A couple weeks agao, on the way home from Samhain camp, my friend and I started to talk about faeries.
My friend is a scientist. She's relatively new to this tradition, the Reclaiming tradition. I’ve been slowly going deeper for about 20 years. Like me, she connects with the divine through nature and the animals.
I tell her that I love science. That I lament the divorce of science from the sacred.
She nods. And then she says, “So, how do you deal with the idea of faeries?" This is not surprising, because we just spent a whole weekend doing rituals around a very old Celtic myth that prominently features faeries. (The Ballad of Tam Lin, if you’d like to know.)
But the idea of faeries, and my growing comfort with that idea, it’s not one I’ve had to describe before. It’s not actually a comfort I’ve had for long. I started where she is, good with nature and the wild. Over time, I learned about and leaped the logic hurdle on another foundation of the tradition, the elements. Air, Fire, Water, Earth and Spirit.
But now, I have to think for the first time how to describe with words the growing sense of comfort that I have with believing in faeries.
I realize as I think it through, that I do though. I do believe in faeries. (Which always helps with saying why.)
I begin by asking her if she is familiar with the Gaia hypothesis, the idea that the earth is a living and intelligent organism as a whole and that this intelligence operates at a planetary level, balancing and organizing the systems of life towards more fruitfulness, more health, more expression…
My friend says "Yes!" Of course she does. It’s a nice thing about hanging out with witches. So many geeks.
"Well," I say. "I guess I believe in the mysterious intelligence behind life. I believe there is far more to it then we can know, and I also believe there are many ways of knowing… And I think of faeries as one expression of the intelligence of the wild.”
(Which sometimes doesn't give a fuck about what's convenient or comfortable for us… I don’t say that…)
As we talk, we are driving through Marin County toward San Francisco. It’s mid-October and the hills are brown with green trees in the creases. Maybe the mist off the bay helps these trees, as it does the redwoods where we worshipped all weekend.
My friend likes this idea of the intelligence of the wild. I see her shoulders drop a little as we talk about some of the rituals and then I throw caution to the winds as I tell her about the trance where I met my faery ally. Who had gigantic, awesome dark wings. And who helped me out that night, as I walked through the fearful dark toward the giant hollowed out redwood stump where I was going to sleep. I told her how I felt him, my wild ally, at my back, and how for the first time, I felt strong in the dark, as if the thing at my back were a rock, rather than an abyss.
Because that’s the thing about marrying science and the sacred once again. It takes two to tango.