A few months back I did a radio show on the “Fae Folk.” Through my research for that show, I learned that Nature Spirits have been known to just about every culture in the world. People have always been fascinated by the magick that surrounds us. I think it’s a shame that in our era, especially in America, we’ve become so divorced and distant from the magickal realm. I love science, and have been enamored with learning “how things work” since I was a child. But I’ve also been drawn to things unseen – and unexplained – by most. The soft breath on the neck or cheek, the glimpse of something out of the corner of the eye, the barely audible voice or laughter, the shifting image in the rippling water, the secret knowledge that someone is, indeed, watching. And even guiding.
I’ve loved the outdoors my whole life. I wasn’t the kind of kid that had to be chased outside. I lived out there. I spent hours by myself in my backyard, on the “mountain” at the end of our road, at the sand pit near my Nonna’s house, or in one of the multitude of cemeteries bordering our little neighborhood. I was a Girl Scout for years, mainly for the hiking and camping and other outdoor activities. I joined an adventure club in college, and went caving, hiking and rappelling; and worked as the Nature counselor at a camp in the summers. I dragged my kids to the beach (which they inexplicably hated), the woods and wherever I could outside until they got too big to drag. And now in middle age I have tried to keep up that activity level, despite the toll that various illnesses and injuries have taken on my body. Sometimes I’m even able to drag my husband as well! I can’t get enough of being in Nature.
As a child, I would talk to trees, and to the Spirits I felt wherever I went. I would play “the quiet game,” and try to move without making a sound, so that I wouldn’t startle anything. I would understand and respect the personalities of the Spirits in my yard, knowing that the large tree by the house was female, very quiet and loving, and the one in the back was male and kind of gruff. I lay in the grass for hours and made chains out of clover blossoms and felt the strength of the Earth beneath me. I even had my first kiss while sitting on the ground in my back yard. It was where I felt the most peace, and most at home.
I think that most children are like this, for a long time. Then, somewhere around the time they go to school and learn that it’s “weird” to talk to “nothing,” and science tells them to doubt everything that they can’t prove empirically, things change. “They” teach children that “there’s no such thing as…” oh, so many things – everything magickal and Spiritual and deep. And if you believe, you’re childish, or stupid, or crazy… Kids make themselves stop believing because they don’t want to look different or weird. Those of us who really DO see, really do feel and hear and know… we’re marginalized. Laughed at. Tsked at. Ridiculed. Ignored and dismissed. We’re weird.
The Spirits of the Forest exist, and are felt and sometimes even seen or heard (if you know how to play “the quiet game”) by many people. Many in the aforementioned cultures – including the Irish, Japanese, Icelandic, Native Americans, Spaniards, Germans, Norse, and many, many more – still believe (KNOW) that Nature Spirits exist all around us. There are movies and writings and songs about them, which make them seem like fantasy. But they are as real as the other planets of the solar system were before the telescope was invented, as germs and atoms and other tiny things were before the microscope was invented, as antimatter was before… well… physics was invented. Just because we don’t have a way to measure something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Just because not everyone can perceive something doesn’t mean those who do are weird.
So when I see and hear Nature Spirits, what happens? What do they look like? What do they say? What are they like? As the cultural descriptions of these beings differ, so do the experiences of those who have encountered them. Fae are shape-shifters. They can appear as they wish to appear. Or not at all. How do I encounter them? As a very ethereal, sweet, playful, jovial presence. A whisper… a laugh… a sigh. It’s just an awareness that someone is nearby. A presence that is deliberate, directive and insistent. And if I follow that presence, I will experience something wonderful.
Recently I aquired Faerie Oracle Cards. Okay, I’ll be honest. I had intended to give them to my daughter, who sees Faeries everywhere, all the time. But something told me to give them a try. I picked seven cards. The messages I received were profound. Each was relevant and an urgent call to action. That night I dreamed of Faeries’ smiling faces. They told me to build an Oracle deck of my own – a Bone Casting Oracle deck. They had a response to each of my protests of why it wouldn’t work. They told me to get on it. NOW. Now, Faeries aren’t usually so forthright and forceful. By nature, they’re shy, solitary, silent. But, as I’ve said, my relationship with the Fae goes way back. I had just fogotten until now.
So, I’m working on creating a Bone Casting Oracle deck under the direction of barely perceptible beings that no one else can see. It will take me a while to put it all together, but one step at a time I’m moving on it, and I’m on my way. I suppose that underscores the fact that I’m truly hopelessly weird. I’ll be posting about my progress as time goes on. In the meantime… tonight as Ric and I drove home from a movie, three crazy whatevers divebombed our windshield, and I kept seeing tiny bright lights in the brush as we passed by. They’re watching to be sure that I stay on task. Your Faeries are watching you too, and sending you messages. All you need do is pay attention, and believe.