Who are the Faeries?
Midsummer Eve, (Summer Solstice) is one of the traditional Celtic "Spirit Nights" of the year when the faeries are about in forest and field. But what are faeries and do they still exist today? Many people today think of them as the tiny, gauzy-winged creatures of children’s books, but this was an idea of the Victorians. For hundreds of years there has been a strong recognition, especially in Scotland and Ireland, that we share this planet with a race of non-physical beings who are deeply connected with the living Earth. It is to these spirits that the name ‘Fairy’ or ‘Faery’ is generally given.
Faeries can range from a tall, beautiful, race of Lords and Ladies to the diminutive imps we call the ‘little people.’ One of the best explanations as to what they are comes from the unlikely source: A 17th century minister of the Church of Scotland, the Reverend Robert Kirk, defined them as being “of a middle nature betwixt Man and Angel.” They are creatures of light and energy who can shift their shape as they please, not being bound by the laws of the physical world.
Irish poet and storyteller, Ella Young, a colleague of W. B. Yeats, wrote about the faeries she saw and came to know in the west of Ireland. In 1925, Ella left Ireland for America, and when she reached Ellis Island, the New York Times announced her arrival with the headline, “Ambassadress from Elfland!” She moved to California where she communed with the faeries she met on the shores and mountains of the West Coast.
The Faeries’ Return
Today, a new awareness of faeries is returning as people are awakening to the reality of worlds not normally apparent to the five senses. It seems that, with the current crisis on Earth, we are being called to reconnect with those Beings of Light with whom we once consciously shared our planet home. When we pollute, degrade and lay waste to the land, sea and skies, we are destroying their world, too. We tear apart the exquisitely woven tapestry of all creation. And so faeries are bringing messages from the Earth urging us to change our ways from living in separateness to an awareness of our interconnectedness with all beings, visible and invisible, in the great Web of Life.
Connecting with faeries is not as difficult as you may think – you do not need special psychic powers to do so, just the willingness to open your mind and, especially, your heart, as a child might do. Speaking of how to see tree faeries, Ella Young, in an interview on KPFA radio, Berkeley, in 1952, said: “You have to be content to know that you love that tree, and you want to love it more, and you know it’s alive and you want to come closer to it.”
Here is a simple way to connect with the faery kingdom:
This Midsummer, take a faery walk in Nature, preferably where there are trees and plants. Find a place to sit and begin taking some deep breaths:
Mara Freeman, M.A., is an internationally recognized teacher of Celtic wisdom and Western sacred traditions, which she has taught for over thirty years. Her book, Kindling the Celtic Spirit, has been called the "best introduction to Celtic spirituality." Her most recent book, Grail Alchemy: Initiation in the Celtic Mystery Tradition explores one's own inner journey and transformation. www.chalicecentre.net/