Project Conversion

Project Conversion


I Commune with Faeries. Well, if I can Find One…

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Nearly every faith I’ve explored so far this year has them: Creatures that often straddle the spiritual and physical realms of reality. In some cases, they remain exclusively in the spiritual world, never to be seen by humans. In others, they are as real and present in our visible world as we are. Still some enjoy a dual citizenship across worlds. I’ve heard names such as angels, demons, fravashi, demigods, and hungry ghosts just to name a few.

For many forms of Wicca (and particularly Fey Wicca), there are many species of spiritual and physical beings which populate these planes. Some Wiccans believe in elementals, beings which embody one of the four elements. For Fey Wicca, the tradition which dominates my time this month, the Fey are the often hidden species of mythic, spiritual creatures often found in Celtic and Irish lore. Fey Wicca then, is a tradition that acknowledges these creatures as being as real as fish in a pond, living right below the surface of our visible world.

Fey Wicca is a path which seeks community and involvement with the various Fey, but what are these creatures? In general, the Fey are mischievous and fun-loving creatures, however the term “fun” is highly subjective. One person’s fun could be another’s nightmare. Some Fey are painfully gorgeous while others are frightfully hideous. Many can change form while others embody trees, stones, or streams. While I will try and place the wider world of the Fey below within a certain context it is important to understand that the Fey often defy our understanding and escape simple categories.

of the Seelie Court. Art from the illustrated work, "Faeries" by Brian Froud and Alan Lee

The Fey are free-willed creatures, just as we are, and as such generally fall into two “courts.” One is the Seelie Court, or “blessed court.” The terms Seelie and Unseelie come from Scottish lore and so these faeries aren’t necessarily part of faeries of other lore. The majority of those Fey in this court are sidhe (pronounced “shay”), that is, beautiful and fair-complected faeries. All Fey have a “code” or common characteristic by which they live. The Seelie Court lives by the following code:

-Death before dishonor
-Love conquers all
-Beauty is life
-Never forget a debt 

In 99% of cases, Fey Wiccans seek the company of the Seelie Court. In a broad way, you could view the Seelie Court as the “good guys,” although concepts of good and evil are blurred in the wider world of Wicca and the Fey. In general, there is what is constructive and deconstructive, two parts of a whole that make up the universe. This idea is very specific to the Fey however, and because of this concept, the two courts of the Fey often collide.

 

A member of the Unseelie Court. Art by Andrew L. Paciorek

 

The other side of the coin is the Unseelie Court. A member of this court is the antithesis of those in the Seelie Court. They are a highly diverse bunch and can be extremely dangerous. Some are known to attack lone travelers on dark roads, others abduct children who stray too far from home. They too live by a code:

-Change is good
-Glamour is free
-Honor is a lie
-Passion before duty

 

 

Because many Fey Wiccans actively commune with and seek the company of the Fey for various reasons, great care is taken with summoning their presence. It is critical that anyone seeking out these creatures be very specific in what they are looking for and how they go about the task. Just as you wouldn’t go looking for a doctor in a dark, filthy alley, you need to know where and how to find the Fey. Seek an experienced individual for help in this matter.

Could this be what happened to me with my Shaman experience? Had I invited the wrong beings into my life? Because virtually all Fey are considered chaotic to some degree, perhaps the being(s) that visited meant no harm, but like a gentle giant, their presence often terrifies without intention. Some have told me that it was a demon and are even worried for my safety this month. Others say it was a curious air elemental. There are also those times at the river in the Temple (a place of meditation I’ve often visited this year). The last time I was there, I felt as if I was being watched. Was it the Fey?

If one faith believes in the existance of invisible beings such as angels or demons, is it so hard to believe in the Fey? Why does one faith’s lore cancel out the other? Perhaps we are giving different names for the same things…



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Celestial Elf

posted January 17, 2012 at 3:33 pm


Wonderful Post :D
I thought you might enjoy my short guide
How To Avoid (Or To Invite) Enchantment by Faries, Elves & Elementals http://celestialelfdanceoflife.blogspot.com/2012/01/how-to-avoid-or-invite-enchantment-by.html
Bright Blessings ~



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abowen

posted October 10, 2011 at 12:23 pm


Anne,

Very good quote. I’ll think about that next time I’m in the woods.



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anne johnson

posted October 7, 2011 at 10:34 pm


Your Mentor knows her stuff. I was afraid you would be distracted by Queen Mab.

My favorite quote about faeries is from Terrence McKenna:

“Being able to pun, sing, or riddle will usually get your through fairy checkpoints. To deal with real fairies is to enter a realm of riddles and puzzle settings where what they punish is stupidity and what they love is intellectual cleverness.”



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abowen

posted October 7, 2011 at 7:02 pm


Aine,

You are right regarding the Courts and the Scottish terminology. I’ll be sure to amend the post to make that point clear. Thanks!



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Aine Llewellyn

posted October 7, 2011 at 5:17 pm


As someone who works with faeries and has been studying them for a good while now (and is incorporating them into a group tradition), I think that some of your descriptions of the fey fit what I have experience of them. However, I take issue with some of what you wrote.

From my understanding and research (and if I am wrong I would not mind at all if someone with more research under their belt corrected me), the Seelie and Unseelie Court are actually faeries from Scotland. As I’ve seen it used it only refers to those specific faeries from Scotland and not the Daoine Sidhe or Tuatha de Dana (sp?) (I know the Children of the Goddess Danu are gods, but they are also faeries in the mythology and folklore). The faeries I work with are also not a part of the Seelie or Unseelie Courts. Just wanted to point out that those terms don’t apply to all faeries.



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abowen

posted October 7, 2011 at 10:34 am


Helen/Hawk,

I’m sure these concepts will surface over time. I’m interested in learning as much as I can so I can have a greater appreciation for all paths beneath this huge umbrella.



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Helen/Hawk

posted October 7, 2011 at 12:45 am


I suspect that in addition to making a point that the Fey are not easily understood by us humans…….she was attempting to bring your attention to some important points to do w/ Paganism. Here in your 1st days.

Am interested in hearing about your explorations vis a vis our approach/experiences w/ the Faces of Deity: Goddess & God. Not being familar w/ Fey Wicca I’m interested in hearing about this. And….of course….the upcoming Sabbat Samhain. The time, in my tradition, for Honoring our Beloved Dead. Tho it IS the last day of this month.



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RitaGB

posted October 6, 2011 at 5:59 pm


I would find this month even more fascinating if there weren’t so much negative energy being thrown around, and more constructive comparison (as opposed to destructive name-calling).

How about a little, “in the path/tradition I follow, we believe thus and so…” instead of “you’re getting it all wrong because you’re not doing the deep research for yourself.”
To me that sounds like expecting everyone who is interested in learning about Christianity to find the original Greek texts and start there.

I thank the gods for sharing Andrew and his project with us all.



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abowen

posted October 6, 2011 at 3:19 pm


Ashley,

Thanks for dropping by and contributing your thoughts from the Neo-Pagan Druid tradition. I’ve made a habit out of cross-referencing everything I post. Sometimes details slip through the cracks, but the Congregation (members on the Facebook page) are usually quick to edit these. So far there’s been a good consensus here. I agree that with the Pagan umbrella being so wide and the individual member of the faith(s) so independent that the variety is often dizzying.

Regarding the “code” issue, I’ve looked at a few resources regarding the Fey and I don’t find any inconsistencies with how these two broad groups are categorized. As I mentioned in the post, all of these creatures are chaotic to varying degrees and therefore unpredictable. My understanding of the “code” is indeed a way for mere humans to understand their behavior. This is similar to math. Math does not make up the universe, but it’s the best way we have to describe it. I think this is where perspective comes in regarding the varying traditions. One tradition may hold a certain view on one aspect of craft, belief, and practice that is far different than another. In this way, calling someone or something “Fluffy Bunny” simply because they don’t believe the way someone else does is flirting with spiritual legalism.

That said, I’ll give the issue you raise an even closer look. I’ll ask my Mentor about this and also dig into more resources to see if I find any problems. Thanks and blessed be!



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Ashley

posted October 6, 2011 at 2:43 pm


I’m a lifelong pagan, specifically a Neo-Pagan Druid and a member of ADF (since you were asking about traditions the other day). One of the biggest problems with modern paganism is also it’s greatest strength; that people can find what works for them and use it. Unfortunately this also leads to people coming up with stuff that makes no sense, is completely unverifiable by any means, and that these concepts are claimed as absolute truth. A person who does this is commonly referred to as a Fluffy Bunny.

Your list of the “code” of the seelie and unseelie court is firmly in the Fluffy Bunny camp. The idea that ancient non-human entities will live by a “code” that is not only recognizable by modern human standards, but easily explained AND reasonably sympathetic to modern sensibilities is just completely absurd.

I sincerely hope your mentor is guiding you through such concepts as lore, substantiated gnosis, and unsubstantiated personal gnosis. If not, please look into it yourself. They’re truly important to understanding how Pagans construct their belief system.



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abowen

posted October 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm


Alex,

I think it’s a great month as well!



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alex

posted October 6, 2011 at 11:30 am


Wonderful perspective on fairies and angles.
This will be a good month.



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