Musings of a (Former) Fairy Skeptic
by Bee Smith
Edited and adapted from her blog post “Away with the Fairies” at PaganSquare.com
Until I moved to this magical place in Ireland, first settled by the mythic Tuatha dé Danaan I, too, was a fairy agnostic. But when the land energy is so potent and palpable my disbelief was easily suspended. So yeah, I believe and have also come to know. I don't need to have seen to believe. It's enough to feel. But once you do get the vibe the communication in my personal experience gets more direct.
The nearest fairy sighting I've had was on a dark night as we crossed over the Bellavally Gap. It's wild moorland with the 'gap' between Cuilcagh and Slieve Anieran said to have been made when the Tuatha dé Dannaan's magical smith, Govannan, had a green cow (Bo Glas) of Paul Bunyanesque proportions ran amuck.
Anyway, we are driving in the dark one clear April night when we see lights approaching. My husband Tony dipped the headlights anticipating an oncoming vehicle on this lonely stretch. But no car approached. Rather the light drifted across the road onto the boggy moor.
Now there are no turning points just moorland and road on the Gap so it absolutely was not a vehicle. We both did a reality check on what we had seen and corroborated each others version. In hindsight I reckon we had a will o the wisp manifest itself for our delectation.
Fairies are renowned for having a strictly reciprocal morality. To treat with them, you need to politely request what you want and offer an exchange. This is an explaination you often see accident “black spots” (literally, a sign posted at the roadside alerting motorist that that the location has been the site of many accidents) along highways where a fairy tree was cut to make way for a new road. Here in Ireland, such signs are often (seemingly inexplicably) posted on the straightest stretch of road in the county. But to any Irish country person, the “black spot” isn’t inexplicable: he or she knows that there’s no “luck” about it — the roading authority cuts a fairy tree down, bad things happen.
This sense of reciprocity has been manifested most recently in my own life. I was in the running for a Writing Course scholarship and needed to travel to our county town for an interview. I pinned my favorite broach, a Celtic boar, onto my jacket, for luck. In Celtic lore the boar is sacred to poets and musicians so it seemed a good charm for an Arts Office interview. Later in the day I discovered that the broach was gone.
The good news is that I got the scholarship and when I discovered my loss what came to mind that this was the fairy price for granting my fervent wish. It also reminded me of a friend who had “lost” some earrings straight after an interview that brought her to Ireland. She also knew instinctively that the earrings were the “price” for landing the job.
Personally, I'm still working on refining the formula for retrieving items the fairies have “borrowed.” A ring and a debit card have recently turned up. The former I absolutely needed back since it is the only ring given me by my beloved. In the second case I suspect the fairies were just having a tease — unless, more mundanely, it was just my post-menopausal absentmindedness.
In any case, fairies are real. But then, I imagine if you are reading this, you already knew that..
Bee Smith is a former columnist for SageWoman, published poet, Brigit and Danu devotee (more about this later) and creatrix of guided walks and talks on the theme of Fairy Ireland and pilgrimage leader for Imbolc celebrations of Brigit in Ireland. You can learn more about tours on her website.
March Freebie Drawing:
“The Secret Power of Spirit Animals”
It's a new month, and for this month's freebie drawing we are offering Skye Alexander’s Jen McConnell's brand new book “The Secret Power of Spirit Animals.”
To be entered in the drawing, please use the form here to send customer service a note with your name and postal mailing address and the words “Spirit Animals.”
The winner's name will be chosen at random on March 18, at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Good luck!
P.S. Congratulations to Terramoon Terra of Virginia who won our February giveaway and received a signed copy of Jen McConnel's “Goddess Spells for Busy Girls.”
The Garden Issue
Instant download $5.95
This issue is chock full of spellwork, practical advice, and ideas for all things green, growing, and magickal. Featuring an interview with "the Garden Witch" Ellen Dugan, this edition is our greenest ever; from Pagan permaculture to gardening with the Elements, plus hardcore money magick, Wandering Witch goes the New Orleans, a look a Pagan metal rockers Icarus Witch and much, much more!
We are delighted to introduce two new columnists in this issue: Essayist Ruby Sara joins us with her Green, earthy, magical living column "Figs & Honey." Her first column is on the Lammas season magic of Bread-making.
Deborah Blake, is a up-and-coming writer of Pagan books as well as urban fantasy fiction is our second newcomer. She is writing on the topic of "Magick on a Shoestring." Lots of practical ideas for keeping your Pagan practice fun, fabulous, and thrifty! See her site at www.deborahblakehps.com/ . Ninety-six illustrated pages.
Print Edition $7.95
As women, we often have conflicted relationships with our bodies. Are we too fat? Thin? Short? Freckled? Weak? Tall? Whatever we are, it always seems that someone is trying to tell us that it isn't good enough. In this issue SageWoman explores what it means to be in our bodies. A special note: many of the articles in this issue deal specifically liberation from irrational prejudice against women of size, and celebrate women of all sizes.
We begin with Lisa Sarasohn, who explores "The Goddess Ungirdled: How I learned to love my belly and found the sacred feminine within." Lisa explores the concept of "hara" and the yoga of belly-power. "Reclaiming Sacredness" by Diana Montalion explores the journey of recovering body awareness after childhood sexual abuse. In an entirely different mode, Trebbe Johnson radiating describes "After the Full: A Celebration of Menopause" and Faith Benedetti reflects on "Finding Wholeness in Roundness: A Journey to the Goddess through the Venus of Willendorf." On the "lighter" side (no pun intended) Jan Henrikson describes the joy of nudity in "A Natural Breeze" while Lynne Lawrence explores the canyons of Utah in "Eagle Feathers." "Photographing Mary" by Deona Jahnke and "Loving My Body" by Mary Hunter Carini form a pair of articles which circle around one another, image and words dancing between: photographer and subject.
Our columnists include Barbara Ardinger, writing: "Seasons of Light and Darkness: The Return of Spring", Diana Paxson's in depth exploration of the Norse Goddess of winter, in "Skadhi: Wilderness Woman", and DeAnna Alba's "How to Flesh Out Your Magick." Diane Darling's "On the Cusp of Crone" discusses the pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy from a Goddess-oriented point-of-view, Ann Kreilkamp explores her own ability to cope with the unexpected in "Sophie and the Lotus", Carol Christ discusses "On Being Very Tall and Female", and Elizabeth Barrette helps us learn spiritual survival skills in her column "Into the Green." This very full, 80-page issue is filled out with a Ritual of First Blood, reviews, a short article on Flower Essences, and a Rattle full of women describing their body sizes, issues, and triumphs. This is a spirited issue that is just as important to us today as when it was published in the spring of 1996. Newly available as a reprint, this issue has been out-of-print for over a decade.
80 illustrated pages.
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