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The Faerie Tradition

Transcribed from a live recording of Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki

Please note: This lecture was transcribed especially for SOL and the copyright is invested in Dolores Ashcroft-Nowicki, SOL and Brian Timmins. Permission is granted for individuals to take one hard copy of this article for personal use. Electronic copying or storage is strictly forbidden, as is the posting on other websites.

 

THE FAERIE TRADITION

Opening Lecture, Beltane 2001, at Taliaris
[Transcribed from a live recording, Annotated and edited(minimally), by Brian Timmins]

What we are going to go into tonight, and after, open it up for discussions, are the origins of the Fairy Folk in Mythology, in Legend and what we might call "faction",

...in the sense that none of really do know where it originated, though we know how old it is - roughly. We are going to look at the question of what Fairies are. Are they an older branch of humanity, are they aliens, are they from another dimension, or another order of planetary life, are we even certain they exist? Are they truly immortal and ever young, or are they creations of the created. How many kinds of Fairies are there? This is liable to take us quite a while because there are dozens I have found out. And, we might ask ourselves, "What is the purpose of their existence? what do fairies 'do'?" - if we are being exceptionally sceptical - "what use are fairies?", (and they have a great many uses), and basically the question that everybody wants to know is - "How can we see them?". So, let us begin by looking at the origins of Fairies.

Now we are used to seeing the word 'Fairies' spelled as it is at the top of your programs, but its true spelling is "Faerie" and is entirely different. One is the true word, and one is what Victorians have made of it, and we can blame the Victorians for quite a lot of the misconceptions about the Faeries. Let us begin by saying there are groups of people, particularly - where else - in America, which follow what they term, is "The Fairy Tradition". Now, Faeries don't have traditions they ARE. They exist. They do things their way. To make them into this the same thing we might refer to as 'New age shamanism', is quite wrong! It is not a religion. It is not a faith. Faeries are, they exist, they do their own thing, they are there as we will see, for a purpose.

Religions and traditions are created by humans, mainly because they fear death. This is what all religions come down to. And basically it is because all human beings are afraid to die. They may say they are not, but everybody is afraid to die. You may not fear it to the same extent as other people because you know more about how to "go over", but nobody in their right mind wants to go. We look to religion to alleviate that fear. We look at it also as a form of a kind of spiritual comforter, a dummy, which we can stick in our mouths and suck on. It is a question of having a big mummy or a big daddy out there that we can love, hate and blame. Faeries don't belong in that area at all. So they are not part of a tradition, they exist, they are, they have their own place.

Faeries have been on this planet, been a part of it, almost since its beginning. They very probably, as we will talk about later, started out as a life form, that existed and lived, and did their own thing; but then moved on to a different area, of time and dimension. We find them in Legend, in Myth, in Folklore from the very earliest times.

We find for instance in ancient Egypt and Summaria, tales and legends of other kinds of beings. Now we forget that there are other kinds of beings, immortals, ever-youngs, whatever you like to call them, besides the Gods. We all know about the Gods. We know about the Greek Gods, we know about the Egyptian Gods, we know about the Celtic Gods, we know about the Hindu Gods and about the Shamanistic Gods. All these Gods, and many of us can sit down and name them all. But, in all those pantheons and mythological traditions, you will also come across the lesser immortals, the Nymphs, the Dryads, the Oriads, the Nixies, the Little People as they are sometimes called.

These people are mentioned, as in passing, and people do not give them a second thought. Oh yes, occasionally in a legend or a piece of folk-lore you might come across Zeus having a quiet affair with a nymph, as he did with Maia, who then produced Hermes, but you don't hear anything more about Maia. You hear that Zeus - or Jupiter in the Roman pantheon - was brought up and nurtured by nymphs, in a cave, surrounded by animals. Does this sound familiar? And yet we are not told what these nymphs were, we are only told that they were nymphs, and that they were immortal.

It is conceivable therefore that Faeries have been hiding in mythology, under the guise of these immortals for as long as those immortals have been recognised and worshipped, and probably before. If we are going to talk about the oldest of the old, we need only go as far as two particular immortal forms. One is Pan. You never find him mentioned amongst the great pantheon of Olympus. But he is there. And even the Gods will tell you in their many legends, that he is the oldest of the old, he was here before time began. Pan is nothing more nor less than the very spirit of nature, and nature's determination to survive, which is why he has an always erect phallus. He is there as a symbol of life ever going on, of eternal virility, of nature's determination to survive at all costs. The greatest of our instincts is a basic one - survive! Do whatever it takes to survive. That is what Pan is all about. He is about an abundance of life. When you have an abundance of life and energy, and you are continually replenishing that with the very symbol of fertility, which is the erect phallus, what do you get? You get an on-going life that does not end. You get an immortality, you get a complete and utter beginning-ness that never becomes latent, it never becomes spent, never goes over into old age, and decay and death. Because it continually renews itself like a spring that bubbles up from the very depths of the earth. It does not stop, and as it hits the light, it is born and it is born and it is born and it keeps on being born.

This is the way that Faeries, the Fair Folk, The Faerie, exist, they are in a perpetual present. There is no past for them, there is no future, they live ultimately and totally in a perpetual becoming-ness. This is very, very similar to what Gurdjief tried to teach when he said "You must learn to live in the now". Because the future hasn't begun, and the past has gone. The only thing that matters is this moment and this moment and this moment and if you can learn to concentrate on that ever-becoming present, it becomes a form of immortality.

So we are here with this idea of Pan. Now if we move to Egypt we get the idea of the elder Horus. Something that, or someone who was there if not before then co-existent with the creator, Atum-Ra, and the same thing is said of him. It is after this older name sake that Isis names her son. Then again we have many legends of whole groups, of whole tribes who disappear, who are still there, but who have moved, they have stepped sideways and shifted into another space-time continuum, which sounds like science fiction and in many ways Faeries are. When you are in this mode of ever-becoming, you don't have time to grow old. You don't have time to grow old because you live from second to second and each second you are re-born, you become new all over again. Now that concept is, funnily enough, mathematically possible, but you would have to change your way of looking, your understanding of numbers, and your concept of time in order to do it. You would literally need to continually travel back in time so that you only lived in one second at a time, and you continually lived in the same second, because that second was always being re-born. It sounds complicated, but it is the only way in which we can ultimately understand what Faeries are.

In the earliest times it seems that from legends and from what we can ascertain from history, such beings were plentiful, and gregarious - they were part and parcel of the land. Most people could see, hear and interact with them. It is only when humanity began to push ahead of its stated evolutionary pattern that we began to lose touch with them, because they stayed in their one-second-at-a-time, and we pushed on, we wanted to know that curse of curiosity, we want to know how to do this, we want to know how to go there, we don't want to walk, we want to make something, what shall we make - we will make a wheel. This is a nice sword, it is made of bronze. Aha but I have a better sword, I made it from a piece of metal that fell out of the sky. It's sharper, it's heavier, it lasts longer. Well if it can make a sword, it can make a plough, it can make nails and with nails like that we can make a better house. So we push, and we have been continually pushing back our limits, our barriers, our staging posts. Because of what we are, because of this driving curiosity that humanity has within it, we have evolved far faster than we should have, than it was estimated that we could.

Think how far we have come in one century. When my father died in 1999 at the age of 94, he could look back to a time when he was born, when there were no planes, no radio and no telephones. Where maids still swept carpets by hand, cars were very, very rare and they were still called carriages. And yet, when he died, he had seen men walk on the moon, he had seen computers come into being. He had sat down at my computer and pressed buttons and was able to see a spaceship launch on the Internet. That is an enormous amount packed into one century.

And that is what we have done. But in doing so we have left behind others, and they are content to be left behind. And we have become so enamoured of what we can do, that we no longer look at what is around us and under our noses. We see only what is on a screen, or what is on a television, or what is in front of us as we drive in a motor car, or look out of the window of an aeroplane. We have forgotten to look where we should be looking; towards those beings who are the epitome of nature. They are nature's signature on the planet, and we have forgotten how to see them to such an extent that we have almost lost entirely the ability to see beyond the veil, and now it is getting fairly rare for a full, a real, a true clairvoyant to be born. There were some of us who had a partial ability, in those talents, but nothing like what we should have. We have forgotten many things that we should have remembered. One of those things is the fair folk. We pride ourselves on being intelligent, and yet we have forgotten how to be wise. There is a difference between being intelligent and being wise.

n every country in the world, from Scandinavia to South Africa, from the deserts of the Atacama in Chile, right across the world to the deserts in the middle east, from north to south and from east to west, we have legends and stories and folk-lore. Of beings that are other than ourselves, who co-exist with us on this planet. That they exist is something that I firmly believe. I have come very close to such beings, once and once only. I have learned to see them in a different way. Not as the ancient folks saw them, but I have learned to see them in the only way in which they feel they can now communicate. Yet all over the world going back, tradition after tradition, country after country, we find these stories of what the church likes to call "The Little People". Let me take issue with that.

Faeries are not always little. They can sometimes be considerably bigger than humans. Yes there are those amongst them who are smaller in stature. That is because it is their nature to be so. Tolkien is the only one in latter days who has given us a picture of what he called 'The High Elves', as human in size, human in type and kind - warriors. Men of strength and renown, women of great beauty and intelligence, and in doing so he opened the eyes of a whole generation, and many generations after, to what is possible - to such an extent that it recaptured the imagination of those who had the imagination to capture. People began to understand and delve into some of the old ideas, the old stories, the old folklore and they found that there were indeed other forms of beings, beings who were by no means tiny "Tinker Bells". JM Barrie has got a lot to answer for.

Most of the time if you go back in history and look at really, really early Faerie Tales - so called - you will find that they are human in size, human in kind, the only thing is that they do not act or live as humans. They may be anything up to a thousand, or two thousand, or even longer, years old; and that they never age. But they do come amongst us, and do so even now.

One of these days I do hope that we can tempt back to our shores, Bob Stewart who is really the man who should be here tonight, talking to you. Because he can bring the "feel" of Faerie into a room; a man who has been steeped in the Faerie world, the Faerie ways, for many a long time.

We talk of Faeries being magickal, of having magickal powers, well so can we. We can walk into a room and press a switch and a light comes on. Three hundred years ago that would have got you burned at the stake. You would have been accused of being a Faerie or a witch or whatever. Their powers, so-called, are as real and as natural to them as ours are to us. We can sit down and play a piano, we can tell the time by a wrist watch, we can switch on a computer and talk to somebody at the other end of the world, and within a few seconds send them a message, and a few seconds later, an answer to that message will come back. What else is that but Magick. So why should we doubt when Puck says to Oberon, "I'll put a girdle round the world in a few seconds". Why should we doubt Ariel when he flies off to do Prospero's bidding and commands the elements; because he is part of them. Somebody once spoke of Faeries as their bodies being made of congealed air. A very fanciful notion. I just wonder what happened to the basics like the alimentary canal and various other bits and bobs that we need to exist.

There is something about the idea of Faerie that either draws you, or repels you. There are very few men out there who, if you went up to them and said, "Do you believe in Faeries?" would say yes - very few men. It's amazing because we have this Peter Pan story where one of these little Tinker Bells falls ill, and is only save because the character called Peter Pan comes down and says "Do you believe in Faeries?" if so you must shout it out and Tinker Bell will recover. Personally I would like to see Tinker Bell expire.

Let us look at Faeries in that sense. Now there was a man called Patten, a Victorian painter who painted Faeries, always lusciously Reubenesque ladies sporting a pair of wings and a coronet of flowers and nothing else. The males were always carefully covered and as Katherine Briggs said, Victorian Faeries and Faerie paintings in particular were a good way to spread pornography, nude female figures; nubile female figures, very young nude female figures.

The Victorian age was anything but what it purported to be. We all think of the Victorians as patriarchs, as sort of stiff and starched; their wives always addressed them as Mr. So-and-so. Everything always went on under at least three layers of blankets with the lights out. In actual fact it was without doubt, one of the most lecherous ages the world has ever known. Incest and pederasty were rife. Young girls, as young as eight or nine years of age, were regularly sold on the streets to the stiff-collared Victorian fathers, who were 'upright' pillars of society.

It was Barnardo who finally started gathering up these children and putting them out of reach. But these pictures of the delicate, slender, long blond haired, butterfly winged Faerie became ingrained in the mental patterns, the mental processes of human beings. So, anybody who was asked to draw a Faerie, premature to and up to their teens, would draw these bloody Tinker Bells. In actual fact that was the first time wings were really put on them. They didn't need to have wings to go from one place to another. Their bodies were supposedly so light they could lift off. Confounded Mr Newton of course and his ideas of gravity. But then they did not exist in our world and in our gravity. The world they lived in did not obey the same laws that we have to live by in our world. All this pushed them farther and farther away from our idea of what a human being should be like, so they became non-human, un-human.

When of course the Church came in and started to play their part. In the very early days of Christianity, all the statues of the Gods that the Church Fathers could reach were defaced, noses, ears, breasts and penises, anything that "stuck out". You have only got to go into the British Museum to see the beautiful statues that have been deliberately mutilated. Along with the Gods, of course the fairies came in for it as well. Even today in parts of Scotland - in 1983 a Reverend was called in to a west highland cottage where it was said that a young girl had been Pixie-led. she was bemused and out of her head and sat in the corner singing strange songs - I think she had been at the Uisghebah - but he laid his hands upon her and when that did not work he beat her. He beat her so severely that she damn near died, but he said "I saved her from the Faeries".

This idea of anything that you don't understand, that you can't always see, or that is different to the way that you particularly think, is evil has been another wedge that has driven away the nature side of things, the Faerie side of things.

Let me put this to you. Take a flower, a rose, a rose garden, a plant, a rose plant. Would you say that was alive? It has a life. It can be said that life must have a sense of consciousness, a sense of itself. That life, that consciousness, may be very dim. It may be much, much less than ours which allows us to say "I am", "I am here", "My name is" and so on. And to establish an identity - that is not the way of a flower, or a plant. But it still has a sense of being, and that tiny sense of being can develop into a form that may be rose-like, but because the rose senses other forms around it, it may, because it does not see, it feels hot and cold, light and shade, it may sense what a human form looks like - vaguely - and that consciousness may move towards that, it may yearn to be like that. Those forms are not stuck in earth, it can move around. So the rose may, either collectively as a whole garden or as a single plant, may develop a form of its own, and in doing so project it outward.

I know that one of the things that I was taught, a long time ago, was the fact that every colour has a note, every colour is a note of music and that when you plant flowers, if you can tune in to their colours, that a garden will make a chord of music. Where that occurs I say where such beauty and such power, such life exists then it will very probably project itself in a form that may be other than the form that it already has. And, because we are close to it then it may be projected in the form of a human being.

Alternatively, human beings for thousands of years have been very busily creating their own Gods. Don't let anybody ever tell you that we were created in God's image. We've been doing that to him, or it ever since we decided there would be somebody out there. All forms of Gods, in every pantheon are the forms that we, as human beings, have decided they should wear. We were the ones who decided that Hermes should have winged sandals. We were the ones who decided that Zeus has a full head of hair and an equally full-face beard. We are the ones that decided that Aphrodite goes around dressed in a scarf. We are the ones that decided that Apollo is equally nude but male. Come on we have been doing this for ages and we do the same with Faerie. We sense that there is a life there in these growing things - trees, pools in forests, all sorts of places, and we give them shapes, we give them forms and they inhabit them.

We say to ourselves here is a God form and it's like this and it's like that and it's like the other, and when we get several thousand people all looking at this God form in their minds, it coalesces on the Astral plane, because that's what the Astral plane is for. It is proto-sentient matter, its only existence is to provide form which when it is no longer thought about, goes back into its normal matrix self. But if it's thought about continuously over hundreds and thousands of years, in the same way, all of a sudden it becomes real. And its imprint in the matrix is there for good so you only have to think, oh yes, Aphrodite and up she comes.

It's the same way with the Faerie Folk. We have thought about them for so long, for so many hundreds of years, we have seen them as The Green People. We have seen them as Elves. We have seen them as Brownies. We have seen them as The Sidhe. And, we have given them form; and that's fine because the form that we build, though it is not the form that they have, acts as a bridge between their world and ours, and by utilising those forms we give them, there is a chance that they be seen by us. So they regard it as a bridge.

Think about the many highland tales where a Faerie man comes knocking at the door of a midwife and says my wife's in labour, come with me; and he puts her on the back of his horse and takes her under the hills. When the child is born the Faerie comes to her and gives her a bottle or a jar of ointment, and says put this on the eyes of the child and she does so, and then goes "uuh", because her own eye is itching, rubs her own eye. It burns a little but what the heck. She is given a bag of gold, and she is taken back home.

Several weeks later in the market, she sees the Faerie man moving amongst the crowd and she stops him and says "How is your wife, how is the child?"
He says, "Can you see me?"
She says "Yes I can see you."
He puts his hand over one of her eyes and says "Can you still see me?"
She says "No."
He puts his hand of the other eye and says "Can you see me?"
She says "Yes"

So he strikes her blind in one eye because she did the forbidden thing, she stole the ointment. She didn't mean to but she can now see them and they don't want to be seen any more. They have seen what happens to their kind when humans can see them. Do they exist? Yes. There are records upon records of people who have seen them, who have interacted with them, who have lived with them. There are records of people who have mated with them; which is something else we will look into later on.

Break, chat and reading by Paddy:

Dolores: "Faerie and painting, and poetry and literature go hand in hand"
Paddy: "This is called A Pict Song, and I love it because there is a real savage bit at the end"
(Editorial comment:
From: Puck of Pook's Hill by Rudyard Kipling, Chapter 7: "The Winged Hats"
The Winged Hats is a poetic allusion to the Vikings of Roman times)

'A Pict Song'

Rome never looks where she treads.
Always her heavy hooves fall
On our stomachs, our hearts or our heads;
And Rome never heeds when we bawl.
Her sentries pass on... that is all,
And we gather behind them in hordes,
And plot to reconquer the Wall,
With only our tongues for our swords.

CHORUS:
We are the Little Folk... we!
Too little to love or to hate.
Leave us alone and you'll see
How we can drag down the State!
We are the worm in the wood!
We are the rot at the root!
We are the taint in the blood!
We are the thorn in the foot!

Mistletoe killing an oak...
Rats gnawing cables in two...
Moths making holes in a cloak...
How they must love what they do!
Yes... and we Little Folk too,
We are busy as they...
Working our works out of view...
Watch, and you'll see it some day!

CHORUS:

No indeed! We are not strong,
But we know Peoples that are.
Yes, and we'll guide them along
To smash and destroy you in War!
We shall be slaves just the same?
Yes, we have always been slaves,
But you... you will die of the shame,
And then we shall dance on your graves!

CHORUS:


Dolores: "There is another poem that you say, that has "But we are the people of England"
Paddy: "Oh 'The Secret People', that is Chesterton"

(Ed: Though it was not performed at the lecture, since it was mentioned, I thought it appropriate to insert)

The Secret People

Smile at us, pay us, pass us; but do not quite forget;
For we are the people of England, that never have spoken yet.
There is many a fat farmer that drinks less cheerfully,
There is many a free French peasant who is richer and sadder than we.
There are no folk in the whole world so helpless or so wise.
There is hunger in our bellies, there is laughter in our eyes;
You laugh at us and love us, both mugs and eyes are wet:
Only you do not know us. For we have not spoken yet.

The fine French kings came over in a flutter of flags and dames.
We liked their smiles and battles, but we never could say their names.
The blood ran red to Bosworth and the high French lords went down;
There was naught but a naked people under a naked crown.
And the eyes of the King's Servants turned terribly every way,
And the gold of the King's Servants rose higher every day.
They burnt the homes of the shaven men, that had been quaint and kind,
Till there was no bed in a monk's house, nor food that man could find.
The inns of God where no man paid, that were the wall of the weak.
The King's Servants ate them all. And still we did not speak.

And the face of the King's Servants grew greater than the King:
He tricked them, and they trapped him, and stood round him in a ring.
The new grave lords closed round him, that had eaten the abbey's fruits,
And the men of the new religion, with their bibles in their boots,
We saw their shoulders moving, to menace or discuss,
And some were pure and some were vile; but none took heed of us.
We saw the King as they killed him, and his face was proud and pale;
And a few men talked of freedom, while England talked of ale.

A war that we understood not came over the world and woke
Americans, Frenchmen, Irish; but we knew not the things they spoke.
They talked about rights and nature and peace and the people's reign:
And the squires, our masters, bade us fight; and scorned us never again.
Weak if we be for ever, could none condemn us then;
Men called us serfs and drudges; men knew that we were men.
In foam and flame at Trafalgar, on Albuera plains,
We did and died like lions, to keep ourselves in chains,
We lay in living ruins; firing and fearing not
The strange fierce face of the Frenchmen who knew for what they fought,
And the man who seemed to be more than a man we strained against and broke;
And we broke our own rights with him. And still we never spoke.

Our patch of glory ended; we never heard guns again.
But the squire seemed struck in the saddle; he was foolish, as if in pain,
He leaned on a staggering lawyer, he clutched a cringing Jew,
He was stricken; it may be, after all, he was stricken at Waterloo.
Or perhaps the shades of the shaven men, whose spoil is in his house,
Come back in shining shapes at last to spoil his last carouse:
We only know the last sad squires rode slowly towards the sea,
And a new people takes the land: and still it is not we.

They have given us into the hand of new unhappy lords,
Lords without anger or honour, who dare not carry their swords.
They fight by shuffling papers; they have bright dead alien eyes;
They look at our labour and laughter as a tired man looks at flies.
And the load of their loveless pity is worse than the ancient wrongs,
Their doors are shut in the evening; and they know no songs.

We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
Our wrath come after Russia's wrath and our wrath be the worst.
It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
God's scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.


We were talking about time just now, and I have found a piece here which goes into that idea. The early Faerie specialists had a vivid sense of the relativity of time, founded perhaps on the experiences of dream or trance. For a dream that encompasses several years, may be experienced between rolling out of bed and landing on the floor.

In his study of the supernatural lapse of time in Faerie-land (Ed: [The] "Science of Fairy Tales; An enquiry into Fairy Mythology" by Edwin Sidney Hartland), Hartland speaks of a Pembrokeshire example of a visit to Faerie-land.

Young shepherd joined a faerie dance and found himself in a glittering palace surrounded by the most beautiful gardens, where he passed many years in happiness among the faerie people. There was only one prohibition: in the middle of the garden there was a fountain, filled with gold and silver fish, and he was told he must on no account drink out of it. He desired increasingly to do so, and at last plunged his hands into the pool. At once the whole palace vanished, and he found himself on the cold hillside among his sheep. Only minutes had passed since he joined the faerie dance.

But sometimes it can work the other way. A dance of several minutes may take a year and a day of common time or, as long as two hundred years in the mortal world. This is fairly typical of encounters with the folk of "Tir na n'Og" (Ed: Literal translation from Irish Gaelic - "Land of the Young"), people from the land of the ever young. We might even say, the land of the eternal present.

There have been numerous recorded events where people have vanished and returned after many years looking the same as when they left, only to die mysteriously within a few days. There are several very well recorded events of people vanishing and never being seen again. Of course nowadays the cry is "They were taken by aliens". Well, they might just as well say they have been taken by the Faeries, but of course we are modern people, we are intelligent people, and we do not believe in Fairies - but it's much easier to believe in aliens. This I cannot quite understand. If you can believe in aliens, you should be able to believe in Faeries.

There are two well-recorded instances of total disappearance. All witnessed. On one occasion a farmer came out of the barn. He had two buckets, one in each hand, full of water with which he was going to water the horses in a field adjoining the farm. (Ed: Dolores shows a sketch) The farm is here, the barn is here, the field is here and here, going down the middle between them is a long drive. No trees, this is on the prairies of America. The local parson and his wife are driving in their carriage up to the farmhouse, the farmer sees them, they see him, they wave, he waves. He crosses across their path goes into the middle of that field and vanishes. In their sight. They hear his voice calling for help, they cannot find him. Nobody can find him. But the voice continues to call for help for several weeks, until finally, it fades away.

The second story concerns a young boy of twelve. His father one evening, asks him to go and make sure that the stable door is locked up for the night. He goes out, leaves the door open so that he can see his way across the yard. His mother, sitting by the fire turns her head and watches him. He gets half way to the stable and he vanishes. His voice is heard calling out for help. Again, for several days, but he is nowhere to be found and is never found.

Those are two isolated cases but with research, you could very probably dig up five, six or seven hundred in the last one hundred and fifty to two hundred years. Reports, of the same kind of thing.

We can go back into poetry history and read of Thomas the Rhymer, and read of Tam Lin the young Knight that was taken by the Faerie Queen and always there is this price to pay, and you pay the price by dying early when you come back.

Arthur C Clarke is amongst a group of people - and heaven knows he has his own, what shall I say, he carries with him his own sense of worth, in that few people would argue with a man of his intellectual stature - who maintain that disappearances can really be seen as proof of the existence of parallel worlds.

How does anybody here take The Prediction Magazine? Then you must have read the article, a very, very interesting article in this month's issue that gives credence to this. A man of his late thirties, forties, he has two children, a girl ChloA, who is about twelve or thirteen years of age, i.e. of an age to understand things, a boy Christian about seven, his wife Georgina is pregnant, and close to her time. His daughter comes running in and says to him, "Mum's not feeling well". He goes in, decides that they should get to the hospital, puts his wife into the car, says to ChloA, "Look after your brother", and proceeds to drive his wife to the hospital. Now this is a man with a family, he has a full memory of his life up to the time when he married, from the time of his marriage to the births of his children, right up to this moment. On the way to the hospital the car is in an accident. He loses consciousness, he comes round briefly to see his wife's body beside him. Her head is bleeding but he cannot hold onto consciousness long enough to ascertain whether she is alive or dead. He next wakes up in a hospital, and this is where the nightmare begins.

His first question is, "Where is my wife, is she all right, has she had the baby?"
They say, "What wife, what baby? You were alone when you were brought in."
He says, "No my wife Georgina, she was expecting a baby, we were coming to the hospital."
"You are mistaken, there is only you."
His brother comes in, he calls himself Graham, and says "What's all this talk about a wife? You have never married. You don't have a family. You don't have a wife."
He gets upset naturally. He wants to telephone people, everybody he 'phones, his neighbours, his family, his friends tell him the same thing, "You do not have a family, you have never been married."
A few nights later his daughter ChloA comes in, with a big bunch of flowers, and he says to her, "Is your mother all right?"
She said, "Well yes, you were with her when she had the baby."

Then she goes out into the corridor, he gets up, goes out into the corridor - she is not there. He calls people and says look my daughter brought me some flowers, they say, "No, your brother must have brought those."

He is discharged from hospital, he goes home to a house with no trace of his family. Now what do you do in a situation like this? Clarke would say a parallel world. You have a man here without a family, and the same man with a family, and in that one moment of disaster, there is a flip. Very often you get the same idea in tales where people are taken by Faeries, where they are changed totally and utterly, and can never move back. Or, if they move back, their bodies decay immediately because it's maybe two hundred years or a hundred years or whatever since they left. So we are talking about separate existences here, but there are bridges like wormholes in space, between the land of Faerie and our own land. And there seems to be constant movement between these two worlds judging by the amount of tales told, recorded instances and so on.

If you want to know more about this kind of traffic and social intercourse between humanity and Faeries, you want to get hold of Robert Kirk's book "The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies", Lewis Spence's book "Fairy Tradition in Britain" and this one is one of the finest, it's by Katherine Briggs and it's called "An Encyclopaedia of Fairies". She has written several books on the subject. This is particularly interesting simply because it gives you the many types of Faerie, and those that can be called Faeries, because not all of them are the Tinker Bell type or even Tolkien-like Elves. Another one, by Maureen Duffy, which is slightly more hectic is called "The Erotic World of Faery". Don't be mistaken, this is a serious, well written book. The author maintains and quite rightly, a lot of the way we look at Faeries in our time is derived from - shall we say - the censure on paintings, particularly of the female nude, and paintings that would otherwise be seen as 'not quite nice', but because they were of Faeries, this is allowed because it is - shall we say - Art, rather than anything else.

Some questions and remarks from the floor:

Q: How long was the man unconscious?
DAN: I don't think it actually said, but it seems that he came round when they had taken him from the accident site, to the Hospital, so I would think that maybe we are talking about an hour or two hours at most.
Q: Is that between the time he regained consciousness and then lapsed back into unconsciousness.
DAN: Yes, I think so - I would read it as such.
Q: I had a far more cynical thought about that was this in The States?
DAN: No this was in, I think this was in England. I'm not sure but it gave the impression it was in England.
Remark from floor: There was a play by JB Priestly called "I have been here Before" which has a similar, but not quite, the same theme.
DAN: Priestly wrote three time plays.
Remark from floor: "An Inspector Calls" of course, is the most famous one.
Remark from floor: Yes, and "Time and The Conways"
DAN: Which was the first professional job I ever had. Here's to JB Priestly.
Remark from floor: He wrote a good story.
DAN: Yes he did indeed.
Remark from floor: "An Inspector Calls" is an absolute classic.
Remark from floor: Yes it is, brilliantly done by Alaistair Sims.

Let us look at why Faeries exist. Or why we think they may exist. If you read a lot of books and information about Faeries, you might be forgiven if you think of them as always seeming to have a good time - it is always party time. They dance, they sing and they leap lithely from flower to flower. Hide under toadstools and what have you. In actual fact, I think we should look at them in more depth. Certainly they seem to be part of, synonymous with, responsible for certain aspects of the health of the planet; the well being of Earth itself; the planet in the sense of Gaia, the intelligent being, maybe - which they have been called - Gaia's children.

Dryads, Nymphs, Oriads, Nixies, what-have-you we know, are responsible for their own particular tree, or their own particular glade, their own particular part of a wood. Rather like a Diva, - which is more of an angelic type - but still a creation of the created, which becomes a form which looks after and guards and is present wherever there is great natural beauty or great natural power. But Divas are not Faeries. Neither are they angels. Faeries, Angels and Divas are all different as well. They are distinct types, but there is a tendency for humanity to lump them all together, "I don't understand these", "I don't really believe in them", and "They are all the same". That is definitely not true.

In the book by Joan Grant called "Winged Pharaoh", (Ed: Sekeeta, an Egyptian Princess of the first Dynasty - circa 7600 BC - relates her life story)tells the story of a time in Egypt when all the Kings were Priest-Kings. When they had power. And she finds her father - The Pharaoh - healing the plants in his garden and he is kneeling beside, he is pointing his fingers at them sending the energy down his arms - his own energy - into the plant in order to make it stronger. The words she uses to describe this process are very significant, because they were written in, I think, in either the late thirties, or early forties, (Ed: 1937) and they describe a process we didn't even know about at the time and that is, the fact that vibration of which the universe is made, collects in tiny vortices - spinning spirals - and the girl says to her father, "What are you doing?" and he said, "The little spinner that is the life spirit of this plant is too weak to spin, I am giving it some of my energy."

Now you read that, and you link it up with what you know about vortices of energy (Ed: No books yet available on 'Theory of Everything' -TOE, see http://www.virtualchaos.org - great stuff with an excellent, related, reading list - Oh Gods, more reading, as if Dolores' list was not big enough) and the law of migration (Ed: "Law of Migration", EG Ravenstein, 1834-1914: Partial quote: 'Each Migration produces a counterflow' - relevant or what?)you realise that this woman is tuning in to something. She was tuning in to the fact that every plant is a living thing, and we might say, a living being. It's all very well for vegetarians to say "I don't eat meat", no, but you pull a carrot out of the ground and chomp on that. Experiments prove that plants can feel. That they have a natural "Oops, I don't like you", or "I love you, come closer". When the experiment was performed by attaching plants to electrical devices - lie detectors or something of that nature - then throwing (live)shrimps into a boiling pot of water, plants reacted - they were going 'Aaaaargh! Don't do this to me".

So, we must then agree, that plants have some amount of sentience. I'm not saying they have a lot, but they have some small amount. The bigger and more complicated the plant, then the bigger and more complicated the sentience. The Dryad for instance, of a thousand year old oak is likely to be far more 'with it' than the nature spirit of a dandylion. We must look at Faeries along with these nature spirits because they seem to have a lot of connections, the Faeries seem to be more entwined, closer to, understand more of, and be attuned to nature as a living force than we are. We are just about beginning to learn that we have to do certain things to maintain the balance on this planet. Whether we will succeed is a moot point.

ut the Faerie world is closely entwined with it. There is, in a booklet I have read lately, about Faeries, something that says Faeries were born with the planet, they evolved with the planet, they will die with the planet. Which gives an insight into that legend that says "Fairies have no souls and therefore they don't die but they will disappear when the earth disappears". I find that very, very hard to believe and also I question whether this was thought up by the church as a means of saying "Don't get to close to the Faerie World because you may lose your soul". I don't believe that anything that could bring a universe as diverse and as beautiful and as orderly as the one in which we live, could possibly say to one set of beings "You are going to have a soul" and to another set of beings "You're not".

here is also a long held belief that if a human being marries or mates with a Faerie, if it is true love between them, then they will share a soul. That being why the Faeries often seek mates from amongst the human beings.

Faeries exist, I think, first and foremost because they are closely entwined with the nature of this planet, and secondly because in their continued existence nature continues to exist, and in the existence of nature the Faeries continue to exist. I think they are closely bound with the natural forces and the natural things of the earth. I think that - shall we say - I cannot really say the 'lower' types, but the different types, whose lives, whose existence is bound up with a particular object, a tree, a pool, a plant or what-have-you, and that these are the true nature spirits. I do not confuse Faeries with The Elementals. I think that is wrong. I think - and I could be very wrong, always understand that, I'm giving you what I think not that I am saying "This is right". I am merely telling you what I think and you can go on from there. I think elementals are just that, I think the embodiment of an elemental is what we human beings decide a Sylph, a Salamander, a Mermaid or Undine, or a Gnome will look like. The essence of what they truly are, inhabits those forms. But, I repeat, I think elementals are just that, they are minute portions of that element. In the same way that you can take a glass of water, and with an eye-dropper select one drop out of it. You could say "This drop is an Undine" that is water, this is a Water Elemental, and it is an Elemental as long as it is outside the glass of water, or the pool from which you took it. But as soon as you drop it back again, it loses form and becomes part of the whole.

If fairies are closely entwined with nature, how can we interact with them? We have been apart from them for so long, that it's not going to happen tomorrow. It is going to take a generation or more before they to begin to trust us and start to become part of our lives again, and then only in small groups. We have a group here. If everybody here began to consciously try to make contact with them, it could be the day after tomorrow, it could be many years before you could say "I actually saw a Faerie today". But if you have children and you bring them up to believe, not in the 'Fairy' Faeries, but in Faeries as we are now talking about them, as beings of another area of being, another place of being, then they will grow up with a natural affinity that will make them aware.

There is a book by Julian Jaynes, called "The origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral mind" - 1990. (Ed: Dictionary definition of bicameral: Composed of or based on two legislative chambers or branches - left and right brain here) It has a very good theory to put before you which is quite difficult to explain off-hand, but basically he is saying that in earliest times we used the less analytical, or shall we say the imaginative part of our brains far more than we used the left side of the brain. (Ed: In 1981 Dr Roger Sperry won the Nobel Prize for discovering that each hemisphere of the brain "thinks" in a different way. The verbal left brain hemisphere processes words and the visual right brain hemisphere processes pictures - LH: Analytical, RH: Intuitive)it was easier for human beings to see, to contact these beings than to believe in them. They walked with them, they understood them, they saw them, if not frequently then a damn site more often than they do now. Then we lost that ability when we suddenly began to be able to use the analytical side of our brain. It was a great step forward for humanity. That side of the brain had been very hit and miss, and it had not really started to function. We are very wasteful of our brains. We start out with a reptilian brain, move to the cerebellum - the back brain - then we got it all together and we developed the limbic system - the mid brain - then we suddenly found we could really expand, we grew the two frontal lobes. Between the two frontal lobes there is a bundle of nerve endings and nerve lines that is called the corpus callosum and there are bio-chemists who have made a study of the corpus callosum and who maintain that it too, is the beginning of a new brain. To accommodate it we are gradually going to have to grow bigger heads.

Well this is not something unprecedented because that has happened before. In Neanderthal times and the coming of cro-magnon man. The ability to think analytically, to use that very clever and very logical side of the brain changed the human race forever and we lost the other side; the imaginative side, the dream side, the side that could see the Gods, speak with the Gods, knew where the Faeries could be found, could interact with these beings of that "other place". We got so enamoured with what we could do and what we could accomplish that we left them behind and never even looked back. It is going to take a long time to undo that. We are talking about thousands of years. Yet, there is hope because of the persistence of Faerie lore, Faerie tales, Faerie legends and the on-going insistence of a little group of people that say "They are there", "I have seen them", "I have spoken with them".

We look at the shape that we, as human beings, have given to Faeries, and of course because we think that we are marvellous they have got to look like us - unless you happened to be Hieronymus Bosche. Even the little grotesques are more or less human. There is a type of Faerie, believe it or not, called the Tiddy Ones, (Ed: The name of the Fen Fairies -Tiddy Mun controls floods) and it suddenly dawned on me when I was reading about this I thought "My God, Ken Dodd knows about Faeries". What else is his 'Tickling Stick' but a Magic Wand. You get little bits of revelation like this when something comes up and hits you in the face and you think "Ooh, I wonder if that's where he got that from?".

There is, in the old village tradition, the smugglers agents that used to pass up the folk-ways, they called The Cracky Men When the Cracky Men came in they were super peddlers - like a supermarket on legs. They brought all their lace, brandy, tobacco and whatever.

Remark from the floor: "My fathers's family were part of The Hawkers Gang"

DAN: "That does not surprise me, part of their family still is I suspect"
Remark from the floor: "The Hawkers Gang were a big band of smugglers"
DAN: "From the Fens?"
Remark from the floor: "No, Dymchurch - Romney Marsh"
Remark from the floor: "Were those the ones who when they didn't like someone, they used to put people down a forty foot well head first?"
Remark from the floor: "I don't think we actually had any forty foot wells on Romney Marsh"
DAN: "Far easier just to put them in the marsh and let it take care of them"

How can we see Faeries? Well, as I said before, the bodies we give them are the ones we expect to see. But, explanations are often easier when you have something to hang on to. Sometimes people say, do and picture things and you think to yourself "That is a perfect explanation, that is a perfect symbol". Has anyone here seen the film called 'The Cocoon'? (Ed: A chorus of yeses) Well you will remember that these alien beings took on human form, but they could unzip this human form and when they were not wearing that they were just like a sort of roughly human bundle of light fibres. If you look at the human forms we give Faeries, but you read about the fact that Faeries always give off a light, there is always a light that surrounds them, it's quite easy to say OK while thinking about Cocoon, you unzip the voluptuous Victorian Nude, that is usually seen as the Faerie Queen, inside it is a body of light. Now we know about bodies of light, we use them, we create them, we travel in them, so that is more, could be similar to, the real, the true form of what we call Faerie. It is a fact that whenever they have been seen trouping, whenever they do their rades (or rides), under the full moon and the new moon, that the whole procession carries its own light with it. It could be that like the Cocoon people, this light seeps through the imitation form that we expect to see; but if we had that Faerie ointment, on our eyes, we would perhaps see them as different coloured lights, vaguely human shaped, beautiful in the extreme.

There was in the early twenties, a very beautiful musical play put on called "The Immortal Hour" which told the story of Angus Ogue and his wife Etain and the King Medea. It was one of the most beautiful plays with lovely music. The most famous piece of which was a song called "The Lordly Ones"
(Ed: See The Immortal Hour)

"How beautiful they are
The Lordly Ones
Who dwell in the hills the hollow hills
They have faces like flowers
And their breath is the wind that flows over summer meadows
Filled with dewey clover
Their limbs are more light than shafts of moonshine
They are more fleet than the March wind
They laugh and are glad and are terrible"

A true corollary, incidentally, is that that musical play was banned after about five performances by the government because the man who wrote it was a Communist. Don't care if you write beautiful poetry and beautiful music, you are a Communist so you know, we are going to ban it.
The idea of what Faeries look like, we have been told, are wispy little creatures, Elves are tiny things, something like this, or something like that and they are all sort of thin faced and pointed ears and what have you. Well

From the floor: And shimmery, don­t forget shimmery

You have only got to look and read about the Tuatha De Danaan (Ed: Fourth ancient, invasion of Ireland)or the Fianna (Ed: Warrior 'Brothers in Arms' to Fion MacCumhail/Finn mac Cumal/Finn McCool - take your pick)to realise that these guys had muscles. Schwarzeneggers - yet. The great Faerie Folk of Ireland stood six feet tall and more, and spent most of their time hurling rocks at people. And yet all of a sudden the Tuatha disappeared. They, in their own words, went sideways, into the world as it should be rather than the world as it was. So many of the Faerie Folk did this. Tolkien for the first time, went back to that and made his Elves the elder race; the beautiful ones, the first born. He made them like men and women; tall and beautiful and strong. They too had immortality of a kind. They could be killed but they did not die of disease or old age; unless they chose to become mortal, and they were given the choice. But some of them chose to go to The Halls of Mandos. He was one of the God-forms, he was (Ed: in charge of)the Hades of that time, of that place. So yes, they could be killed, but Tolkien presented them as these beautiful, strong, human-like figures. I think that is another way in which we should look at them. Now it's all very well to go along with some of the ideas of them. We've got this(DAN shows illustrations from a book) well she's barely bigger than the rose. These are all tiny people. These are all pictured as being very small, but this one, we could say is of human size.

Ian, you were telling me something just now about the Vikings.
Ian: The Vikings they believe that Spirit, as they call him in their world, made two people, placed them on the earth, and he said, "Make children". And soon I will come and see what you have made. So the Vikings, the two, as they do made children lots of them. And one day the lady was in the garden, she heard the footsteps of Spirit coming, so quickly, she gathered all her children, washing away, scrubbing away and she had four of them ready oh lovely, look at these. Put them in the front room, then she heard Spirit enter the house. So all the other children, she put them in the back room quickly, they were dirty, put them all back there. She and her husband, were in the front room with the four children, round the blazing fire, talking to Spirit. He said, "Are you doing well, is everything fine?" - yes. "Are these your children?" - yes, yes these are the children we have made. Spirit said, "Well are these all your children?" - yes, yes perfect children as you wanted all clean and nice. "Well I know you have got other children, and those are the children you haven't told me about, and will always remain hidden, and will be called the Hidden Folk". That's what the Vikings believe the Faeries are, Hilde Folk as they call them - The Hidden Ones.

We hear a lot about the Small Folk, the Brownies, the Pixies. We will be going into these a little later in the workshop. Talking about the Brownies, they are the little folk who really do help and who are close to human beings as well as some of those who are not close and who are really, not nice. Not all Faeries are nice. Some of them can be anything but nice. Let me recommend to you another book. It is fiction, it is by Katherine Curts, and it's the first of the books of "The Adept". It is interesting really because she gives such a different view of the Faerie Folk. It concerns the Faerie flag of the Macleods. This flag is an actual flag - it does exist. There is, in the castle of The Macleod of the Macleods, their Faerie Flag that was given to them by the Faeries, and the only people allowed to touch it are the Macleods, and you must be a true Macleod by blood and not by marriage. In the story, this is stolen. It is in a frame, protected by glass, and they steal the whole thing. When the showdown comes, and the glass is broken, the Faerie Folk stream out of this underground cave and - they've got teeth and claws and they just fasten on these guys who have taken the Faerie Flag and just rip them to bits. It's the one person who is a MacLeod who takes the flag and wraps it round himself and protects the others that he is with and says "I am a MacLeod of the MacLeods, you cannot touch me.", and the flag goes back. But one of the characters who is a bit of a sceptic suddenly comes face to face with this Faerie which has got a mouthful of teeth.

You will find, especially amongst the Highland Faeries, that some of them can be not just mischievous, they can be downright malicious. Highland children are brought up to know what to do if you get Faerie-led. Because they try and entice people - especially the children - into the marshes, or into the Lochs, or into wells or anywhere they can be harmed. The children are taught that if they suspect they are being Pixie-led, if you keep finding yourself at the same turning in the road, no matter how many times you walk down the road, you turn your coat inside out, or you link your fingers and tuck your thumbs in, or you put your shoes on the opposite feet. From the floor: So that is why my grandchildren do that.
From the floor: Not many people realise it but Tolkien introduces those as well. In the walk across the Dead Marshes Gollum calls them "tricksey lights" which will lead you astray if you are not careful.

DAN: You have to be careful, not all of them are pleasant.
From the floor: Hence that poem.
DAN: Yes indeed it does.
From the floor: There's actually quite a number of signs that are in the language, "off with the fairies" and "pixilated" and stuff like that in usage that must come from that.


There is too much in folklore that is not folklore so much as it is 'this happened' kind of thing. For instance The Green Children, very often they are called The Green People. They nearly always dress in green, green, scarlet, and gold are their favourite colours. There is a persistent legend somewhere - I think it is in Derbyshire - of two green children, green of skin, green of hair, emerging from a cave mouth and they are crying because they are lost. They are taken in by the villagers, and the boy dies soon after, but the girl grows up amongst them and as she begins to eat their food, she loses the green tinge to her skin, though she always maintains her green hair. This comes up in many examples of interaction with Faeries.

One of the ways in which we can see them even if we are not clairvoyant is to look for them in the world around us; because particularly the plant life, the trees, the Faerie Folk of the growing things, they will tend to use anything and everything, mainly shadows, the way leaves and bark and flowers are put together. If you have young children, you will probably have heard them say, "Oh look mummy, look there's a tree and there's a face in that tree. Can you see that face mummy?" All to often mummy says "Don't be silly dear", unless she happens to be one of our kind. But that is the way they can show you that they are there. A simple acknowledgement "I see you", "I know you're there", "Thank you for showing yourself", is enough to start what sometimes is called a co-walker, and a co-walker is Faerie person who will be with you, becomes a companion. That Faerie walker will always be with you and they will attach themselves to you, rather in the same way that an elemental can attach themselves to a person if they are of the right kind. If you really want to catch a glimpse of them, go out with a camera and take photographs of landscapes, trees, forests, plants and everything and anything. The kind of landscape you'll find around here. When they are developed go over them with a small looking glass and you will see in - at least one in every picture - you will be able to detect a face. That is the way they show themselves to you now, because they know you can't see them in any other way, unless you are very, very lucky.

I have a picture, and I looked to find it, but I don't know where I put it - in one of my safe places - and it is the picture of the daughter of a friend of mine, Emily. She was always one who attracted this kind of being. Maureen had taken this picture, Emily was walking along and Maureen was slightly up on a rise, and took this picture of Emily. When she had the pictures developed, there was a small dark figure, walking beside her and actually had its arm around Emily's waist and Emily had her hand on its shoulder. When she asked Emily about it, Emily said, "Oh yes, he is often there". This was the first Maureen had heard about this. I wish I could have found it but it's just one of those things that disappears every now and again, it will suddenly appear later when I don't want it.

From the floor: I have asked Stan to send the pictures of the faces in that tree. I have given him Taliaris' Email, because Bob's had crashed so he couldn't get it through to Bob. I hope so because these two faces are so clear in this particular tree.

I have a friend in Jersey who has an old granite fireplace. God knows he has lived in this house long enough. But all of a sudden faces and images have started to emerge on this granite fireplace. It's almost as if the stone has worn away to reveal something. There's a dog, there's a cat, there's a beautiful owl, there's a woman with a child in her arms. All these things, they are there for a few days and they go. Then something else comes up in the same place.

Most children and a lot of adults - you would be surprised - in a day-dream or when lying back, on a plain wall will suddenly see faces coming out of the wall and going back again. They are sometimes elementals and sometimes they are the spirits of place, the spirits that are there and have always been there.

One thing I ask you to remember is that one of the places - hand on heart - one of the places that has more Faerie sightings, than any place you will find, is New York. Now New York, if you know New York, is definitely not a Faerie land; but think about this underneath all those buildings, the original land is still there and so are the beings that lived on it. This is true about any place that is built up. The land, the original land is still there and if there were being of that nature, attached to that land, they too will be there, because for them, the buildings don't exist.
I think that's a note on which to bring this to an end because it's a quarter to eleven, and a lot of us have been at work for a long time doing sweet Fanny-Adams all day. We will see you tomorrow at 9.45.
To finish another poem from Paddy:

"We Who are Old", by William Butler Yeats.
We who are old, old and gay, oh so old
Thousands of years, thousands of years if all were told,
Give to these children, new from the world, silence and love
And the long dew-dropping hours of the night and the stars above
Give to these children, new from the world, rest far from men
Is anything better, is anything better? tell us it then.
We who are old, old and gay, oh so old
Thousands of years, thousands of years if all were told,

Yeats was a poet who was totally and utterly convinced of the existence of Faeries; and if you want to read the words of another one, get a book called "The Candle of Vision" by AE. His name was George Russel but he styled himself simply as 'AE'. This is a beautiful book, full of his experiences of Faerie Land and other types of mystical experiences.

 

 

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