"The Kingdom of Faerie lies within."
(Tony Kelly, 1949-1997)
We are the outside looking in.
They are the inside looking out.
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What are the scariest monsters ever to debut in tabletop roleplaying games? Is The Nightmare Before Christmas a Halloween or Christmas movie? And did you know that Silent Hill was inspired by a real town? Airy Monday takes a spooky turn this week as we look at horror and other creepy fiction in preparation for Samhain and Halloween. All this and more for the Pagan News Beagle!
By serendipity I met a friend in town on Saturday. Over coffee and an organic raspberry and white chocolate scone (still slightly warm), Mandy told me how she and a friend had been haring round Ireland on a road trip on the trail of the sidhe. Their trip took them from Tara in the east, down to Clare, then up to Carrowkeel and Knocknashee in Sligo. They took in some of the most sacred sites and amazing megaliths in the land. But they didn't really need to stir themselves so far from Fermanagh. They are all around us here. Or maybe I am just sensitive to the local fey vibrations.
Tourists ask me if I see fairies. I answer honestly. I don't see them and I very much doubt they are very much like Mabel Lucie Atwell's vision of them. Here is West Cavan I experience them as nature's skin turners and messengers. But maybe that's just how they want to show themselves to me, for I have a strong suspicion that when they want to make themselves known as friendly allies they choose a form that is least threatening to their beholder. So maybe children do see Mabel Lucie Atwell creations. Musicians hear fairy music. But I have seen a hitch hiker that turned out to be a heron standing on the road verge. A local storyteller saw a bent old woman that turned out to be a hare. 'Turned' being the operative word....
To assuage the sadness of knowing there is no more Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to come (or perhaps there is a but a long way off), I have been thinking about how English magic did fall into disrepute so that a man of Norrell's character found it necessary to make it respectable once more. One of the first examples to occur to me is Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale (hereafter CYT because I will tire of spelling it out).
CYT features one of the belated arrivals to pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales. The canon and his yeoman catch up to the pilgrims and the yeoman launches into a recital of the canon's alchemical life that soon makes his boss leave in a huff. The yeoman takes this opportunity to show that the canon is a scoundrel in this 'elvysshe craft' known as alchemy....
You've heard the tale of Thomas Rhymer, lover to the Queen of Elfhame, who after seven years came back with a tongue that could never lie.
Well, Thomas of Earlston was a real, live man who lived in the 13th century, and you can see his name on a number of charters from the time, if you've a mind to.
And here's the story of his passing.
One day in his age Old Thomas was sitting by his hearth, talking with friends. Just then a lad comes rushing in, all out of breath, and says: Come quick! You've got to see this! There's a big old stag with big old antlers just sauntering down the High Street as if he owned it!
In today's Watery Wednesday edition, the PaganNewsBeagle brings you stories of our Pagan, witchy, and polytheist communities. Triumph for Maetreum of Cybele; a fairy census; Wiccan city council invocation; what's proper clerical wear for Pagans?; Pagan rock-n-roll.
In great news for all minority religions embattled by small-minded civic authorities, the Appeals Court of the State of New York ruled in favor of the Maetreum of Cybele ending a lengthy legal struggle over property tax exemption. The Wild Hunt has the story....
A Midsummer Night's Dream is your favorite Shakespearean play. Tinkerbell is your favorite Disney character. And you always want to wear faerie wings, even when it isn't Halloween. Could you be a faerie-person? Chances are the answer is yes.
Before we look at the signs that you are, in fact, an incarnated member of the realm of the fae, let's discuss what exactly that may mean. It's true that it's a rather mysterious classification, but let's note for a moment that for the majority of time that humans have been here on planet earth, we have been much more closely aligned to her cycles and mysteries than we are now. Instead of watching TV or sitting under a roof, we gazed at the stars and were intimately familiar with their dance. We listened to the wind and noted its intensity and direction, and knew inherently what other factors went along with those conditions. We could communicate with animals, because we were awake to their wisdom and aliveness. In short, we knew ourselves to be one with Mother Earth; and, in the same way that one tiny bit of DNA contains the blueprint to the entire organism in all its glorious wholeness, we knew that we were not just on the earth, but rather that we contained its entire essence within our every cell....