Published by Hale - an imprint of Crowood Press - February 6th 2017
Rae Beth in conversation with Gwen Fox, Editrix In Chief of Hexenpress,
about Rae’s new book The Way into Faerie
Published by Hale - an imprint of The Crowood Press - February 6th 2017.
Gwen, you asked why I wrote this particular book and I’ve been thinking about that. It’s mainly because I have always felt a deep sense of connection with Faerie. And there are many like me, like us - fey types for whom Otherworldliness feels natural. I feel we have a particular part to play in life and yet we are too often treated with disrespect, dismissed. This is only because people don’t always understand us or our perceptions - and maybe that doesn’t matter so long as we understand ourselves!
So, I wanted to validate peoples’ personal spontaneous experiences, however simple or fleeting those might be. Things like a sudden awareness of spirit presences from Faerie, a quick glimpse. Or a piper playing a tune where no music could be… And also to show how the deeper magic of alliance with Faerie can work. It is as wild as a north wind, a contact with the Otherworld.
When I use the term ‘Otherworld‘, I mean that dimension where the dead dwell, along with races or species which can no longer live in our world or may never have done so. Our ancestors called the place ‘Faerie’. They meant something awe- inspiring by that, a wild place beyond human control, as far beyond it as the Earth’s movement around the Sun and yet as near as our own heart’s blood. A dimension away/right here/ complete mystery/ our - own – being – as – part – of - All Else.
Naturally it has been belittled, made to appear rather trite and winsome or else dangerous, perhaps evil. But there is a lot of old lore about Faerie and what happens there and how to make or break a connection with it. In the book, I have gone into this in a certain amount of detail. But I’ve also tried to show that it is our heartfelt knowledge of the Otherworld that can be the most important - often beyond words. After all, in the old tales, it is often the person who sees things simply and has a kind heart who does best in Faerie and this tells us quite a lot!
My own experiences of Faerie have enriched my life and I wanted to share that. For me, it connects with a journey to find meaning and hope here in our living everyday world. (and I think we need all the hope we can get just now!). Passionately, I feel that these matters are for everybody, whatever their choice of spiritual path or religion. We each have a soul and - beyond dogma - Faerie is the Soul of Nature of which we are each a part. This means everyone, even those who would not call themselves ‘fey’ at all. It unites us, just as – all over the world – indigenous tribespeople have always said it did.
Traditionally, Faerie is a most complex place and yet it is no more diverse than our own living World. This is because it is simply the other face or the other dimension of where we are now, another aspect of nature. Not supernatural but full of magic. Not having any mystique but being of Mystery. Not being chained to any one particular belief system but being of wild spirit and sometimes challenging truths which are paradoxical.
For a person who is fey, there will be a heartfelt and strongly intuitive relationship with the place. Practices and rites that keep us in touch with it can be simple. And for most of us on most days, keeping it simple is all we need to do or can do. But remember, I told you about my adventure of walking right into the Otherworld, physically? Throughout time there have always been people who have done this but it’s still quite a surprise when it happens! And it is risky. Traditional lore tells us that time runs differently there and there are tales of people returning after many years, even though they thought they had only been gone for a few days. This shows how very wild and unpredictable and real Faerie actually is. But I don’t need to tell you that!
Luckily, we don’t stray across the boundary in an arbitrary manner, merely because we speak to the Fae or can sense ancestral presences. Fate is a lot more tightly woven than that and there are natural laws governing the processes of entry and exit. So, Faerie seems unpredictable as a place but that is only from a living human perspective. It does have its own very definite rules and laws but these are not always like our own present day human ones. Some people find that threatening, even to think about. But fey people don’t.
In all our dealings, the seemingly complicated rules of Faerie boil down to a few simple things that we can rely on. Be honest, be kindly and show respect - even to ragged dwarves, irritable old ladies and trees that talk! That way we are likely to be given good advice and be blessed on our way in this world and the Otherworld.
Gwen, I know you connect with Faerie but you are magically experienced. I also know that there is great heart-healing to be found in very easy ways of relating to the Otherworld for those who have the courage of their own fey convictions but not much knowledge or experience - yet. We can all gain a deeper sense of meaning in life - from something that is beyond dogma and free as the wind across any ocean. That is a healing most profoundly needled in today’s world. We can all do with it. Those who are naturally fey can hold it in our own hearts to share with others, sometimes in ways that are beyond words or any explanation.