all cultures seem to have some notion of diminutive races of human-like beings who live in ‘other dimensions’ or exist at ‘other vibrational levels’ or are beings of ‘finer substance, e.g. astral or ethereal substance’, such that only rarely can they be seen by people of our dimension, or such that only people with specialised vision can ever see them, whether rarely or often. yet invisible as they are, they are an active, constant part of our world, vital to its welfare, performing work in nature and sometimes in human affairs that is part of the proper functioning of our planet.
in every culture people with specialised perception which enables them to see beings not visible to others have been recognised and valued, and excused from kinds of social and other community involvement to the extent that they have needed to be in order to develop and maintain this specialisation.
aborigines have traditionally enjoyed a wider perceptivity than white culture finds ‘normal’ not doubting the existence of these higher or lower levels of being on which are found many different kinds of being; human or human-like, semi-human, or non-human; friendly, hostile or neutral. certain wise women and men are actively enabled by the community to commune with them for mutual benefit.
in western european culture, under the repressive regime of the church, the equivalents of these wise people were condemned as witches, and later denounced unjustly as fraudulent or ‘mad’.
it is interesting that the word ‘mad’ is the name of an ancient welsh wisdom path, officialdom or priesthood, and the welsh still have a reputation for this ‘second sight’, or the ‘faerie sight’ or ‘astral vision’ as it is variously called by believers.
during the nineteenth century, anyone who believed in these other ‘colours of the spectrum’ of existence was mercilessly ridiculed as superstitious or delusional. the threat of being called ‘mad’, with the penalty of being put into a ‘madhouse’, caused most ‘second-sighted’ people to become silent about what they saw, through fear, and to repress their visions – if possible.
religious practice aimed to drive out ‘devils’, faeries and ‘evil’ -which was whatever the church wanted to drive out, whether good, bad or indifferent – and this cruelly vexed relations with our faerie neighbours, and sometimes tormented the faeries themselves, so that many of them became hostile.
worse, cynical psychiatric ‘magic’ (that claimed not to believe in ‘magic’) systematically deranged the collective unconscious mind so badly that opening up the specialised senses of the faerie sight tended to open them to chaotic disruption, in which tormented and fragmentary glimpses of mostly hostile, barely intelligible otherworldly beings was immediately diagnosed as madness, the result of purely physiological disturbances in a constitutionally weak person’s brain, or of bad diet, too much drink, or over-excitement due to superstition and a culpable addiction to the fantastic and absurd.
but despite the misery attendant upon having the ‘sight’, about the same number of western european people have it, are born with it, or develop it as they grow up, or it comes and goes, as in any other culture. the only difference is that in western white culture where it is feared and treated as insane it tends to be incoherent and frightening, while where it is valued, a coherent, meaningful, usually beautiful interrelationship is maintained (though it’s never all beer and skittles – there are usually conflicts, small or great, even in the midst of friendships, and sometimes there is enmity).
the faerie sight in western tradition resembles schizophrenia (distinguish carefully from violent emotional disorders, and bizarre criminality – i’m referring to people who hear ‘voices’, ‘see things’, believe they are telepathic and that the psychiatric profession is out to do them harm, but are themselves kindly, well-behaved and law-abiding) in that it runs in families and skips a generation.
my grandmother spent time in hospital being treated for a psychiatric disorder, until she grew impatient, declared herself perfectly sane and stalked off home to her own little cottage where she gardened very happily with faeries and talked to ghosts until she died comfortably in her own bed. her brother was said to be ‘strange’ but i didn’t know him.
her children were all ‘normal’.
but in the next generation, two of my cousins saw ghosts and experienced telepathy, and one of them believed herself capable of casting spells. another cousin was subjected to intensive psychiatric treatment after seeing little people who laughed at her – she was grateful to be ‘cured’ of this ‘disease’ by the drugs given to her.
i myself developed second sight, telepathy and clairaudience as i reached adulthood, and i never feared it, but actively sought the company of the little beings invisible to all but the gifted few. and yes, i found the experience fragmentary, the ‘good neighbours’ hostile, fearful or appalled, the astral plane dominated by thugs of the repressive regime, and threat and menace everywhere.
everywhere except out in the scrub, which is where gaia put me. there, in land still cherished by aborigine spirit people, ghosts, and kindly wise women who exist, like angels, on more than one level, in more than one mode, i found the astral beings relatively mild, kindly and aware, and perception easy, and especially perception of the aborigine ghosts, angels, faeries etc. in their company i planted a flower and herb garden (as my heritage would impel) and tried to make what peace i could with the hurt and hostile faeries and plant spirits, witches, devils and nature spirits – all benign, all cruelly maligned by the fallacious and superstitious religion of the violated and corrupt false-christian church.
and the aborigines watched, asked me questions, learned and understood, and they began to show me things, their ‘witches’, plant spirits, faerie men and women, one who called me ‘soul sister’, another who called me daughter, who taught me to call the inch ant my sister, the hop bush my uncle.
and one hot summer’s day, the flower garden well-watered and fragrant in the golden heat of the afternoon, i fell into a reverie while staring vaguely into a flowery shrub, listening to bees and thinking of nothing.
suddenly i felt a subtle tension seize my mind, a moment of excitement and then triumph, because there! right in front of my eyes i saw a group of four or five nine or ten inch high aborigine men, standing under the bush, moving easily and naturally, emanating a feeling of calm pleasure.
it lasted for several seconds before i felt myself return to normal vision. and as i did so i became aware of two aborigine men either side of me, who had me by the shoulders as you would position a child to look at something you wanted to show them, and they were smiling delightedly because i had seen what they had to show me. tuckonies.
i’ve seen other kinds of aboriginal diminutives too, under native plants, slightly smaller than these – a man and his little wife, associated with the erect blue-bush, a rather scrubby little plant very common around here. they are beautiful, tiny and fey, and full of kindly laughter.
and the tuckonies are delightful. they come inside. i see them on my bedside table. sometimes they wear ceremonial pipeclay and feathers and carry spears. they speak good english and they know what’s going on in my mind. they know what i’ve been reading about and they take a great interest.
when i was making shrines for celtic gods, they watched. when i was rather taken with the name ‘sweet honey on the rock’ they liked it. they asked for some – a rock of their own that i would put honey on for them. so i did. i placed a smooth rock in the centre of a circle of rocks near where i’d first seen them and each quarter of the moon i give them honey or molasses or a mixture of both.
sometimes i see them come to it, and on one of the first occasions i saw tiny hands pressed into the honey to be licked clean by the joyful families that had gathered to enjoy it.
and that’s what i wanted to say when i started writing today.
the tiny tuckonies of aboriginal belief, who make plants and trees grow faster and higher with their magical dancing, really do exist. i know because i’ve seen them!