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Danu

Faeries!Being that my not-so-alter-ego is that of a Puckish Pixie, Faeries are something quite near and dear to my heart. Their history is also rooted in Celtic Irish Mythology, which makes them quite important to my Spiritual Path as well. So, where to start? How about we head on back roughly 4000 years, and take a brief peek at the Tuatha de Danann.

The Tuatha de Danann were, quite literally, the People of the goddess Danu. According to the Annals of the Four Masters (chronicle of medieval Irish history, compiled between 1632 and 1636 in a Fransiscan monestary), they were a powerful ancient tribe who ruled Ireland from 1897 to 1700 BCE. Until they were defeated in battle by the Milesians.

According to legend, after the Milesian’s victory their leader, Amergin, was called upon to divide the land between the two Peoples. He cleverly split the land with the Milesians Ruling that which was above ground, leaving the Tuatha de Danann to rule all that was below.

The Tuatha de Danann were led underground by their King, The Dagda, and became known as the Aes Sidhe (people of the hills). They are the Faery People of the Otherworld who have been known to intervene in human wars on the side of justice and righteousness.

Throughout most of the Medieval period, Faeries were not seen as beneficial beings to have around. Most people during this time felt it necessary to protect themselves and their families from the fae. It was believed that they would steal children and leave them with a less-than-stellar replacement….why they supposedly did this is not entirely clear. It is possible that this was the way for people of the period to explain away childhood ailments and physical deformities.

Towards the tail end of the Middle Ages, however, as folks were gearing up for the Renaissance the Fae became an integral part of tales told by Bards before the Royal Court. They were fanciful stories of love & trickery…and not nearly as dark & sinister as what some of the superstitions had most recently been. And, while I think that most of these stories still weren’t exactly accurate in their portrayal of faeries, the essence was correct (especially in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Perhaps these Bards (especially ol’ Will) were far more in tune with the nature of things than even they realized.

So, what are Faeries as we know them today? Simply put, Faeries (aka: Fairies, Wee Folk, Pixies, etc…) are nature spirits, but simple is hardly a word I would use to describe them. My favorite description of them comes from 17th-century Scottish minister Robert Kirk who said they are “a middle nature betwixt man and angel.”

Faeries come in many sizes from quite wee to that of ourselves. They are humanoid in their appearance, but they appear to us as more ethereal beings than physical. They reside between realms/dimensions, which is why most people are not aware of them and why even those of us who are aware tend to only catch glimpses of them…most will see them as a glimmer of light that flashes quickly by, barely noticeable at all.

“I believe in everything until it’s disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it’s in your mind. Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now? Reality leaves a lot to the imagination.” ~John Lennon

In my experience, faeries like flowers, clover, a nice sunny spot on the lawn, shiny stones & soft tinkly chimes. They also like to hide things…lots of things, at least lots of MY things! LOL They also like water, be it a birdbath, a fountain, or a babbling brook. They like the reflective quality of the water, the way the sunlight glints off the surface…not to mention the way they can make faces at themselves in it. They are also big fans of fun, laughter, integrity, honesty & sincerity.

Generally, the Fae do not like loud sudden noises, clutter (although I think the ones surrounding me must be an exception to this lol), or dirty water. They are also not big fans of dishonesty, chaos, selfishness, or abusers. Basically they are not fans of nasty people & nasty habits, and you certainly can’t fault them for that! 😉

To become friends with these wee winged ones, one must help create a pleasing environment for them (Pretty flowers, a fae house, a fountain and/or birdbath etc), and show respect & a love of nature. Once you’ve created the environment, spending time outside, and being playful will show them you’re not a stick-in-the-mud and just may be someone they want to party with!

Another thing you may want to do is appeal to their love of shinys. Not to say that their friendship can be bought with baubles, because it can’t. However, a gift of a few lovely stones to show them you appreciate them will certainly go a long way in gaining their favor. I mean, who doesn’t like a nice shiny???

Give them their space…meaning don’t intrude in their environment ALL the time (nobody likes a guest who overstays their welcome, including the Fae). Be a decent human being and be kind to nature and all her creatures…and don’t be a phoney. The Fae detest falseness and to be false in order to gain their trust will only backfire.

 

Eclectic WitchcraftEclecticism can meet with a certain level of scorn, judgment and/or dismissal by some in the Pagan Community. Some think that we’re just plain indecisive. Raymond Buckland even omits Eclectics from the conversation altogether in both his “Complete Book of Witchcraft” and “The Witch Book” –which is meant to be an encyclopedia of Witchcraft, Wicca & Neo-Paganism.

The idea that this path is somehow “less valid” than the paths of those who follow more

“established” traditions– Gardnerian, Alexandrian,  Dianic, Celtic, Romani, Strega, and British Traditional Witchcraft, just to name a few– doesn’t make sense to me. I know, I know you’re probably thinking “of course it doesn’t make sense to you, you’re one of those Eclectic Types”. Yes I am, but the reason it doesn’t make sense is held in the concept of “All Paths Lead to the Divine” that most pagans also tend to believe. It seems like some believe that one’s path must be an established path…but think about it…While Witchcraft, in one form or another, has been around for centuries, Wicca itself (in it’s capacity as a somewhat organized ‘non-organized religion’) is a fairly new path. So, viewing a path of Eclectic Witchcraft as somehow invalid in comparison seems rather short-sighted to me…but I guess that’s for others to discover in their own time.

ec·lec·tic [ih-klek-tik] adjective: 1. selecting or choosing from various sources. 2. made up of what is selected from different sources. 3. not following any one system, as of philosophy, medicine, etc., but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of all systems.” dictionary.com

The spiritual world of the Eclectic Witch, or at least this Eclectic Witch, is not as easy as many may think. With the exception of my Core Beliefs, it has taken much time and study to form my personal practice (which is still under construction, even after almost 11 yrs of study). I also tend to disagree a bit with the definition of “eclectic” in that I didn’t select the components that make up the foundation of my practice. What I mean is, I didn’t set out at the beginning of my journey thinking I would end up with a little of this and a little of that…nor did I seek out the elements that my practice is comprised of. These elements presented themselves to me…but, I guess they were selected by someone, so I’ll not quibble about it.

My Core Beliefs are notions that have been with me for the majority of my life…they’ve just acquired shiny new labels along the way.

My Core Beliefs:

)O( Everything Happens for a Reason – Good/Evil, Sickness/Health, Happy Events/Sad Events…Everything we witness and experience has a lesson held somewhere within. The goal is to learn as much as possible, as this not only helps to understand and accept the events of One’s own Journey but also makes it possible to help others who may need assistance in understanding their own Journey.

)O( Everything is Connected – All living things and most matter are comprised of the same chemical elements. Beyond this, all things are made up of molecules, atoms, particles, etc…all of which are made of: Energy. Energy is exchanged between all things (albeit at different rates of exchange). I have sensed this connection between people, animals, and the whole of Nature since I was a child. As Carl Sagan once said: We are all made of star-stuff.

Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.” ~Carl Sagan

)O( Do No Harm, But Take No Shit. – I follow The Rede to the best of my humanly ability. I am not one who interprets it as a license for others to use me as a doormat, however. I try my best not to impose harm on any living creature (Mosquitoes and roaches are exempt from this though…I just can’t abide them *shudders*, so I’m willing to risk any Universal repercussions), but as The Rede is meant to not impose harm upon anyone including myself, I have no problem defending myself or my loved ones…whether that includes physical or magickal means (These are not to be used casually).

)O( Justice is Blind, Karma Sees Everything, and Boy do They Talk! – Meaning, that if you are going to do something, be mindful that there may be consequences and you should be prepared for them. If you ask for true Justice in any given situation, be prepared to pay for whatever part you may have played in the event, even if your part was unintended.

My Primary Deities:

)O( Hecate – Greek/Thracian Goddess of the Crossroads, Transformation, Childbirth, Witchcraft, Justice

)O( Anubis – Egyptian God of the Dead/Underworld, Embalming, Keeper of Poisons & Medicines, Protector of the Scales. Patron of Lost Souls & Orphans.

)O( Brighid – Celtic Goddess of Fire: the Fire of Poetic Inspiration and Divination, the Fire of Healing and Fertility, and the Fire of Metal-Working and Crafts

)O( Pan – Greek God of Nature, Shepherds, Flocks, Goats, Mountain Regions, Sexuality and Fertility

)O( Danu – Celtic Goddess of Fertility, Knowledge, Wisdom, Abundance, Mother of the Faeries, Protector of the Land and Waters

)O( Ganesha – Hindu God of Education, Knowledge, Wisdom and Wealth, Lord of Obstacles and Lord of Success

Now, this group of Gods & Goddesses may seem like quite an odd mash-up to most. In fact it was even odd for me for a while. Each of these deities revealed themselves to me in their own time…I never went looking for them, as I never expected to have any other ‘regular’ Gods & Goddesses beyond Hecate & Anubis, but they seem to have other ideas.

Yesterday it occurred to me why this group is indeed perfect for me (something THEY were all undoubtedly aware of). As Pagans and Witches we are very often talking about the belief that we all contain the Divine within. Well, when looking at my seemingly indiscriminate Pantheon, I discovered that each one of the deities it contains speak to the very traits, skills, drives, and desires that make me who I am. This group truly represents the core of my being…I have to say, that was one hell of a revelation!

New discoveries and ideas regarding my practice are coming to me every day it seems…and what I’ve shared with you is really just a glimpse at some of the bones of its structure. The idea was to convey the message that Eclecticism is not a willy-nilly flight of fancy, but a legitimate spiritual path that is not always chosen, but is sometimes thrust upon those who embark upon it. Not to say that there aren’t a good many flakes out there using the Eclectic brand…but, aren’t there a few in every religion? lol However, even the ‘flakes’ are on a path…who the hell am I to say they’re wrong?

But I digress…

It can sometimes be quite difficult to find the connections between the components of one’s spiritual system. This is true regardless of what path you follow. There are always revelations and epiphanies to be had…always a new level of understanding and connectedness to be achieved. Witchcraft, whatever the tradition, is a path of Mystery. It can often seem dark, unknowable, even daunting…but the discoveries we make along the way illuminate the next portion of our Path, whatever label we may give it.