One of the most important things you can do on your spiritual journey (especially if you seem to be prone to an extended patch of bad luck) is to make regular offerings to the spirits–especially nature spirits. Grab a cup of coffee or tea and pull up a chair, because this is going to be a long one!
You don’t have to believe in Tinker Bell, but they ARE around us, hiding within the trees, blending between the rocks, watching from the woods in our back yards or around our homes…. and they are FEISTY buggers! But they were here long before we were…. the Aborigines knew about them, as did Native Americans, who called them “The Little People”, who lived in the woods near sandy hills and sometimes near rocks located along large bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes. Often described as “hairy-faced dwarfs” in stories, some illustrations portray them with horns on their head and traveling in a group of 5 to 7. They have been part of the folklore of many other cultures as well, including Greece, Ireland (Every Irishman I’ve ever known was terrified of them), Philippines, Hawaiian Islands, Indonesia and many others. It’s also important to note that while you may find many similar descriptions as to physical the attributes of these beings from native tribes, it’s especially helpful to keep in mind that those particular beings preferred a certain type of environment for their dwellings, and many of them between the cultures were the same. Make no mistake however, that there are so many kinds of beings that it would take several book volumes to bring all this information together. For a good source of information concerning the many varieties of elemental spirits that exist: Click Here
By now, some of you are probably thinking, “Here we go, another flaky hippie who’s into fairies!” I assure you, although I have my flake-out moments, and I very well may even be a bit of a hippie, I am of sound mind. I’m also the kind of skeptic that doesn’t whole-heartedly believe in something until I have seen it for myself, which brings me to this blog topic. I never believed in the Fae, or in The Little People that my Grandfather and other Tribal Elders spoke of. I thought they were fantastic stories spun to frighten each of the younger generations, much like many of us grew up being threatened into submission by our parents by the fear of invoking the Bogeyman. I went through life rolling my eyes each time I heard an Englishman blame the fairies for their missing car keys, missing wallet…missing anything. They don’t exist, I said.
Then I saw one.
It was four years ago, and we were living in a house that had a grave that I’d discovered in the back yard that bordered a dense forest. The setting really was beautiful, but there was always something foreboding about those woods, and I may have ventured in only once. But one summer afternoon, after taking the first dose of medication my doctor had given me for the chronic pain I suffer from, I went out onto the back deck, lit up a cigarette and took in all of the sounds of the nature that surrounded me. The birds were singing, the tree frogs were chirping away, and then I saw a movement from the corner of my eye. When I turned and looked, there it was, running through the yard and into the woods so fast that before I could even blink, it was gone. Do you remember that scene in Ghost Busters 1, where they are in the grand hotel, and Ray is on the upper floor? He turns the corner of one of the halls to find Slimer, this big green ecoplasmic blob of a paranormal specter. His jaw drops and his cigarette, lit, is hanging idly from his bottom lip. Yeah, that was me when I saw this thing run through my yard and into the woods. It was short, about three feet in height, (and I say “It” because it in no way resembled a human with the exception that it ran on two legs), it was brown in color, had torn and ragged clothing and ears that reminded me of the Gremlins. I didn’t really get to see it’s face, but I don’t recall seeing a tail, either. But whatever it was, it was on a mission to get somewhere in a hurry. I decided it was a side-affect of the medication, and that I would never speak of having seen this thing for fear of having a white van pull into my driveway to whisk me away in a shiny new white jacket.
Two, perhaps three weeks had passed, and even though I’d thought of this creature, and even went out side every day at the same time in the hopes that I would again catch a glimpse of it (if only in a vain attempt to prove my own sanity to myself) I still never spoke of it, nor did I see it again. Then one evening, I went to pick up my son from his friends house up the street. The teenager who lived next door to them brought up the subject of haunted houses (she was all doom and gloom, Gothed out and pierced, and planned to go and investigate one that weekend with a few of her friends). It was then that my neighbor, and son’s best friends’ mother turned to me and said, “You know what? You’re a witch, so I know you won’t think I’m crazy when I tell you this.” (Why does everyone think we believe every ‘Out there’ story we hear?) She went on to say that the week before, she had been driving down our road and was approaching our house when out of the woods across the street from my home jumped this strange looking thing. She said at first, she thought it was a Fischer Cat, but then realized quickly that they don’t run on two legs. She said it was brown, about two to three feet tall, and had these “Really long ears” that flopped around in the air as it ran from the woods, across the street and through my front yard to the back of the house where it disappeared.
I nearly wanted to jump for joy. I wasn’t crazy after all! (Well, maybe just a little, but not going ga-ga Shady Pines crazy). I’d intended to play it cool, like I didn’t know what she was talking about, but then I saw the look of complete confusion on her face. She wanted to know she too, wasn’t crazy, so I told her what I had seen only a few weeks prior. After this, that was it. I hit the library and scoured message boards on the internet as well as a few dozen websites, none of which were very helpful. I needed to know what this thing was. I felt defeated, and I was right back to where I’d began…confused. Maybe even a bit more so than I’d started. Then I had the thought of phoning one of my friends from England. I’d met him years ago (the guy who blamed the Fae for all his missing things) at a craft fair. He made his own paper and journals from natural materials and leathers scraps.
After talking with him, turns out that my neighbor and I had seen what could best be described as a goblin. Harmless for the most part, my friend said, but easily identifiable with the accompanying presence of frogs…and a lot of them. I thought about all the tree frogs and the army of frogs that would invade my back porch during each rain storm or drizzly day.
My research of elementals since has provided little information about the different varieties. I’ve acquired books by the masses of stories of other folks’ encounters, fairy tales based on encounters, the histories of some of the more famous ones, and how to “Work” with them and “Develop friendships” with them.
A word of caution, however when considering starting a “Friendship” with these beings. They are not our friends. Nor are they our enemies. They usually want nothing to do with us at all unless we have some benefit to them. I have since acquired a Bogart (shape shifter) who resides relatively peacefully in my home on the condition that he does not harm me, my children or my animals. But he certainly is not my friend. He can be destructive, sometimes, knocking pictures from the walls. Some evenings, while I’m lying on the couch relaxing, I’ll suddenly see a spider the size of a soccer ball scurry half way across the rug and then vanish. (I’m terrified of spiders.) Sometimes guests will here him grumbling and mumbling throughout the house (he prefers a quiet space as opposed to one with too many of us otherwise useless humans in it, crowding it up).
Elementals are temperamental, an it doesn’t take much to offend or tick them off. You may inadvertently step on a pine cone one left behind while walking through the back yard. You may have cut down the tree in which one called its home. Certainly never, ever relieve yourself in the out doors unless it is absolutely necessary, because that really seems to frost them, as does littering. But if you have found yourself the unsuspecting victim of bad luck that doesn’t seem to go away, it could very well be not a curse or hex from another witch (that is a possibility though) but the doing of an elemental or other spirit you somehow offended.
Offerings, whether you have the Luck O’ the Irish or the luck of a cockroach, should be made regularly to build a good working relationship (and when I say a “Working relationship” I don’t mean inviting them for tea) with these spirits. While you will want to keep a safe distance from them, just as they do you, you also will want them as allies when a spiritual or psychic attack of any kind comes your way, because they do have the power to influence those forces. Ever hear that expression, “You attract more bees with honey than you do vinegar?” The same principal applies here. If something of yours goes missing, bury a few coins wrapped in a brightly colored cloth (as opposed to shouting and yelling and demanding the return of your thing) and your missing item will quickly be “Found”. They like the exchange of goods, even if the exchange is unfair or one-sided. If you take something from nature, like flowers from the garden, acorns from the ground, pine cones from a tree, always….always be certain to leave something in return. (I usually drop a few pennies or nickels). Regular offerings of cider, spring water, wine, sandalwood (loose or burnt as a stick incense stuck in the ground), sage, lavender buds, bread or cakes, will make them very, very happy and certainly more inclined to “look out” for or protect the human that leaves them such wonderful, thoughtful things.
I make my offerings twice, sometimes three times a week. I place several of the things listed above in a brass offering plate I found at an antiques shop, invite them to partake in the feast, and ask for their peace and protection. I also apologize for anything I may have unknowingly done to offend them, and to take my offerings as a sign of acknowledgement of my wrong doings, and willingness to make it right between them and myself. I sit and meditate for a while until I feel good about the offerings I have made, and then I leave them there until the evening, in which I thank them for partaking in the feast and in joining me at the “table”. I thank them for their consideration, bid them farewell, and then bring what can be brought in back inside, such as the chalice after the wine has been poured onto the ground as a libation for the human spirits who too may have elected to join the feast. I also always make certain to leave any herbs, such as tobacco, sage, sandalwood or lavender by pouring them into the bushes or at the base of the trees. Any stick incense lit is left to burn out.
You might be wondering why you should do this several times weekly or monthly. It’s simple. Spirits are temperamental, and quick to acknowledge any wrong doing on our part, whether or not intended. We are human, and by extension, self-indulgent and inconsiderate at times, even when we think we are being considerate. ‘Tis better to be safe than sorry, just as it is better to be in the good graces of a spirit than its wrath.
It is also spiritually fulfilling for us while on our own spiritual journeys. It puts us in touch with ourselves as well as it does bring us a bit closer to nature. It teaches us the value of building better relationships, not just with the spirit world but with the people in our lives as well. After all, a baby cannot grow if it is not fed, just as a friendship, or relationship of any kind cannot grow if it too is not fed in some way.
Offerings need not be elaborate or even perfect, as spirits do take into account the effort that has been put forth. You do however want to research the herbs and other things you intend to offer, as one herb, bark or root that may be appealing to one spirit may be outrageously offensive to another, which is why I typically go with what is safe: Sandalwood, Lavender or tobacco.
You will see the more effort you make with your time in making offerings, your luck will begin to change. Abundance will begin to enter your life. Good people will begin to appear in your life lending a hand with something in your life you might need assistance with, as will the people who have been toxic to your life and spiritual growth will begin to fade out of the picture altogether. This is all the doing of happy spirits…. keep them happy, and good things will find their way to you…..