SUBSCRIBE

beer

The Bad Witch’s Guide

April, 2019

The Bad Witch’s Guide to Faeries

I have stared at this empty page and
title for about 30 minutes. It is not that I don’t know a lot about
fae, the fair folk, the Good Neighbours; it’s just well where to
start?

First off I suppose is that they are more than just the twinkly winged Barbie dolls we push on little girls. Fae are amazingly varied dependent on habitat and what they eat. In fact almost every people have some version of fae folk. Humans don’t have a universal anything, but if they did, fae might be it.

Faery are not “nice”. They are incredible, powerful, wise and witty. They are not “nice”. They respect manners and have a very rigid social observances. As a general rule they are at best ambivalent towards humans. At worst they really fucking hate us. To them we are Vogons. Brutish, unimaginative, untruthful, bureaucratic and destructive. This is not an unfair description.

If slighted or even if you happen to be
in the wrong place at the wrong time a fae might do some horrible
things, from blinding, cursing or even trying to lure you to your
death!

What is a faery?

Well I have an opinion. There is much lore as you would expect from the ancient and seemingly universal bunch of creatures. Most of which is tainted by some truly horrific Christian re-writing (the souls of unbaptized babies? Really?) has them as “small Gods”. My theory which is as far as I can tell makes most sense is they are pan-dimensional beings. They dwell both here and slightly to the left. The natural world is their home but is also a link to their “other” place. That is why they are creatures of “ the ‘tween”. That is why you see them out of the corner of your eye, or in the limnal spaces. Not quite here, or there, but both at the same time.

Faeries can appear as birds, dogs, horses, goats and humanoids. Some sparkle, some do not. Most individuals can be reasoned with, if their laws are properly followed. That said they can still be a dick about it. Their laws will differ from place to place and are dependent on the type of fae you are dealing with.

Hospitality. Food, and drink are appreciated gifts and where
welcome they will respect and even bless your home. However faery
food and drink is not a good idea to consume if you should ever get
the chance.

Truth. Lying is a terrible violation, but hoodwinking, “having
a craic”, taking the piss is somewhat of a faery art form. Just
how far and how much they can bend the truth without actually lying
is a point of pride for most Fair Folk.

Gifts. Even sticky for humans, gifts can be seen as an insult
though this is specific to types of Fair Folk. Clothes in particular
can banish them in quite a huff (Brownies)! Though bread, honey and a
portion of a meal are usually respected through hospitality.

Respect. Disrespect a Faery at your peril. That also goes for their home, whatever or where ever they make it. Cut down the wrong tree, (or pee against it) stomp all over a faery ring, litter or take what they deem as theirs and you are going to have a world of pain. Likewise being gross at faery women bathing, usually means losing an eye! (Bitch, much respect!)

Trade. While taking something from a faery space is usually a bad
idea, they are happy to trade, or even exchange for coin.

You can’t take anything for granted with faery. Not their intentions, or what they mean. Their wisdom or kindness. Their presence or absence. They are free. You do not rule them. You can not, nor should not command them.

So why work with them at all?

Well, in the balance of things they are powerful and knowledgeable
allies to have in circle and out.

Also, and I say this from long experience, if they decide you are “one of theirs” you won’t have a lot of say if they are in your life, only if they are a benefit or bane; as my long suffering husband can attest to!

There is also something wonderful about them. They still inspire
fear, awe and wonder every time I am aware of their presence. They
are great guides when journeying in spirit though that level of trust
takes years to build up.

So how do you work with faery?

I suppose the answer to that one, is carefully. Faery magick is
not for everyone, and that is fine. Faery magick is not for everyone,
and that is fine. Research helps. Know the kind of faery in your
area, the kind that might be most disposed to working with you. Huge
old trees, unspoiled wild places, waterfalls, lakes, sacred wells and
places full of faery plants like bluebells, hawthorn, blackthorn and
elder trees are a good start. Be kind and respectful and leave gifts
of food like honey cakes or a little bit of beer or wine letting them
know it is for them. You might feel a bit of an idiot, but they will
enjoy it all the more. Pay attention to weird wild animals. Birds,
rabbits, strange foxes or the like. Even large butterflies and moths
can be faery, or faery touched.There is an entirely different quality
to these encounters with wild animals that seem to look straight into
your soul. You can tell that you are being “visited” or
watched.

Faery also love music, especially harp, singing, and flutes.
Playing for them even if you think you aren’t good is usually seen as
a fitting gift, or again hospitality. Some like small bells, some
don’t. They don’t seem to mind recorded music but do prefer live
performances.

Magickally creating circles or doorways and inviting them to be
present works pretty well. Even bought faery doors will do the jobs
but woven ivy, willow or hazel hoops hung up are usually preferable.
Working outside in somewhere the Veil is thin isn’t a bad start
either. Marking your circle with stones (natural pebbles) or even
wild bird food will work wonders. Though flowers, leaves of a
different colour, or ferns would work too.

There is something special about working with “wildness”.
Something ancient and untamed. They have a unique perspective on
humans, and human lives. It is both in the moment and of the ages.
Full of mirth and vengeance. Human lives are very long and very short
and we do spend a great deal of time not dancing, feasting, or
playing. It is a peculiar waste. We crave connection but will do
almost anything to avoid it. We make conditions and rules for things,
like love that don’t have any. We tie ourselves in knots over our own
natures assigning shame and guilt to things we love or loathe.

Faery advice is rather complicated in it’s simplicity.

“Plant a tree.”

“Cry when you are sad.”

“Dance when you can.”

In the end faery make life more bearable. They add a clarity and
depth to the world. A magickal sparkle, the real kind that no amount
of Mouse can erase.

GoodGod!

May, 2018

Meet the Gods: Dagda

(This illustration of Dagda was found on Pinterest. His cauldron, known as the Undry or the Cauldron of Plenty, provided infinite food and drink but never to a coward or an oath breaker. It was also said to revive the dead. One end of his enormous club could kill while the other end could give life.)

 

Merry meet.

The name of the Celtic god Dagda means “Good God.” He’s also known as Eochaid Ollathair, meaning “Eochaid the All-Father.” His name is typically proceeded by the article “the.”

In the Celtic tradition, the Dagda is one of the leaders of a mythological Irish people, the Tuatha Dé Danann, “People of the Goddess Danu.”

These were a group of people, descended from Nemed, who had been exiled from Ireland, and scattered. It is thought that Danu offered them her patronage, under which they succeeded in rebanding, learning new and magical skills, and returning to Ireland in a magical mist,” according to Bard Mythologies.

Britannica.com states, “The Dagda was credited with many powers and possessed a cauldron that was never empty, fruit trees that were never barren, and two pigs – one live and the other perpetually roasting. He also had a huge club that had the power both to kill men and to restore them to life. With his harp, which played by itself, he summoned the seasons.”

Some sources have him married to the sinister war goddess Morrígan. At least one of his many children was borne by the goddess of the River Boyne.

The Dagda is generally described as being a large man, sometimes comically so, with a tremendous appetite and immense capacity. It was said that to make his porridge he needed 80 gallons of milk as well as several whole sheep, pigs, and goats, and that he ate this meal with a ladle large enough to hold two people lying down,” Morgan Daimler wrote in “Pagan Portals – Gods & Goddess of Ireland,” citing “A Child’s Eye View of Irish Paganism,” by Blackbird O’Connell.

 

Click Image for Amazon Information

 

Daimler notes the Dagda is often described as having red hair and wearing a short tunic. He is strong and able to accomplish “great feats such building a fort single-handedly.” Every power was his.

He is called the Excellent God, the Lord of Perfect Knowledge and all Father. His central attribute is the Sacred Fire and, like it, he is always hungry, ready to consume the offerings; he is also a red god. The Dagda is also a phallic deity [fitting for Beltane], his lust matching his hunger. He is the father of many of the Tuatha De but his key function is as Druid of the Gods,” according to an article published on adf.org.

Druidic magic, abundance and great skill are among the attributes associated with the Dagda.

From my research, it seems he would appreciate offerings of large quantities of dark ale or beer, and oat bannocks, a porridge, particularly if butter and bacon are added. One source noted they should be offered to the fire.

A cauldron and a club or staff, Daimler suggested, could be his symbols in works of magic.

He is called on for wisdom, victory in law or judgement, and bounty. In a time of need, I can see putting out my cauldron, perhaps with a fire in it, and call the Dagda and his Cauldron of Plenty for help. Because his cauldron also serves as a tool of rebirth and regeneration, I would also call upon that power when going through a difficult ending on the way to a rebirth.

(“Dagda – Celtic All Father,” was handcrafted by James Miller from StonecraftArts. Sculpted in wax based clay and cast in architectural concrete, this plaque is available on Etsy.)

 

James Miller, a sculptor from Colorado, is of Celtic and Germanic descent.

He is part of my cultural heritage, so I honor him as an archetype of the ideal masculine,” James said, adding, “His name actually means ‘the good one.’”

He finds people are more receptive to learning about gods, goddesses and ancient traditions when they are framed in a cultural rather than religious context.

Merry part. And merry meet again

***

About the Author:

Lynn Woike was 50 – divorced and living on her own for the first time – before she consciously began practicing as a self taught solitary witch. She draws on an eclectic mix of old ways she has studied – from her Sicilian and Germanic heritage to Zen and astrology, the fae, Buddhism, Celtic, the Kabbalah, Norse and Native American – pulling from each as she is guided. She practices yoga, reads Tarot and uses Reiki. From the time she was little, she has loved stories, making her job as the editor of two monthly newspapers seem less than the work it is because of the stories she gets to tell. She lives with her large white cat, Pyewacket, in central Connecticut. You can follow her boards on Pinterest, and write to her at woikelynn at gmail dot com.