Once upon a time…that’s how all fairy tales begin, isn’t it? Except this tale is a true one. It’s how I was drawn to faeries and faeries were drawn to me, and a little bit about how they interact with us as humans.

As an artist, I was very interested in learning about faeries from the old stories, pre-Disney, and so I set about to learn more about them. Through my studies of books like The Faery Faith in Celtic Countries by W.B. Evans-Wentz, I discovered that they didn’t sparkle or have dust that makes you fly. In fact, I learned that they prefer to be called the Good People, or the Gentle Folk, or just the Gentry.

My intellectual pursuit quickly led to a series of strange experiences, such as losing time while drawing a portrait of the Faerie Queen. Small things were moved around the house, and I would hunt endlessly for them, only to find that they had re-appeared where I first looked for them. While I viewed these occurrences with a healthy dose of skepticism, I had to admit there was something more to it than just pretty stories. So I began to acknowledge them, ask for their help when my favorite earrings went missing, and generally tried to stay on their good side.

Becoming a friend to the Good People can be a risky thing, as well. They are just as likely to bring bad luck as good to humans who seek them out. Like the time when I was moving and I left a large painting of the Faerie Queen at the other house and spent a few nights at the new place without it. I had a string of ill luck and then had a little fender bender, until I finally figured out that I left something very important behind. Once again, I acknowledged them and invited them to ride the painting to the new home, where there would be a bigger garden and more cats for them to play with. That Spring both the houseplants and the apple tree in the front yard bloomed like they had never bloomed before.

So I know that they are here, and that they are real, and they are a part of the human experience. They do not live in our world, just on the very edge of it. More likely to be found in an overgrown garden than a manicured one, they are spirits of nature. Some are house dwellers, as well, and it is my understanding that the Brownie, a Scottish faery rumored to help with housework, does indeed help clean houses. But it’s less about cleaning the dirty dishes than cleaning the dirty energy from a place. In that, they are very helpful indeed. It’s definitely worth leaving a little saucer of cream out for them, and a little honey added doesn’t hurt either.

One thing to be aware of if you are seeking to know the faerie is that not all of them are good. Some are fierce and dangerous and you must be wary. But like attracts like, so if you fill your mind and heart with good things, you are unlikely to attract the more dangerous of the faerie.

There are certain things that can pass between our world and theirs — healing energy such as Reiki, strong emotions like love and hate — but music is one of the most powerful bridges. A couple of years ago I took up the autoharp, and I am learning to play it fairly well now. When I practice, I know that they are listening. Even playing some flute, fiddle or harp music on the stereo is enough to open a door to faery. It may be only a small one, but some of the Good People are very small and may just come a little closer to listen.

The best advice I can give to any who think they sense a faerie presence is to treat them as an honored guest, and maybe set out an extra cup of tea — with honey, of course.

Beth Hansen-Buth is an intuitive who works with the Faerie Oracle decks by artist Brian Froud, and offers Faerie Readings and Reiki Healing at local Metaphysical Fairs. As an artist she was featured FATE magazine as Painter to the Faery Court. She began her studies into faerie twenty years ago, and now finds it as a central part of her spiritual path. You can learn more about her at her website: www.reikiartist.com

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