I have worked with the Fae for many years now and I know how many people are awakening once again to the presence of the Faerie Race. To have a deep relationship with the Sidhe takes time and whole lot of heart. Like anything we are involved with for anything to grow the roots need to be nurtured, we get out what we put in and it is about being willing to commit time and energy to developing healthy relationships.
In the ‘Celtic’ world 5 represents Sovereignty. We are either in sovereignty with the land or we are in dominion over it.
So I have put together 5 ways in no particular order that explains how we can honour Faerie and I also share ways that honour our ancestors and the land. In Part 1. I explore two of the ways to being a friend rather than a foe of the Fae.
In developing these practices we love the land and we create a loving space in our own hearts. Some of these ideas may be familiar to you and I invite you to explore them anyway. Sometimes we may be looking to help and honour the Fae when in reality we are doing the exact opposite. Read on and you will see what I mean.
1. CLOOTIES – What are they, how to hang them and what are they made of.
A clootie is essentially a ‘Celtic’* prayer tie. You will find clootie or rag trees throughout the British Isles and Ireland. They are often found at the entrance to a cave, at a holy well or a place of power that pilgrims visit to make their prayers. At many of these sites one will find trees that are dedicated to the fae, a hawthorn, a hazel or mayhap a rowan that are strewn with colour from the clooties that have been tied to them.
Traditionally a pilgrim would approach a clootie tree and rip off a piece of cloth from the shirt off their back or perhaps from a skirt or cloak and making a prayer place the cloth tie, i.e. clootie, on the tree. I visit many clootie trees each year and it is a joy to see the prayers rippling in the wind however I often find that people have tied all kinds of junk onto trees.
Please make sure firstly that your clooties are biodegradable, also I advocate using cloth that has a special meaning to you. I will take a favourite shirt that has reached its sell by date and tear it into long strips about 1 inch by 18inches. Placing our prayers in a beloved old shirt gives new life to a garment we have treasured and adds extra sparkle to the prayers!
Many guardians of clootie trees take the clooties down every Samhain and offer the prayers once more to the fire. I am sure some of the offerings are taken down and they go into the earth as landfill. The earth, the air, the fire and the waters deserve our respect and wise love. Please leave the plastic and synthetic offerings at home.
Secondly ask permission before hanging your prayers onto a tree. Please do not assume because someone else has tied their clootie that it is okay to automatically tie yours. Sometimes a tree is carrying all it can in that moment and needs some space.
Next comes the tying of the clootie. I have found that far too frequently people tie their prayers too tightly onto the tree. Perhaps this is indicative of the way people live their lives, so wrapped up in their own journey that they forget about the effect that their lives have on others. A tree needs room to breath. So please tie your prayers lovingly with plenty of room for new growth. Finally I encourage you to give thanks to the tree and make an offering if you have not already done so………
I do not leave the house without an offering for the fae in my pocket. I advocate to be cognizant of the story of where you are in the world and make offerings accordingly. Here in the Blessed Isles (the UK and Ireland) the wee folk love whisky, cake, organic milk, butter, cider and good drop of mead. When I lived in the USA I would make offerings of tobacco with a prayer. I was involved in dancing on the Red Road, honouring First People’s Nations in what we now know as the USA and Canada. Tobacco is a part of the medicine way of North America; it is not part of the Green Road medicine of the Isles. So when I am in Scotland I work with local produce to celebrate the fae i.e. a good measure of Scottish whisky.
Working with medicine of place connects us deeply with the threads of the ancestral story as well as with the nature spirits who are around us all of the time. Please make sure you honour the cows by purchasing organic milk and butter, our cows deserve the greatest of respect. They are beings of abundance, white cows with red ears that give never ending supplies of milk are part of our tradition. They are part of the faerie stories and the red and white flow of the underworld. Here is an extract from my book ‘The First Santa’ which I am sure will bring a smile to your face.
‘Archie stared at me incredulously; shaking his head when I told him what happens if you don’t honour the fae with gifts.
“You’re telling me that the wee folk climb into my fridge and defi what in my butter?”
“Defecate” I shared, with a big grin from ear to ear.
“What’s defecate?” He spluttered.
“Poo!” I giggled.
“Faeries poo in my butter?”
“Yep, they’ve been doing it for years” I sniggered.’
Faerie love sweet things, I have always joked that it is the Pixies who bring barrow loads of treacle from under the hills of Bodmin Moor so we can enjoy treacle pud and custard! A meal that is made with love with ingredients that have been lovingly tended before entering our body will sustain us. There is so much empty food in our fast food world. When making an offering please check it has been made in an ethical way. I am sure that you will agree with the Fae that offering chocolate that has been made by a company that tests on animals, honey that has been produced by companies that harm bees and/or milk from companies that are abusive to the cows is counter productive.
Thank you for reading Part 1. I hope you enjoy Part 2 and 3.