Living the Wheel: Seasonal Musings of the Pagan Year
Thoughts and musings of the wheel of the Pagan Year.
The Fae and Our World
The host is riding from Knocknarea,
And over the grave of Clooth-na-bare;
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, "Away, come away;
Empty your heart of its mortal dream.
The winds awaken, the leaves whirl round,
Our cheeks are pale, our hair is unbound,
Our breasts are heaving, our eyes are a-gleam,
Our arms are waving, our lips are apart;
And if any gaze on our rushing band,
We come between him and the deed of his hand,
We come between him and the hope of his heart."
The host is rushing 'twixt night and day;
And where is there hope or deed as fair?
Caolte tossing his burning hair,
And Niamh calling, "Away, come away."
The Hosting of the Sidhe
Out on a walk this Beltane night, I saw the very gates of faerie rising
around me, it seemed. The moon was a waxing crescent, Mars ascending,
and fog was rising off the river, coming to cover the woods and path. It was
the kind of night when one didn't only observe the surroundings with the
eyes, but with the soul as well. When walking, one can witness amazing
things, life-changing miracles, and enlightening gifts that can be seen when
one is not seeking them. What is the world around you trying to say? What
do you feel as you walk the path? Is there a sense of awe, of sadness, or a
quietude that soothes your soul? Open your mind to the quiet emotion of the
place, and let its peace and strength fill you.
Whether or not the fae would have revealed themselves to me is
irrelevant; the world around me had an other-worldly essence to it, making it
entirely possible to believe that there are worlds within worlds, whether we
ever see them or not. Seeing something doesn’t necessarily make it
real—some things, the true things closest to our hearts and to nature, must
be believed in to be seen. 'When all is said and done, how do we not know
but that our own unreason may be better than another's truth? For it has
been warmed on our hearths and in our souls, and is ready for the wild bees
of truth to hive in it, and make their sweet honey. Come into the world
again, wild bees, wild bees!' ¹
Tales of the faerie kind may seem frivolous to adults in this day and
age; fairies are little glittery pink things with wands and wings. But the fae,
the faerie folk that abound on Celtic and Germanic lore, not to mention the
various spirits in Slavic traditions are something more, something far
greater, beings that command respect and in many ways, fear. They are
beings of awesome power and penetrating knowledge, not to mention
fractious tempers and a fondness for pranks that generally finish to their
benefit. But when treated with respect, they have been known to bestow
gifts of many sorts on humankind. Knowledge, healing, music, art,
understanding of the world and how we relate to it.
If referring to them as faeries is too fantastic for you, think of them instead as guiding spirits. This is what they are, after all. Are there any faerie traditions in your own part of the world? If so, what do you know of them? The area I live in was once Native American land, invaded (literally) by the English. Later Irish immigrants came as well, working the factories that sprang up along the river. With these settlers came their traditions and tales of the faerie, and perhaps the essence of the fae themselves. And though I am as yet unfamiliar with them, the First People of this land had their own Otherfolk as well, and it would behoove me to learn of them and observe the proper courtesies.
Whether we actually believe in the presence of faeries or not, we must acknowledge the fact that there is another plane beyond this one that we inhabit. Call it the spirit world, call it Heaven, Avalon, Nirvana, whatever you call it, this other world is a vital piece of the puzzle we call life. There are things we need to know, not consciously, but spiritually, the truth to who and what we are, why we are here now and not thirty years hence; why we are doing what we feel we must do. Without the connection to the world beyond we will never know these things. We will be unfulfilled, unfinished as it were, longing for a knowledge we don't even know we're lacking because we're too caught up in the now to realize that there is anything else to come. 'Only when this world and the Otherworld infuse and inform each other can life thrive.' ²
We must be open to believing that there are doorways around us. If we have the courage to approach those doorways and enter the World Beyond, we will learn incredible things, we will gain knowledge we didn't know we lacked, but understand we must have it. We will grow as the greening spring, filled with vitality and strength, both physical and spiritual. With this strength comes the ability to facilitate change. What good can we do, armed with the knowledge of the ages? How much could we change the world, even if it's just our small corner of it, if we were willing to believe that we could learn from the faerie people that exist on the edge of our sight?
The Wheel has spun to the summer season of Beltane. May you be blessed as you wander the path your life is taking. Walk slowly with reverence and with care, and listen, not just with your ears, but with your soul as well.
Close your eyes, relax. Breathe in the green essence of spring. As you breathe, visualize a door, any door, one that will open and welcome you to the world beyond, the world within this world, a world we can't see until we release all our preconceived images and the stresses and imagined failings in this world.
Beyond this door is the Otherworld. In the Otherworld is something you need to see and/or experience for your life right now. When you feel you are ready, open the door and walk into the Otherworld. Feel your heart, your mind open as you open the door. The only way to truly see what we need to see is with all our senses aware and willing. Do not focus on what it is you are supposed to learn. Walk through the door, continue walking, and see what there is to see. You will know when you have been given enlightenment. When you have seen what you need to see, return through the door, closing it behind you.
Now think about yourself. What have you learned, and how does it apply to you? Feel a doorway within yourself. Open this door and allow what you have learned to fill you and give you what you need. When you feel you are finished, close this door as well.
Take a breath and allow the image of the door, the one within you as well as the one to the Otherworld, to fade away. Know that while unseen, it is still there, ready for you to open any time you need to seek enlightenment or peace. Breathe in the green essence of spring. Come back to yourself, and open your eyes.
(Adapted from The Goddess Oracle by Amy Sophia Marashinsky)
1: W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight and a Selection of Early Poems; Signet Classics, 1962
2: Starhawk, Baker, Hill, et al; Circle Round; Bantam Books, 1998
Amy Sophia Marashinsky, The Goddess Oracle; Element Books, 1997
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