In the Twenty-First Century, the Faery realm is as popular as ever; yet, in our culture of instant gratification and unmoderated media platforms, there are many false paths and illusory pitfalls to distract and misdirect us. How, then, can the true seeker of Faery be sure they are not following some metaphorical (or sometimes literal) Will-o’-the-Wisp into hazardous swampland? Here are the seven steps you need to take to be sure that you are living authentically and in sync with our Faery cousins.
Read widely and wisely! Of course books are not the only source of knowledge, but they are a good place to start (and continue—we should never stop learning!), in balance with the more experiential steps to follow. Find recommendations from people you respect and familiarise yourself with traditional folklore and mythology, particularly Irish, Scottish, and Welsh. Any good book on Faery should also have a good bibliography, which you can explore for further reading and deeper exploration. The more varied your reading, the stronger your discernment will be and the less likely you are to be led off the true path into illusion. It's also important to realise that many faery beings are hostile and/or unpredictable. The more you know, the more prepared you will be.
2. Expand Your Awareness
It can be all too easy to get stuck in our heads and mistake wishful thinking and the untrained imagination for real experience. Therefore, one of the most important steps to true connection with Faery is to expand your energetic awareness outside of your own body and into the world around you. Here is an exercise that is featured in both Faery Craft and my new book, Seeking Faery.
Exercise: Becoming the Faery Tree
This exercise is designed to connect you to the energies of the land and to open up your heart centre to increase sensitivity to the presence and communications of Faery beings. Depending on your physical capabilities, this may be performed standing or sitting, but in either instance you should ideally have your feet bare and on the land outside, in as natural a space as possible, ideally where you won't be disturbed. Keeping upright and relaxed, with your feet a small distance apart and your hands by your sides, take seven slow deep breaths (in through the nose, hold for three seconds, and slowly out through the mouth), as you allow tension and concerns of the day to melt away.
On your next breath, with your palms at your side facing downwards, imagine your feet slowly turning into tree roots and digging down into the earth beneath you. Feel the strength of the earth and the stability and nourishment that the roots provide you with. Maintain this for seven deep breaths in and out.
Now, for your next seven breaths, maintaining your roots, slowly bring your arms up into a "v" shape and raise your palms to the sky. Imagine that your arms are becoming great branches, reaching for the light of Sun, Moon, and Stars. Maintain both roots and branches for a further seven deep breaths.
Keeping your arms upright in the "v" position, now imagine that your roots are drawing emerald green light up from the earth towards your heart. Breathe it in and draw it up with seven deep breaths. Now imagine that your branches are drawing down the silver light of the heavens into your heart. Draw it down with seven deep breaths. The green and silver light meets in your heart and becomes golden and swirling, opening your heart to the energies of Earth and connecting you to above and below.
For beginners, maintain this as long as you are comfortable and then release the energies back up through your branches and down through your roots, slowly lower your arms and slowly draw your roots back into your feet and become your normal self again. Seven deep breaths to recover. As you become more used to this exercise, you may find you can do shorter or longer versions as you wish.
As well as expanding your awareness energetically, it is possible to reach out and connect in a more tangible way with appropriate offerings. This not only helps to form an energetic bridge between the worlds but also shows your willingness to collaborate and not simply expect gifts or guidance with no effort on your part. The choice of offering is significant, as is being sure to clean up afterwards. It is a good idea, if possible, to find an outdoor location for your offerings where you instinctively feel your connection with Faery is strong and where you will not be disturbed. Whilst this might be an established sacred site, it can be more powerful to find a personal connection on a less-trod path. Consider the value of the offerings you bring, and the impact on the environment. If leaving food of any kind, be sure to check that it is cleared and not simply left to rot. Very often these offerings will be consumed by animals, which is absolutely fine (faery beings sometimes borrow these physical forms to accept offerings) so long as you make sure they contain nothing toxic to animal life (for example chocolate).
4. Ethics and Honour
You may think that it's faeries who are usually invisible, but the truth is, they can see right through you, too! If there is any deception or falsehood in your heart, they will sense it and treat you accordingly. Like any magical path, it is of utmost importance to know yourself and establish a strong code of honour and ethics that you abide by in every aspect of your life, not just your work with Faery.
For many, myself included, communication with Faery comes through creative expression. This is a direct communication heart-to-heart or spirit-to-spirit, and these channels must be free and open to receive. Any negative thoughts about your own creativity need to be overcome by simply creating in any way you feel moved to, be it art, dance, poetry. Nobody will judge you, unless you choose to share it with the world, but your soul and your faery allies will thank you.
When working with Otherworldly beings and forces, the imagination becomes an extra sense through which we can perceive those things which are hidden from our earthly senses. The traps here are clear, and thus it is important to train the imagination through visualisation, meditation, and journey techniques so that it becomes a reliable translator of energies rather than a fanciful self-deception.
Always come back to this. After any encounter or working with Faery, be sure to ground yourself in your body and the physical world around you. Release the otherworldly energies to their source, feel your feet on the earth, taste good food and drink water. Regularly take time to simply be in Nature, see the wonder that is the world we inhabit, and you will have no need for illusion—you will simply learn to see the magic in deeper truths as you walk the path of Faery in peace, truth and joy.