Good Morning my Sweetlings,
Well, I've been chasing the dust creatures around and finally managed to get them out of the door, for the meantime! I hope they've been keeping you company and telling fine tales, the sort that they only bring out when it's ever so quiet around these parts.
I've been mulling over the idea for this post for a few weeks now, and in keeping with faerie the more I think about it the more muddled I feel on how I should write it! I've spent a lot of time this year drawing faerie and all manners of otherworldly creatures, and many people have also asked me how I see them. Another common question that a lot of people ask is 'how do I know what I'm seeing or hearing is real?'
So today I wanted to make a post to share some of my experiences in this area, and I hope they'll be helpful for you. I've broken everything down into tips to make it a little easier to follow, for I'm bound to get turned around!
Tip 1: Don't Overthink It
For me, this is probably one of the most important aspects of communicating with faerie. I've found that if I let things flow without getting in their way too much, everything comes together much easier. The moment you let your mind start getting in there things become infinitely more confusing. This sounds difficult in writing, separating your mind from your thoughts, but actually it is very easy. In my experience the fae tend to come to you when you are thinking about something else entirely, or when you are in a state of letting your mind drift around, such as when you're about to fall asleep. Conversely, if you're sitting there and thinking very hard about trying to communicate with them in some way, they rarely show up.
To my mind, the fae are made of a very freeflowing energy, so they tend to appear most easily when you are letting your own energy flow freely and easily without placing too many obstacles in the way. Another thing to remember about faerie is that they can be known to confuse and mislead people on purpose. If you give them doubt to play with, some faeries will happily run you around in circles until you doubt everything!
Tip 2: Be Safe & Know When to Leave
Safety is always a point I'm very particular about explaining, especially if you are taking your first real foray into communicating with faerie. The concept of faeries has become very sanitised in our society and a lot of people now think of them as being pretty, sweet, friendly and generally good natured. Whilst there certainly are fae who are all of those things, there are also a multitude of other personalities and appearances out there, just like with people.
Sometimes you will come across fae who give you a very strong message of 'don't come near me'. They may let you see them without particularly talking directly to you, or you may see them from a distance but get an unfriendly feeling when you go closer. Sometimes you will get a warning feeling when you are in particular areas, such as in a wood. If you get a feeling like this, back off. That may mean leaving the area, or taking steps back until the feeling fades away. You don't have to see yourself as particularly sensitive or 'psychic' to know when you're picking up on these sorts of energies, often they will just feel like a bad 'vibe' that you can't explain.
It is very important to follow your gut when you work with faerie, follow your feelings and trust in yourself. If you get a bad feeling then be respectful and don't push on any further. In my experience, if you follow this, you will be much safer. If you push further, as with anything that gives you a warning, you are walking into dangerous territory. This is when it becomes much more likely that you might see something scary, or that something could try to chase you off physically.
For instance, I did the drawing above last night whilst listening to howling wind and rain outside. I saw this Winter Troll maiden dancing around in the trees and wanted to draw her. However, even as I was drawing I knew she was not a creature that I could walk right up to, so to speak. I was able to see her from a distance, but I had a clear feeling that she could have been more dangerous had I tried to go out and follow her.
It is also important to keep yourself safe by setting your own boundaries. Be clear on what you are happy with and what you are not, and if necessary tell them to leave. I am a firm believer that, especially in the fae and spirit world, if you tell something it can't be near you then it has to leave. Whether that means it leaves physically, or whether it means that you just don't experience it anymore, in some way it does leave you alone. Sometimes you may meet something that frightens you, and in that instance you absolutely have the right to tell them to leave you alone, or leave yourself with the intention that they may not follow you. Don't be afraid to close the door, if you feel that is what you need to do.
Tip 3: How Do I Know If It's Real?
The short answer to this one is that you just don't, and you can't for sure. Communicating with faerie is a very intuitive process that takes place in a setting that just can't be judged by normal methods. I believe that everybody has the capacity to go to this place, we can all follow our intuition, and you have to have faith that what your heart and mind are telling you is what is happening. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can decide if what you see and/or hear is real or not, and as with the misleading I mentioned earlier, if you don't believe something is real then the fae are unlikely to be bothered about trying to convince you otherwise. I find that they often don't care very much what we think of them, or whether we believe they're there or not, it doesn't matter to them.
Generally speaking, here are a few ways that I 'know' when a faerie is around and communicating with me. Firstly, they tend to appear when I'm thinking about something completely different and off topic. Then, suddenly, they will appear in my mind and they're all I can think about. I might see them moving about, or as a static image, and they are almost always completely 'in my head'. I have seen things in the physical realm, but usually I will only see things physically for a very short time, or as a flash, there and then gone. I once watched a troll in a bush for quite a while in Cornwall!
Seeing and hearing them is such a strange thing to try and explain, and I think this is where many people trip up and start doubting what is happening. I can only describe seeing them as feeling as though another set of eyes has opened inside me, and I'm seeing them simultaneously through four eyes instead of two. I sometimes get a strange feeling in my forehead when I see them, which could be using the 3rd eye to see them, a sight that goes beyond purely physical reality.
Hearing them is often very similar to when you talk to yourself in your mind, something I'm sure we have all experienced and yet cannot explain. It is like hearing a voice speaking and yet just knowing their thoughts without speaking at the same time. Sometimes I will hear a specific voice, but like the seeing this is often very brief and quick. Most communication of 'talking' goes on as a sort of transferal of thoughts, and in the same way the sight I suppose is more like a transferal of images.
Tip 4: How Do I See Them?
Brian Froud has said that he is often asked this question, and it's only in trying to answer it myself that I realise how difficult it is!
I don't think there is a hard and fast way that will automatically reveal faeries to you, which I think is actually a great thing. To me the best way to see them is to be open to seeing them, and then just go about your day as you would normally. There are old recipes of herbs and oils that are said to give faerie sight, as well as things such as Hagstones, stones with holes in the middle through which you are said to be able to see into the Otherworld. I think using these types of tools is a wonderful way to bring something intangible into reality, allowing you to focus on something physical as a link to something less concrete. I have yet to find a Hagstone, but I did find a Hagtree once, a beautiful tree with a natural hole in the middle of it's trunk.
Tip 5: Can I Work With Them? If So, How?
I personally think that you can work with them, just like you can work with anything else. The key to working with the fae, in my experience, is to do what comes naturally to you. If you are an informal person then I don't think you need to perform any sort of ritual in order to work with them. At the same time if you like ritual, whether just in every day life or in magical work, then by all means use it. The important factor is that you are doing what is normal for you, don't try to force anything because that, to me, is the one thing that will make it harder to communicate with them.
For me, working with faerie is often quite different to working with a deity, I think because of the way I go about my work. When I work with a deity such as a Goddess or a God I tend to be specifically asking for their guidance and help, whereas with the fae I work with them in my every day life, without necessarily asking for anything specific. I appreciate being able to see them, communicate with them and express them through my art, and those are gifts to me from them, to my mind. Fae are also wonderful protectors, and some will be incredibly loyal to you. At my old house I had a garden filled with herbs that were said to attract the fae, such as Toadflax, and I didn't even know it! I often found that when I sat out in my garden they would communicate very happily and freely with me, and when I enjoyed my garden I thought of it as being something I wanted them to enjoy freely too.
A clear instance of just how protective the fae in my house are came when I was moving out of my old house to go home with my parents. Whilst I was in the house everything was calm and smooth, but when I went with my Dad to take Steven home my Mum had about 7 straight hours of total chaos! It started with being totally unable to find the black binbags no matter where she put them, and escalated to quite a bad cut on her thumb! When I arrived here the calamity carried on for a little while, but seems to have calmed down as I've settled in.
One thing I really love to do in my work with the fae is to leave gifts for them. These are very simple, I like to go outside and leave them some food or something pretty like a little ornament or trinket, sometimes I will leave strands of my hair. In return I have found many little gifts in all of my gardens that were inexplicable, I have no idea how they would have gotten there! I've found little glass gems, a tiny candle and charms. I've also found things that I've lost, such as a ring that I loved dearly which turned up literally right outside my door on the ground one morning.
There are lots of guides out there that can give you tips on how to work with the fae, this post would be incredibly long if I tried to cover it all here! One of the common things that seems to crop up in working with the fae is whether or not you should say 'Thank You' or not. Some people swear you shouldn't as it will offend them, whilst others will tell you that you absolutely should. Personally I don't worry about it too much, if I find myself saying thank you then I let it happen, and if I don't then... I don't!
Tip 6: Mischief Managed!
This is not so much a tip as perhaps a little friendly warning about the mischief you may run into when working with the fae. In my experience, some faeries can be incredibly mischievous, and one of their favorite targets for said mischief can be humans. When I've asked, the reason I've gotten for this is that humans get so easily annoyed at such little things that it's really easy, and really funny, to wind them up!
For me, this mischief often manifests as moving objects and making you think you've lost something. I've had something disappear from right next to me on the bed, only to turn up there again 5 minutes later, exactly where I put it in the first place. This happened a LOT at my old house, and Steven was often the target of it, especially if he'd had a long day and was feeling a bit grumpy.
This can get really frustrating when you're hunting around for something and just cannot find it, especially when it's something you feel like you really need, such as your house keys. The main thing to keep in mind here is to stay calm, don't freak out. For one, if somebody is messing with you, you're playing right into what they want. Secondly, if you stay calm and ask for it back, it tends to come back much quicker.
If this happens to me then I sit down and calmly ask for it back, saying something like 'Please could I have it back now?' and then just waiting. Usually the lost item turns up a few minutes later at most, often right next to me. If I'm hunting around and feel myself getting flustered I try to do the same, just sit down, ask for it back and then go and do something else and give it a little time.
Tip 7: Judge a Book on Texture, Not Cover.
One last point that I want to make goes back a little to earlier on. A lot of faerie, in my experience, have a very natural appearance to them. The ones I often see do have discernible features such as faces, but they may also have things like leaves growing out of them, or they may be growing out of something themselves such as a tree or a rock. There are also fae that don't have these types of features, for instance I've had amazing friendships with tree spirits that never took on a different form. Sometimes spirits that normally do not have a 'form' that we can comprehend will take one in order to show themselves to you more clearly, others will not and may appear more abstract, or appear as the object you found them in. Sometimes you may see something that looks a little bit frightening, just because you have never seen something like it before. For instance the fae above came to me after I had been considering the ethical treatment of the Earth in obtaining crystals and gemstones (inspired by this beautiful post from Naomi). When he appeared I could clearly see crystals growing from his body and his mouth as well as plants growing out of him. The crystals and plants were being fed with his blood, and he was listening to them. When I thought about this I realized it could seem scary to think about, but actually he wasn't frightening at all, he was incredibly calm. When I asked him what he thought about crystals being taken from the Earth I got the response 'you [humans] will continue to do whatever you want, and you will do it until you decide to stop. Decisions are yours. Consequences are yours to reap, and yours to bear.'
My point in this tip is that you may see things that seem as if they should be scary, so as before the important thing to keep in mind is the feeling you are getting. If you see something that seems scary, but actually feels calm, friendly and/or safe to communicate with then let that be your guide. If on the other hand something feels unsafe to you then follow that as well. Just as something may look scary but actually be lovely, you can just as easily encounter fae that look beautiful but don't feel safe to be with, in that instance follow your judgement too.
Ah, everything came together much more easily today than the first time I attempted this post! I hope that you've found this useful and interesting today my lovelies, and I'd absolutely love to hear about any of your own experiences with fae or spirit.
Do you have a tale to tell me?
Not a fae as such, but I had to include this little guy that I drew a few days ago as he is as much spirit as the fae are. The Pigeon is one of my guide animals, and this one turned up in my head a few days ago and was forefront in my mind until I drew him. When I looked him up his message was so perfectly fitting for me right now, very much about family and trust, so this is another instance of following intuition.