F is for… A Little Guide to Faerie

Faerie. The realm of the fair folk.

I have been totally enchanted by the Celtic Otherworld, and I’m not embarassed to admit it. Well… Almost not. Well… Sometimes not. Well…

Ever been told you’re ‘away with the fairies’? That used to be meant literally*. Ever seen a fairy mushroom ring? Just because we know the science behind them now, it doesn’t mean we don’t love the magic of the story anymore. The fair folk are around every little corner of this little island, even in our rational post-Enlightenment world. And should you want to go looking for them, there are plenty of field guides out there. So here are just a few pointers for fair-folk hunters who want to seek out some of the magic that they’ve lost.

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Inspired by Tana at My Witchy Diary, I’m blogging my up-all-night solstice. The lovely folks at the forum where I post, The Cauldron, stay up all night for an online winter solstice party, and I’m giving it a go (even though my success is doubtful and I’ll probably fall asleep around 3am). I’ll update this post as I remember.

I adore Alban Arthuan – the earth feels very, very still for a while. This afternoon/evening I did some outdoor offerings and a house blessing, then went to the little park by my house and watched twilight turn into night. I came home with some little pieces of holly and ivy for my altar to land, sea and sky.

Winter Solstice 2012

8.30pm. I have not yet started on the wine, as I have to do a station run to pick up the wife later. My Solstice feast consisted of a rather delicious curry, to a soundtrack of seasonal music (Killers ‘A Great Big Sled’ currently playing). My to-do list includes candle-making and writing.

10.30. Making candles and a honey jar by candlelight, to choral music, moonlight dancing in the window. We are such stuff as dreams are made on.

1.55am. Am flagging, as expected (chronic illnesses don’t mix with very late nights, so this might be bedtime for me!) but have had a lovely, reflective time discussing all manner of interesting things with some very good people.


8.55am. I was up for the sunrise. I did my first full ADF rite as the sun rose – the Winter Solstice rite that Teo Bishop has written for the Solitary Druid Fellowship. It was wonderful. Even if it was pouring with rain and so windy that the candles wouldn’t stay lit. I imagined the sunrise!

Solstice rite 2012

Busy old fool, unruly Sun,
Why dost thou thus,
Through windows and through curtains call on us?
Must to thy motions lovers’ season run?
Saucy pedantic wretch, go chide
Late schoolboys, and sour ‘prentices.
Go tell court-huntsmen that the King will ride,
Call country ants to harvest offices;
Love, all alike, no season knows, nor clime,
Nor hours, days, months, which are the rags of time…

She’s all States, and all Princes I;
Nothing else is.

Princes do play us; compared to this,
All honour’s mimic; all wealth alchemy.
Thou, Sun, art half as happy as we,
In that the world’s contracted thus;
Thine age asks ease, and since thy duties
To warm the world, that’s done in warming us.

Shine here to us, and thou art everywhere;
This bed thy centre is, these walls thy sphere.

– John Donne, ‘The Sun Rising’