Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Faery World/ Ancestor World Connections

Because seemingly all cultures have recognized and maintained ritual relationships with different types of faeries for the better part of human history, a large number of our ancestors have interacted with faeries as individual personalities and as collective entities. With this knowledge, we can reactivate beneficial relationships with the faeries that our ancestors knew, and come to a psychological understanding of challenging relationships that may in some way act as family curses, (i.e. to acknowledge and then make peace with them).

For August 2nd's magical chat session, each person posed the request, "Please show me a Faery World influence that has been associated with my family ancestors," and then selected one image from the "Fairy Circle" Oracle by Mason and Franklin, and one from the Froud "Faeries Oracle." I use these decks because they depict actual faery entities--some from traditional culture, and some "revealed." (There are Tarot decks and others that use faeries in their illustrations, but I'm not aware of any others that present faeries as personalities you can engage with.) So, what are some ways that ancestors might have experienced some of these faery energies, and how can these past associations be of interest to us, today? I don't have time to elaborate on all of them, but here are a few of the categories that came up:

One way that people encounter faeries is as Nature spirits, some of which can be expressions, manifestations, and voices of the Intelligence of Nature herself. So, considering some of the cards that came out of the Fairy Circle deck, the appearance of "The Sea Mither" may indicate ancestors who made their living by the sea, or other coastal peoples who relied on the sea's abundance, while the "Woodwose," the sort of wild man phased into green man may indicate a connection with the deep woods or wilderness areas, and suggests a hermit-like escape to such places. Knowing that some ancestor relished such Nature World connections isn't necessary for cultivating a sense of kinship with Nature, but when enjoying a day in the woods or by the seaside, it enables you to spiritually reach across time to a kindred spirit mentor who can help open your intuition to special insights and messages from Nature. Two of the Froud images were "The Bright Mother" and "The Lady of the Harvest." These illustrate how the Faery World's intimate association with the Natural World's fertility and abundance is linked to Mother Goddess figures. I have recently been trying to learn more about how Goddesses are associated with the cult of the nymphs which exists still today among the Greeks and South Slavs, (Blum and Blum's book, "The Dangerous Hour," is a good contemporary source), but the relationship between goddesses and faeries is pan-European, and is one of the most ancient and deeply rooted forms of Nature religion. Knowing that your ancestors participated, (as all of our ancestors have done), helps us feel more welcomed into the Faery/Nature Mother's celebration of a world that is intensely alive.

Another way that humans have accessed faeries and fairy realms is through the portals of the mind, including through dreams and artistic inspiration. If certain faeries communicated with certain of your ancestors through dreams, creative work, or reveries, there's the potential for you to pick up their threads of inspiration and enchantment through your own dreams, creativity, or other imaginative exercises. I believe that two of our participants got "Laiste, Moon's Daughter," who is a guide to the imaginative realms. As Jessica Macbeth says in the Froud manual, "Laiste reaches into our deepest minds, opening long shut doors ...," and "she speaks to us in the language of symbols," so one is advised to pay attention to the symbols that pop up in dreams, as well as in the things of daily life. In relation to our topic, Laiste might put symbolic images in your path that connect you with the musings of past family visionaries. Another one chose "Penelope Dreamweaver" who "weaves tapestries in the mind with threads of light, color, and sound." It may be that Penelope will help you connect with the creative gifts of some ancestor that she also inspired.

When we look at traditional faery types, we often find them associated with arts and crafts, partly because faeries delight in the creation of beauty, but also, I think, because the often rhythmic motions involved in craftwork can put us into a meditative trance where we then become more receptive to faery inspiration. A "Fairy Ring" card that came up was Wayland Smith, the shaman-craftsman, which may well denote Faery World-Ancestor World connections that can be achieved through immersion in craftwork or other absorbing work.

One category that didn't come up was domestic faeries, (such as brownies), but this is an important category, because there is a long tradition of domestic faeries that attach themselves to generations of households and families, and connecting with them can help you find greater pleasure in what we call entropic work, (i.e. housework, yardwork, etc. that is never done), making such work a meditative exercise.

That leaves the category of more challenging faeries, some of which included the Kelpie and the Garconer (Glanconner), who are beings that can lead people into danger, and the Boggart, who may indicate disruptive forces in your home life. With those kinds of entities, one might want to think about different types of problems that get passed down through families, and whether it seems like some mischievious forces are trying to suck you in, whether it's following dangerous illusions or resurrecting old fears or arguments. However, when you can put a face on a problem, (even a face on a faery card), that can help you objectify it in a way that makes it more manageable. You can also do the Buddhist thing of taming chaotic energies by reciting the Lovingkindness blessing: "May all beings be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, ... May all beings find happiness!"

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