How to See Fairies.
“When silver moon looks out and the day has fled
A little elfin man in a coat of red
Calls to all the fairies near
Telling them they may appear
All the mortal folk are asleep in bed.”
As the song suggests, not all fairies want to be seen, but some definitely do. If you want to see them, there are three things to get:
1. Get healthy. You’ll be activating specialised senses whose optimal functioning depends on the same sound health principles as any of your other senses, so you need to be well-nourished. In greater than usual demand will be vitamins E and A, and organic sources are best, so eat nuts and fresh fruit and salad vegetables and edible flowers such as rosebud petals, violets, nasturtiums, dandelion flowers etc. Fish, milk, honey, fruit and flower wines and plenty of pure water are all helpful.
2. Get less humanocentric. We are their ‘fairies’ as much as they are ours. Our world is not by any means the ‘primary’ one with ‘peripheral’ worlds that are somehow less real or less complete than ours existing in an inferior relation to it. There are many different realities with all manner of different relationships to one another. I am a guide to many fairies wishing to access our world, just as you are, or will be when you open your life to them. But it isn’t my primary function, and nor will it be yours unless you want it to be. There are fairies who will guide you to their worlds, and most would answer your questions, as you would answer theirs. But in general most fairies are not there to be our helpers. They have rich, full, busy lives of their own.
3. Get confident. There ain’t no such thing as a ‘muggles’. You are magical. Life itself is magical. You are constantly sensing and interacting subliminally with fairies. You can become conscious of this interaction and thus get more control of it. If you don’t want it, you’re probably not ready to, or not evolving in that direction. If you want to enough to try to, your fairy-perceiving senses are probably ready to be activated.
Where to start? Meditate. Practice austerities (but not so that it’s no longer fun). Dance – ballet, for example, requires you to manage your energies elegantly, because that’s what gracefulness is, and well-managed energies ensure that you are not a series of jarring shocks to fairies influenced by your energy field. Jigging – or jogging – helps you loosen up and lighten up, clearing what used to be called ‘gross humours’; clog-dancing clatters away the veils between us and the next worlds and facilitates conversation with pixies, Norse elves and earth fairies, the dwellers in hills and mountains. Sing or play a flute or fife. This brings you close to the wavelengths of the aerial fairies. These include many nature spirits, some elementals, winged fairies, and many others. Corroboree brings in the Aborigine Tuckonies. Yoga, trance, tai chi: your own soul will know which methods are best for you.
‘Fairies’ is a term covering a wide range of beings who are not normally visible to most people. Their diversity appears even greater since many beings are able to project from great distances holographic fairy images which are actual ephemeral beings in their own right. Some of these are quite idiosyncratic, ranging from cartoon-like characters to visions of great beauty and saintliness, with myriad varieties in between. So you have to be a bit selective – you decide which fairies you want to see and craft your lifestyle to incorporate your quest for them. Or you can optimise the functioning of all your newly awakening senses to enable you to see as many different kinds as possible. They’re not all fond of us, so I can tell you from experience this way is strictly for the foolhardy. On the other hand, however well you aim for one or another fairy type, you’re sure to come across real surprises, and by staying cheerful and good-tempered, you can be sure that these will tend to be delightful.
But staying cheerful and good-tempered is usually an unrealistic ideal for most of us, no matter how much we try. We need to find ways into the fairy worlds or to bring fairies into ours in which our lapses of temper and goodwill will be forgiven. An easy and safe way into this world is by using the stereotypic fairy dell of children’s literature as a focus. I call this the “Dingly Dell” method, and recommend it for its fun and safety. It’s high-cuteness, but only on the surface – as you get deeper in, you discover reality more meaningful to adults, and as more adults enter, the interface will be recrafted to suit. Meanwhile, there are great advantages in retrieving the open-mindedness and fairy-friendly attitudes that maintain some of the magic of early childhood attitudes, so don’t despise them.
The first thing to do is find a place or make one at least a square metre or so in area and tell the fairies it is theirs. Imagine a Tinkerbell-like fairy – she’s not a bad icon for the type she represents, and is always trustworthy, and will tell the others. Then keep this space sacred to the fairies – don’t cultivate it, don’t weed it, just keep it free of litter.
If it’s a pretty outdoor place with moss and wildflowers, water, sunshine and bushes full of birds surrounding it, or in a garden, that is wonderful. Expect to see them there, or feel them or hear them, ask to see, and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you begin to do so – perhaps within a year or so. Look for a peculiar sparkling quality in the sunlight or the air, an uplifting ambience full of happiness and pleasure. If it’s just a plot of weeds, still keep it dedicated.
Don’t get too close too soon – let it be wild, and then the shy types will feel safe there. This place will attract winged diminutives, some elves, pixies, gnomes, brownies, and many others, including tiny human beings. The classic up-turned flowerpot with a large chip out of one side will shelter some kinds, enabling them to see into our world. Some hand-crafted fairy houses will do the same.
If you choose a place inside you may feel inspired to decorate it. Be whimsical – they are. I made three 10” – 18” high papier maché mushrooms for three little men, identifying as a brownie, a leprechaun and one I know only from German folklore as das Männlein wer im Walde ganz still und stumm steht (the little man who stands in the forest quite still and silent, who corresponds to ‘the little elfin man’ in the song quoted at the head of this article). They insisted on coming inside although I’d given them their own shrines outside, and it’s one of the most active magical areas on the farm. They are demanding, hilarious, gruff, grim and totally, profoundly good. And they or their many often hilarious mental projections are occasionally clearly visible.
I started by yielding to whimsical impulses to give them coffee every morning when I make mine. I made a tiny cauldron out of clay and fired it in my hearth. They showed their gratitude with audible and visible displays, which I got better and better at hearing and seeing.
One morning for example, just at the beginning when their cauldron was new, as I filled it for them, I heard them talking together, in loud, excited voices – although barely audible to me.
“No, I tell you,” declared the brownie, hands on hips. “It just does happen. You watch.” The others stared at the empty cauldron intently. I glimpsed them just as I touched the cauldron, and heard them all gasp and exclaim as I lifted it out of their sight. They shouted excitedly when I put it down, freshly filled, among them, and then fell silent and awestruck, looking at it. Then they dipped in their cups and drank happily.
If you want fun, the “little men” give you that, crafted to suit you personally. If you want to understand them in a scientific way they’ll help you with that, but you have to enter into their mirth, and you have to be morally sound – honest, kind-hearted, and respectful of the rights of all. They become major benefactors in a shamanism that includes them. They are enlightened beings. (Not all fairies are – most as just as naïve and eager to learn as we are.) Perhaps most importantly, they’ll act as your guide and protectors in your exploration of the fairy realms of our planet, known to our ancestors and reappearing to a growing number of seers again now. In traditional lore brownies are the wise counsellors. Refer to them if ever you feel out of your depth or afraid. If you were ever in the Brownies as a little girl, you’re more than half-way there!
To see plant spirits you have to hang loose, to be able to lose yourself in your gardening, in the study of botany or enjoyment of nature, and engage as totally and innocently as a child with individual plants, leaves, flowers, sand grains, focussing on plants, insects or natural objects you love, especially any that are special to you from your earliest childhood. Wild-plant fairies are wild and sometimes hostile, but rarely dangerous. They may accuse all humans equally of poisoning our shared worlds and can be persuaded to listen while you teach them that some humans are loving and respectful and want to reverence their herb – thistle, bramble, thorn, whatever it might be. Gifts of small crystals, pieces of coloured glass, tiny plastic toys, silver tokens or coins, etc, buried or placed beside their plant, usually help to appease them, as they signal our willingness to love them. Word spreads rapidly among them and they are more willing to believe in the increasing number of humans who are willing to respect them now than they were a few years ago.
Plant spirits range in size from vast to tiny. Landscape spirits may shape-shift or project an archetypal animation representing a gigantic human, animal or dragon form. Forest, grassland, or dune spirits may appear as giants, antlered, hooved, or winged, or shape-shifting among many forms, or transcending form and locus altogether in breath-takingly magical ways. Trees as whole species or as individuals, may project a variety of forms – tiny blossom fairies, tall witchy women or shaman-like men, knee-high elf-like wood spirits, high-strangeness beings with barky skin and twiggy hands and feet, and dryads like those often depicted in 19th century art, or else beautiful maidens and youths, matrons and men, crones and hoary old men mirthful or grim, loving or stand-offish according to the spirituality of their tree.
Laughing old hags that come suddenly out of bushes to clutch your arm and hug you are less scary than they sound. You come to love them as you get to know them, and begin to understand that though you catch only fleeting glimpses of them, they know you well, inside out, and have known you for maybe centuries, and they sometimes love, bless, and protect you like angels. You come to sense the shyness of the leafy youths, the distrust of the pixies, and the fear of the tree-woman who holds herself visible for you with heroic courage, leaving you awed and reverent with gratitude. You get better at recognising their love, joy and gratitude, too.
Then there are the tiny ones, spirits of herbs, flowers and weeds. Fat-hen enchants you with a kindly fraternity and then suddenly reveals his tiny inner warrior, in shining armour, engaged in the deadly biochemical and spiritual warfare with other plants both underground and above. Comfrey schemes malevolently against couch grass, and lavender envenoms the soil around her roots to kill rivals and drive out invaders. Nasty they are, but thrilling, because they are utterly, uncompromisingly real – passionate about their wish to live and not be killed. They express this in forms taken directly from images of human warfare, until you can no longer deny that there’s some connection we have to make, and no longer doubt the importance of our understanding it. It’s also Gaia’s way of ensuring there is an interface across which ideational exchanges will be mutually intelligible. They’re harmless to us because their nastiness is contained within their own contexts and their warriors are only illustrations or symbolic interpretations of their biochemical characters, and seem not to notice us at all.
Others are quiet, neighbourly garden spirits who help with gardening and are easily accessed subconsciously by gardeners or botanists working professionally with plants. They begin to break through to us when we recall that despite their conflicts with human needs, weeds are worthy of respect. They reach us more freely when we allow at least some weeds and garden plants their fullness, not lopping off ‘dead’ flowers or hoicking them out altogether before they’ve set seed. They like weedy, untidy, prolifically productive gardens, and they fill them with flowers, food, and beauty for those who like the wildness of them.
For those who prefer them, clipped hedges, manicured lawns and disciplined weedless beds of gay annuals are just as full of fairies of other kinds, often knee-high or waist-high and dressed in the satin and lace and, velvet and macaroni of earlier times. Elegant winged fairies help to perfect specimen blooms of highly bred cultivars, having their own interest in their perfection. Queenly nymphs glide among well-tended shrubberies and little cosmic elves love strict mathematics and fussily tended knots and arbours, and even help to make the worst garden chemicals safer and more effective. Concrete and gravel spaces draw their own kinds of fairies, witches and gnomes as well.
Gnomes need help to focus themselves in your garden, and will take up residence in any stony structure that resembles or suggests to you the shape and character of a gnome. Profoundly wise cosmic beings, they are easily trapped in coercive relationships with people and so are shy. Treat them with great respect and kindness, and they will suss you out over a few years before slowly, sensitively beginning to become more active for you. Two or three are happier than one.
So, install your fairy shrine, dedicate it to fairies generally, and service it regularly, preferably every evening of the full moon. Spill clear water over a stone, place flowers or crystals in a dish of water placed so as to catch the moonbeams, or leave a hearty feast of cakes and coffee, mead and bread and butter, or cheese and bickies, distance yourself from it a bit, and watch what happens!
vyvyan ogma wyverne