Monday, September 22, 2014

Fairyland & the Dead

by Susan A Sheppard

I have learned that whenever I dream of fairies someone is going to die.

This may startle some who view fairies as airy, winged sprites that perch daintily on flowers or hide under mushrooms and grant wishes to the good. But just like human beings, not all fairies are beneficent, and are said to exist in an in-between place from heaven and earth.
Throughout history, most especially in the British Isles, fairies have long been associated with witches, ghosts and spirits of the dead. Yet the idea that links fairies with spirits of the dead should not cause alarm. It is all an aspect of the nature such beings have a part in. After all, what we view as "supernatural" is simply a part of nature that we just don't understand yet.
Tales of human entry into Fairyland, mostly in Scotland, held that fairies attended to the dead, and were sometimes responsible for a number of hauntings in homes, or ghostly visits, acting as witch’s familiars. To some, fairies were pagan souls from pre-Christian days cloaked in some astral form, not knowing how or deserving to get into a Christian heaven. In Celtic belief, it was thought Fairyland was the very first place souls would visit after death before moving on to an astral realm, guided by fairies into Summerland or Celtic Otherworld and the Netherworld of the Egyptians.
But in popular culture, this link has been largely forgotten. Death, and anything associated with it, such as ghosts or spirits of the dead, is an area of cultural and religious taboo. New age circles are not always so comfortable with the idea of ghosts or haunted places. We revere fairies while we fear the dead. The concept of ghosts remains disturbing to many and is erroneously associated with evil. It may seem hard to see fairies in such a place, but people in the past believed some fairies were in the land of the forgotten dead.

Some say that the communications with spirits upsets the dead and such spiritual interference should only be allowed during Samhain or Halloween. In some respects, this very well may be true. But there are many spirits who still want to communicate with the living, and they will make their presence known until their message is received. This is what causes hauntings. Thus in our modem day, like the Banshee fairy that washes out the bloody clothes of her dead along waterways, fairies and their connections to ghosts have been rinsed of their powers.
Long ago, fairies and ghosts were viewed as much as the same, spirits neither good nor bad but s
omething in-between. Even human beings were thought to be fairies if they showed special powers or unusual ugliness or beauty — much the same as witches. In Scotland, it was considered great esteem for a man to marry a woman who was a “fairy witch.” This could be dangerous as well since fairy witches were often blamed for blights and bad luck.

Yet in Ireland, where the ghosts were called Thevshi or Tash, Finarva, the King of the Fairies ruled over the dead. Again, there was danger that was associated with fairies and haunting ghosts. If not treated with proper respect, they might come back to wreak havoc on the living, thus, all fairies were referred to as “the little people” or the “wee folk” and the names of the dead were rarely spoken
It was believed in the Celtic realm that when a soul leaves the body, it could be enticed away, at times, by fairies, looking for a new soul to join them in fairyland. Very small children were susceptible to this, because they fairies themselves are much like children themselves, open and natural to the world. In western Ireland, in Christian times, when a small child died, blood from a chicken would be sprinkled on the threshold so spirits or fairies would be enticed away from the body.
According to Lady Wilde, in her 1897 book Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland that starting on All Hallows Eve, “the dead would spring up in their shrouds and rush out into the moonlight with mad laughter to join the fairies.” On the last night of November, it was especially tenuous between the living, souls of the dead, and the fairies. It was this last night (believed by the Irish) that fairies would dance with souls of the dead on hillsides before they must return to the chilled, cold earth. Certain tales indicate fairy witches joined them in their dance.
Individuals who died at twilight would find themselves in Fairyland and could visit the living as ghosts. It is interesting to note that modern ghost researchers say the most opportune time to investigate ghosts and hauntings, is to start around dusk since this is the time spirits tend to show themselves to mortal human beings. Once again, with the coming of night pulls us into a twilight world, a ghostly dreamtime.

Fairies as Witch’s Familiars

Familiar spirits are ghosts, or discarnates such as fairies, that contact human beings routinely and can be used for magic. The most recognized familiar in witchcraft as in popular culture has to be a black cat, followed closely by a raven or a crow. Native American familiars arrive in the form of a totem animal more likely to be a bear, eagle or an elk. The animal’s body is possessed by another spirit or divinity that is primarily an imp, a ghost or a fairy. When called upon, the familiar may wish to assist a sorcerer, magician or witch, or rescue a person who needs help.

The animal familiar is mostly found in England where accused witches were thought to have familiars that were really fairies, demons, imps and elves, and sometimes ghosts of evil people invading the body of an animal. Familiars could be kept as a pet, or even a spider or a toad found inside the house of the accused witch. The idea of familiars traveled to America to show up in some of the Salem Witch Trials later.

By 1598, beliefs in fairies appearing in the guise of animals was firmly solidified, when a man in Aberdeen claimed he had met with the Queene of Elphen (Queen of Elfland) along with her cats wandering along the rode at Twilight.

At this time, in Gaelic lands it was believed that anyone who passed away around at Twilight, his or her spirit could get lost, ending up in Elfland only to return as ghosts. Fairies were very much like the undead, or the nosferatu, whom some believed they shared tombs with while in Elf or Fairyland.

Fairies and familiars exhibited related psychic powers, they have the ability to divine the future, and leave their realms, just like ghosts who want to interact with the living. They are also described as ghosts very early on, as in a green glowing light, rather large or small and inside a moving shadow. In British occult lore, it was believed that sometimes when the Devil appeared, he did as a handsome man dressed in green, a color primarily associated with fairies. The Devil would then vanish in the form of a black dog, of course, associating him to the banshee’s Black Shuck and other British hobgoblins.
What is lost on our culture today is fairies became a part of demonology after the witch trials. It is only when the Victorians cleaned up fairies, and their associations with witches and the dead, that they were re-introduced as very much watered down creatures.
It was once feared that when there was no water or milk left out for the fairies or familiar spirits that visited the home, they might have to drink human blood. The most common name for a witch’s familiar in England was “Robin.” It is interesting to note that the legendary figure of Robin Hood, like the fairies so often, is always portrayed wearing green clothing.

Fairies and Poltergeists

When considering poltergeists, and how we view them in our modern day, it is not so different than the way common folk used to see fairies. Fairies, like spirits, could cause havoc and mayhem in the household if not given the proper respect. Fairies could also move objects and hide them in the most unlikely places. At times, they even threw things, like glasses or cups and might splash food or liquids in people’s faces to show their unhappiness. Sometimes the fairies might drum to keep residents awake all night, tap or knock on doors or walls in order to draw attention to their plight or just to show their disapproval at homeowners. Others were reported to run a cane up and down the headboard of a bed or made loud invisible footsteps in homes. Unruly children might cause the fairies to slap, to pinch or push. Mysterious lights or shadows appear and disappear in the home. This was all just a part of fairy mischief.

If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it should. The unseen type of fairy, the kind that plays tricks, is very much like our everyday poltergeist. Of course, in German, poltergeist simply means a rapping ghost or meddlesome spirit.

The appearance of the poltergeist tends to occur in cycles, and never appears as a person, or a personal ghost, with a face or a history or a name. (They may lie and respond to any name given though.) Some may mistake their poltergeist for a person that they know of that died in the home or perhaps a relative who passed on. Such unsettling occurrences, such as doors slamming, shelves crashing and empty footsteps must be explained somehow. But it usually is not. Poltergeists may be our own volatile and erratic psychic powers unleashed, and are typically associated with an adolescent boy or girl.

Therefore, the popular theory explaining poltergeists over the past fifty years is, that poltergeist phenomenon is fueled by dormant telekinetic powers found within the human brain. The stress of adolescents may stimulate the poltergeist activity that at one time could easily be mistaken for the powers of fairies, witches or spirits of the deceased. What is intriguing about linking poltergeists to fairy hauntings in the distant past is that poltergeists are generally not thought to be spirits of the dead, either. They are a form of haunting all on their own, but generally associated with other types of hauntings.

In fact, I have found during my own ghost investigations that the appearance of poltergeists are often a pre-cursor or a “firing up” to other major types of hauntings, which may involve actual ghosts or spirits of the dead. Where you have poltergeists, you will most likely find actual ghosts. There must be some synergy between the human mind and spirits, and other type of spirits, for instance fairies, earth energies, and elementals.

 Imagine what might happen to the owner of a home plagued with poltergeists during the times of the witch trials and executions. It would seem insane to admit to poltergeists (as fairies or ghosts or imps) in the home to anyone, most especially authorities who could put you on trial. And a number of witch inquisitors, when visiting the homes of many supposed witch’s home, reported having their hats knocked from their heads, having their shins kicked and their pockets turned inside out. In any event, the only way to save oneself was to point a finger at the “real witch” responsible for the haunting.

Elementals as Spiritual Expressions of Earth Energies

Elementals, or natural earth energies representing the four elements of fire, earth, water and air, have much in common with fairies. They are ethereal forms of life and spirit that are not usually seen by the human eye but are also expressions of earth energies. In fact, many believe fairies are just that — elemental spirits that are really not human in any way, but can be contacted by psychic visions and by other powers.
One could hardly call elementals supernatural since they are very much a part of the natural world. But they sometimes appear as balls of light, colored gases and cloudy lights, the rippling silver of waves on water, or even in the simple stirring of a blade of grass. Such energies have personalities and it is the tradition of witchcraft that interactions with elementals will benefit crops, will cause gardens to be more abundant and will generally make life on earth more pleasant for human beings.

After all, elementals are in the primordial phase of all creation on earth and in our solar system. Yet they are not impartial to humans — they are in essence helpers.
Earth Elementals govern the physical realm of sinew, bone, mountain, muscle, grass and rock. Air Elementals govern the ethereal realms, such as wind, storms, the influencing of stars, planets, oxygen and spirit. Water Elementals represents the astral realm, just beyond the earth realm. They rule emotion, empathy, medium-ship and ghosts.

As the Welsh poet Dylan Thomas once wrote: The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives my green age – after all, green is the color of life and growth.Behind nature, perhaps, is where the spark of divinity lies. Such could be said of the elemental forces found in the natural that are apart from the human mind or soul, and yet also a part of both.

The pentacle or pentagram, as is related to witches and Wicca, represents the elementals and elements of fire, earth, water and air — plus a 5th element of Akasha, meaning spirit.
Summoning The Fairies

Whether you believe fairies to be actual souls of pagan ancestors, shining ones named divas, earth’s elementals, spiritual guides or watchers, or ghosts from a forgotten race such as the Tuatha Da Dannan, there are ways to contact the fairy realms. In most instances, the fairies will contact you first, but if you wish to bring them into your own domain, with evidence for their existence, you might try these methods.
Begin by making an effort to spend time in the natural world. Meditate or contemplate under a grove of cool trees, fall asleep under the stars, near an isolated water source, such as a waterfall or a stream. This will open your consciousness to the fairy realms.

Get comfortable and relax, especially nearby a nature setting or one easily in your view.

Now close your eyes. Allow your mind to fill with a rich, velvety darkness.
Imagine a shimmering green light filling your mind’s eye. Mentally, move toward it. Focus fully on this glowing green.
At this point, perhaps you feel a gentle rocking sensation. Surrender to it.
Now imagine a shining green sphere expanding throughout the blackness. Watch the green ball fill throughout your consciousness. See black no longer. Only green.
Think of a favorite scene from nature.
Mentally, call out to your fairies or fairy. Do you see anyone walking or flying toward you? Is there mist, vapors or fluttering over you, or nearby?

Invite your fairy into your abode. Greet your fairy visitor with good cheer.
Add some silver. Fairies are most fond of silver. It connects them to moonlight.

Focus on a name or on a fairy clan name. If the fairy has no answer, think harder. (If the fairy does not give you a name, tell it to go away for the time being. It may not be one of the sidhe.)
Expect your fairy to answer you in imagery and pictures. Your fairy may come across to you clear enough to get names and words. If you do, consider this a bonus.

If you have a need, ask it of your fairy, or inquire of your fairy what ways your need or goal can be accomplished.
Before your fairy leaves you, ask for peace and wisdom in forging your own path.
Bid your fairy farewell by saying “Merry part.” To invite your fairy to visit with you again, set out small bowls of sugar, flowers, or milk.
Once you make contact psychically, creatively or mentally, there are signs that indicate the presences of fairies in your life. This may seem juvenile to some, but fairies were once and still are taken very seriously in parts in the British Isles and now ....America..... Individuals in the past knew that fairies were powerful presences. That is why people in the countryside gave the sidhe great respect.

Signs of Fairy Presences

You experience dreams (ones that stick with you) where nature plays a prominent role, especially nature dreams that involve singing or music.

Dreams of miniature human clothing, such as shoes, jackets or pants, etc.

The sound of bells, or childish laughter from which you cannot determine the source may indicate the presence of fairies.

A sudden unexplainable gust of wind.
Finding impressions of circles in the grass not there the day before.
You hear your name being whispered into one ear (never aloud) and not in the other. You just basically hear whispering when no one is there.
A sudden feeling of warmth, wit or mirth.
What is usually termed poltergeist activity in the home, such as the motion or displacement of objects, disembodied movement such as lamps, swinging, doorbells being rung with no one there and other strange spiritual manifestations.
Pets begin to show great interest in certain parts of your yard, area or home, such as sniffing, whispering or ears standing up or just becoming more alert.
Walking into a room or area and you suddenly see shimmering lights, or bright sparkles in the black grasses after dark, as well as evidence of small lights or miniature orbs in pictures near your home.
In a green world, this is what fairies are about. Do not be afraid to seek them out!



1 comment:

  1. Lovely blog Susan, have added it to my blogroll. - String