I am usually more hesitant to write about that side because I worry that people will focus on the good and ignore the warnings to their own detriment, and also because even the good side of this work has a certain alluring enchanting quality that can consume a person. I have said before, after my 2016 experience at the Sidhe of Cruachan, that I will never be wholly in this human world again because part of me perpetually and painfully longs for the shining, golden hall I saw there.
Everyone's connection and relationship to the Good Folk is different and I do not think I am in any way a model for others to base their own path on. I share so that people may feel less alone if they do see similarities in what I do or perhaps take inspiration for their own practices. That said I think it's important to be clear about my own position in the context of the rest of what I'm going to say because I absolutely don't want people measuring themselves against me or my experiences in any way. I have been doing this for nearly my entire life and have been seriously engaged with this work for many years. I have a fairy familiar (or he has me) and I belong to a fairy queen, in the early modern witchcraft sense of those concepts. Tá mé eachlach Aoibheall. Is é mo obair saoil sin, an saol seo agus an saol eile.
The positive things for me that have come from these years of work and relationship building - at least the ones I can publicly discuss - are many, and range from educational to healing.
- In 2012 they saved my life by intervening during an anaphylactic reaction so that someone would call 911 when I wasn't. I have told this story before but the short version was I was having a serious reaction to something I now have an epi pen for but in the moment I made the choice to go to bed. My spouse was awakened when what he described as a palm sized white moth flew into his face then disappeared when he turned the light on to look at it. I then admitted I was in trouble and he called paramedics.
- I have been taught many things by them, usually in dreams. I was given two different recipes, one for little cakes and one for something like a pasty, both proved to be not only edible but tasty when cooked. I've been taught about herbs I was unfamiliar with and the information was always confirmed when checked later, as well as being given magical practices. I've also been given several charms or songs in Irish, including one longer lullabye and a shorter healing chant.
- They got my attention as I was leaving my house and drew me over to an outlet just before a plug caught fire, allowing me to immediately intervene and save my home.
- They helped me find my way back to other people when I was lost
- When I was sick in Iceland they healed me. In 2018 I was helping co-lead a tour in Iceland and while we were in Akureyri I became ill; fevers, body aches, chills, all that fun stuff that is the last thing you want to happen in a foreign country. I went out during the day and ended up following a trail of mushrooms and fairy rings until I wandered into a very strange place. I spent some time there, just talking to the Hidden Folk. That night I awoke from an uneasy sleep to see three figures standing around my bed. Instead of being alarmed I felt very calm as if this was perfectly normal. I went back to sleep and when I woke up the next morning I was fine and remained fine for the rest of the trip.
- They healed my daughter's back. She was diagnosed with scoliosis and was being monitored as the curve worsened. She was a few degrees away from needing a back brace to address the issue, which I was extremely worried about because she has sensory processing issues and I knew that would be difficult for her to go through. At her next appointment her back was straight, baffling the doctor.
These are perhaps a handful of ways that having a good connection to the Fair Folk can manifest in a positive way in a person's life, although I think they will be different for everyone. But when people ask why is this worth doing, that is what comes to my mind. Because they teach me useful things and they protect me and they healed my daughter.
Ideally I think that fairy amity is possible and essential for certain types of witchcraft. At its most basic being on good terms with the Good Neighbours means understanding what they expect from a human and what will offend them. Respect their places, and what belongs to them. Give them what is their due, which includes the first of any alcohol, a bit of milk, and whatever food falls to the floor (as I was taught anyway). Don't say thank you but show your gratitude with your actions.
A closer working relationship is also vital for those predicating their witchcraft on these spirits. This is achieved through the slow building of relationships and allies among the Othercrowd and a careful respect for Them. I usually recommend beginning by reaching out to and connecting with one's house spirits/fairies and those beings that are most connected to where you live and therefore generally most inclined towards interacting with humans in a positive way. This can be done by giving them their own space in your home and acknowledging their presence. The next step, in my opinion, is to reach out to a fairy being that is willing to act as your guide or friend; this process can be as involved as making a human friend. You may use journey work or meditation, or verbally ask out loud, or even ask your house spirits for assistance once that relationship is established. This is also the point at which its really, really important to have a good understanding of fairy etiquette, be able to distinguish a fairy from a different type of spirit, and know the basics of making deals with them.
Beyond that we get into the level of deeply personal connections, service, and a relationship which transcends what is usually discussed or understood in these contexts. This degree is too personal, in my opinion, to dig into here and I think would truly be unique for each person. You go where you're meant to go.
On any level a good relationship with these beings should look like a good relationship with your human neighbours and friends or family. Respect their boundaries and their rules, give good gifts, know when to ask and when to be silent. Keep your word, always, and don't lie to them ever. Don't make any agreement you won't or can't keep and understand that breaking an oath or going back on your given word will have consequences. Appreciate the goodness that comes to you from them, but don't brag or boast about what they gift you with, any more than you would (should) with the same equivalent concept from humans. And ultimately once you build that trust with them trust them and let them help you move forward.