May Day, or Beltane, is the climax of Spring! It elicits ecstasy on so many levels. As any true heathen will tell you, this is a celebration of rebirth, union, a time of surging energy, wildness, light, warmth, fertility, and abandonment….
It’s a magickal time indeed, for it’s also a time when the veils become thin, when we can do and see more magickally than any other time. So, it is at Beltane or May Day, May 1st, and again at Samhain November 1st, that these veils wane. This opens a doorway of opportunity. Those wishing to ride the hedge may enter the woods and do so….
Neither the fae nor humans are able to cross over at will. Instead they must wait until the barriers between these two worlds weaken. Even then, this ability may fluctuate from day to day and year to year.
When this does occur however, and a witch reaches a transcendental state of trance, one begins to see what I call ‘hedge sight’. These are glimpses at first, almost like power surges, of things within the wood that weren’t seen before. Flashes of magickal beings and spirits. It’s never a full vision, but momentary pictures of their magickal realm, flashing at will. The sidhe mounds, eerily aglow, draw you to them, but this is not a place many visit and return from….
Sidhe… A Celtic, Gaelic, or Welsh rooted word, (pronounced shee), are the earthen mounds and hills that are scattered within the wooded landscape. Folklore tells of the fae living within these mounds, and over time it became another term for the fae. But its true meaning was a place where these spirits dwelled. The Irish believed that the faeries were the spirits of the dead, and that their realm was the afterlife. Christian conversion did not sway their faith regarding this.
Most still believed that, after death, their judgement began within those mounds. Which is your first clue as to why one might not return from such a magickal realm. For the sidhe is a dwelling of the underworld… oozing with magickal power.
The Fae, or Faeries, is a deliberate alternative spelling to fairy or fairies (as is magick versus magic). It’s a way to differentiate between a sparkle sprite such as Tinkerbell, and the Sidhe of the Woods. Or a Las Vegas Magician from a Conjurer. There are worlds of differences in both cases!
My Irish Mother gave me my beginnings with the fae. She had a love for these magickal creatures and read to me from her old fairytale books that she had when she was a little girl. These were magical tales and I loved them. Stories charting the adventures of Raggedy Ann and Andy and how they would steal away from their owner’s playhouse before going, unnoticed, to explore in the wood. They encountered and befriended many a magickal creature along the way, faeries included.
I think, looking back on those beloved stories, that they became the origins of my animism. They were stories of magickal creatures of all genres, encountering each other within the wood. Some were loving and helpful to all they met, others with more malicious intentions. Regardless of objective, all viewed the other creatures, whether bad or good, on the same level of existence.
I spent my childhood days of Springtime in our flower gardens. I would sit on the grass by the flower beds, talking to the tulips and bees, hoping they would whisper back to me the magickal secrets of the garden, as they did in those stories. This was also the origin of my witchy love of communing with spirits…
If you are so inclined to work with the fae, May Day or Samhain is the best time. Now let us discuss location. These spirits tend to inhabit the wooded wilderness, slightly beyond the villages and towns. They dwell in woods, hedgerows, wildflower fields, glens, and hollows. They are found in mushroom or stone circles and have been said to inhabit certain trees and flowers. They have been known to dwell in less active flower beds, (meaning less human traffic) and even inhabit certain cemetery stones. The yew tree can be used by darker fae and lilacs by those of a lighter nature.
The fae are thought to have abilities to control the weather and the seasons. They can cause blight to plants, and illness to animals and humans. Therefore, fucking with them isn’t a smart move to make! They have a somewhat twisted way of dealing with humans! They’re capricious. They have been known to bestow lavish gifts for small offerings of kindness towards them, and yet raise the devil and hellfire on someone’s ass for minor slights. They are wild…. Never forget that. They are cunning little creatures, skilled at the art of glamour. They make pretty sounds, such as the sound of humming bird wings in flutter. They enter your day dreams hidden within the scent of lilacs, then later…your mind. Again, never forget they are wild. Treat them accordingly, respectfully.
The ringing of bells and clapping of hands, is said to offer some protection when in a pinch. As does taking one’s coat off and putting it back on inside out. This will help to disguise you from them when you sense their unwelcomed presence in the wood.
Carrying a hag stone (a stone with a natural hole it it) will give you and your animals protection too. One can peer through the hag stone’s hole, allowing them to see past the fae’s glamours, and a four leaf clover will break them.
It is interesting to note that all these plants have similar traits. They are all sun to shade plants and they are all plants of borders, like the crossroads. They tend to be found at a wood’s edge and are plants of death and rebirth… as the fae.
Lilly of the Valley ~ This beautiful plant is deliberately placed in a circle around the pine tree in the front of my home. It serves as protection from evil spirits, and lower level fae. It draws the less malevolent breeds of fae. The tiny white bells, (they are fond of tiny flowers), emit a high-pitched chime when the fae begin their magickal May Day dance.
Primrose ~ This flower is planted in my front flower beds, and blooms on May Day to symbolize eternal youth and innocence. It decorates my Beltane altar, not only to bring rejuvenation, but to remind me of the ‘fae’s way’ of often being the trickster. Folklore tells of the ‘primrose path’, when one has become enchanted by the fae’s glamours and is tricked or mislead from their wooded path.
Thyme ~ Thyme runs wild in my herb garden and has many uses indeed. It brings the fae to the garden because they love its tiny purple flowers. This is where I will hear the wing sound that’s so enchanting. Carry with you a gathering of thyme sprigs to see the fae or sprinkle the flowers and leaves around to encourage their presence. Use a thyme oil infusion to anoint a talisman and such for aid in clairvoyance.
The Elderberry Tree ~ What can I say? This tree is total witch bliss. It offers us so much… magick, lore and health benefits galore! The elderberry tree’s connection to the fae lies in the belief that it’s a gateway to the Underworld. The tiny white flowers and bewitching scent are favorites among the fae. Elderberry mead, or liqueurs, make the perfect libation to offer the fae.
Foxglove or Faerybells ~ Foxglove lore is told by the spots on the inside of its flowers. They’re the tell -tale signs that fae feet have been there. I make a magickal ink from the purple flowers. Dreaming of foxgloves is often a calling from the fae. They remember. Never bring foxglove into your house. To do so can upset the fae, and as I stated earlier, you really don’t want to f@#k with them.
Honeysuckle ~ Nectar of the Gods! This is a hedge of the fae and of May Day, as it is a hedge of seduction. Honeysuckle grows wild in my yard and woods edge, again defining a line between one world… and the other. The clinging vines symbolizes seduction. It’s curvaceous, delicate flowers, a pale blush pink and white, whisper of love and romance. I use the flowers in teas, jams and drinks. The leaves and berries should be left alone, as they are poisonous. When one forages the flowers, it is customary to always leave the best few blossoms for the fae.
Vervain ~ Raven Grimassi wrote of a faery who dwells within the Vervain stalk, bringing abundance and prosperity to the one that invokes her.
Vervain is sacred to the goddess Diana, the Queen of the Fae. So, I work with her on these occasions as it has given me a deeper understanding of them. Vervain is an herb of initiation, so it is perfect for this night of beginnings and rebirth. It is also an aid in seer sight. Therfore, I burn it in my May Day blend, as it assists in hedge flight to their realm.
Apple Tree ~ The Apple tree also blooms for May Day and grows apples by Samhain, for The Apple tree also blooms for May Day and grows apples by Samhain, for this is a true tree of the witch. It displays its pentagram when sliced and its wood is perfect for staves and wands. This tree is truly enchanting.
I use my apples in love spells and their blossoms in teas, decorations and jams for the fae. I make an apple bread for them too. Apples are steeped in folklore as being sexual, as well as being connected to death.
Hawthorn ~A magickal hedge indeed. Along with Ash and Oak, it is one of the three Celtic magickal trees. Hawthorn is a tree of the hedgerows, a tree of both fertility and death. It blooms pink and white blossoms in May and is associated with May Day too.
Hawthorn also has a strong connection with the fae, it is a place they favor for their dwelling. Use Hawthorn outside, do not bring it indoors. Use it in spells for purification, knowledge and devotional love. Hawthorn dew and berries can be used in spells for glamours, and beauty and the thorns can be used in hexing.
The fae are a wild and fascinating magickal creature indeed. They show us visions, some can be lovely, some not. They tickle our souls and give our minds flight. They teach us the dance… the magickal dance of the woods.
Dark and Wild blessings )0(