Sunday, 26 August 2018

I believe in fairies, truly

Some things are hard to express, sometimes putting things into words feels almost inappropriate, a clumsy capture and thus an alteration of an intangible essence. Sometimes in saying things, in trying despite our ineptitude to communicate more than we can, we make ourselves vulnerable, we risk ridicule for our willingness to know what we cannot quite know.

For these reasons it isn’t always easy for me to say ‘I believe in fairies… truly.’ What I mean when I say this is that I believe in fairyness, in ethereal beings, in the aliveness of the natural world, an aliveness which we are called to perceive, which wants to be known, with which we can communicate daily, in moments, and outside the bounds of time. When I say I believe in fairies I mean fundamentally that I believe in that which as a child I knew to be true, one of the truest things.
 Often as I go about my days I am aware of the aliveness of these beings, or to put it another way, of the forms of this aliveness. Sometimes this awareness is simply there, in magical places, or at twilight, and sometimes I am quite surprised. Always, these encounters give a sense of awe.  Usually such noticings and interactions are small, indescribable moments, a little oh there you are or a small shared breath, perhaps quite appropriately soon dissipating, leaving just a trace in my sense of existence. Such moments are hardly substantial enough to try to communicate.
But now and again perhaps, it is important to mention these happenings, perhaps most importantly to share with others and thereby support these truths.
Mary Oliver offers us
Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.
A recent interaction with Marna Widom, an artist who I admire greatly, who’s images seem to me to reflect her own experience of the ethereal realm, reminded me of the importance of the importance of the ‘telling about it.’
Marna commented on a picture which I shared of little beechnut hats sitting on my fingers, my fingers giving playful visibility to the beings beneath or within the hats, these simple pictures resonated with her, and so we came to exchange a few images of those beings which we have seen, showing themselves to us in forms with which we can identify, within drying flowers, seeds, wood. Soon our friend Lucinda Macy joined in too.
It is through the simple nourishment which that sharing of wonder gave me that I find myself with tender courage, taking the time to write about the following little occurrence.
My daughter and I are walking along the pathway by our local allotments, she stops to look at the dry poppy heads, and as she touches one it whispers a little of its seed-sound, I pick it for her to see, shake it lightly, tip it over her hand and tell her that we can take the seeds to our garden. She is still, entranced, shaking into her hand then taking off the edges of the crown to let the tiny black seeds spill more smoothly into her hand.

I feel the mellow time, stretching like humming silence, into the warmth of the sun, into the next year, back to the forming of the poppy and long into seconds of looking. My daughter gives me the empty seed head, and asks for another, I stroke the slightly pink sun-browned paper-thin face, such a beauty, I feel a care for her, though her hourglass is empty, she is not empty, I lay her in my pocket.
Later I am peeling sweetcorn from my veg box and a memory of childhood creeps into me, the beard of the corn is plentiful, and I start plaiting it as hair, I fetch the poppy shell from my pocket, and begin folding, and forming, waiting, watching for the suggestions which the corn wisps make, ‘here is my hand, this will be my cloak’.

She becomes so simply, quickly, imperfectly beautifully. 
I stand her on my daughter’s mantelpiece, she seems pleased.
Soon I bring some wee stitched ones around, they are pleased for my attention, and later for my daughter's attention. There is a fresh newness and invitation to noticing, to playing.
Two days later when I come into the room, I see she seems different.
I look more closely and realise that in the communication between her corn dress and time, she has started to bend, and in so doing she seems to be inclining towards the wee ones around her, listening to them, becoming herself. I am moved by this simple expression of her nature, of her stretching herself into this new body of hers, of her becoming as she dries, as her greenness dissipates giving magic into the air around her.

I share this blessing with you all, that you may be encouraged in your own moments of Autumnal magic. And, these words too, which I love, to accompany you...

I dwell in possibility by Emily Dickinson

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –

Marna Widom's work can be found here @twelvelittletales
Lucinda Macy's work can be found here @willodel

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Midsummer's first song

You probably already know
all about the garden folk who help the garden grow.
The gnomes who nourish the roots,
The fiery faeries who guide the sunbeams to ripen rosy fruits,
Those swift small sylphs bearing up in the air,
Dandelion wishes to grow here and there.

But I wonder if you might have heard
Of the wee ones who help the birds,
Carrying twigs to furnish nests
and helping find berries that taste the best.

At this magical time of year,
When midsummer festivities are drawing near,
The birds all sing with happy din,
Enjoining festivities to begin.

Dear robin has a lot to do
Delivering mail all fairyland through,
So these little ones give a helping hand
Carrying letters across the land.

Here’s a tender request from the wind to the rose,
to share her petals as a carpet for tiny dancing toes.

There’s a letter from the moonbeam fays to sweet slow snail,
Arranging for reflection of silvery sheen around this mysterious veil.


And a precious request from the fairy queen,
bearing a special stamp not often seen.
A letter to dear Robin himself,
Carried with great care by this kind helping elf
‘Honourable Robin, it is the wish of wee folk all,
That you should sing the first note of midsummer’s procession call.'

Filled with all this preparation
the whole garden is full of elation.

If you were to wake
At first day break,
And tiptoe to peep
While many still sleep,
You are sure to find
Magic beings of all kind,
Dancing midsummer blessings for the ground
To the trill of the birds first joyfully sung sounds.


This story was first published as a tiny booklet insert in the bird-zine 'Perched' by The Knothole Tree, you can subscribe here:

If you would like your own wee fairy robin helpers please request them from the Magic Fairy Lady here: Dear Robin's fairy helpers 

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Listening for the story of Midsummer's first song

Quite a little while ago I received a lovely message from Summer of The Knothole Tree, asking me if I would like to write a small pictures story with special wee-folk, for her bird-zine Perched.
Though I loved the idea, I wasn’t sure that I would be able to do it, as most of the stories that I write about the fairies and gnomes seem to create themselves out of their own necessity to be told and I didn’t know if it would work if I tried to do it another way. However it was a lovely thing to be asked to do, so I said yes and sent a little wish into the air…. And then I wasn’t sure all over again!

I still wasn't sure for quite a while, until one morning our little Robin perched our the garden bench, and looking at this sweet little character I realised that in all my searching for inspiration I was perhaps being too grand - the Robin seemed to be saying, ‘what about me?’ and ‘just begin, everyone will come for their story, the way they do’

And so I began stitching, with love, with trust,
And sure enough the little ones came and they brought their story with them. As they took their form in my hands - an older sister, a littler brother, kind helpers of dear Robin, in his joyful delivery of fairyland mail. These magical children in their hooded capes could easily be mistaken for little robins themselves as they echoed the birds flutterings through the air.
When they were ready the story was nearly written too, but still I had no idea how Robin would appear in the pictures. Should I sew the little fellow, or try to take a picture of our garden friend and somehow merge it with the photographs of the fairy children? Then I remembered that at Christmas time our two year old had fallen in love with ‘a robin bird’ in the Granny’s nativity gathering. I remembered that little robin and felt he had the perfect feeling for the story, so I rang my mum and asked to borrow him.

However, when I got him out of the box I realised that though he was just the perfect little character, he did not actually have a red-breast as such! My remembering of this wee bird had clearly been filtered through my daughters seeing and loving of ‘robin bird’ at Christmas time!

I wondered what to do, and came to the decision that the feeling, the spirit of robin-ness was most important, more important that precise or correct physical characteristics and so I simply added a little kerchief which echoed the red of his kind helpers' clothing, and so connected them all more perfectly than might otherwise have been.
And so the most important wee ones of the story were ready, but I wasn’t sure of the story’s ending, its reason, its culmination!
I did have a sense of a special letter for Robin himself, and so I sat down with my tiniest paintbrush and painted... first the envelope for the snail, and then the rose with the sprinkling petals for tiny dancing feet, and then a fancy stamp on the largest letter….and Oh! The fairy queen just looked through the stamps window frame, leaving her dress and wings floating out behind! And then I knew, a letter from the Fairy Queen, an honour for Midsummer, a request from all of fairyland that Robin be the one to sing the first song of celebration!
And so I smiled at the air and said a little grateful thanks.
Though I had the words of the story, and the order of the small happenings, it was only when I took everyone out into the garden one sunny morning and took the photographs that the story truly came alive. As so often happens the wee fairy folk showed all the nuances unfolding.
The quiet way the small boy waited by the sleeping snail...
The warmth of the sun on the fairy girl's face as she tucked the rose's letter into its green star...
 the reverence of the children for dear Robin...

Robin's humbleness...
And the giggling celebration of all the fairy folk as they tumbled and danced their way into a haphazard procession while the Robin sang above with love for them all.

If you would like to read the story MIDSUMMER'S FIRST SONG and find all sorts of other bird orientated wonders, please go to Summers etsy page:

If you would like these little fairy children helpers to come and play and make stories and puppet-shows with your children please contact me:

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Advent Blessings for the Elemental Beings

 The first week of Advent, blessings for the Gnomes, children of Earth

Deep deep, deep beneath
Winter’s frost firm blanket of sleep
Magical children, dwellers of our ground
Hold love to be awakened and re-found
The Gnomes tenderly care
For Earth’s treasures resting there,
Each child polishes stones to glow,
With murmurings of ancient dreams they know,
And from pointing hats they draw, soft slumbering stories
Soon to urge, small seedlings into Spring’s flowering glories
Dear Gnomes
We are holding love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

  The second week of Advent, blessings for the Undines, children of Water

Clear clear, clear within
Still moon pool reflections, where wonders begin,
Magical children swimmers of seas and stream,
Form love into patterns, spiraling powers to be seen.
The Undines gently shape,
Small Nooks of raindrops and glaciers great.
With the tip of his wand a young boy carves
Trees into sea-sand and puddles-glass stars,
And though Winter’s rivers surge fierce and rushing,
Soon with soft burbling, Spring’s babes they’ll be hushing.
Dear Undines
We are forming love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

 The third week of Advent, blessings for the Sylphs, children of Air

High high, high above,
Tree tops listen for the song of the turtle dove,
Magical children, beings of fair air,
Breathe love to sustain life here, there, and everywhere.
The Sylphs joyfully twirl and gustily blow
Golden leaf flutterings and flurries of first snow,
And while caught in the woosh of windy wild dancing
The air they’re preparing for dandelion wishing.
 Dear Sylphs
We are breathing love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide

 The fourth week of Advent, blessings for the Salamanders, children of Fire

Free free, free beyond
Flickers of starlight in dreams are thronged
Magical children creators of fire
Nourish love in harmony with Sun’s heavenly choir.
The Salamanders guide warmth and light
To comfort the world on cold winter nights
And the flames of our hearths serve to remind
Our hearts to share love with all living kind

Dear Salamanders
We are nourishing love with you
In gratitude
This Adventide