “keening”, from the mourning of her son Ruadán’s death, she inadvertently created the art form to keen. Some say this is tied into the creation of the Brigid’s cross. At this time when the night sky turns to the North star, the big dipper turns through the seasonal year, creating patterns in the sky that the Brigid cross is said to invoke. To tie into the warming for spring, Brigid is the fire keeper of the eternal flame always burning in Kildare, keeping the people of Ireland eternally warm. During her conversion to becoming a nun led to the practice of the Brigid’s cross, a craft many children and adults partake of weaving the kindling into a spiral form of the Brigid’s cross.

Here is a great web site with diagrams of the weave:

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DAY 2 and 3 of BELTANIA 2009

2nd Annual Colorado Beltania Festival: Day 2 and 3 * Parrish Ranch * Outside of Fort Collins, Colorado * Living Earth aka Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup *
Friday-Sunday, May 8-10, 2009
“Living Earth” which is formerly known as “Highlands Ranch Pagan Meetup” has begun to host an annual celebration of the Pagan Sabbat of “Beltane” or “May Day”. On their 2nd annual run of the three day festival, this nonprofit event on a private ranch brings festivity to the season with open rituals, classes, workshops, children’s activities, and service projects. Beltania offered its attendees a large outdoor stage with some incredible acts, an indoor 3000 square foot lodge, hundreds of acres of outdoor space, restrooms with cold water showers, workshops, activities, rituals, a traditional Maypole dance, sweat lodge ceremonies, all-night drum circles, catered breakfasts/dinners, merchant area, RV/camper’s hookups, wild camping area, quiet camping area, skyclad areas, a swimming river, and much more. Over the course of the three days, the festival saw over 700 guests in attendance.

May Pole Procession:

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May Day / Beltane

Beltane/May Day (May 1st)
may day
is a celebrated sabbat and holiday of Indo-European Paganism that was later adapted by Christianity, and then “holiday culture.” In terms of "holiday culture", is meant the current trend within our culture to take really traditional practices & rites and commercialize them or turn them into a non-religious "fun" holiday game or party favor. (Cypress Knee) As there is nothing wrong with this evolution or abstraction of tradition in itself, its very important to understand the tradition and to respect its origins.

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Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

Part B

Entering the Begijnhof

Thursday, 9 April 2009
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Sir Thomas Leaf was inspired by the healing energies of the plaza that was mythologically known for its healing and the bread that doesn’t burn. From the crazy wild partying city of Amsterdam – a walk through a door to another dimension – into a Dutch square where it was sacred, quiet, and tranquil. Intriguing thoughts about the key swarmed Leaf’s mind. He realized he is closer yet to discovering the ‘key of life’. After the tranquility, Kevin led the band to oogle over the Dutch masterpiece painting and learning about the seals and marks of Amsterdam. The tour ended at Anne Frank’s house where the story of “tolerant” Amsterdam stood up against the Nazis and the tragedies befell that struggle. Hungry for Thai food, Sir Thomas Leaf and Princess Brea headed over to the Asian District to try out the highly recommended “Bird Thai” restaurant which they quite enjoyed. Wandering back to the hostel for a nap and down time before exploring the nightlife with the New Amsterdam Tour’s Pub Crawl.

Read my telling and review about the Amsterdam Miracle and the Begijnhof / Chapel here …

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Sect 2: Chapter 15, Part B (4/9) – The New Amsterdam Free Tour, pt. 2 – Begijnhof, Amsterdam Miracle, Dutch Courtyards & Paintings, Multatuli, The Bird

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The Miracle of Amsterdam, Begijnhof and Chapel (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

Begijnhof and Chapel
*Zandvoorterweg 78 * 2111 GZ Aerdenhout * Tel. 023-5246229 * Fax. 023-5440081 * info: * website:
Amsterdam, Holland
It was here, at the Begijnhof that a few days before Palm Sunday on March 15, 1345 a sick man in the Kalverstraat took the Sacrament of the sick from the local priest. The man vomited up the host, which was caught in a basin and thrown on the fire where it “appeared” to “float above the flames”. It was an amazing miracle. A woman then stretched out her hand into the flames to seize the host from the fire and put it in a case. She remained unburnt and unharmed from putting her hand in the fire when touching the host. The priest, who was from the Oude Kerkwas sent for and took the host back to the “Old Church”. The next day a woman in the house in the Kalverstraat opened the case and saw that the host had magically transported back. She sent for the priest again, and again he took the magic host back to the Old Church. The next day for a third time, the host transported back to the case in the sick man’s room. The miracle of the bread that didn’t burn and wouldn’t leave the house became known widespread. Again, the priest took the host, but this time returning to the Old Church with a solemn procession. The next year the Bishop Jan van Arkel declared this host to be a genuine miracle. Two years later, a church was built on the very spot where the miracle took place. As people joined a procession to take the holy sacrement through the streets of Amsterdam in mid-march to celebrate the Miracle. The Holy Stead Chapel (The Ter Heylighen Stede) was consecrated by the vicar-general of Bishop Jan van Arkel, the Bishop of Utrecht in 1347.

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Lichtenau, Germany

On Palm Sunday, April 5th, while walking through the village of Lichtenau and the city of Ansbach, we noticed spread across the threshholds to a cafe/restaurant (Lichtenau) and a dining hall of a Protestant parish courtyard (Ansbach) (both primarily Protestant communities) from afar looked like fresh cut flower greens (not the flower heads/petals) or fern branches, but a closer inspection hints more as fresh tree sapling sprouts or branches, some evergreen; making a pathway into the establishment. Google searches provided no suggestions. Communitie discussion on networks and folklore boards came up with the following: (1) The Troll: foliage representing palm fronds for “Palm Sunday” (Catholic tradition on this April 5th; possibly Byzantine roots before spread to Catholicism in 5th century); (2) The Troll: (alternate) if Willow branches: Russian Orthodox, Polish and Bavarian Roman Catholics, and various other East European peoples carry pussy willows on Palm Sunday instead of palm branches (which do not grow that far north). This custom has continued to this day among Romanian Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Polish Catholic, and Ukrainian Catholic emigrees in North America. (3) Bonefinder: Palmbosch’n’ – the Berchtesgadeners still believe in the ‘magic powers’ of the Palmbosch’n (literally ‘palm bushes’): According to the web site, there is no farm in the area that isn’t decorated each spring with so-called palm bushes that ornament the entire house from bedrooms to stables; they are not palm leaves (too hard to come by in the areas) but rather most often tree branches such as the willow branch (most measuring between 60 and 140 cm (two to five feet) in length). A ritual is conducted before they are used, as they have the uppermost twigs of the willow branch slit open with a small switch of beech or cedar inserted to bring blessings upon the house. The Palmbosch’n are also decorated with ‘Gschabertbandl’. These multicolored ribbon ornaments are made from long wood shavings that have been dyed and ironed. A final touch is given to the ‘willow palms’: two tiny slits are cut into the stem under the bark. This is said to ‘release the witches and druids’ who are believed to hibernate in there. Continue reading Palmbosch’n’

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April Fools Day


Every First Day of April occurs a day of “pranks” and “jokes” and is known as April Fools’ Day or All Fools’ Day. Through the history its become an important unofficial holiday to many. Its a day to mark the commission of hoaxes and other practical jokes of varying sophistication on friends, family members, enemies, and neighbors, or sending them on a fool’s errand, the aim of which is to embarrass the gullible. In many countries – like Canada, South Africa, the UK, Australia; traditionally, the joking and humor only lasts until noon. In these countries, if someone plays a joke after “noon” they are known as the “April Fool”. However, in other countries like the USA, France, and Ireland – the jokes last all day [according to wikipedia ]. No one knows the origin of the holiday but it is theorized that it came shortly after the incorporation of the Gregorian Calendar as a means to belittle those still adhering to the Julian Calendar which it replaced. In Pre-Christian countries with the celebration of May Day (May 1st) as the first day of summer, April Fools would make a mockery of this tradition by doing this celebrating prematurely. Another theory is that when King Charles IX changed the first day of the year in France from April 1st to January 1st, many stuck with April 1st and those who did, were called “April Fools” and teased by their neighbours. There is also a Medieval reference in the Canterbury Tales (ca. 1400) in the Nun’s Priest’s Tale where the Chanticleer and the fox – tale of two fools, took place on March 32nd. [Reference: Wikipedia: [wikipedia] This day traditionally is a favorite of mine as I do enjoy pranks. We had a Fooling Livejournal blog when I lived in Vancouver, B.C. that me and some friends activated on this date with foolish ideas and stories. The one practical joke that fooled me in like fashion of the Blair Witch Project documentary hoax, was the “Dead Fairy Hoax” which captivated my gullible senses within ‘folks and legends’ of which i believe. Very well crafted, as it came out around the same time as the real archaeological discovery by a Florida University of the “miniature human remains” that are still being researched. The Dead Fairy Hoax ( took place a few days before April 1st, 2007 by the London illusion designer “Dan Baines” who posted on his website images of the “corpse” of an unknown eight-inch creation that he claimed were the mummified remains of a fairy discovered by a dog walker at Firestone Hill in Duffield, Derbyshire that were complete with ears, wings, hair, skin, and teeth that had the claim they were examined by anthropologists and forensic experts claiming the body genuine. Came complete with x-rays. After April Fools, the remains were sold on Ebay for a bid of Ł280. Silly me for being a believer as a scientist I would normally respond to the belief in fairies question as most Irish would “Do you believe in Fairies?” = “Of course I don’t believe in Fairies, but I know they exist!”

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Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 7, Morning – Exploring Köln, Köln Cathedral, April Fools

, Morning

By the Köln Cathedral

Wednesday, 1 April 2009
Köln, Germany

Awaking relatively early, yet having a little of a sleep in; the adventuring parties of Sir Christian, Sir Thomas Leaf, and Princess Brea ventured out to the fabled city of Köln (Cologne) for searching clues in the Köln Cathedral, German Roman Museum, and the Chocolate Museum. Venturing out to the autobahn in the carriage with preferable unlimited speed limit … the party was there in no time. However, traffic congestion and an accident made things slow like molasses.

Brea and a romantic Mime

It was officially “April Fools Day” and as Lady Vanessa informed Sir Thomas and Lady Brea about the fabled prank that the press pulled on the citizens of Köln … that the two spired wonder of the Cathedral in Köln which is infamously under construction, was in fact not being restored, but rather being built a “third” spire with the city’s unlimited funding. Apparently the joke did not go over very well. The party adventured up the steps towards the main entrance, where a half a dozen mimes dressed in various “period” clothing and body paint were doing their acts, posing for photos, making the minute mime noise when they want your attention with birdish tweets and sparrow whistles, and collecting their Euros. A couple grabbed Princess Brea’s moments as they flirted with the young lady and as Sir Thomas Leaf captured it on film. Wandering into the World Heritage site of the Köln Cathedral, the adventuring party explored the grounds in search of “the key”. Some murals and panels had interesting facts and history. The buried tombs and coffins of many a night and clergy lay round the arms and loop of the cathedral. Inspiring decorated stained glass, gold and metalwork, paintings, and sculpted art brought brilliance to the party as they quietly explored the church. After explorations, they followed a large group of historically dressed elderly that seemed to be off to some wedding or event. The symphony grounds enroute to the river had 9 security guards protecting a piazza from entrance even though nothing was in the bricked space or any activity suggesting there would be something. Perhaps an April Fool’s joke? Onward to the River, enroute to the Chocolate Museum to see if the “key” was there.

One of the Piazza / street painters doing a Unicorn chalk painting

Continue reading Lady of the Rhine, Part 2: Chapter 7, Morning – Exploring Köln, Köln Cathedral, April Fools

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