Fairies and Undines - Geoffrey Hodson
On this page you will find extracts from various sources telling of encounters with
nature spirits of all sorts. Chief among these is the meeting of ROC with Pan. this extract is taken from "The Magic of Findhorn" by Paul Hawken, Fontana Books, 1975.
A useful source for information and encounters with nature spirits are the works by Geoffrey
Hodson, a short extract from "Fairies at Work and Play" is given here. Nancy Arrowsmithhas produced a wonderful encyclopedia of little people from all over Europe and Russia from which a small extract has been added to this page. Towards the end of the last century Keightley released a work drawing on the ancient northern mythologies of Europe tracing the
origins in myth of these elusive beings.
It is hoped that those reading these encounters and descriptions will find a close bond with
their own imagination and the realm that lies beyond the material through them.
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Roc - Encounters with Pan
The Magic of Findhorn
'Another encounter took place in September of the same
year, 1966, at Attingham Park. I had attended a weekend course conducted by Sir George Trevelyan. Before leaving on the Monday morning, I was prompted to go to an area known as the Mile Walk on the extensive grounds of Attingham. The walk starts at a point on the bank of the River Tern where there are many trees and bushes. I followed it until I came to a slight bend in the river where a huge cedar tree with a seat around it is situated. To the left of the tree, at a right angle to the river, is the begin-ning of the Rhododendron Walk.
'I sat there for some time enjoying the beauty of the place. After a while, I rose and went into the walk. As I did so, I felt a great build-up of power and an increase in
awareness to a high degree Coloum and forms became more significant. I was aware of every single leaf on the bushes and trees, of every blade of grass on the path stand-ing out with startling clarity. It was as if physical reality had become even more solid - a Strange sharpening of vision. It is an overwhelming experience when it happens and nearly impossible to describe in words. It is a thing one must experience for oneself to understand fully. I had the impression of complete reality, and all that lies within and beyond it felt immediately imminent. The sense of awe and wonder this produced is not easy to convey. There was an acute feeling of being one with nature in a complete way as well as being one with the Divine, which produced great exultation.
'I was aware that he was walking by my side and of a strong hond between us. lie stepped behind me and then walked into me so that we became one and I saw the 'sur-roundings through his eyes. At the same time, part of me
- the recording, observing part -.stood asidt The experi-ence was not a form of posession but of identification.
The moment he stepped into me, the woods became alive with myriads of beings - elementals, nymphs, dryads, fauns, elves, gnomes, fairies - far too numerous to catalogue. They varied in size from tiny little beings a fraction of an inch in height - like the ones I saw swarming about on a clump of toadstools - to beautiful elfin creatures three or four feet tall. Some of them were dancing round me in a ring; all were welcoming and full of rejoicing. The Nature Spirits love and delight in the work they do and have to express this in movement.
'I felt as if I were outside time and space. Everything was happening in the Now. It is impossible to give more than a faint impression of the actuality of this experience, but J would stress the exultation and the feeling of joy and de]ight. In spite of the intense exhilaration, there was an underlying peace, contentment, and a sense of spiritual presence.
'I found myself in a clearing at the end of this part of
the Rhododendron Walk, where there is a great oak tree. I turned and walked back the way I had come. I now had pipes in my hands and was aware of shaggy legs and cloven hooves. I began to dance down the path, playing the pipes - the melody I had beard. The numerous birds responded, their songs making an exquisite counterpoint to the music of the pipes. All the nature beings were active,many dancing as they worked.
'When I had reached the spot where the experience had started, the heightened awareness began to fade and he withdrew, leaving me once more my ordinary self. I stopped dancing and walked on. The pipes had gone. The change from this strange ecstatic experience to the normal leality of everyday life was not a disappointment. What I had experienced was still there; it is always there, as it is part of the true reality. Because of our dulled sense and our habit of going through life wearing materialistic blinders in a condition verging on sleepwalking, we are unaware of the fantastic beauty of the life around us. Of course, it would not do if we were aware of it all the time; k would be too overwhelming and make us incapable of performing our daily tasks. Many of us, however, could well be much more aware of our surroundings without doing that.
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The Fairy Mythology
Thomas Keightley wrote The Fairy Mythology in 1892. It was re-released in 1981 by Camelot Press, Southampton. It represents a very thorough study of the subject as contained in the mythology of Northern and Western Europe, we brief excursions into history and other continents and races. This is a short extract:
Ther ro meth Alfum.
Those are with the Alfs.
Yggdrasil - the Norse tree of Life
In the prose Edda, Ganglar inquires what other cities beside that in which the Nornir dwelt were by the Urdar fount, under the Ash Yggdrasil* Har replies,
"There are many fair cities there. There is the city which is called Alf-heim; where dwelleth the people that is called Liosalfar (Light Alfs). But the Döckalfar (Dark Alfs) dwell below under ground, and are unlike them in appearance, and still more unlike in actions. The LiosAlfar are whiter than the sun in appearance, but the Döckalfar are blacker than pitch."
The Nornir, the Parcae, or Destinies of Scandinavian mythology, are closely connected with the Alfar.
Many fair cities are there in Heaven," says Har, " and the divine protection is over all. There standeth a city under the ash near the spring, and out of its halls came three maids, who are thus named, Udr, Verthandi, Skulld (Past, Present, Future). These maids shape the life of man. We call them Nornir. But there are many Nornir; those who come to each child that is born, to shape its life, are of the race of the gods; but others are of the race of the Alfs; and the third of the race of dwarfs. As is here expressed,
Sundry children deem I
The Nornir to be-the same
Race they have not.
Some are of AEser-kin,
Some are of Alf.kin,
Some are the daughters of Dualin." (i.e. of the Dwarfs.)
* The ash-tree, Yggdrasil, is the symbol of the universe, the Urdar-fount is the fount of Light and heat, which invigorates and sustains it A good representation of this myth is given in Mr. Bohn's edition of Mallet's" Northern Antiquities' which the reader is recommended to consult.
+ This Grimm (ut sup.) regards as an error of the writer, who confounded the Döck and the Svartalfar.
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A field guide to the Little People
Writing of the English Fairies in a section called 'Dusky Elves' in the book A Field Guide to the Little People
Nancy Arrowsmith says:
Identification: The old majestic Fairies were Light Elves of large size and with fair skin. Like the Daoine Sidhe, they were aristocrats and came of the oldest families of elves. It is possible that King Arthur himself was one of them. They cannot be seen today, but are sleeping under hills, waiting for the time when they will be needed again.
The smaller modern Fairies are between a few inches and one and a half feet tall. They have become Dusky E!ves. If seen in the daytime, they have old wrinkled faces. They prefer to wear red, but also wear blue, white or green according to the local peasant costume. They are shape-changers, and appear in many different insect and animal forms.
Habitat: They live underground or in great palaces above ground that can only be seen at night. They are known throughout England, although they are less numerous in the Midlands.
This collection is probably the fullest description of these expressions of the Goddess to be found, exceeding in quality and content other works on the subject available today. Copiously illustrated a full and sympathetic view is given of this hidden realm of nature.
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Fairies at Work and Play
Geoffrey Hodson writing in the middle of the 20th Century presented the public with a number
of descriptions of fairies and landscape angels paving the way for the ready acceptance of the teachings of such people as Dorothy Maclean and the Findhorn community.
A GOLDEN FAIRY
In the Garden. October 17th, 1921.
She is decidedly fair in colouring. full of laughter and happiness, very open and fearless in expression. and ~ surrounded by an aura of golden radiance in which the outline of her wings can be traced. There is also a hint of mockery in her attitude and expression, as of one who is enjoying a joke against the poor mortals who are studying her.
Suddenly her manner changes and she becomes serious. stretching out her arms to their full length. she performs an act of concentration which has the effect of reducing the size of her aura and of turning its energies inwards upon herself. Having maintained this condition for about fifteen seconds she releases the whole of the concentrated energy, which pours forth in all directions in streams of golden force1 and appears to affect every single stem and flower within its reach. (She is in the centre of a clump of chrysanthemums.) She thus reinforces the vibration which is already there, probably as a result of previous similar activities on her part. Another effect of this operation has been to cause the astral double of the whole clump to shine with an added radiance, an effect which is noticeable right down to the roots.
Thirlmere. By the side of Dab Ghyll. November, 1921.
"There are two different grades of water-spirits at this fall. One is apparently connected with the whole ghyll. and was first seen travelling swiftly up the mountain on which the stream rises. It is definitely of the undine variety, but rather larger than those previously seen, though similar to tern in other characteristics.
The figure. which shines as if wet, is female, nude and without wings, the exquisite limbs gleam through the white auric flow, the arms are particularly long and beautiful, and she waves them gracefully in her flight. She is about four feet in height and her general colouring is silvery white, with gold stars round the head.
She moves up the fall by a series of darting motions of exceeding swiftness, disappears from view as if into the rock, reappears. and flashes down again. As I watch her rapid movements she appears suddenly to become languid; her form slowly dissipates and her consciousness sinks into the ground, as if to rest. At the particular place where she disappeared-a large rocky bluff covered with bracken and heather-I can still sense, I would almost say see, the undine, at a distance of six to ten feet below the surface of the round.
She has reappeared, and obviously experiences considerable joy, taking great interest and delight in the large fall, over which she hovers in a fashion that suggests some emotion akin to brooding tenderness. She shows a certain natural seriousness; in her there is none of that careless inconsequence which marks so many of the lesser nature-spirits. In her mind there is a sense of responsibility for certain aspects and processes of evolution which are taking place here, connected chiefly with the water and the vegetation. Over the rock under which she retired there is a decided magnetic influence, due no doubt to her long-continued presence there, which has given the place a -strongly defined aura and influence of its own.
There are some less evolved undines at the actual falls, where they appear to be permanently stationed. They. too, can pass in and out of the rock at will. They differ from the one described chiefly in size; they are less than a foot high, and appear to be making vocal sounds. Their joy is more unrestrained and their whole bearing more irresponsible than hers. They are five or six in number. Their slim, graceful, nude bodies are supple in the extreme, and they constantly assume poses of great beauty as they float in the midst of the fall. or hover just in the edge of the spray. A characteristic attitude is one with the body upright and more or less stiff, limbs straight, arms close to the side, head thrown slightly back, eyes looking upward. In this pose they ride slowly upwards through the falls to the top, like a bubble rising through water; having reached the summit they flash free into the air, releasing the concentrated energy which they appear to have absorbed, making a brilliant display of colour and light, radiating joy and delight in all directions.
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