‘fairy’ is a general term. definitions are difficult to impossible. in my experience, most of the fairies i’ve seen are of four main varieties: little human-like people, plant-spirits and elementals; extraterrestrials, and fauns. fauns include some kinds of devils, which are true beings of earth, not just malevolent entities. these fairies are very close to us, living in worlds as solid and real as ours, which are accessible only occasionally by highly specialised humans of earth. fairy seers and voyagers to fairy realms are in great demand now, which is why gaia is giving so much love and such empowering blessings to her pagans at this time.
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.
not all druids identify as animists, but many are, whether they know it or not. the word comes from the latin word for a living being or spirit, mind or soul. animism considers the entire universe to be alive and conscious, from atoms forged in the blazing centres of stars through biological life-forms such as the plants and animals of our own planet to the great celestial organisms we see as the stars in the night sky.
many animists add that this all-pervading livingness makes itself intelligible to fey people through human-like plant and animal spirit people, fauns, fairies, elves, angels, benign devils and daemons, elementals, dryads, aerial weather spirits, gnomes, pixies and the myriad nature spirits of many other cultures, the local native cultures in particular, who can help us to attune ourselves to the wider contexts of the extended network they help us to weave.
science tells us that the material world is made of atoms, each one infinitely packed with structure and flow, like the organs of animals or the structures within a cell. they are all impressionable and responsive to stimuli, and capable of intricate proactive negotiation with their neighbour atoms in forming molecules or in their free states. there’s a constant exchange of information occurring across the interfaces between subatomic particles, between atoms, molecules, cells, plants and animals, and between the celestial bodies comprising the galaxies and other great beings of the cosmos. in effect there is a network of communication which incorporates the food web and the human communications networks.
what this means to a magician is that we are in continuum not just with those networks of the primitive contact telepathy of the social animals we still are, or the food-web and ecological systems; or the zodiac magic between us and the planets and stars; or the elemental forces of the material world all around us although all of those are vitally important; but also to the networks we as a species generate: the culture, the mass media and the world wide web.
the sum total of impressions held in each aeons-old atom of earth is like a causal ocean, a ‘ceridwen’s cauldron’, a rich brew of events and qualities, principles and dimensions, garnered from myriad ‘text-rich’ events and encounters in deep space and deep within the atmosphere, on their way to becoming part of the earth and during their evolution ever since. whatever is communicated across any of the interfaces forming this universal network is the result of much process, sorting of data, filtering, censoring, deleting, expending, filing away, etc, and the resultant emanation of meaning-replete patterns of flow and disturbance is nwyfre.
it is mindfully controlled by the negotiation among all its parts. it can be the mere nuance of an awareness glimmering instantaneously in the heart of an atom as it comes into being in a distant galaxy not yet born; or the sights and sounds of the whole of a hollywood movie; or the symphony of subtle, complex, deeply meaningful impressions we receive when communing in silent or chattery meditation with a tree or when reading a book.
if, as i’ve said, this nwyfre forms a vital, mindful fabric of constantly changing stimulus and response, cause and effect, stasis and flow, not unlike the turbulence and flow of human experience, surely by understanding it we can learn to read it, manage it skilfully and use it magically to optimise our own personal experience and to practice good magic worthy of the name of ‘druid’ in our troubled world.
just as our bodies are made of vast constellations of aeons old atoms, so our minds are constellations of knowledge, memory and thought, incorporating detailed impressions from a lifetime of experience, including all the films, books and music that enrich our lives, to say nothing of the people and animals and even plants that we include among our family and friends and wider social milieu.
any human being is a fountain of nwyfre. that’s why ritual touching is part of life – part of the subliminal knowledge we have of each other. a conscientious druid is able to harness and direct the nwyfre, extracting it selectively from consenting sources or learning to generate it and use it in accord with a finely focused magical intention. this is one of the many things a well-constructed magic circle facilitates, extending and fine-tuning the magician’s focus, power and influence in much the same way as an astronomer’s telescope extends and specialises the vision of the star-gazer, or as a detailed map assists a traveller.
with or without a circle, it’s fairly easy to learn to see a flow of nwyfre-rich energy using a wand or staff or a crystal with at least one good ‘shooting’ point, or just your fingers, at least to start with. you may just spontaneously happen to find yourself ‘energised’, exhilarated or vibrant with some exciting radiance from dancing or gardening or meeting with friends, or you may prepare yourself by casting a circle and doing a simple or elaborate light body ritual followed by three awens for attunement, or using chant, drumming or ritual dance.
when you feel radiant with power, hold your magical tool or your bare hands close to your solar plexus and breathe steadily, willing the nwyfre from your body to flow into the object and fill it.
you might chant something like ‘healing power in my hands (wand, crystal, etc), magic power in my fingers (etc), or just ‘magic fingers, healing hands’ or you might try a dramatic, commanding ‘healing
nwyfre flow!’ speaking words aloud or in our mind helps us be focused and articulate about our intentions, which helps the magic. this flow is easy to see, especially against a dark backdrop. it is similar to the energy that can be seen flowing between your fingertips if you hold them an inch or so apart and bring them slowly together. in a healthy, energised system this radiance appears sparkling clear.
you can easily train yourself to see the radiant electromagnetic field, which is a major ‘smart’ carrier of nwyfre, especially surrounding your fingertips. it is at its brightest and most active when you are in tip-top health, happy and confident and have optimised your relations with your social, natural and magical environment enough to have the good will of most of your neighbours, since like it or not we are all contributing to a collective mentality and nothing is more empowering than the common consent.
even a beginner can successfully charge magical items such as charms and amulets, or cast exquisite circles for seasonal rituals, fizzing with good, exciting, effective magic, using a wand, hands, symbolic items or crystals or whatever charged in this way. or it can be discharged beneficially into the life field of a sick friend or animal, plant, garden, city or town, or even the earth itself via whatever symbols you choose to attune for the purpose.
it is important to understand that the flow we see here is not ‘in’ everything, but is like a specific medium which carries nwyfre, and flows around the all material objects, even subatomic particles
and vast galaxies, like the interstitial fluids that carry the biochemically coded information around the body of an animal or plant. it’s real and dowsers can detect it, and it registers on scientifically designed sensors as real energy capable of having real physical effects.
there are good reasons to believe it is not inert – not much in nature is – but interacts with the information it carries in a way that you might call ‘smart’, trafficking intelligently organised nwyfre about from one part of the system to another, from the atmosphere to the birds, for example, and vice versa, keeping us all separate but engaged in a kind of eternal conversation, in the loop, so to speak, in accord with the wisdom of the higher collectivities, the spirits, devas and angels, for example, in negotiation with the inner potential mediated through our genes and our humanity. or from the tip of a well-crafted wand to a collection of symbolic items selected for inclusion in a druid’s egg.
the interstitial fluids of a human being convey chemical information, while the electromagnetic field is rich in what psychics call psychometric energy. it’s a confusing term, referring to the psychic impressions that certain gifted people can gain bringing past scenes to vivid consciousness upon holding an object such as a ring or watch that once belonged to someone else. the psychic might see and hear actual scenes from that person’s life, or from the past experience of the actual object held. so whether you are reading it or not, it is high resolution data which different beings can extract their own species specific experience from.
this is as true of objects as of people. so the nwyfre channelled by the ring in the psychometrist’s hand is the equivalent of a psychical experience or a dream or a vision in human awareness. of course it is possible to argue that the ring has no consciousness of the experience flowing through it when a human being wears it next to the skin, within his/her electromagnetic field, but how could anyone know? for all our pride in human science with its most advanced knowledge of the biochemistry of thought and emotion in human beings, the ‘seat’ of consciousness remains a beautiful, totally elusive mystery.
as so often the case in magic, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. anyone who takes a few simple steps in developing a working interface with a properly enchanted magical tool risking little or nothing in a few moments of suspended disbelief now and then will observe without doubt that the tool responds as a responsible being in its own right. wands communicate intelligently, crystals bond with you, druid’s eggs call you and feed from you and need you to incubate them, and stranger things happen as you go deeper in. it is therefore customary to address your tools with great respect and treat them as kindly and considerately as you would a room-mate or dancing partner.
allow, for example, that they have minds of their own. they are constantly streaming experience and communicating experience-rich energy to everything around them, just like everything else. experienced practitioners will agree that your magical life becomes deeper, richer, friendlier and more meaningful if you talk to your wands, show concern for their welfare and ask with pleases and thank yous, and give them treats: a song, a poem, incense, a ring.
everything contributes impressions to the nwyfre circulating and percolating through the material world. it’s like white noise, and like the colour white, can be made to show its inner spectra. theoretically it should be possible to do this in an infinite number of ways, but nature uses a restricted palette, leaving a major part of the artistry to us.
magic is a kind of metaphysical technology. it uses mind over matter to influence events using metaphysics, governing the flow of change, the shifts of emphasis, the management of morphic resonance etc., through symbols, ritual, metaphors, stories, myths, fantasy and folklore and the sentimental and practical poetic of everyday life.
almost all of this magic involves the management of nwyfre, so it is worth dedicating some time and energy to the study of it. a web search will show you how others are using the word, and how they make use of whatever they think it is. keep adding to and enriching your sense of what it is by trying to maintain an awareness of it in everyday encounters. meditation upon the word itself is sure to be rewarded by an enhanced sense of what it means.
advanced meditators should theoretically be able to penetrate to the collective sense of the word and thus intuit a deeper sense of its meaning, but most of us are not quite so advanced and besides, our cooperation in crafting new meanings for these old magical words is all part of the magic.
naturally the most important magical tool is yourself, and the nwyfre you carry and communicate will pervade your magic, so let it be healthy, vital and smart, and may its radiance be for the good of all beings.
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/
he’s been evolving a bit.
the small mammals extinctions investigations team SMEIT
observed gravely the ebb of the meaty little marsupialia
whose receding horizons repeated the retreating edge
of the two million year old oceans
and the shape of my argument
and the fading interface of conversation
in the new dawning
in the new day
and SMEIT cried out across the broadening celestial beach
a-glitter (as ours are) with galaxies
WAIT! DON’T LEAVE US! PLEASE DON’T GO!
and the small marsupial spirit people said
with their soft human voices
quietly packing their goods
but you’ve killed us all,
you’ve put us in missions in schools in jails
killed the dreaming places
killed the songs
killed the magic metaphysics
killed our souls
we have no magic now
and so we die
our spirits go
home to the stars
to be never reborn in the warm brown
and how could anyone explain
the chagrin and remorse
and the pain
for the pitter patter paws through the summer grass
and the sensitive whiskers in the straw
so for the sake of the dying children
and the sorrowing mother of the dying babes
so beautiful eyed so mysterious eyed
they captured bilby by the tail
and hauled him home
and called him divine, equal to a rabbit
and wrapped him all chocolate in gold and silver
with silk and cellophane references
to the astral plane and gt britain’s pagan past
and they magicked him whitefella-way
into kid’s playrooms
and they picture-book tjurunga’d him into
(so he felt)
and called him an egg-giver
which scared him silly
because he’s not a monotreme
through the window into easter
bilby saw the jesus-on-the-cross
every year a jesus-on-the-cross
but the stars, the stars
are in mrs bilby’s eyes
and she’s sorry,
she just has to go
though the continent shriek
to the pleiades
and erupt with outraged totally articulate
well worth the reading
at the murderers
and raise magic music droning
from all campfire circles
for the dying off of species
the deaths of sentient selves
because the massacred martyrs
had gentle philosophies
and the bilby man and the bilby woman
deplore human sacrifice
and they fled.
if somebody please would explain to bilby
wtf wuth thet symbl?
the tide may very well return, yes,
if this is a good planet, the tide might turn…
so we’re walking them home with love
home from their distant palaces and plains
stitched of star rays sequinned with galaxies
into their magic marsupial mother pouch tunnels
to their blue sky green grass brown earth lives
with their houses and culture and school and technology
brothers and sisters together with us
again at last
earth-born children of star-born spirits
bringing us star spirit virtues
star spirit wisdom
star spirit magic
and the universal call