Storytelling, Music, & Natural Magic

I’ve been listening to the songs and stories of an extraordinary composer/singer/guitarist, Mark Knopfler. His songs are often stories of ordinary people — doing their work, loving, suffering, singing — maybe remembered and maybe not, but usually caught in the grip of something bigger than they are. I kept going back to listen. There is something uniquely satisfying and heart-touching about his music, his songs, especially the more recent ones. He has made the art of songwriting into the art of telling powerful stories. As a writer, I feel a need to understand why his songs are so powerful.

The key skill set I noticed:

Mastery: The music, both rhythm and melody distinctly fits the words. I can’t guess which comes first, but suspect Knopfler goes back and forth between them as he composes. Neither one is just tacked on to the other. In written storytelling, you may have good illustrations to enrich and inform the imagination of the readers; in songs the music enriches and informs the emotion of the listeners. Imagination and emotion are tightly inter-related. In either case the music or picture must be superb — and therein lies the requirement for mastery, for years and years of developing a skill to the highest point of art.

Acute observation: Seeing clearly, telling it like it is, including details that show character and feeling and make it both vivid and memorable.

Empathy: Truly understanding the people and their feelings from the inside, not just the outside. This is a kind of nonjudgmental acceptance, which leads to —

Compassion: “Sympathy” means “I hear and feel sorry for you.” “Empathy” means “I feel your feelings with you.” “Compassion” means “I hear, feel, and love you. I make no judgement about your goodness or badness — just knowing who you really are and loving you.” I remember something I learned from participating in healing — everyone at their very core wishes to give and receive love — it is what we are. We all have roots in the same ground and that ground is something we call love.

You don’t have to believe me about this — just learn to meditate and do healing, and sooner or later you will discover this truth for yourself. And sometimes when we make that connection, miracles happen.

We wrap other things around that core, thinking it needs to be protected while really it is the strong, eternal center of us. But we create all those other things — fear, anger, barriers, judgments, denial, and more — to protect something that never needed protection. That loving part of ourselves and others is what we experience as compassion when we consciously become aware of that connection. The songs, the stories become healing.

Inclusion: starting with the thread of one person, one feeling, and weaving that into something larger so it speaks for and to many. Ultimately the song may bring in the earth, the sky, the sea, the stars. The part fits into the whole quite neatly, inextricably.

The last two things on the list above are what makes Knopfler’s music truly exceptional. He didn’t start out that way. Yes, he had empathy, he has extraordinary musical talent, and he loves music enough to do the incredible years of practice with the devotion that leads to mastery. Talent is something you are born with, but mastery like this and compassion only comes through years of devotion. If you listen to what he’s saying, both in interviews and in the music, you can hear that his music is a means for communion (not just communication, but communion) with others — and with deeper parts of himself. And that touches other hearts as well. People respond, even when they may not know what they are responding to.

I understand now why so many of the comments on his YouTube recordings simply say, “I love you.” Of course, many of the comments focus on the music. Yes, he is a master guitarist and they say so, but he isn’t the only master guitarist around even though you’d think he was from his fans. Although I’ve heard him discribed as having a “golden voice” yet his voice seems quite ordinary to me — his delivery is low key and almost conversational, but the energy his voice carries is far from ordinary.

I suspect his fans are hearing/feeling that special something more — the genuine love and compassion he seems to have for people, especially for the outliers of our society who live on an edge. A few of the many examples: the lost ones (Telegraph Road and Sonny Liston), the unique ones (Jerimiah Dickson), transcendent human love (Our Shangri La and If This Is Goodbye) and the geniuses (like himself) who are so focussed on one thing, one form of self-expression that it consumes their lives (Monteleone and The Sky and Piper to the End).

(Disclosure: Writing this is surprisingly difficult. It comes out a phrase at a time, not all at once in a rush the way things do when I really understand them. So. Clearly I don’t fully get it. Sometimes a thought dissolves under my fingers as I try to type it. I find myself saving this every few words so the thoughts won’t escape.)

All right, with all of this I still haven’t said what I set out to say about writing stories — what the big take-away for myself as a writer is. Marzipan’s Adventures — she is just a young faery cat in another world, which is linked to both Earth and to Faery. But for the story to be whole, it has to show how she fits into her own beloved world. It needs to show the vastness and grandeur and possibilities of that tiny world and the connectedness of the web of relationships in it. In a way, her story represents that world with its universe fitting neatly into the multiverse. And it has to show it, mostly in the details and the little moments, not tell it.

Marzipan’s actions need to show those interactions with her neighbors, both humna and creutairean, and with Didean, the world herself. (Humna are part Earth human, part Faery. Creutairean are part Earth animal, part Faery being. In fact, humna are creutairean too, and the humna are the only ones who don’t know this and who think they are different, This little blindness comes from the Earth human part of them, which tends to see differences rather than common ground.) (Sorry, I got side-tracked there but I’ll leave it in just in case you needed to know.)

The story itself, the plot as it were, has to carry all of these details and insights almost invisibly. If an author is preachy-teachy, he or she evokes resistance — and boredom. But if, as explained in Magical Writing the storyteller just slides things in with no fuss, the reader is more likely to just take it in as they gallop along with the plot, which is the obstensible reason for the story. But the plot is just a vehicle for the real story.

So, to some extent good storytelling seems to me to be about seeing reality compassionately and sharing that vision so we all better understand how we are connected to and can support each other.

I wonder if Knopfler knows what he is doing? He wouldn’t have to… it might just be the way he naturally has grown into the world. He spent some time being a social worker and that would have enriched both his view and his understanding of people. Or he might have just figured it out for himself — he’s an intelligent man. Listening to him in the documenteries talking about his craft, he knows. He sees how in songwriting, composing in bits and pieces, fragments and fictions, he often is telling the story of the person, of the society, of the history (and perhaps the future) of the world. For all I know, he may be telling the story of the multiverse.

ALL storytellers in all of the multiverse may be doing the same.

I just had a thought-concept; I wonder if I can say it clearly? What if we who tell stories in the multiverse — and perhaps we all do — no, wait! What if living is the real story? What if we are showing the Multiverse who She is and what She shall become with every moment of our lives?

After all, we are all one piece with the trees and stones and creatures.

Cù Sìth? The Black Dog

This is the first of a series of small pieces that I’ll tag as “plot twists”. Not long ago, in a writing class, we were asked to write a few paragraphs about an incident that changed our lives — something that changed the way we see and approach the world. My first response was a totally blank mind, but then I realized that there were many such incidents but most of them would seem quite minor to others. There is a thing called “the teachable moment” when we are ready to profoundly get something, even something that seems unimportant to the people around us. Those moments matter forever after. If we think about them later on when we can see the effect they have had and still have on us, we may understand ourselves better. Hopefully, if I tell you a few of mine, it may help you remember and make better use of your own. I call them “plot twist moments” because they alter the course of our personal stories. For example:

About two in the morning, after an argument with my husband, I was too restless and agitated to sleep, so I went out for a walk. This probably wasn’t a wise thing to do in Glasgow, especially on the long, deserted Kelvin Way as it passed the dark, silent Glastow University and then through the even-darker Kelvin Park, empty except for homeless people, perhaps sleeping, perhaps not.

There was a thick hedge between the park and me. I wasn’t really thinking about where I was or the risks of a Glasgow night; I was just hotly simmering and trying to calm down. About halfway along, a tatty black van approached from the other direction — and slowed and stopped about 30 feet in front of me. A brawny, rough-looking man got out.

“Hey, missus! Want a ride?” Hard voice full of innuendo.

“No, thank you.” When in doubt, be polite.

“Och, come on!” He was still approaching, now about halfway to me. This was getting scary.

At that moment, a huge, hulking black dog materialized out of the hedge bordering the park. The dog stepped in front of me, facing the oncoming man and snarling.The man stopped abruptly, holding out both hands as if to push the dog off. The dog took a slow step toward him, and then another. The rumbling growl grew deeper and louder as he continued to slowly pace forward.

“Hold your dog, missus! I’m going!” He fled toward the van, jumped in, and reversed hastily up the street to the nearest corner, disappearing with a squealing of tires.

The dog stood still, but rumbling until the van was out of sight. Then he started to turn toward me and I wondered, “Now what?”

He faced me, the orange glow of the street light reflecting in his eyes, happily wagging his tail, his tongue lolling. He was clearly saying, “Aren’t I a good dog?” I thanked him fervently, and he turned and vanished back into the hedge.

Still somewhat shaken, I went home.

Months later, when I finally told the story to some Scottish friends, one asked hesitantly, “Was that dog real?”

The others all nodded.

There are many legends in Scotland about black dogs who appear when needed to rescue or to harm people. I hadn’t thought of the stories until then and, indeed, the dog had seemed utterly solid, but… I wasn’t certain. I answered, “He was real enough.”

Do I believe the dog was “real” or was it one of the cù sìth, the faery dogs of Scottish legend? I tend to swing both ways. But what I got from this as it settled into me was that I felt protected — and I continued to feel protected. I still do. And the way we feel, the energy we project matters. That alone is a kind of magic.

He was real enough.

What plot twists do you remember way back in your life? And how did they change things for you?

Interview About Faery

Recently, I was asked by Isabella Baucco if she could interview me about Faery for a paper she was doing for her folklore class in university, and I agreed. She also said that it would be fine for me to post it here. I may add pictures later. It was rather rushed, but here it is:

Subject: Fae interview questions

Hello! Feel free to answer as many of these as you are comfortable with, in whatever order you would like! Thank you so much for your time, and I’m sorry about the rushed deadline!

When was the first time you came into contact with the fae, and what was that like?

I don’t remember. It seems like they were always there. I suspect it was something like my granddaughter. I watched her pull herself up at the window and look outside when she was about six months old. She peered around out there and finally saw what she was evidently looking for. She giggled and waved at what she saw and promptly fell down, unable to stand up without holding on with both hands. She laid there, giggling and waving her arms and legs for a bit and then got back up. When she caught sight of what she was looking for again, she laughed more and bounced as well as she could, making little crooning sounds at what she could see, her eyes following it (or them) around. She was definitely seeing something, batting her eyelashes at them, and babbling as babies do when they are happy, with an occasional delighted shriek thrown in. I like to think that it must have been much the same for me. Now that she is 15 she doesn’t remember that any more than I do.

How would you define the fae?

They are beings, as far as I understand it, who live at a different frequency than we do. Like the difference between ultraviolet light (and higher frequencies of radiant energy) and the light we see by. The same planet viewed at different “levels”. I’m not a physicist and can’t even begin to figure that out, but I take the faeries word for it as they seem to think they know. I just know that they are there, and I have to be quite quiet inside myself in order to perceive them. However, I see them with my eyes like I see human auras simply as light. And like human auras, sometimes I see them, but mostly I sense them in other ways — scent, voices, sounds, melody. People vary in how we perceive these things, and I’m personally less clairvoyant than I am clairaudient and clairsentient. They seem to live much longer than we do for the most part, and they come in as many varieties as what we think of as “normal” earth creatures, plants, and other living beings.

Because of this, they perceive the world differently than we humans do. They have tried to explain and show me, but I suspect it’s rather like me trying to explain mathematics to the cat. One of my cats is quite sure that she is due two crunchy treats before each meal — she knows that one is not enough and that three are exciting and special, but two are what she clearly expects. I get very accusing looks if there is only one left in the jar. Does she count 1, 2, 3? Or does she just know in some other way?

Sometimes I feel the frustration of the fae when they are trying to explain something to me, and I regret being so “hard of understanding” but it’s how humans generally are. Fortunately, the fae don’t give up easily and may try to explain things later in incomprehensible or funny dreams or other ways.

How are you able to tell when you have come into contact with fae?

For me, there is usually happy, bubbly, yet peaceful feeling or almost as if there is a lot of static electricity in the air. (You need to understand here that nearly everything I say about them is a sort of metaphor for the actual experience. It’s not static electricity and it doesn’t make sparks that sting, but that’s the closest I can come to a description of it.) The air is buzzing without a sound? There may be a sense of presence akin to someone standing close behind you — you may not see or hear them, but you know that they are there.

It’s tricky to maintain the necessary quietness inside myself when I’m sensing that exuberance around. At the same time, I may see lights or hear voices or music or other sounds. There may be light touches to get my attention or the hum of healing energy. Often they tell me something I didn’t know but needed to understand. Sometimes they make jokes — occasionally visual puns or other kinds of faery humor. It’s hard to explain this — often their communications arrive as a burst of insight that is a mixture of emotions, words, and energy. To them, these bursts are the normal way to communicate, but to a human, they may require some mental unpacking to grasp all the layers of meaning, if in fact we ever do get it all.

How would you describe your emotional state during the experiences you have had? Are there any extremes/outliers?

Variable. It depends on what is going on. Is it serious or purely fun? Deep or playful? We humans tend to separate these mental and emotional states, but to the fae, they are not mutually exclusive. In fact, we have had long discussions about the way humans limit themselves to a linear one-thing-at-a-time in our perceptions while faery communication/perception is more holistic. A burst of faery insight may contain joy and sorrow both. They have argued that we miss the point of doing things when we separate play from work, insisting that all purposeful activities are both, and if they are not, we’ve got something quite wrong about why and how we’re doing it.

How would you describe the fae you have encountered?

That’s difficult too. An individual faery may make the impression of being nine feet tall, but to them (if I understand this correctly), it’s more about intensity of presence than it is about physical size. In fact, they seem to find it confusing when I say something like “nine feet tall” as if they were limited to a specific size, space, or shape when really that isn’t so. There is another thing here — let’s take the human “aura” as an example. “Auras” are very fluid and changeable. They are the bioenergy field that exists through and extends beyond the human physical body — and the bodies of animals, insects, and all the other things we consider to be living, physical beings made of matter. But if the physicists are correct, matter and energy are the same thing, but slowed down and compacted or faster and more free. If E=mc2, this must be so. Nuclear weapons suggest this is true and a little bit of “matter” can quickly be converted to a great deal of “energy”.

Apparently, while humans perceive matter and energy as different things, the fae don’t. It is all one thing. I just realized something! In many belief systems about the fae, they are regarded as the “Elder Folk” and much older than the human species. We human and other earth beings could be a sort of Faery larva (or prenatal embryo) and may eventually (though the millennia?) grow up to be fae ourselves. That’s a mind-boggling thought! Anyway, back to my previous line of thought about trying to describe the fae and how they explained that to me.

I could try to describe an individual fae. I could even draw a picture of one. BUT, as they have been quick to explain, that picture is just a metaphor for who they really are. What we “see” is a watered-down version of their personality and/or character. What we “see” as bodies or faces is a meeting point somewhere between our conceptions and their reality. We see a particular kind of face/body that represents their character or personality as we (as individuals) would see that being. Another human might project a different face on that same person. For a simple example, I have heard a few people say that brown eyes are “warm” and blue eyes are “cold”. Having blue eyes myself, I don’t agree, but I have heard it said more than once, usually by brown-eyed people. To a person who believes that and is perceiving a warm personality, they would see the faery eyes as brown, whereas I, not believing, might see them as blue or even some color unlike normal human eyes. The same thing is true of all the features — we perceive personality in flesh, but we are not always correct. A human may be quite ugly but be kind and friendly, a lovely person — or they may be physically beautiful and yet narcissistic or psychopathic. Yet often the way we perceive the fae is that we project the features and expression on the personality the fae are projecting. Confusing? Well, yes it is. Communication with faeries is frequently fraught with confusion, resulting largely from our own limitations and projections. If we want to see someone as scary, we will project that on them, true or false.

Have you encountered different types of fae? How did these experiences differ?

Yes, I have. They may differ vastly — differing as much as experiencing a human versus experiencing a rock or a tree. This question either requires a book in answer or can’t be readily answered at all. I hope the rest of my answers here will help compensate for the absence of one here.

How would you describe the energy of places where fae might be/where you have encountered them?

Again, they differ a great deal, depending on what is going on there. I need to say here that there are places we may experience the fae more easily, but the fae are, in fact, everywhere. But in places that are noisy, unpleasant, distressing, violent, we tend to be overwhelmed by these loud things and miss out entirely on the much more subtle presence of the fae. But they are still there.

Have you had any experiences that have stuck with you or changed your life?

Many, many, many.

What do you think the origin of fae is?

I really don’t know. Even they haven’t tried to explain it to me. If the legends have it right, they have been around a lot longer than we have. I’m even less certain, if possible, about the origins of gods and goddesses and the universe. We humans are just babes blundering about in the universal woods. I’m not even certain about our own origins.

Are there any experiences that you would like to talk about?

Dozens. Hundreds, in fact. After all, I’m 80 and they’ve always been a part of my world. But I won’t. Well, perhaps one or two.

One was a series of conversations I had with a couple of them about money. On first of the month, I was writing checks to pay my bills. and a couple of them asked what that was “really” about. They didn’t like, they said, how I got all tangled up when I was doing it. We got into a long discussion about money. Eventually, I tried to explain money as a sort of “crystalized energy” which represented what we received from and gave to others. They seemed doubtful, but agreed to study it from that point of view.

The next month as I was paying my bills again, they expressed disagreement with my explanation. They had been watching this “money thing” and had found that “some people gave a great deal of energy in exchange for little money while others might receive a lot of money in exchange for very little of their energy.” It didn’t, they said, seem fair at all, especially as one only needed to look at the aura of a human to tell if they were giving more than they were receiving and how they felt about it.

I explained that, although this was probably true, we humans weren’t good at perceiving auras clearly enough to do that. They said, “Well, you could be if you practiced!” This is a remark I’ve heard from them in other contexts like teleportation, telepathy, astral travel, and other borderline things people sometimes do. I had to admit that this could be so, but as yet we hadn’t got that good at it. This seemed like a standoff, so I went back to paying my bills, and they agreed to study it some more so we could talk about it next time.

The next month rolled around and again I was writing checks to pay bills. They hovered in front of me, watching. Finally, one said, “We still don’t think this makes any sense.” I should perhaps mention that I am not at my best when I’m dealing with money and bills and numbers, and without thinking, I snapped, “It’s a game we are playing, and money is the way we keep score!”

“Oh! Why didn’t you tell us that before? It makes perfect sense!”

They promptly vanished, leaving me thinking, “It does? Really?” It didn’t make sense to me, did it? And yet I was afraid that it actually did. All that angst and suffering people went through was just for the counters in a game? Yet, over the years I have come to agree with them more and more. But it’s still a bit unnerving.

Hmmm. I could go on and on. That was an easy tale to tell, but many happenings are much more complicated, perhaps even profound. Yet, though I’d like to tell them, and even though the fae insist that “doing good in the right way” makes us stronger, it’s quite late and I’m tired and almost falling asleep on my keyboard. The cats have given up and gone to bed and the fae are looking a bit disapproving — they, too, seem to have enjoyed this, but enough is enough for the moment. They even look a little smug about it, possibly because of the embryo thing. Or something else — I don’t know. But I do need to get to bed before the birds start waking up and making a musical ruckus in our forest here.

Good night, and good morning, Bella. And thank you.

Faery blessings to you,

Jessica

Rainbows

I just saw Wesley True Lee’s cover photo on Facebook. He didn’t explain it, but it reminded me of something I’d forgotten. Once upon a time, long ago (as my own years are counted), I was working in Glasgow, Scotland. I needed a holiday, and hopped on a train, thinking to go to Oban — or somewhere in that direction, wherever my feet wanted to go. As we pulled out of the station, I saw a rainbow in the direction of Oban. My passing thought was that I must be on the right track, headed, as I was, for a wild rainbow.

I settled in to read my book. Every time I looked out of the window (often) the rainbow was still in the direction of Oban, but I was in the habit of travelling with faeries so I knew then that I might wind up anywhere…

This went on until we reached Crainlarich. The train I was on was headed for Inverness, but the rainbow held unwaveringly in the direction of Oban although it was now to the west instead of the northwest. I changed trains there and followed it. At every station, I checked the rainbow — still steady for Oban. When I arrived there and walked out of the station, the rainbow had shifted and was out over one of the Western Isles. I checked the landmarks I could recognize, went back in the station (a Brit would say “on the station” instead of “in” but I don’t climb on their roofs). There I bought a map, and then going outside again, found that my rainbow was over Lismore. I’d always intended to go there someday, and this, apparently, was the right time.

 

The Lismore ferry and a rainbow
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Gordon Browngeograph.org.uk/p/4256095

Back in the station, I bought a ferry ticket for Lismore and went to the tourist desk to book a bed and breakfast room. They also did dinner because they were rather remote from any village. This suited me fine — I just planned on walking idly and gently resting and happily communing with whatever/whoever I found willing, and perhaps writing or sketching.

The promised car from the B&B picked me up, and … the rainbow had moved again and we were travelling straight for it. I said to the driver, “That’s a lovely rainbow.”

He looked at it thoughtfully and said, “Aye, it’s bonny. It’s just about over the house.” So it was — in fact, as we got close enough to see the house, it was right over it. He gave it an odd look and added, “I’ve not seen it just over the house before.” He grinned at me, pleased to have such a gift to offer a stranger. It still held steady, arched over the house, and disappeared just as we pulled into the long driveway.

After a good dinner and a sit by the fire with my book, I went up to my room and slept soundly, the only guest in the house just then. In the morning after breakfast, I set out with a small backpack, holding my sketchbook and pencil, an apple, a sandwich, and a bottle of water. As I walked out the door, I looked all around up at the sky (this is a habit that old sailors have — the first thing you check as you come out of the hatch is to see what weather is coming at you from all directions).

Rainbow.

I took the road that went toward it. North. After a couple of hours of sauntering, I came to an old stone bench, half collapsed but still strong enough to sit on. I sat, leaned back facing the sun, and sighed happily. The air was sparkling with the presence of faery, the way it often does in Scotland. As I sat there, quiet, a feeling that I’d forgotten washed over me — perfect calm, perfect peace beyond measure, timeless.

I sat there every day for a week, and every day that magical feeling swept over me there. It might be ten minutes; it might be hours. Between sittings, I randomly rambled around the island. Never far, just far enough to see whatever I needed to see to delight and teach me.

Somehow, since then, I’ve always known that, however it feels, I’m always in the right place at the right time, especially as long as I follow guidence given instead of trying to lead myself.

Inner Journeys May Gang Aft Agley

 

I wrote the first part of this over a year ago,and will update it at the end.

My question for this inner journey exploration was “Why am I finding it so difficult to lose weight?”

The Topsie Turvets suggest…

Things need to be looked at from a different angle. Back out of your emotional entanglements, take a deep breath, and look anew. Much of the apparent confusion about your current situation is caused by a faulty point of view.

Get the honest opinions of sensible others, and then re-look at your own. Defensiveness and denial may be causing much difficulty.

Try imagining that you are looking at the situation from the viewpoint of each of the others involved. This is not an exercises in seeing how others “ought” to see things, but in simply understanding what they feel. Words like “he ought to see that…” are not useful at this time.

And don’t be angry with yourself if it turns out you were missing something and need to change your point of view. It shows you are learning and growing and to be congratulated!

Faery blessings on your little toes, for they will carry you into wonderful things!

I’m thinking that perhaps in this case “others” may refer to different aspects of myself — it might be useful to think of them as body, mind, spirit — or perhaps as the chakra system with each chakra an individual entity, linked though it to all the others. I don’t know — it might be something else.

I also am not certain who I need to ask to speak to. I think I’ll draw another card and see if it suggests someone.

The Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies, Morna, says, “The answer to your question is, put simply, love — love given with wisdom and compassion, love without selfishness or possessiveness.”

Morna tells us that giving and receiving love and intimacy in a wide variety of relationships is important at this time. She gives you notice that this is a time to open and heal your heart.

Different aspects of life may well be flowing happily together, healing separations and hurts from the past. Bonding may take place and deep feelings emerge. Changes for the better may occur in all aspects of life, but especially in relationships which are deepening and becoming richer.

You are experiencing love therapy for your heart.

Faery blessings on the loving!

So perhaps it is about Morna. Perhaps it is about loving — loving myself? The best I can say about where I am with that is that I’ve overcome my antagonism with my body, and my body and “I” are currently on moderately friendly but distant terms. I try to take care of myself — but things like nurturing and sleep seem to come after everything else. Right now I’m doing a typical thing. I’m quite tired, having trouble staying awake, but at the same time, here I am trying to do an inner journey because it’s important to know why I don’t take better care of myself! Is this ridiculous or what?

I shall close the computer right now and sleep. And if I awaken during the night, I shall go back to sleep until morning. Then I shall think about this!

But I didn’t do that. Instead I went ahead on to the inner journey:

There is a small garden. I know that Spring lives there. She is waiting for me to come out of winter into her garden. Her other name is Aurealia. There is a prickly hedge around the garden — hawthorn or blackthorn. It has buds, but is not yet blooming. A cold wind blows across the back of my neck. I walk around the garden looking for a way in. No gate. Is it a magic word I need?

I say, “Please, may I come in?”

The hedge pulls apart in front of me, and I walk through. It rustles impatiently. “Thank you,” I say. It closes gently. My grandmother’s “magic words.” The fae love them too.

There is a winding path, edged by tall banks of flowers — hollyhocks, delphiniums, sunflowers, other tall ones I can’t think of the names of. Or don’t know them. I follow the path and from the turns begin to feel that I’m in a maze — not a maze, you can get lost in them. There are no choices to make here — this is a labyrinth instead. One path to the center. It’s a long way, a lot of walking. I’d like to sit and rest, but there is no place to sit down. I look behind me and the path has disappeared, the flowers drawing together. There is only one way to go.

I’m still walking. And thirsty. I don’t see how it can be so far — O, silly me. Of course it can be as far as it wants. Wait. A hollyhock whispers, “It is as far as you make it.” I stop again. My fingers are sticky. I touch one with my tongue to see why — it tastes like honey. Odd. I haven’t touched anything. “No,” a sunflower says, “but that doesn’t mean you haven’t been touched.”

I don’t know what to say to that. I lick the honey off my fingertips. It makes me more thirsty. I should quite like a glass of apple cider vinegar and water. Lots of water. Or cool tea with lemon. I just discovered I am wearing two pairs of glasses hanging on strings around my neck. Did I think that would help me find my way? My way is very plain. I remember that usually I ask an animal to come and guide me to whoever I’m going to meet, which may be Morna, the Faery Who Was Kissed by the Pixies. Or it might be Spring. Or they may be the same person.

I wonder if I need a guide on this one-way path? As I hesitate, an ostrich steps out of the bushes beside me. “Bother!” he says. “Bless my tail feathers — don’t touch them! Naturally you need a guide. That’s how you know where to go.”

I point out the one-way nature of the path. “Right!” says the ostrich. “Naturally it is one-way — all paths are! So how will you know when to get off the path without a guide? You’ve already gone too far.”

I stop. “Too far? Then why are we still walking? I’m tired and thirsty. Shouldn’t we go back?” I hurry to catch up with him; he’s going quite fast.

“Don’t be silly — it’s one-way. I thought we’d established that — and that all paths are one way. You can never really go back the same path — it is always changing.”

A philosophical ostrich yet!

He stops abruptly and I run into his tail feathers. “Eeeek!” he shrieks and jumps ahead. I didn’t know ostriches could jump that far. I apologize profusely. He grumbles and mutters to himself. “You tell them and tell them, but do they listen? NO! Now my tail feathers are probably crumpled. Botheration!”

“NOW!” he squawks, jumping sideways into the delphiniums.

Theflowers quickly part, obviously annoyed. “No, no,” the ostrich says. “Not my fault. She forgot to call me and missed the proper path, and now we must take a short-cut through here or we’ll wind up on the other side of the moon!”

The delphiniums hiss at me. I didn’t know flowers could do that, but why not? The ostrich and I take a few more steps and we’re suddenly in a small clearing — just big enough for a bench and a chair and a tall lady standing beside the chair, her lovely pale green skirts flaring out around her. I feel quite scruffy in my jeans and with sticky fingers. I hope she doesn’t offer to shake hands.

She has one hand up in front of her face. She is snickering and trying not to let me know it. I would like very much to sit down. I am quite tired and hot and puffed. But I stand there saying nothing, waiting for her to speak.

“Sit,” she commands, between giggles. “Sit. There is a glass of apple cider vinegar and honey and water behind the bench for you. Drink!”

Obediently, I sit and drink. Then I thank the ostrich for being such a good guide. He goes out the other side of the clearing, still muttering to himself.

“It seems like I have not made a very good start here,” I say with my head down and my hair hanging in front of my face.

“That’s all right,” she says. “You’ve made it to the end anyway.” She bops me on the head with a wand I hadn’t noticed before. I immediately go to sleep. I wonder if I’ll dream…

**************

I woke up in my bed at home in the morning. I’d hoped I’d dream, but if I did I could not remember it. At the moment I have no idea what that was all about. Perhaps it will come to me later?

More than a year later, in the wee hours again!

I just read this again, and at last, I get it. That took a while. I have discovered just this moment that when I relax about diet and don’t do anything extreme or be critical, my weight goes slowly down. Also, it makes a difference to get as much sleep as I need, which is more than I think I want or should have.

Both of these things are a surprise — counter intuitive. The reason she bopped me over the head and put me to sleep a year ago was that she was trying to show me something, but I was too tired (and dim) to get it until now.

The reason I finally got it is that I weighed myself this morning and found five pounds gone since I checked a few days ago. And what have I been doing? Sleeping a lot. And eating things my body wants. Not stressing. Hmmmm. I wonder if I’ve finally got it? We’ll see. I’ve been feeling sleepy for a long while, but not letting myself sleep, even though the cats clearly think I’m silly. I guess I’ll go and try it. I’m grateful. Happy Thanksgiving!

Good night, dear hearts!

Magical Writing

As you probably know, I’m writing a storybook (or several) about magic and faery and cats and things like that. But the thing about a sometime-healer writing about magic is that one already knows that magic is real. So the question arises:

How do you write about magic that is natural and real and potent when fictional magic is usually so much more flashy and… um… misleading?

Having Marzipan’s story pushing at the back of my eyes I knew I’d have to try — and, as is quite common with magic, once a person sets an intention or asks a question, the magic itself immediately starts trying to teach us. It uses magical means, of course. An untrained observer might call them co-incidence or synchronicity or even (and this is less likely to be said) a chronosynclastic infundibulum. Whatever. Let’s ramble through some ideas here.

Magical Realism

The Writers’ Workshoppe decided (at just the right time) to offer a class in writing “magical realism”. One important thing I learned in the class was that you could offer some outrageous magic if it was firmly embedded in a lot of detailed reality. You just have to slide the magic and “fantasy” in between the realism with enough down-to-earth detail that it goes almost unnoticed — and the next bit of fantasy can be even more magical and it too will just slide right into the mind without jarring it too much. Do you know why that is?

This is because humans (and sometimes others) participate in magic all the time, and we’re accustomed to just letting it slide by without notice. In fact, we pretend to ourselves that it either didn’t happen or it happened some other “logical” way. So we don’t notice how it sneaks up on us in reality or in a story — embedded in detail and factual information. (This part and the following is my own experience — not the class.)

Think about it: you remember that you want to phone a friend that you haven’t talked to in quite a while. A few minutes later, the friend phones you. Coincidence. Yeah, sure. It can’t be telepathy because telepathy isn’t real. So this is the fantasy we mostly live in — the belief that magic is not real. We’re habituated to that fantasy so we find all sorts of excuses to convince ourselves that telepathy doesn’t happen. We invent words to cover it up — words like coincidence, lucky break, fortuity, synchronicity, and other words of that ilk. It can’t be magic, not our own innate magic. It’s just the way the cookie accidentally crumbles. No?

So in your magical story you begin the shift with small details, like perhaps a yellow flower slowly turning red as a character watches, and you don’t make a big drama with exclamation points and amazed expressions about it. You just move smoothly right on by. A little later you slip another detail in. It’s not important enough to stop and think too much about it. The reader just accepts it… and moves on. This is preparing the ground of the unconscious, imagining mind — the dreamer, the mystic, the magician within — to accept the seeds gently dropped and accept them again later on when they sprout and blossom more vividly.

Magic isn’t something you turn on and off. Your awareness of it may be awake or asleep, but dreaming or storytelling or being the story, the magic is what holds it together. But they (I’m writing about faery magic, remember, and natural magic as well) had a lot more to teach me than just how to sneak up on magic.

Logic

Things need to make sense — even in magic. Logic is important. Take the “humna” (half faery and half human) in Marzipan’s stories. Faery, as we know (!) exists and vibrates at a different and higher frequency than we do, just like ultra-violet light shines at a frequency that we don’t normally see — our eyes are not built for it. We also know that there is a thing called “entrainment” that happens naturally. If you take two fine crystal glasses and set them beside each other and then gently strike one so it begins ringing, soon the other one is ringing as well. The second glass is entrained with the first because the first is actively vibrating the air, which carries the vibration to the other glass and sets it to ringing the same note. (This also happens in the chakra system, but we’ll talk about the results of that another time, if I remember to do it.)

So faery vibrates at a faster (higher) frequency than we humans do. If we spend time with them in the natural world, our vibration entrains a little to become higher as well — and it gradually changes our DNA so that we become more faery ourselves. This is just natural magic. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Logical. Plausible. It especially makes sense if you consider the Japanese notion of “forest bathing” that recognizes that we feel much more relaxed and healthy if we spend peaceful time in a forest. Trees. Dryads. Think about it. (Here’s another thing to write about later — the modern thing in some ethically and scientifically advanced cities is to build apartments with lush gardens on the roof and in large balconies outside the windows— what would that do to the people who live in them?) There is much to consider on this topic, including scientific studies that show that hyperactive children who spend some time in parks or natural place become calmer and cope with life better. It’s all about being in a different frequency/vibration that is smoothly peaceful and not a jangling cacophony. This all has logic if you accept the basic premises and the comparisons. In fact, it’s so logical that I’ve more than half convinced myself that this is how humans become a little (or a lot) faery.

The Writer’s Medicine Bag

Another useful concept about writing that I came across recently was about medicine bags and the power objects in them. (I’m sorry, I’ve forgotten where I read this.) (Ten months later I found it — it was Ursula K. Le Guin that wrote about it in The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction which is something every writer needs to read, even if they reject it.) She talks about how every medicine bag contains power objects, and together the objects contain more potency than each one alone. The objects blend together and reinforce each other — or conflict and weaken one another.

As a writer, consider this: how is your story or thesis or novel a medicine bag imbued with the power to transform, to have a magical effect on the reader? How is each character a power object within that collective whole? If you think of them as a tribe, who serves which function in the society? How do they work together to get where they want to go? Is there any power object in the bag that conflicts with the overall goal? Can the power objects (people, places, things, ideas) find a resolution to any conflicts they have? And how do the power objects themselves change as a result of causing transformation around them — or, looked at in another way, how do their own transformations create metamorphoses in others like glasses vibrating together?

These questions need to be answered — at least in our own minds if not in the story. The author actually needs to understand what’s going on even if the characters are mystified.

Image. I, mage.

Transformation is vital. The other day a few people and I had a short discussion about what makes Sir Terry Pratchett’s books so awesome — and I don’t use that word lightly. To me, it’s all about transformation. The characters in the stories (mostly) grow.

This made me think a lot about what a “better person” is and why it’s important to be one — and a TON of stuff about writing and a writer’s responsibility to the rest of the world, especially when things are such a mess as they are now. Part of Sir Terry Pratchett’s brilliance is that he showed us a path without ever “teaching” or “preaching” but by a sort of osmosis. I suspect he hoped we’d be smart enough to figure it out for ourselves, which is really the only way to truly learn something.

The Writer As Magician

Are you aware that in writing or storytelling, you are practicing magic? Magic is basically about changing things without physically lifting or moving or carving them. What you are doing when telling a story is changing the world with ideas and mental images. An idea is like a virus — contagious. A virus drifts from one person to another, changing them, often without the recipients’ awareness or conscious consent. A virus may also cause a mutation — and that mutation may be different in each host, depending on the condition they are already in. I suspect that the idea-viruses may sometimes also travel by telepathy via vibrations on a plane we don’t yet understand, but I can’t prove that and don’t need to — we can just be hypothetical here.

So you, as a writer/storyteller put ideas out into the world where others may catch and even change them from your original intention. What is the Path that you or I, as writers, are showing? Does it lead to a better world or worse? What is our intention here? Do we know? Are we, as ordinary magical people working on that intention ourselves in our own lives?

What is the effect we intend to have on the world?

Midsummer Inner Journey

midsummer sunrise

Midsummer Meditation

This is the Midsummer Inner Journey/Ritual I generally use for myself and when I’m leading a group. It’s part of my Sun Magic, Moon Magic project. The format below is written so it can be used for a group, but obviously you can just use it for yourself. I hope you enjoy it and it helps you along your Path!

Copyright information is at the bottom.

Things Needed If You Are Leading a Group:

Ask the group not to talk to each other during the process, not even during the writing times. Conversation brings them too far from the inner journey state of mind. If they have questions or comments, they should make a note of them and discuss them at the end.

One thing — “sidhe” is pronounced “shee”.

This is going to take about an hour so make certain that everyone has done whatever they need to do to be able to sit quietly and comfortably for that time. It may take even longer if people have a lot of questions or comments at the end.

Each person should have at least three sheets of paper and something to write with — pen or pencil, colored or plain. They also need something to rest the paper on as they write — a clipboard, a notebook, a piece of stiff cardboard — whatever works. This should be ready to use easily so everyone can write from time to time on their journey.

You will need at least one, preferably more, Oracle or Tarot decks. Have each person in the group draw one card from the deck of their choice, which will be used at a certain point in the meditation. Actually, you can do without one, but then you must remember to leave that part out of the journey.

Once they have the card and sit in their place in the circle, they are ready to begin. Starting with the induction, read the inner journey aloud in a calm, gentle voice, allowing ample time for people to process each thing and for a few breaths between.

Induction (The part that relaxes people and helps them into a mental state conducive to making the journey)

You need a comfortable place to sit, a place where you will be able to close your eyes and relax, yet also a place where you can write on your paper. As you sit, close your eyes for a bit and just breathe. Take three slow, deep, natural breaths down into your belly, releasing each one slowly but naturally. No strain, just relaxed deep breaths.

Lift your shoulders up high, then gently let them drop. Do this three times. Softly flex your hands and relax them three times.

As you breathe, notice that your forehead is relaxed… your cheeks, your mouth, your entire face is relaxed. Your eyes may be closed or half open, whichever is most comfortable for them. If your eyes are open, let them rest on your hands or your lap so that they are not busy with the outer world and you can let your mind focus on your rich inner world.

The Journey

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (or perhaps it was just yesterday or perhaps tomorrow) everyone gathered together at midsummer, the summer solstice, the longest days and the shortest nights. No one got much sleep… but they did do a lot of other things. One of the things that is often forgotten nowadays is that they made journeys into the Otherworld, the land of Faery, the world of the ever-young and the eternal gods and goddesses, the shining ones, the sithe. There they consulted the ancient wise ones to discover three things.

First, they considered what they had. We all have happy things, things that please us, and we all have unhappy things, the things we don’t want, and we all have the things we fail to notice because we are so used to them that we don’t see them anymore — and yet, were we to lose them, our lives would be immeasurably poorer, or in some cases, much richer.

Once people had considered what they have, what is filling their lives now, and then they went on to consult their gods and goddesses to find out what was appropriate for them to be doing at this season, this time of their lives and they asked the gods and goddesses for suggestions about how best to do this.

And then, because all the best gods and goddesses are loving and generous, the people received gifts from them, gifts to come in the future, perhaps quite soon, or perhaps a little further down the line in accordance with when and how they did the things they needed to do that had just been discussed.

Today, we shall follow this ancient observance of this midsummer season. Are you ready? If not, take a final three deep breaths, rest your eyes another moment.

Now, imagine that you are standing up. There is a gate or a door in front of you. In a bit we will enter those doors, but first, notice where you are standing.

What does the earth feel like under your feet? What is your first impression of the ground you are standing on? Is it hard or soft, grassy, rocky, or some other surface? This isn’t a big thing, just an impression of where you are at this moment.

How does the air around you feel? Moving or still? Warm or cool? Dry or damp? Just notice it for a bit. You may allow the feeling of the air to help you to relax if you want to.

Notice how the light is around you — does it seem bright or dim? Where is it coming from? Is it light from a candle or lamp or fire or something like the sun or moon or stars? What is your first impression of the light? How easy is it for you to see?

Now, again notice the gate or the door in front of you — which is it? What is it made of? Is it closed or open or in between? Give it a gentle push to see what happens. If it is locked, you’ll find a key hanging on a nail close to the lock — take it and open the gate or the door. Then go through the opening into the Otherworld and notice any difference you find there.

Is the ground the same or different? Has the air changed in any way? What is the light like now? Do you notice any scents?

At this moment, you are in both the Otherworld and your own inner world, a liminal place, a threshold between times and spaces. It is a safe place for you and, if you wish, you can relax into it, taking a few deep breaths to become more familiar with it as you begin to consider what you have in your life at this time.

On your first piece of paper, write down the first things that come to your mind. You don’t need to list everything, not even all of the “important” things, just the things that come to your mind. They will be the things that matter right at this moment. You will have fifteen minutes for this — plenty of time.

If you run out of thoughts, just breathe gently. As you do that, more things to write may come to you — or they may not. It doesn’t matter. Just write what comes to mind no matter how small or how big it is in your life. Simply write — and when you’re not writing, just breathe gently and naturally. Allow your mind to rest between noticing what you have in your life at present.

***

Now the time is up for writing about what you have, so put your paper and pen down. Get comfortable again and take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and relax into the next part of your journey.

You have already come to the liminal place inside the gate to the part of the Otherword that is also part of you. Now it’s time to move beyond your own personal inner world and on into the timeless world of the Powers.

In the distance ahead of you there is a group of trees. These trees are very tall and their branches spread widely. The leaves shimmer in the soft light, and as they shimmer you may be able to see that they are many, many shades of green — and even that some are more blue and others are golden. Even more rarely, these trees also have leaves of all colors of the rainbow — and many that aren’t in the rainbow at all. These are the ancient trees of Faery and they guard the entrance to the Otherworld of the Sidhe (shee), the people of peace, the elder race.

To help you to enter the guardian tree grove, an animal is coming to guide you. This might be an earth animal or a faery animal or a mixture of both. It may be an animal that is familiar to you or one you’ve never seen, perhaps never imagined before.

As the animal comes closer and you can see it more clearly, what color or colors do you see or sense? How big is it? Does it walk on two legs or four or less or more?

By now it is close enough for you to look into its eyes. What color are they? How are they different from your own eyes? What feeling does it give you to look into them deeply?

When the creature reaches you, hold out your hand. Does it sniff the scent of your hand? Does it touch your hand? If the creature indicates that it would like to be stroked, and if you would like to do that, go ahead and touch it.

When you are ready, ask the creature to guide you on into Faery, and follow it. The animal may lead you toward the trees or in some other direction. There may be another gate along the way or nothing at all to show that you are going deeper into the Realm. The animal know the way. Trust your guide and follow where you are led. When it stops, you are there. You will find that both the God and the Goddess of Midsummer are there to meet you or are very near by and coming to you.

I cannot tell you which aspects of the God and Goddess you may see. They may be familiar to you or faces you have never seen before. If they are unknown, this indicates that you have been growing since you last connected with them, and they believe that you are ready to know them more deeply.

Now you may hold out both hands to them, and they will each take one of your hands. How does their touch feel to you? And how do you feel inside yourself as they touch you?

Does the touch of the God’s hand feel different from the Goddess’s? How do they differ and how are they the same? What physical or emotional sensations do you notice? There are no right answers, no wrong answers — there is just what there is and that is what you feel, what you hear, what you see and smell. Sometimes you may even just know something is there without seeing or hearing it.

Let yourself rest for a moment holding the hands of the Goddess and the God — just feeling, just being.

Now I’d like you to ask them, “What do they need or want from you at this moment, for this season?”

First, one of them will answer. It may be something very simple or something more complex. Breathe slowly in a relaxed way and let your mind simply relax and listen. If you don’t get it right away, just let yourself be patient and listen. Listen with your ears, your mind, your body. Are there feelings in your body that may help you to understand? Are there images in your mind?

If you’re not quite certain, ask the other one of the pair to clarify this for you: What do they want or need from you? Your animal guide may also offer you some help with understanding this. The oracle or tarot you drew before the beginning may help.

When you feel that you understand the request, write it down on the second page of your papers.

Then relax back into the calm restful state you were in before and take three slow, deep breaths — not straining in any way, just peaceful and easy. Then think again about the request the god and goddess made of you. What did they ask you to do?

Is this something you think you can do? Are you willing to try to do it?

If it is, tell them exactly what you are agreeing to do.

Now, write that down on your paper.

Gift

When you have finished writing, relax back into the journey, taking a few deep breaths until you are back standing with the god and the goddess.

Then, imagine holding your hands in front of you, palms up, and imagine that your eyes are shut. They are about to give you a gift.

One or both of them places something in your hands. With your inner eyes still closed, see what you can learn about the gift in your hands. Is it heavy or light or in between? Is it moving or still? What does the texture feel like? Soft or hard, smooth or rough? Does it feel alive or inert? How do you feel in yourself as you hold this gift in your two hands?

Now look at the gift — what colors do you notice? Does it have a scent? If it’s alive, is it looking at you or doing something else?

What is it? How would you describe it to someone else?

Ask the Goddess and the God what this gift symbolizes — what will it mean to have this in your life? If you don’t understand right away, you can ask your animal guide to help explain. Take your time, breathing slowly, and just waiting and listening as they give you this information — it may be in words or in feelings or in some other way — or possibly you’ll just know in a flash of insight.

Let yourself continue to breathe slowly and gently while you receive this gift and the information about it.

When you understand, tell them whether or not you accept this gift. If you don’t want it, just set it down on the ground gently, leave it there, and ignore the rest of this. If you do want the gift, hand the it back to the God and Goddess, and ask them to put it in you or on you or around you — wherever it belongs.

What do they do with gift? Where do they put it? How do you feel with the gift there? Do you feel any differently than you did? Just breathe quietly for a couple of minutes and let the gift settle in.

Is there anything else the God or the Goddess or your Guide wish to tell you about using or living with the gift?

When you are done, you may wish to express your gratitude to goddess and god for the gift and for helping you to understand it.

Now write down both what the gift was and what it symbolized.

And now, it is time to write one more thing — what stood out most for you in the journey? It may or may not have been the most “important” thing, but what was the most vivid or perhaps the most surprising thing?

Return Journey

Again, breathe gently for a moment. Now it is time to come back with the help of your animal guide. You may want to tell the Goddess and the God goodbye for now — though they are always with you, their presence may feel different when you are in your ordinary state of consciousness.

Your guide is ready to bring you back. It may retrace the path you took in or you might come out another way. It might even want to show you something on the way. The Guide may choose give you it’s name — or it might not — they can be tricky or shy about names.

You have a few minutes, about five, to come back through the gate or doorway you first entered.

***

When you are back through the gate, take several deep breaths. Wiggle your feet and toes. Wiggle your fingers. Stretch as much as you’d like to.

Now stretch one more time, as far up as you can reach. Then open your eyes and move around a bit.

Questions and Things to Discuss

What was the thing you were asked to do? Did you agree to do it? How do you feel about that? Is it something you are confident that you can do? Remembering the oracle you drew before we began, does it cast any further light upon the thing you were asked to do?

What was the gift you were given? What did the gift symbolize? Did you accept the gift? If you did where the God or Goddess put it in you, on you, or around you? How did you feel when the gift settled into place? Do you feel any differently now than you did before beginning the journey? If you would like, you could draw another Oracle now to tell you more about the gift. If you do, what does it say?

What do you remember about your animal guide? And can you see any reason now why that creature may have chosen or have been chosen to guide you on your journey?

What questions to you still have? Let the others in the group see if they can help you find answers to them. Also, feel free to draw an Oracle or Tarot card for each question you have and write down the responses on your paper.

Bless you on your life journey. May what you discovered on this inner journey help you on your way.

***
Remember — miracles happen. Faery blessings to you and your miracles.
© Copyright 2016 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved. You may record the journey for your own personal use but not to share the recording with others. I will be making a recording available quite soon and will let people know it is ready on Facebook ( Jessica Macbeth or jessica@jesamac.com ) and also on this  blog (jesalog.com) which you can freely subscribe to, and also it will be on my webpages (jessica@jesamac.com).

You may also like to know that I have a book, Sun Over Mountain, that has many inner journeys. In fact, it’s a complete course on creating and using inner journeys for personal and spiritual growth and spiritual contact. I hope you’ve enjoyed this!

Creation & Gratitude

The Universe is trying to spiral up and out. Light wishes to expand. It’s what light does. It shines. It spreads. It moves.

The Fae tell me it is important to say ‘thank you’.

When and why did saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ go out of fashion? I notice on the internet, especially Facebook, that people who want to share something someone else has posted like to say that they are ‘stealing’ it — and yet in most cases it was put there to be shared. So what is the big difficulty in using words like ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and ‘sharing’ that is so hard that people would rather say they are ‘stealing’ something?

Sometimes others say that they are not going to ‘beg’ for something, meaning that they are not going to say ‘please’. When and why did a small courtesy become a humiliation in their minds?  When did snatching something away from someone become a better thing than saying, ‘May I please have…?’

When I ask people about this, they laugh and say, “I want to be a pirate.” Oh. Or, “I think it’s cute.” Really? (Another of the things the Fae like to say is, “You become what you pretend to be.” But we [perhaps] will talk about that some other time.)

Yet… the Fae keep telling me that saying ‘thank you’ is very important. It gives energy back, keeps that energy from stagnating, dying. To keep it alive, keep it moving. If we say ‘thank you’ and ‘you’re welcome’ appropriately, we keep circulating that kind of energy. We channel energy into words and actions, and if that energy is “plus” (charged), it is re-energized and becomes stronger in each of us. Each time we stop, everyone is drained a bit. People who want to grab it all and hold on are just holding onto something that is dying. The only way to keep it charged, to keep ourselves full and overflowing is to keep passing it on.

Now, every healer knows that when you channel energy it fills you as well as filling the person you’re trying to channel it to — unless, of course, you’re being silly and using your own energy for the healing (more about that some other time). There is a lot of energy in O Universe — more than we can imagine, more than we can use in a sesquillion lifetimes. And, if we handle it right, the energy we use becomes stronger — and it circulates.

So I have to ask myself what am I doing to put energy back into the circuit of kindness? Of courtesy? Of healing? Of compassion? The energy that propels the universe — look at a galaxy — it moves. And all the galaxies together move. They comprise the universe — and all the universes together are the multiverse, which (you guessed it) moves.  We are always doing something. Even doing “nothing” is letting the energy become stagnant, leak out. What puts the “charge” or “plus” or “energy” into the system? What keeps it all from running down? What kind of energy are we moving, you and I?

Shall I tell you what the Fae say? They say that the way we add to the creative, healing, compassionate, joyful energy in the universe is by feeling joy or gratitude or kindness. Can you believe that it’s that simple? Every time you generate a truly good feeling in yourself it puts a stronger positive spin on the energy of the universe. It adds that spin to the non-local consciousness of O Universe. It changes the Multiverse. Every single honest smile changes the Multiverse.

Thank you for your help!

p.s. I just looked up at Marzipan. She smiles. Partly, it’s the markings on her face that give her a smiling look. But it’s also the slight pucker of her mouth that pulls her whiskers forward in true cat’s smile. It’s the way her ears perk up, listening for a friendly word, and her head tilts slightly as she gives that cat’s slow blink of affection as she sits erect, paws neatly together, attentive, waiting for a loving response. Utterly charming. You really can’t not smile back. And the Multiverse grows.

Glastonbury Tor, Thanksgiving Eve

This evening as we were sharing Thanksgiving tarot readings, my friend Nancy recommended that I make a visionary journey to Glastonbury Tor. The original subject of our discussion was Gratitude — what has the Lady Gratitude been trying to teach us, and what is right action for us now that we’ve learned a bit more about it?

Basically, the lesson for both of us seems to be the perennial “Trust the Process” but with more detail. For my part, yes, things are tough now (and probably so for a bit yet to come), but life will become less stressful than it has been, better than before in many ways, and I will have even more help with the creative things I need to do — if I’m trusting the process and not letting the temporary stuff get me down.

I wanted to share this journey with you because this is unlike my usual inner journeys in that it doesn’t have a set format. Those of you who have been in my classes and/or read my book Sun over Mountain may remember that we use guided imagery for many purposes. There were a lot of questions for the person journeying to help them understand the images that arose for them. This time, instead, we find me wandering around, looking for my path, and simply allowing it to open before me. This process is more structured than a daydream and less so than guided imagery with a set pattern — and I wanted you to see how it might work for you. Before beginning the journey, the first thing I did was to draw a card from my personal oracle — a blend of the Faeries’ Oracle and my unfinished Faery Wisdom Journey Oracle:

The Bright Mother, who is so loving and nurturing and wise, says…

I am asking you to give up your defenses.

I know, I know, it seems to you that they are what keeps you safe in the worlds, but, in fact, they are what make you vulnerable. Let them go as you find them, and discover how strong you are without them.

Defenses are a much heavier burden than you realize, and it is only by letting them go that you become invulnerable.

If you don’t know how to do this, just ask and I’ll help you find the way. And do eat properly as you go!

Faery blessings on the growing!

And now for the journey to the Tor…

I usually begin these journeys by entering a cave, but that doesn’t feel right tonight. I let my mind wander, looking for a way in, allowing impressions to simply arise in my mind. I gradually realize that I’m surrounded by mist and darkness. I don’t see a way at all. But then a thought drifts by that the theme here is probably about trusting the process. As soon as that dawns (O, the fae are such punsters), I sense myself standing in misty moonlight. Pale in the western sky is the setting Moon. She looks about five days old — more than a slim new crescent but less than a quarter — She is young, full of hopes and dreams and creative energy, and closely following the Sun.

Barely, I see the darkness of Glastonbury Tor outlined against the lighter, but darkening sky. Walking towards the crest of the Tor is easy walking — far easier for me than climbing it in the so-called “real” world — just a gentle upward slope. (Or I’m stronger here, which is something to think about later.) Barefoot, the grass tenderly caresses my soles. Lightly moving upward, I begin to see the silhouette of St. Michael’s Tower against the starless sky. As always, from a distance, there are faint lights moving around the tower as the energy fountains up from the many ley lines here.

No one else seems to be there — no faery, no people, no ancestors, no winds — just silence, so I simply sit on the grass, patiently still. After a while a small, white, short-haired kitten, hight Gwenhwyfar, comes and sits precariously on my knee. She is so young, she is still wobbly. I ask her if she is my guide, and she nods her head vigorously, nearly falling over. She has long tufts on her ears, and they are very charming, waving in the moonlit air.

She hops down onto the grass, regains her balance, and skitters off, racing around the tower — one, two, three circuits deasil, followed by three circles widdershins. She then dashes into the tower, and squeaks loudly to call me. I get up. (Getting up from the ground is also much easier than I’m accustomed to in “real” life as well — perhaps I should come here to live!) Following Gwenhwyfar into the tower, I expect it to be dark — and it is as dark as it can possibly be.

My toes bump against stone. Bending over and feeling the stone with my hand I find stone steps, which I’ve never seen in the tower before. They stick out from the wall, with spaces between them, like the spiral steps in a round tower. Since St. Michael’s tower is square, it provides a larger step at every corner. It’s probably just as well that I can’t see their worn, irregular shapes. Above my head, Gwenhwyfar mews loudly, her voice echoing up and down the tower like an full choir of kittens.

It seems that the easiest thing to do is to go up on all fours as she did. But it isn’t — I hadn’t realized I was wearing a robe, which is now tangling under my feet. Carefully standing erect again with my left hand on the wall and lifting the robe with my right, I can creep up the stones without stumbling. Gwenhwyfar startles me by racing down and brushing around my ankles, saying “Mrrr, mrrrrrr!” which clearly means “Hurry up!”

After several more steps, I feel a soft pressure on the top of my head as if I were pushing against a light balloon. Suddenly, with a pop the pressure disappears and my head pokes through … something. Now my eyes are in the light, but below them everything is still in darkness. The light is silvery-clear and there is something floating in it — dust motes? Faery glitter? Tiny, they are, yet intensely bright. Carefully, but a bit lighter and faster, I continue up the stairs until my feet also enter the light. I’d like to sit down there, but Gwenhwyfar is hooking her tiny claws into the hem of my robe, tugging so hard I’m afraid that she will tumble off the steps. It feels like a very long way down.

Hmmm… if she is a spirit cat or a faery cat or even an imaginary cat, would the fall hurt her? Or would she simply levitate up and bat me on the nose for recalcitrance? Best not to find out any of those things, best just to go to the top and hope for a place to rest there.

Climbing up, the light changes — first to a gentle red, then to pale peach, then a light but warmly sunny yellow, a clear cool sea green, a dreamy blue, crystalline amethyst, and then the purest white I can imagine. We are at the top, no doors, no windows, the narrow openings to the outside are below us, and although I know there is no roof above us, there is a pearlescent something — a mist? An out-of-focus ceiling? It glows.

It was a long ascent upward. I sit on the top step and Gwenhwyfar leans against me. I feel her purring. She climbs up my robe, vibrating busily. Kitten-like, she wants to be on top of my head. Her purr resonates in my skull, echos in my mouth.

The air gradually fills with a wordless musical hum, at first barely audible, then becoming more clear as we listen. It sounds like antiphonal plainsong without words. The high notes are almost the chime of small silver bells, the rich low tones make the tower tremble, the notes between all reverberate, resounding from my bones, from all of the rigid or taut places within me. As they sound the muscles go soft, the notes going through the bones like a hollow flute, hallowed by their song.

I don’t know how long I sit here — or even where I “really” am. The purr chases its own tail within me like musical laughter until my whole self smiles, and I drift away… somewhere, nowhere, everywhere — energy and light singing within and around me.

After I come back feeling much lighter, happier, and more blessed than I did, I drew another card to see what the Oracle had to say about all this.

From the Faeries’ Oracle…

The Singer of Transfiguration congratulates you on the growing and transforming you have been doing! It has not been an easy path and you may not feel quite settled into your new way of being yet, but you’re almost there.

Trust the process!

And a thousand, thousand faery blessings upon your transformation!

In the morning there will be dew everywhere, sparkling in the sun.

*********

For me, there are several points of special interest here, but I think I’ll save my thoughts on them until I see if you have any comments or questions.

And next time, I think I’ll go to the Chalice Well…

When a Typo Becomes a Word

Several people I know like to play with words. Mostly, I prefer to play Hunt The Word, looking for exactly the right word with all the right nuances. But sometimes it seems like there isn’t one in English — or at least it isn’t readily to be found in dictionaries or in the thesaurus. And sometimes there are typos that look like a word, but aren’t in the dictionary. In the space between these two frustrations, new words may be born.

I’m writing a book. Some of the people in the book are part human, part faery. After months of trying to think of a name for this sort-of-species, a typo burst on the scene and it was sounded right. In an instant message, someone typoed “humna” instead of “human”. It was just right — almost human, but not quite. So I began using the word in my story.

Then I had a thought. What if “humna” already was a word, perhaps commonly used in another language? And what if it meant something entirely inappropriate? Scary idea! So, of course, I googled “humna”. At first, I didn’t find much useful, but then in the Urban Dictionary I came across this:   (n.) A person who is extremely annoying but lovable as well. Usually Humnas are very unique and odd. They tend to have large eyes and crazy laughs. Humna’s are far from normal and aren’t always well liked. It takes a special type of person to understand a Humna, but in the end they make for good company. A Humna is very entertaining and once you get to know a Humna you can’t help but to fall in love.

Unfortunately, they didn’t give the source of the word, but it will do just fine.

I blame the characterization of “extremely annoying” on the general human tendency to be irritated by anything they don’t understand. And “wild laughter” would have been more appropriate than “crazy laugh” — but it’s all a matter of personal perception of and reaction to the fae.

Wouldn’t it be funny if my book became popular and “humna” eventually crept into the language as a half human/half faery? Or at least, half-faerylike?

Here is a photo of one of our humnas — Marzipan’s Herself, Ceilear. I am undecided about the ears. Should they be human ears or… ? I have sort of caracal ears in mind for everyone, both humna and the chat sith dos, with tufts like caracal ears do have. (You can google many excellent photos of caracal and their marvelous ears.) The ears in the photo still need a lot of work. The chat sith dos will have the best caracal ears I can manage, but what do you think about the humna? Yea or nay?

 Ceilear