As with most great truths, layers of crystallized historical writings obscure the reality of fairies. To discover and clarify the deeper truth, one needs a different approach.
A delightful myth
My introduction to the myth of fairies was through childhood book illustrations. There I found miniature winged women with pointed ears and gossamer dresses pirouetting prettily across page after page. While I remember few of the stories, the illustrations captivated my imagination and stuck. Those inspiring early other-worldly illustrations became a major influence in my later artistic journey.
Yet the idea of fairies and magic, not just the illustrations, intrigued me still more. Even as a child I felt something pulling me deeper and deeper into mysterious and hidden worlds.
Across many cultures
In other lands and other cultures, the fairy myth finds many forms of expressions, although few present it in the exact form I grew to love. Nevertheless, the worldwide tales of magical folk are rich, varied, and deep, and they all hint at a reality that lies beyond our normal everyday existence.
But what is that reality? Do fairies in fact have pointed ears and float about on butterfly wings? Or do they instead ride dragons and visit lands far beyond the rainbow. Or perhaps they are even more mysterious than that, metamorphosing at will into any form they wish.
Perhaps. But give a moment to ponder fairy qualities. From whatever cultural source they grew, might they be but metaphors for an existence difficult for our everyday awareness to grasp?
Beyond the myths
The reality I live in, and the truths I’ve stumbled across, point to a universe drenched in pure, endless energy. That energy isn’t just the photons, electrons, and physical laws that science recognizes, although it certainly includes them all. Instead it expands on what science accepts as fundamental and adds to the mix the heady qualities of consciousness and love.
Here’s a most obvious statement: Our world is overflowing with vibrant life; plants, creatures, and organisms abound in uncountable numbers and variations. Yet many people, lacking a magical inclination, see this profusion of life and assume the universe is unpredictable and soulless. They argue that life just happened by chance. It was simply a random and providential assembling of atoms. I guess that’s a reasonable assumption if from the start one has chosen to see life as purely mechanistic.
But I see life in far more glorious depth and believe that even an hour spent alone in a garden will shake the steely confidence of such a mechanistic view. Really! And by alone I mean just you and the flowers; no phones, books, missions, projects, tasks, or paths to spend your time meandering around. No, not even a companion to share (and distract you from) the experience.
If the flowers are to reveal their secrets to you, a space needs to form in your cluttered mind to hold those secrets. Find the courage to be alone for however long it takes, and the flowers will speak, truly they will. You just need to drop your guard, relax, and choose to hear. Being alone provides a glorious opportunity to do so.
Quieting down and opening up
But what do you do out there in the garden on your own with no plan, no entertainment, and no jobs to do?
Nothing, it’s as simple as that. Just listen, watch, and let yourself open up.
If you have the courage to allow this aloneness to settle down around you and you stay with the silence, in time a magic of sorts begins to unfold. Your visual, auditory, and kinesthetic senses gradually deepen and broaden. The flowers begin to change in new and unexpected ways, or is it your awareness that’s changing?
As you persevere in this state of aloneness, you’ll begin to notice an intangible movement in the plants. There, over by the pond, watch the energy as it gently wraps that flowering bush in a sinuous flow. It originates in the ground, moves up through the trunk, out along the branches and leaves, and finally up through the flowers into the sky. Simultaneously, you’ll also see or feel another movement descending from the sky following the same route back into the ground.
This movement and play of energy is mesmerizing.
Now turn your attention to the individual flowers swaying gently in the breeze. Each one is enwrapped in this same energy flow. Can you see that the entire garden is lazily dancing with these gentle energy currents?
The longer you stay with this awareness and avoid sinking back into mind-chatter, the stronger your perceptions become.
The real fairies
If you are extraordinarily patient, eventually you’ll sense, perhaps by sight, perhaps by feeling, small radiating nodules in the energy field that flows from the sky and ground. Watch those nodules attentively. They vibrate, they dance, they embody all that is joyous.
And as the silence and reverence deepens, those nodules can take on more and more human qualities. Yes, the quality they emanate as they purposely go about their activities is one of mirth, and their silent laughter fills the air with a joyous sense of warmth. You feel you know these beings deeply and experience a blossoming love for them and all they do. And it’s as if they sense your growing affection for they begin to spin and twist in even greater passion, reminding you of a wild, ecstatic dance.
And it’s not just in a garden you’ll find these energy flows. Grass, rivers, ponds, desert sand, rocky outcrops…the list is endless. Wherever mother nature is expressing herself, in one form or another so will this energy express itself, too. Becoming aware of each unique energy manifestation is just a matter of being reverent, quiet, and lovingly attentive.
Renewing the myth
How easy now for our imaginative minds to give these nature spirits bodies and smiles, wings and pointed ears. And who can resist dressing them in impossibly flowing gowns? And that’s okay. To paint nature spirits as they truly are would require paints that glowed like fireflies and brushes made from stardust itself.
Although I live the deeper truth of nature spirits, I also remain thoroughly enamored with the fairy myths of my childhood. Painting mythical fairies allows two things to take place:
- It is a delightful and joyous way to celebrate and share the more innocent and magical aspects of life.
- It allows a sacred space to form. And in that space one finds encouragement to pursue the greater reality that lies beyond the physical laws of the universe.
Think about it. The fairies of myths fly, sip nectar, and conjure magical miracles with a mere wave of their hands. But these fairies still live in a world where heat and cold, wind and gravity are real. They don’t conquer physical laws, they simply transcend the limitations. What an extraordinarily empowering idea with which to color one’s own approach to life.
I find it so easy to love fairies, both the imaginative kind and the real ones. Don’t you, too?