First off, my dear five to ten loyal readers, I apologize for my recent absence. I just felt like I kept sharing the same message without any new insight. Mostly, I’ve been afraid to share what is brewing in my brain and I’ve opted for the witch’s apex (that is, “To Keep Silent”) in order to enrich the process and my confidence in it. Given that we’re but a tiny few, I’d greatly appreciate your help in re-posting this post. I think that, finally, I’ve got something to say.
I have been an occasional reader of John Beckett’s blog in Patheos Pagan for a few years now, long enough to keep abreast of the changing tides of magic and the “re-entry” of the Otherworld into the lives of many of my fellow pagans. While my own encounters lagged behind, I’ve since had my own interactions with the fae in the heavily altered south Florida landscape. In fact, I’ve come to understand that the canalization of rivers/streams and Lake Okeechobee all across the southern half of the state are the main reasons the They (and all other Nature-dwelling beings, really) have a harder time manifesting on their own… but I’m jumping ahead and digressing all at once.
I have also been a fan of the paranormal docu-series Hellier since it was first recommended (generally) via another Patheos Pagan blogger, Mat Auryn. I had the time, and interest, and watched the first episode on YouTube (linked above) and I was hooked! I have usually not enjoyed most paranormal investigators, cryptid hunters, or ghost hunter shows. Conjecture is wild and lines of evidence are thin and frayed. I’m the guy bored in the New Orleans haunted tour, but deep in conversation with a shade in a random street corner (true story). To my delight, Hellier wasn’t the usual fare: beyond the crisp camera work and intriguing subject matter, the team of investigators were mostly skeptical and not prone to silliness. For those who haven’t checked it out yet, they are mysteriously pulled in to investigate a case of “Kentucky goblins” terrorizing a family in the titular town, and it quickly spreads into a webwork of corresponding mysteries. Long-time pagans and students of European folklore understand that Kentucky goblins–and by association, a whole host of other paranormal encounters–are very similar to reported accounts with the Fae.
The two paragraphs above are related, mostly through my own personal experiences and that of others. Watching Hellier was, for me, like taking a +10 Psi Potion, putting on a God Helmet, and ripping open the Veil. For days afterward, and specifically the first couple of nights after, I was haunted by the implications of all this. Much like the team of investigators, I was astounded by how it seemed to pull so many separate threads I had previously pursued and wove them into a bigger narrative.
And the hypnogogic nightmares, gods! Cave goblins have the “stickiest” of mind-to-mind astral presences and, not knowing what they are exactly, dislodging them is difficult work. I had some experience with this form of “communication” before, but then the easiest thing was to simply leave the (natural/wooded) area. Whatever the show is summoning forth is not as place-based, or as my intuition tells me, has gained a new “place” within the images/narrative/music of the show itself.
These general concerns, then, are the main reason I interrupt my rich, stewing silence to post now. I have insight to share that may benefit pagans and paranormal researchers alike.
If the Otherworld is “bleeding through” as John Beckett and other notable pagans suggest, and it is… If Hellier has become a hypersigil to work upon the audience and the world… If those traditionally known as “the Fae” are returning, heralding the end of human-centric worldviews… and, If they can indeed be dangerous entities to deal with for the ignorant and arrogant… then we have no choice but to become equal to the task.
The Western Esoteric and Magickal traditions that have flourished since the 1800s (before, during, and after Crowley) laid out spiritual technologies for such a purpose. Other skills and paths have opened up through non-western traditional workings, such as spirit journeying. Indeed, one could even say that “the Pagan Renaissance” has been a way for the ancestors, and the Great Powers of the past, to train modern folks for the dawning of a new world. While we may not have inherited the ancient traditions whole, the past two centuries of researchers and magicians and witches and so-called shamans have gifted us with tools. They are widely available online, to be used with some discernment, so I will not rehearse them here. Go find them, use common sense, discard what doesn’t work, and experiment with care.
Here is my humble contribution: the way you stand and breathe in this world. It is that simple and that complex.
First, let’s revise a few lies of our modern world: you, human being, are separate from Nature, whatever it is. The truth couldn’t be more different! You are a temporary assemblage of natural parts and elements through which flows a portion of energy freely exchanged throughout the biosphere (originally from the Sun) and a more (call it soul, spirit, or Mystery). Therefore, you are composed of and inseparable from Mother Earth, but more specifically from the Land directly under your feet, and the waters and sky flowing around you. These ecosystems we are part of, sometimes woven together to cover large geographical areas, are the fleshy bodies of Sovereign Spirits. One such is Grandmother Appalachia, where Hellier (and many other events, such as the Mothman prophecies) and other such high strangeness occurs.
Even your mind is not wholly your own; it does more than just reflect its environment and adjust itself accordingly. Your mind is the Land, thinking itself through every moment. This phenomenon is shared by all other beings–that is, all entities of high enough complexity. Thus you are perceived by rock and grass and heron, and you perceive them in turn. We exist in each other’s awareness and act in regards to each other.
The lie of this modern existence is that you are locked within your experiences and cannot possibly guess at the Others’ around you.
Next, let’s see how we may join Land(You) and Hellier(Fae) safely. The concept is often called sovereignty, often misused by modern nations and frequently (correctly) invoked by native people across the world. Your sovereignty does not rely on where you plant a flag, but where in Earth you have shed your sweat, blood, and tears. Furthermore, it is given solid form when you consider the ancestors that are both within the soil and those that live again through you. We are not static beings, after all; through ingesting the world we fashion new flesh and life, and that renews our bonds with the Land/Sea/Sky.
As you stand on the soil that is chemically, historically, and spiritually linked to your being, you are sovereign. Carried to its ethical conclusion, cultivating how we are, receive, and accord sovereignty is the work of our times. Yet, the soil feeds most indiscriminately because, allied to this claim of belongingness and rightfulness, there is a claim of kinship. That is what links us to the Fae–how we are alike, how we are dangerous to each other, how we come to understanding and disagreements.
Though apparently gone from this world of our common experience for a time, they too are of this Earth and we are kin.
We may feud with kin, as we certainly have with the Fae, and we may ally with them. We may even decide subservience is a reasonable approach. It has all been done before and human suffering no greater or lesser because of it, just wearing a different hue. What you chose to do with the dawning phenomena is up to you and I hope you approach it responsibly and sensibly. I hope you can use what little wisdom I can offer, at the moment, and it serves you well.
No matter what relationship we forge with the world unknown, remember: you are always in your power to enforce boundaries and deny consent.
We are sovereign kin.