|Homework: Think about how you work with Nature Spirits: do you work with specific spirits? Do you have animal guides? Write down who they are and what they do for you, and then write down what you do for them. What sort of relationship is it? How do you remember and honor these spirits? Do you leave them offerings, or do work that protects their homes and lives? Do you simply connect? What is the nature of your connection with these spirits? Write these things down in your Dedicant Notebook for future reference.|
During my childhood, I was fascinated by gnomes and fairies stories. I actually did lots of serious researches when I was 15 years old, and that interest stayed with me today. I have many books on the subjects, and I often leave offerings, especially for gnomes. Gnomes are already complex to define in a Pagan context, yet they are way more complex from a Celtic point of view. In hermetic magick, gnomes and gnomides (females) are attributed to the element of Earth and are seen in very small human form. Their king is Ghob (also known as Gob, Ghom, Gheb, or Geb). In this tradition, Earth elementals are the most mischievous and love a good practical joke. However, gnomes can be associated with the fairy category of the Nature Spirits as they are, in a way, very similar (if not the same) as the Irish Leipreachán (Leprechaun). A leprechaun is a type of fairy in Irish folklore, usually taking the form of an old man, clad in a red or green coat, who enjoys partaking in mischief. Personally, I tend to view the gnomes as the same as leprechauns.
Based on my researches and my spiritual practices, I divided the Nature Spirits in two major categories. The first is the “Faeries”. Faery is another term that has been associated to the nature Spirits, or the spirits of the land. They usually appear in a roughly humanoid shape, although sometimes certain ones can take the form of animals. My spiritual practice is based on ancient Celtic Irish beliefs. In Ireland, the Nature Spirits categorized as fairies are called the Daoine Sidhe, which can be translated by “The Little People” or “The Wee Folk”. Another surname is “The Good People” which is generally regarded as out of respect. Based on the famous Irish hospitality, it is said that if we are friendly with them that they will also be friendly and friendly with us. To be certain to remain in good term with the Daoine Sidhe is to leave them food, water, milk, or honey for them outside during the night. Some fairies have better relationship with humans, while others are introverted and isolated, and some are even hostile. The Daoine Sidhe fall into so many categories that it would be impossible to deal with them all in this short essay. However, they can be divided into two basic classes: the friendly/sociable and the hostile/introverted. The sociable are the land fairies or Sheoques (or Sidheog in Irish, meaning, “a little fairy”), and water fairies or Merrows (or Moruadh in Irish, meaning, “a sea maid”). The Sheoques are the haunting fairies of the sacred thorn bushes and the green raths or fairy forts. The Merrows are what we can call the Irish version of the mermaid. Fishermen usually don’t like to see them because they bring bad weather, based on legends.
The second category of Nature Spirits is what we can call the “Sacred Animals”. Like other Nature Spirits, they each carry a certain contribution or control. The Celtic tales often mentions animals and their extraordinary abilities. Animals figured mostly in the Celtic spiritual worldview and they even have their own realm, the Otherworld. Based on the book The Wee Folk, the author explain that: “The importance of animals to ancient Celtic life can be seen in the fact that the four Fire Festivals are related to the pastoral life of animal-raising and agriculture. Imbolc was the time of lambing and calving, Beltaine was the time when the herds were let out to summer pasture, Lughnasadh was the first harvest and was especially related to horse fairs and horse racing, and Samhain was the time when the herds were brought back in from summer pasture. Samhain was also the time for any slaughtering required in order to conserve on the food necessary to keep the animals over the winter months.”
In my rituals, I am invoking the Nature Spirits, both those of the ancient times and those in the locality where the ritual is taking place. The spirits being invoked are the Faeries, but also those of the trees and the grasses, of the deer and foxes, the birds and the fishes. Even if I live in the middle of a large city, I can make the psychic/spiritual link to the continent-wide forests that once covered Europe, as well as the woods, prairies and swamps that once covered North America. Even then, I believe that Nature Spirits are everywhere, even in cities. They are grouped in parks and where there are trees. From the three Kindreds, Nature Spirits are the one I can connect the most easily.
- Prem, Brigitte. The Wee Folk: An Examination of the Fairy and Mythological Culture of Ireland. Munich: GRIN Verlag, 1979.
Word Count: 669 words (excluding the quote)