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brownies – willing helpers

brownie

brownies are the gentle and wise lawgivers of the fairy realms

People who want to make shamanic connections with the fairy peoples usually start by learning as much as they can from books, other seers and folklore to add to their natural awareness and compare notes. You learn quickly that there are many different kinds of fairies, and that they vary from culture to culture.
Then as you become adept at seeing, your notion of what a fairy is usually undergoes a wild transformation. You begin to encounter the many varieties of fairies, elves, nature spirits etc, little and large, pretty and ugly, wise and silly, kindly and malevolent, sick and healthy, friendly and hostile, that your rapidly improving fairy sight reveals to you.

At this stage you may feel a need to focus on direct communion with just one kind of fairy at a time, usually using meditation and attunement techniques you may have learned as a part of a pagan, esoteric or new age teaching programme or similar. You set the scene with beautiful music, crystals enchanted for the purpose, and incense or aromatic oils, herbs and flowers. You centre yourself, your clear your mind, perhaps you might play a drum or a flute, and you open your eyes to the fairies around you.

The fairies will be aware of your preparations and they’ll crowd around to get a glimpse of you, and to let you see them. You get used to the fact that these are indeed people, high-strangeness people, indeed very high-strangeness people; and that some of them are intensely aware of you and are manipulating you with their powerful wills into their view, sometimes competing with each other for access to you. This can be frightening, but don’t panic. When it happens, you can always expect a Brownie to be there for you, to be your trustworthy guide and protector if you ask.

Brownies are among the easiest of fairies for humans to commune with. They are saintly little people about nine inches to just under a foot high, sometimes appearing in hooded garments of soft brown, grey and green colours. They are usually surrounded by a kind of courtly retinue which includes the astral forms of little human girls in their brownie uniforms, and other children.

Probably the word Brownie was originally Brehonie, and referred to a pious and much-loved legal fraternity that was quashed in Britain in mediaeval times so completely that history seems to be repressing the memory of them. Progress in translating their law texts has been slow and very, very fraught.

But folklore recalls the Brownie as an outlawed exile in wild places, sometimes protected by remote households for whom they very generously did useful work in exchange for nothing but food and clothing – taking offence permanently if offered payment. In the old ballad Brown Adam he was banished into the woods where he lived by hunting birds with a bow and arrow.

Children’s lore, often wiser and better informed than folklore because intuitive, situates them deep in the wildest and remotest parts of the mossiest, most mysterious green woods, where they have become invisible to humans, diminished in size to about a foot high. As Brehons once were among the peoples of old Britain, Brownies are are the wise law-givers, counsellors and peace-makers among all the wild woodland fairies, animals, birds and fishes, plant spirits, aerial and water beings, fire spirits and earth kin.

Real brownies are accessible to us through contemplation of this highly developed, consistently recurring image. If you ask them to they are willing to work closely with you as guides and negotiators on your behalf. They aren’t the only wise, human-friendly fairies you’ll encounter in the early stages, but they are omong the most adept at helping us to reorient ourselves appropriately in your newly expanded reality. And they do appreciate their annual gift of a new linen shirt and a good bannock bun – and firewood; only tokens now but once so meaningful!

Paradigms shift again when you realise that to the fairies, you are just one more kind of fairy. We are certainly giants to them, and if we think we’re not magical, there’s many a fairy, and many a quite justly aggrieved fairy, willing to prove to us that we’re just as magically dangerous to them as ever they could be to us. Without some training in stillness and receptivity, our fear paralyses them, our distrust binds them, our mis-visions distort and deform them, our disbelief disables them. The brownies are not just our guides, but our ‘handlers’ as well, to prevent us from harming the other beings with our unruly, lawless untamed magic.

Like many other fairies, Brownies remember being human, indeed many of them periodically incarnate as humans, and may even still think of themselves as human even though they have evolved since their banishment from human culture. They tell me their story as follows. Banished during the Conquest from their honoured place in British society, the few survivors fled singly to remote wild places, hiding in the deep forest to evade the hounds that were used to hunt them. In remote wild lands they survived, but were soon forgotten, except in folk-lore. Others, driven deeper into the forest, found food in abundance there, but were intensely alienated, often utterly devoid of all human company, and dependent on prayer, fairy magic and the guidance of Gaia (who knew just what she was doing) for their sanity.

A kind of sensory deprivation along with the effects of breathing the fungal spore laden air and of eating the occasional dodgy mushroom made these fugitives, credited anyway with magic powers, psychically hypersensitive. They soon began to hear the whispers of the forest, to understand the speech of animals and birds. Sleeping in the moss, feeding on the mushrooms, bark, herbs, nuts and berries of the forest’s bounty, drinking the dew and the heavy nectar of flowers, denied human companions, they soon fell under the spells of the forest fairies. Experiencing themselves to be more and more of their reality and less and less of this, they grew old and died, or they died through illness or the poison of a mushroom and so became part of the woodland community.

Over the centuries, their mentality and their appearance was greatly altered by their new environment, and geophysics of their new world diminished them in size. but they brought their legal expertise to bear upon the many problems that diverse and often competing fairies, fauns, birds and animals encounter in their efforts to create a viable and harmonious community of spirits. Our world was becoming less and less relevant to them, but Gaia had plans for them and us, and in accord with these there emerged the Brownie movement, the organisation for little girls that focused the potently magical attention of generations of eight-to-ten-year-old girls on just the kind of fairied forest environment in which these highly-evolved souls now have their spirituaL centres.

Aided by guiding angels and fairies, during the twentieth century the brownies and these little girls effected a cross-dimensional hand-shake of great importance to our planet, and it was a handshake of such good-will and delightfulness that brownies remain among the best-loved and most trusted of fairy characters in literature and lore. They are good little people, full of kindly charity and love, sweetness and joy, which they spread with the greatest ease wherever they go.

And nowadays they go about quite freely in all sorts of places, appearing in suburban gardens, Japanese parklands,city balconies and the Australian bush, and will appear in a well designated corner of almost any sincerely friendly, safe room if invited. They make charming use of those commercially available little toy doors that you affix to tree trunks and other likely places – not just for fun, but because they help to manifest the magic.

My Brownie guide ‘haunts’ or ‘inhabits’ a 14 inch high paper-maché toadstool with a nine inch diameter top. He explains that he magically bonds with the paper toadstool in such a way as to become sensitive to the thoughts and emotions going on around it. Thus it acts like a remote sensory organ, to which he can bring his whole mind’s attention at will, manifesting visibly beside it for me if he chooses. It’s like having a mobile phone.

His sense of humour is delightful, but he seems full of knowledge to impart as our relationship deepens. I service this shrine and others outside with gifts of food and drink and pieces of shiny metal which they use for money in one of their new toyland-like realms, which they develop for sound reasons, hilarious as they sometimes are.

Toylands? Yes, because expert as they are at bringing peace and sanity into communities of diverse beings, Brownies have learned from watching children play that a being is a being, whether a toy whose soul has been bestowed via the inarticulate love and fantasy of a child, or an angel spirit born triumphantly from the spent corpse of a dying human being, they are all sentient spirits, all worthy of their rights and responsible for their own karma. I suspect they’d find a use for anything if you offered it as a token of good-will.

Between small children at play and all manner of fairies, new worlds of solid reality are being woven all the time from the fantastical logistics and creative imagery of play, and because these new worlds have need of good, wise, fair laws to integrate them into the greater reality, Brownies are invited to participate in the building of them principally as law-givers.

Rapport with Brownies is based upon a mood-sharing which manifests quite strangely to an adult, because it is much more in the emotional idiom of children, or of medieval Brehons. It’s hard to put into words, except words so simple they might even sound facile, yet they possess all the more power for being so comprehensible. They teach that happiness is a medicine, something radiant and good that we infuse our surroundings with when we feel happy within.

We have a duty to be happy. Happiness is an elixir we brew in the chalice of our being, and it is a positive virtue to generate and emanate a radiance of happiness for the healing and comforting of our sad and damaged worlds. They know it isn’t always possible, but they urge us to be happy, to have fun, to make whoopee now and then, and follow your bliss wherever possible, making real inner happiness a goal, really caring about making ourselves truly happy in innocent ways that harm no one. They urge us to cultivate an optimistic disposition, to carry us through the sad times, and to gravitate (perhaps i should say levitate) back to as soon as things improve.
It doesn’t have to be noisy, visible happiness; you don’t have to smile all the time. Just consciously begin to liberate all the natural joy within you. That will not only improve your health and well-being, your luck and your whole quality of experience, it will also make you a well-spring of healing for everyone else around you.

i believe that asimov was an incarnate brownie, and that his laws for his sci-fi robots are real.

windows to the fairylands

windows:trees stones moss me 093

sometimes there are windows. one of the discouraging things about maintaining fairy shrines is the way you suddenly discover that you’ve forgotten one, or you just find yourself not servicing a particular shrine, with a guilty ‘i’ll get around to it later’ feeling as you rush through the morning’s activities, only to find it slipping right out of your routine, and falling into neglect. you send abject apologies to the beings concerned, but still you keep forgetting them or not having time.

that was where i stood with one of my most active fairy shrines, a little altar of bare rock not far from a cluster of wild, twisted bare wood on a sandy mound dotted with rocks, like an island between a goat track and my own pathway to the chook yard. this hill had been built by the wind within the branches of an old man salt bush, now long dead but still beautiful, its branches making a big gunyah for the aborigine fairies, the tiny tuckonies, magical people with a lot to say and delightful ways of saying it. i used to pour honey on the stone every full moon, and honey and molasses every half moon, and molasses every dark moon, and when i licked it off my fingers i shared it with them, and that brought me to their wave-length and i could see several of them, very tiny, only six to eight inches high, running up and putting their hands to the honey rock and licking it off in great joy and pleasure.

then suddenly small changes happened in my life and i forgot them. they went right out of my memory. years passed – maybe three or four – and then just once a year ago, i found myself in the area again and saw the ring of stones around the altar and stood still staring at it. i remembered how very active it had been, and felt now the aborigine spirits gathering around me, and ‘heard’ them explain in voiceless telepathy that the times are not now permitting. there are these cycles.

some of them are astrological – during the planetary alignment of the 1980s many seers experienced a wide range of easy communion with extra-dimensional beings such as angels, space people and fairies of many kinds. i as an individual have my own cycles, not just the biorhythms and menstrual and diurnal cycles that we all know about from experience or scientific observation, but also longer deeper wavelengths beyond our current ability to measure. and earth too has cycles and fluxes of power and energy, a kind of communications climate which is sometimes fair and conducive to good contact and sometimes too rowdy, too much static on the line or just too far away on some scale of measurement not necessarily known to us in our earthly experience. i could just relax, not feel so guilty, and live longer. and that would make all life easier all around.

new things are happening to me now, allowing me to pick up on old threads of perception, retrieving old windowsand opening new ones to permit better communication than ever before between me and the extradimensionals i live my life to serve. i often glance at the tuckony gunyah as i go past and i see them there again. last week, cleaning up after the flood, i found the old dancing ring and the honey altar again, and although i haven’t yet returned to it, i believe i can just trust what’s happening, and i will know when it will be possible to share the sabbath feast with the tuckonies again.

building bridges: sharing of nwyfre

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never mind et intelligences – can trees communicate?

being a natural philosopher at heart i like to have a reasonable basis for my belief. as a druid in mixed society, when my beliefs are questioned i appreciate the credibility that goes with having a sound rationale. i try to ensure that a scientific description of the material world supports my belief in nwyfre as a flow of information-dense effects through the network of communication that interconnects all material beings. so i will begin with a glance into the magic of the rich and varied world that is within the range of our ordinary perception and proceed later to the so-called ‘invisible’ worlds that exist beyond that range.

if i stand near a tree, its radiance mingles with mine. they interact and both are changed, charged with the excitation of this new stimulus, which we communicate to everything around us. the same happens if a rock fetches up under a tree, or in my hand. as a human being i have special senses – of sight and sound, smell, taste and touch – which read the radiances of the material world, streaming data to my brain where i construct my perception of reality. this means i can create much more dynamic interfaces than i otherwise could, reading much more of the detail encrypted in just the light, for instance, simply by looking at things, stones, trees, yes, but also far-off mountains, the rising sun, the distant stars and galaxies, and indeed everything that radiates or reflects the colours of the spectrum of light. in dividing the light in this way i am part of the processing of light – light changes as it changes me. i respond to it and it responds to me.

these exchanges may be subtle, but as a human being, i have a brain as well as senses, a brain that generates a mind that categorises and stores information selectively according to nuances more subtle than i can bring to consciousness. it’s a mind that gives or finds in or for everything a meaning, and it responds to everything with feeling, understanding and imagination to categorise, judge, wish for, repel or condition the nwyfre in all sorts of ways. all the time i am feeding back my responses to the whole through the beings nearest me, and contributing to its evolution.

all of this is dynamic and effective and all of it is magical. the power that the mind exercises over matter, which medical scientists know can cause psychosomatic illness when random, repressed or abused, can also enhance life when used consciously and may be used creatively for all kinds of exciting and beneficial magical effects beyond healing. we have before us the task of learning how to use it.

the universe is logical; our physiology is logical and we think logically, but within the infinitely packed reality we inhabit, our ever-evolving minds are as yet not capable of comprehending more than a relatively small range of logical systems of limited extent, which we work very hard to extend, for example, through education and intelligently sought-out experience and the mass media developed for the purpose. the magic of mind over matter is also logical, and it is by understanding the default logic, which doesn’t foreground human needs over those of other beings, that we learn to advance beyond it and contribute to the evolution of the more human-friendly logicistics of the metaphysicist’s reality. nature doesn’t mind if our planet dies – we do, and we can save it by taking control of our proper share of the planetary magic.

logic maintains and manages the relationships between systems in the universe. some of the logic governing physics is so simple that its laws can be written as mathematical formulae. other logic, such as that of children’s play, is whimsical, witty and subtle, often submerged and not obvious, with so many variables that it takes child psychologists years of study to begin to discern it. our species is timidly and cautiously learning to reason logically, experimenting creatively with meaning, relationship and idea, observing the energetics and transformative power of ideas, observing the poetic force of thought, feeling and experience, beginning to understand how attitude can heal or harm us, learning the consequences of faulty, simplistic or misapplied logic along with those of sound reasoning. and in doing so we are learning to believe in the magic.

the more logically we reason, the more realistically we view the world and the more appropriately we interact with it. even people who seem to be illogical are simply following an inner logic of their own that does not necessarily mesh seamlessly with that of others, though at least equally sound. it may even be less flawed than the common logic, not more so. we should respect all paths even at that level, even if they clash with our own, perhaps even paths less respectful than our own.

all this is obvious when we consider the visible world, and equally true when we begin to search the edges of our consciousness for evidence of what exists beyond. so far i have considered only the material universe, without addressing the question of aether, the light body, the astral plane and so on. the reason for this is that we need to be sure of our material body’s clarity and to affirm what so many spiritual pathways still often deny – the validity of the here-and-now life of the biological body we live in and through.

the surface of any object infinitesimally small to infinitely vast, including humans, receives and responds to information about its environment. a mirror reflects reality. images are created in it by virtue of what happens when light strikes its surface. many birds and animals are imitative, and will, upon receiving impressions from other animals, mimic them, or mirror them. in the zodiac reflections of the great celestial patterns generated in the intricate spiral dance of galaxies and stars, and planets and their moons contribute to and reflect the myriad forces affecting the lives of small mammals on earth, including our human selves.

we’re used to seeing and responding to, mimicking and mirroring the actions of our fellow creatures, of birds, mammals, reptiles, fish, insects etc. we do it mindfully, and who’s to say trees don’t? being motile, our gestures are writ large, purpose-built for the sensoria we’ve evolved. we can see our fellow animals responding to hunger, love, fear, joy, anger, pain and the passions of oestrus, social competition and the hunt. it’s different when we come to appreciating the life experience of a plant.

the plant seems still, usually needing a breeze or other disturbance to move its leaves, the roots fixed firmly in the ground. we can’t see the writhing, twisting, bustling activity of its growth – time-lapse photography had to be invented to show us that, and even then, its dance has not necessarily evolved as a means of communication. it tells us about the growth habits of plants, but except in a very few anomalous species does not seem to demonstrate responsivity to fellow creatures, and tells us nothing about the inner experience of the plant.

microbiology does lift the veil a bit. it’s a precise science and is currently making amazing breakthroughs into the biochemical responsivity of plants. the gushes of pheromones and bating of vital processes, the alterations in tensions and force-fields within the tissues of plants in response to threats such as herbivores, bad weather or pathogens is comparable to that which we find in animals, where we take it for granted it is associated with feeling, with awareness, with intelligence. plants have a ‘fear’ response, although just as it is chemically different from our own, it is probably experientially different to the same degree and corresponding to the chemical difference. and plants have attitude: it’s basic to their spirituality and anyone can discern it. people often joke about the perkiness of petunias or the bombast of a much-frilled gladiolus, the feistiness of a young pine tree or the gaiety of a bed of annuals. take it seriously. it’s a major key to the fun and magic our favourite garden flowers have brewing for us.

plant chemistry centres around the flamboyant, light-hearted, extravagant, dancing, delightful magnesium, while that of animals centres around dull, plodding, solid, pattern-seeking, hard-working, reliable iron. therefore a sensitive study of magnesium and iron are useful to an ovate seeking to bridge the communication gap between them. basic chemistry can be a useful starting point. watching magnesium expend its capacity for inter-reaction with air in an extravagant flare with little energy input while iron absorbs and consumes more and more energy before glowing dully, and still more before passing through the red, orange and yellow part of the spectrum before flaring much more sedately, can help us to understand what sort of bridge across what kind of gradations in what spectra of nature we have to build. same sort of process, but at a different speed and with comparable but different results.

how do plants experience us? plants have no visible organ that corresponds to an eye or an ear. we can see only what our very different physiology allows us to see. certain fine highly active structures in the neurology of the brain are in form so similar to tree branches that they are termed ‘dendrites’ after a greek word for a tree. it’s not difficult to understand that though they serve different physiological forms, having similar shapes brings them into a special relationship through the natural geometry of forms. morphic resonance begins to be a feature. humanity needs to be doing much more research into these areas of plant study, both as scientific studies and as the magical explorations that are much more relevant here to ovates in particular.

now at about this point, we can turn our attention to the extended reality that becomes accessible to us as we open our psychic eyes. we have to acknowledge that there is another gap to be bridged: the gap between our scientific, objective understanding and our own personal subjective experience. we have in our support the testimony of generations of fey peoples and fey individuals, accounts of whose daily experience have contributed to the lively traditions in many cultures worldwide of ‘plant spirits’ in human or human-like form, traditions that persist in the mainstream imagination as myth even though seldom still believed in – and always have and no doubt always will.

people who practice organic gardening often become conscious of plant spirits. the findhorn foundation http://www.findhorn.org/ revived our current consciousness of them. rudolph steiner http://wn.rsarchive.org/lectures/19101208p01.html taught us more about them. cultures worldwide are currently contributing to our knowledge of them in australia and the world wide web is currently vibrant with the buzz of their magic.

anyone who takes the time to approach the idea of communicating with plants seriously can usually fairly readily obtain a glimpse, or other equally clear and unmistakable impression, of a dryad, provided they start with a domestic or traditionally befriendable tree. (apple tree dryads are willing, patient and druid-friendly teachers, having been family members for millennia and are now ogham trees as well, and apple wands are easy to enchant).

so the bridge we have to build between our experience and that of plants is apparently being built with equal willingness and enthusiasm from both sides. and the gap between science and subjective or ‘psychic’ experience is not so difficult to bridge.

immersion in nature or gardens and parks is necessary for successful communication with plant spirits. if you can’t get out and about, work through pictures in books or on line. i’ve seen plant spirits pop up out of seed-packet pictures. reading about nature as scientific, faeried, whatever, can deepen and widen the experience and be very inspiring. but one thing is certain: none of it works without an open mind.

this article first appeared in SerpentStar, the newsletter the order of bards ovates and druids in australia. here: http://serpentstar.wordpress.com/