Taken from Take from “How to Meet and Work with Spirit Guides” by Ted Andrews
Nothing captures the imagination more than the idea of elves and fairies. In our rationalistic search for greater knowledge, however, we have grown less sensitive to the nuances of nature. We no longer see with either the child’s eyes or those of the seer. Instead we laugh and scoff at those who do.
It is easy to think we know all about the world as explorers have touched all four corners. Still, the myths and tales of mysterious realms and lands fascinate. Many of our myths and legends are based in fact which is why they still intrigue us.
As we open our awareness to life that exists on all levels, we will be drawn into contact with the more ethereal realms of life. These lands have gone by many names – Eden, Hesperides, Avalon, etc. As e begin our quest for contact with the spirit realms of life, we will follow in the footsteps of those whose paths have been recorded in our myths and tales.
The call of the quest is a call to adventure and excitement. It is not usually seen for what it really is – a time of maturing and growth. One of the goals of any quest is the entering into a state of new and higher perception.
Our quest into the spirit realms of life will bring contact with those beings of nature who fascinate and stir our imagination. The elves and fairies of lore serve a vital and creative function in life, and as we expand our perceptions we will come to know them.
People all over the world believe in rare creatures and beings, both superior and inferior to humans. Those we call the elves and fairies have many differing claims to their origins. Some sources claim they are simply the spirits of the dead. Other sources see them as a remnant of a race more ancient than humanity. Others claim they are simply part of the angelic kingdom.
There is, in fact, much information about them, although little of it can be verified. Literature, songs, mystics and clairvoyants have been the traditional sources. The truth, though, is that their world is only as far away as we allow it to be.
Nature spirits are Mother Earth’s children. They are as many-sided as nature itself. They come in many shapes and sizes. Because their energy is not as physical as ours, they have the ability to work on many dimensions. Although most classify all of the nature spirits as elves or fairies, we should avoid this. They are as diverse as humanity, but like humanity they do have much in common.
Almost all nature spirits require some contact with humans. Many require the direct assistance of humanity to live as evolve. They affect us as much as we affect them. Unfortunately, the human abuses of nature – of the physical world and of each other – appalls and affects them. It forces an increasing withdrawal from contact with humanity. Not all are able to withdraw, however. Some are bound to suffer the consequences of human behaviour. For this reason, and although it may require great effort, it is important to establish greater understanding, contact and rapport with them.
The Habitats of the Nature Spirits
It is believed that fairies and elves cannot be perceived by vulgar eyes. In spite of this, their habitats are uniformly described in most societies. Their habitats have gone by many names : the Western Isles, Tir Nan Og, Avalon, land of the Forever Young, Em Hain, Island of Women, Neverland, Middle Earth etc. They live everywhere and nowhere. They are always in woodlands and fields. The traditional concept of them living within hollow trees is more fact than fiction.
The nature spirits can be found in caves, across rivers, underwater, around lakes, between bushes, and within trees. They are found in all manifestations of nature. Fairy mounds are raised areas upon the ground, indicating their habitats. Fairy rings are areas of grass marked with a perimeter of some kind.
The pathways and habitats of the nature spirits will again become more recognizable as you begin to expand your own perceptions. You will find that certain nature spirits will be easier for you to perceive than others. Some individuals find them more recognizable in waterways. I have no trouble seeing them in trees and bushes. As you work with them, you will find the area of nature in which your perception of them is the easiest.
Generally distrustful of humans, they are not quick to reveal themselves. Spend as much time in nature as you can. When you do begin to perceive them, it is often as a glimmer or hint just at the edge of your vision. Although they will blend and shapeshift themselves into different forms, with a keen eye and persistence you will begin to recognize them in their natural habitats. You may see faces in shrubs or flowers and assume it’s the light or your imagination. If you do not see them, being out in nature will help you to at least feel their presence. This feeling is often like walking through a spider web while in the middle of a field.
One group of these beings is called the Flower Fairies. These are always active in areas where there are flowers, wild and domestic. These are ‘Tinkerbelle’ kinds of beings. They are always drawn to children, especially those who are playing outside.
There are elves and fairies found mainly within field environments. Some, who are called Fauni and Silvani, are wood sprites. They are abundant in forests.
Rock and stone spirits are also common, more so than most of us imagine. The popularity of crystals has drawn many new individuals into contact with this group. In every crystal and stone is a deva or nature spirit who works with it. The rock and stone spirits have a great antiquity about them, and a great strength. Stone devas can be found in any major rock formation. The stone spirits are believed by some to hold the keys to prophecy, magic and the knowledge of secret treasures.
The tree spirits have a great lore about them. They are living beings. Every tree has its own spirit or deva. This spirit can emerge from the tree for short distances and for brief period of time. They are usually more active at night because they are not as active helping the tree grow during this time. This greater activity at night makes people more susceptible to actually feeling their energy. This can be experienced as chills, an uneasy feeling, etc. This is also why many people are uncomfortable in a forest at night.
Tress spirits can’t harm us, but their energies are strong and different. Contact with them can cause chills ad shivers. Willow spirits have a habit of following travelers on dark nights, muttering and making noises being the wanderer. You should not be frightened of this. It is much more amusing than it is sinister.
Tree spirits can be quite affectionate to people. This is often why some individuals have a favourite tree in which they find great comfort and balance. A blue spruce in the front of our home appeared to be dead when we first moved in. Within the first month it was alive, full and shimmering with life. I think it was simply lonely for human contact. It has been a great comfort and protection to our home.
Trees also house elf populations. Different kinds of elves and fairies attach themselves to different kinds of trees. They are very protective of their trees for they are tied to them for life. We must be careful in cutting down the trees, not only for ecological reasons, but because we can displace great numbers of these rare beings.
The home in which I now live had been left untended for over a year before it was purchase. The trees, shrubs and grasses were wild in the back yard. Without thinking, I decided to cut everything out and start from scratch. The shrubs ended up being tremendously difficult to cut down, although they should have been easy to remove.
It is now a great struggle to make anything grow in the areas I cut. Later, in one of the first meditations in this new home, I discovered the reason for this. I had cut down the homes of many nature spirits, displacing them.
Since then I have had to learn the lesson of how difficult it is and how much energy it takes for the nature spirits to make anything grow. It has been difficult rebuilding their trust during the past seven years. The nature spirits, though, have returned, and they make themselves more known. Now before I do any cutting or trimming, I ask their permission and give them warning.
Of all the trees, the elder is believed to have the highest elf population, with many tine elves living under its roots. It is known as a shelter to good fairies and elves and as a protection against evil spirits. The oak has been the object of much fair lore and veneration. It is believed that the oak greatly resents being cut. Elms are believed to mourn the cut members of their family. The Hawthorne has always been considered a fairy tree. Uprooting it is supposed to bring misfortune.
Although mostly inhabiting areas of nature, it is not uncommon to find nature spirits taking up residence under and in human dwellings. Usually these entities like being around homes with children and where there is lots of activity. They are tireless and filled with energy. They can and do assist in the smooth running of the house. They can also be mischievous. Tradition says that they should not be paid – especially with clothing – or they leave forever. This was reflected in the old fairy tale of the ‘Shoemaker and the Elves.’
Occasionally dark elves will take up residence in the homes of humans. They prefer dark corners of rooms. They usually only appear at night. They are not dangerous or harmful and they can stimulate great craftsmanship. Their energy is strong. Many more people have felt their presence than realise it.
My mother would do the laundry in the basement when I was growing up, and it was interesting to watch how my brothers (and myself) would act when asked to retrieve it. The light would be flipped on. But it was never enough. We would go calmly down the stairs and begin gathering the clothes in our arms. By the time the clothes were gathered the uneasiness of being down there was hitting. The eyes would look about, searching the shadows. Then we would bolt up the stairs on tip toe (trying to disguise our hasty exit). We would pause at the door to calm ourselves and pretend we had just casually walked up the stairs, completely unbothered.
Many have had these same feelings and experiences in their own homes. These kinds of feelings are stimulated not just by superstitious fears. Often it indicates the presence of a dark elf. Their energy affects our feeling nature. It can cause chills and shivers and a definite feeling on uneasiness or of a presence.
Often the spirits of nature speak to us without our realising it. Have you ever taken a walk and caught a whiff of pine as you passed a tree? Did you ever catch the fragrance of a flower while those you may be walking with did not? Did a tree rustle on a still day as you passed beneath it? Was there a ripple as you passed beneath it? Was there a ripple in a pond or a creek just as you sat down beside it? These are the nature spirits reaching out and speaking to you.
The spirits of nature are found in all elements of nature – earth, stone, water, air and even in the deep fires of the earth. Their presence and touch is soft and subtle. If you wish to begin your search for the fair realms, open to the elements of nature that are closest to you. Look around you, because even if you are not aware of them, the likelihood of their presence within your life is great.