January Hearthside: The Faerie Realms

Untitled by James Dempsey c 2014.

Untitled by James Dempsey c 2014.

This past Monday, those of us who were fortunate enough to have Martin Luther King Day off gathered at Sarah Fuhro’s house to have a discussion about and meditation on the faerie realm (or realms, depending on your perceptions of such things).

Sadly I arrived late, and so missed the beginning of the hearthside, but it was great to spend time in these folks’ company nonetheless. Walking into Sarah’s east-facing dining room, I was greeted by the sight of my grovies meditating in the sun, like a troop of ring-tailed lemurs. Even just catching the tail (ha!) end of the journey was nice, and I used the time to confer with my own guides as the others in the room made their way back.

Lemurs meditate, just like Druids!

Discussion focused largely on those beings classified as devas or plant spirits for the most part, with Jdth recounting quite a bit of her Findhorn experiences.  After settling down to a fantastic lunch of lentil soup, root soup, and assorted sweets, James had a lovely treat for us all: painting he’d made since his muse returned that reminded him of the fae.  I absolutely love the one I chose. It reminds me of the ferns that grace my grove in the deepest heat of summer.  Inspired work, indeed!

As each of us talked about our own encounters, the only fair thing to say is that there seem to be as many discarnate critters as there are incarnate plants and animals living on this world. Seeing where they intersect our lives never ceases to fascinate, not to mention all the various cultural filters placed upon our interactions with these beings, whether we call them fairies, elves, devas, wights, or ancestors.

And of course there is infinite overlapping, mixing, and outright trampling of any and all of these classifications.  One of the more interesting part of our discussion revolved around a transcript of R.J. Stewart’s experience in a mound tomb.  Essentially Stewart believed that when the time came, a tribal leader would go into the tomb to become part of the earth itself, the Stone King, and continue advise his people from the mound long after his body died.  That leader in essence became a local god.  This is where the lines get delightfully blurry–what is a fairy vs, a land spirit vs. an ancestor vs. a god?  It’s similar to the discovery that humans and neanderthals were closely related enough to interbreed, and that some modern humans do in fact carry neanderthal DNA.  The takeaway: the lines between various sorts of fae are not as cut and dried as the magickal encyclopedias would have you believe.

Dark Moon: Ur

c. Aqwis 2006 on Wikimedia Common

c. Aqwis 2006 on Wikimedia Common

Sadly, my real-life success with growing Ur, or Heather as we usually now call it, has been zilch.  I just can’t seem to get the damned stuff to winterover.  Apparently it thrives in acid soil, so perhaps a nice mulching of pine needles will help it along the next time I get up the gumption to try growing it.

Ur is the warmth and joy of community, and there’s certainly been a lot of that in my life this month.  As some of you know, I’ve been tangled up in the process of purchasing one of the units in our co-housing community.  My neighbors have been beyond helpful and supportive, and it’s been such a relaxing experience knowing the I’m working with the buyer instead of engaging in the adversarial relationship so common in real estate transactions.  Bees, the epitome of community, are also closely associated with heather, and their busy hum has reverberated throughout my inner worlds as I navigate a new place in the neighborhood.

In any case, this month has been full of community work, from putting the common garden to bed, to finishing up the siding on the chicken coop, to spending more time with my groovie Grovies outside of ritual. Heather is the healing power of community, and all the sweetness that comes with being fully engaged in one’s tribe. When Damh the Bard sang “Wild Mountain Thyme” around the campfire at ECG 2013, I was choked with tears–my ex-husband had asked for a divorce months before, yet here was a group of people who still found me worthy of love and companionship. We would indeed “all go together,” and the image of my tribe singing amongst the purple heather would carry me through one of the darkest winters of my life.

Will you go, lassie, will you go?
And we’ll all go together
To pull wild mountain thyme
All around the blooming heather,
Will you go, lassie, go?
–Francis McPeak, “Wild Mountain Thyme”

Mediation Mondays: Wednesday Edition

Some of you who also follow me on Twitter have probably noticed that I’m making a concerted effort to meditate daily again. I had dropped off to one or twice a week and have really wanted to be more focused about it, as I know the boost in focus and nwyfre is tangible.

Then one of the folks over at the Strategic Sorcery boards posted a timer app that used various singing bowls as tones. The other neat thing about this little gadget, called the Insight Timer, is that it sets goals and milestones for your practice, and keeps track of them for you. The fact that you can set it to automatically brag about your triumphs to Twitter is a nice extra boost to accountability. There is also a message at the end of your session letting you know how many other people with the app were meditating at the same time as you–for me, it creates a sense of connection, much like the OBOD full moon meditations for peace, to know that other people are doing the same thing as you are all around the world. The final plus: a journal prompt at the end of the meditation that lets you record your thoughts about the session.

Anyway, some Insights (ha!) from the past few days of mediation:

*Meditating with a 4-year-old in the room is hard. Trufax.
*I’m currently better at focusing on a specific image in my mind’s eye than I am at emptying my mind and focusing on breath.
*I worry that the timer is yet another form of external validation. Like blogging isn’t, right?

The goal is to post every Monday about my general experience in the past week. Some weeks will be great, some not so much, but with luck I can see changes in my practice over time.