The Faeries’ Guide to Green Magick
Throughout time, people of every society have turned to the earth and attuned themselves to the web of life that pulses through all living things and found the means to sustain themselves. Whether they sought comfort from lavender or mending a broken bone with comfrey, ancient people knew that the way to ensure their health, survival, and security was to call upon the rich supply of the earth’s herbs, plants, and trees.
And yet, our ancestors did not stop at the point of just receiving. They developed and carefully cultivated a symbiotic, give-and-take, stewardship with the earth. They tended to the healing and nourishing of plant life as tenderly as they took care of their own children, all the while understanding it was they who were dependent upon the earth and not the other way around. Their humility helped them forge a reverential relationship with the life force that vibrated within each plant and tree. And by tapping into the earth’s pulsing life, they were part of the green magick that expanded the positive energy and vitality of the earth itself, which in turn increased the health of humans, animals, insects, and all plant life.
As we carelessly and often unconsciously, deplete the earth’s resources, we have lost touch with the magick that was once at our fingertips. Many look aside as wild, verdant lands, and animal and plant species essential to the delicate balance of life, disappear at an alarming rate. By distancing from nature, we have essentially denied ourselves the connection that would bring wholeness, abundance, and peace to our lives. In fact, our innate ability to heal ourselves has become a nearly lost art. When we forgot the heart of nature is our own heart, we created a way of life that taxes the earth’s precious resources and created the need to manufacture what was once organic and easily available. The result has created fierce competition, fear of dominance, and overwhelming feelings of lack.
Ask yourself, when did nature become something to avoid, and why? We are nature, like a giraffe, a butterfly, a river, lichen, or chamomile. We just need to remember. We need to piece ourselves back together by reestablishing our connection to the earth. We need to reclaim the magick of our bond with the life force that unites us all. There has been no other time in the age of humanity in which the importance of cultivating an ongoing relationship with Mother Earth has taken on such vital importance. This back-to-nature perspective, today’s green movement, is at once practical and spiritual, as everyday life used to be.
Being eco-friendly is much more than buying halogen lightbulbs or using cloth bags. It means we once again form a friendship with our ecosystem. This is no ordinary friendship, but a sacred relationship with the life force teeming through plants, herbs, and trees. This life force—the sentient energy that exists at the heart of each plant—is the faerie
of each plant. The synergy of our sacred relationship with this energy is the green magick, the healing serendipity, and the wonder found when we develop a bond with nature. When we truly understand, recognize, and believe in the living soul within each being, within fauna and
flora, one by one our collective compassion awakens and it becomes essential to preserve and protect the earth—our home.
When you draw from botanical resources, whether you are flavoring food or working with essential oils for healing, you are tapping into an intelligent life force. When you cultivate a garden you are tending to a living being, whose response to your attention is seen in its growth pattern and increased potency in your recipes. The more you become aware of the consciousness of the botanical realm and the deeper your respect of the life in each plant, the better cook, healer, or gardener you will become because the plants give you an exact exchange for the energy you give them. Your acknowledgment of the plant’s true essence helps carry the highest potentiality into every concoction you will make. The time has come to develop a culture of interconnection and communion with the earth energy—the faeries.
Each faerie has an individual personality, which can appear as a reflection of the plant, tree, or natural element where it resides. Fae or devic energy can also take on abstract forms, such as a blanket of color or the oscillating energy of heat rising from asphalt in hundred-degree weather. Fae can appear as a chorus of winged creatures or as a beautiful woman or man. It may shift from an individual to a collective form and back again. Most certainly, faeries will shake up whatever you thought you knew about them. Consider how long plants have been around. Their intelligence far exceeds our own, and so it is to them that we turn for healing.
The unique expression of each fae as captured by the text and paintings in this book speaks to the intrinsic qualities, traits, and behavior of each herb or tree. Faeries are beings in and of themselves, as humans are beings. Faeries are a separate race, coexisting alongside us, like the birds bringing food to their young or the bees pollinating the flowers as you walk to work. The images of faerie essences found in this book will bring us closer to their feeling rather than their form. The paintings of our faeries are an experiential interpretation of the faerie, or life force energy, of each herb or tree. The images represent sensation, as if you could put a picture to the taste that bounces around in your mouth when you eat an herb or smell a flower. When you give faeries the respect and acknowledgment as the living essence of plant life, whole new vistas of possibilities open up for you, and then the true magick can begin.
Magick spelled with a “k” differentiates the word from “magic,” as in tricks performed for entertainment. It also represents the realm of possibilities, expected
serendipity, connection to all living things, and a deep reverence and wonder for nature. The spelling is symbolic and carries deep meaning, pointing directly to the vibrant intersection of where heaven meets earth. The “g” points to the ground or form, similar to a vortex triangle that points to the earth and is generally yin, female, or resting energy. The “k” reaches for the sky, where ideas are born, similar to the upward-pointing apex triangle that is typically considered yang, and represents the male, or active energy.
The overlapping vortex and apex triangles create a symbol, often known as the Star of David. The intersection of form and thought is where magick happens. The connection represents the material and the spiritual coming together to develop the soul. In magickal circles, we refer to this concept with the phrase “As above, so below.” The soul’s work on earth is not complete if it dwells too long in the spiritual realm or mundane reality. It must unite male and female, light and dark, intangible and material, heaven and earth to create magick. On earth, we live in that powerful meeting place where form is created from desire and need.
The four elements of nature are the fundamental tools of magick. Humans are a representation of the four elements working in sync: earth
is our bodies, water
is our blood, air
is our breath, and fire
is our energy or spirit. Magick is that feeling when events and people in our life line up with ease and enlightened intention. When you get that tingly sensation and the air feels thick with electricity, you are in the infinite realm of illimitable potential—the womb of creation.
Magickal spells are a matter of aligning your desire with symbolic interpretations of what you want to create (for example, a collage board), then speaking aloud your intention. The etymology of the word spell
means “to cast or speak your word.” It is no different than a prayer. Rhymes found in spells speak to the right brain, the part of our consciousness that is most like the cyclical dreamtime world, when anything is possible. Spells are used to change circumstances. Rituals, such as a ceremony to let go of anger or achieve forgiveness, are used to change consciousness.
Tuning in to nature and herbs can help bring the spiritual to the mundane, heaven to earth. Sit with your plants. Visualize the energy that lives in each little herb. Whatever reveals itself to you, is perfect for you. Recognize that you are cultivating friendship with another being. There is no right or wrong way to see the faeries.
Developing a relationship with a singular herb was how the shamans and ancient healers approached unknown plants so many hundreds of years ago. They would meditate with the plants and ask for an interpretation of what the plants had to offer. The message might come in a dream, arise as a symbol, or present itself when a patient was in need. How else could they have determined that inside the spiny leaves of the aloe was a soothing gel that would bring relief to a burn? The plants are just as eager to develop a relationship with you as you are excited to begin working with them. As we become more “green,” we begin to fulfill our destiny to live in harmony, symbiosis, and balance with nature.
The call to reduce our carbon footprints essentially points to the fact that we must stop taking up so much space and give room for the plants to grow. And as we create balance, we discover that every living creature needs water, food, shelter, and space to survive. What can be more important than allowing space for the plant kin-dom
that provides us with food and medicine?
One of the most important things to remember as you join or deepen your experience in green magick is to begin the process in a way that is comfortable to you. You don’t need to get overwhelmed by the long list of eco-friendly advice. Feeling guilt or pressure will not help you develop a healthy relationship with the earth spirits. You must begin, yes, but allow each step toward becoming green to ease itself into your lifestyle. Start by talking with your plants, shop at farmers’ markets, plant an herb or veggie garden, even if it’s just in pots on your balcony. There is no judgment on this path back to trusting and taking care of Mother Earth.
By harkening back to the times of our ancestors, we will embrace nature once again and the magick will return to our lives. No matter how refined or sophisticated we may pretend to be, deep down we miss the magick. In magick there is wonder, appreciation, and security. Although we may have attempted to take what gifts the earth has provided for us and “improve” upon them, the faerie spirit continues to press its way into our lives, crying out for us to stop fixing what was never broken. And at long last, we begin to take a look at ourselves and the treasures around us.
The faeries have not forgotten our true nature. As we begin to relate more deeply to the living essence of the earth, we will nurture our own planet back to health. The earth and all that grows on her will respond with vibrant aliveness to our attention, and a meaningful, abundant, reciprocal relationship will develop. As you develop your unique relationship with the faeries, you will discover that the magick is simply there and the faeries surround you.
What Is Faerie?
“Faeries are the inner nature of the land and a reflection of the inner nature of our souls.”
—Brian Froud, Good Faeries / Bad Faeries
Faerie energy is the prana
of the earth, the life source, intelligence, and breath of the plants. It is the essence of the life in nature. Fae energy is the family of the many diverse types of essence or spirit in all of nature. Dryads are found in trees. Naiads are the energy of the rivers and streams. Gnomes live in hills and mountains and under the earth. Sylphs float in the air. Faeries live in plants, herbs, and flowers. They all live in another dimension from our material form, although they coexist with humans in the spiritual, emotional, and mental planes.
Faeries are free from dense form, unless they choose to assume a shape. Faeries are a reflection of the natural vessels that contain them and take on the aspects of the plant, whether through the physicality of the plant or herb, the etymology of its name, or the healing or magickal properties of the plant.
Formlessness has been an obstacle for the understanding of faerie energy underlined by the saying “Seeing is believing.” In an effort to connect with human friends, faeries will take on an outward appearance that can be best understood and received by the human whose attention they are seeking. The exception would be if they intend to help you evolve beyond a narrow vision to something broader. Our egocentrism and fear of the unknown is why so many people are drawn to faerie images in which these feral, elemental creatures look like beautiful humans.
Try experimenting with a group of people and sit with an herb. Have everyone close their eyes and meditate on the life force of the plant. The group may end up with very different interpretations, which is similar to when different people look at the same situation but come away with different perspectives based on their beliefs, position in the room, and expectations. You might discover that several people have the same vision of the plant’s life force. This result is an example of people tapping into the collective consciousness, a cloud of energy floating above—as if they are tuned in to the same radio station. A common example of this occurrence is when you are thinking of a song and someone standing next to you begins to sing the song aloud.
Essentially, a faerie’s deepest expression is as the breath, intelligence, and life force of Mother Earth. Our vision of a humanlike faerie is an attempt to understand by creating something visually familiar. And yet, we believe in love, though we cannot see it. We are beginning to understand through quantum physics that our attention largely affects what we see. We are beginning to disengage from defining the image and releasing expectations. We are beginning to allow the essences or spirits of the fae to reveal themselves to us on their own terms.
Faerie is the energy that grants you permission to be free. Faerie is the spirit that moves you beyond restrictions and guidelines. It bursts through condemnation and fear. It is the confidence that grants you protection from others’ opinions and judgments. Faerie energy allows you to fly, to reach for your dreams. Faerie is the energy and impulse that leads you to your true self.
Excerpted from The Faerie's Guide to Green Magick from the Garden by Jamie Wood and Lisa Steinke. Copyright © 2010 by Jamie Wood and Lisa Steinke. Excerpted by permission of Celestial Arts, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.