|The Fairies (The Elves and the Sylphs)|
The fairies are subtle spirits of air, the element with the highest vibration. It is said they live in forests or on top of mountains. They take human forms but only for a short period of time. They are volatile and changeable just like the element that they represent.
The wind is their special vehicle. They are operating with the gaseous substances and ethers on the Earth. They have wings, resembling the cherubs. Because of their connection with the air, which is associated to the mental aspect, one of their jobs is to help people to receive divine inspiration in all domains, especially in the artistic one.
Rudolf Steiner says about them: “The plant which grows in this way, surrounded in the dream of the undines, enters now in a new domain, the one of the spirits of air and warmth”. The ancient spirituality named these spirits of air, sylphs. They are also known under many other names.
The sylphs’ own surrounding is the air and warmth, but the air being impregnated from all directions by light, with all their forces they tend towards this, uniting with it until a certain point. They are very sensitive to changes and movements of a subtle nature, but of a high range, that happen in the atmosphere. The soar of the swallows, which we see in the spring or autumn, marking the air, are spreading in the air a powerful vibration. This stream of air born in this way, not only by each bird, but by the entire atmosphere which surrounds them, is perceived by the sylphs as sonority. What they hear appears like a” music of the spheres”. Also the soaring and playing of the swallows around a ship that advances on the sea, emanates for them a spiritual sound, a spiritual music. The sylphs live in this sound. The vibration of the air is their homeland. Absorbing the sonority produced by the currents of air, they are impregnated by the forces of light, by everything the light transmits to the air. The sylphs, more or less immersed in a state of sleepiness, feel a state of thankfulness to the approach of the flying birds. When they are destitute from this presence, they seem to lose their sense of orientation, they feel lost.
Because they lighten their self from the exterior light, the sylphs can be the bearers of cosmic love. They are the messengers of desires and longing, and of thoughts of love from the universe.
If we were to ask a bird who taught it to sing, the bird would say that the sylphs are its inspirers. These spirits of the air need to bring to plants not only light, but also love. Therefore, the light in the plant is the force of the sylphs. The substances ascend in the plants, are prepared by the undines and transformed by the sylphs with the help of light, in this way selecting the ideal, archetypal plant. Just like the spirits of fire have as correspondent the world of insects, to the spirits of air are associated the world of the birds.
The birds that die have as mission to transport their spiritualised substance to the superior worlds, abstracted to the earth. For this, the birds need the help of the sylphs. These roam this astral substance in all directions, fly through it, float, in a way they offer themselves and collect the last breath of the dying birds. Animated by a burning nostalgia, they carry this substance towards the sky, offering it to the angels.
The clairvoyant participates in these moments to a grandiose show: while the bird gives out its last breath, this bright inner astral substance rises in the air. The sylphs, like some bluish flash of lightning, absorb it, the blue turns then into green, then into red. Then it rises, with the speed of a lightning, towards the high spheres. Up there it becomes subtle substance that the angels are breathing.
Their impulse for the human beings is: “Live with joy, creating the breath of existence.”
Also, about them they say: “We inhale the vital force of air, which fills us with the love of being”.
Everywhere in the world, old people testify on frequent meetings with these mysterious beings, similar to humans, but smaller. In the ancient times they had an active role in the everyday life of humans, and it was valuable preserving friendship with them. In the tribal societies, and in all the regions of the world where civilization hasn’t reached yet, the existence of fairies and of other spirits of nature is unanimously accepted, there having different methods of contacting them. Whilst the connections between people and nature (and implicitly her spirits) have weakened, it looks like the race of the little fairies has withdrawn to more wild and less populated regions of the planet.
Dr. Ingram, a famous preacher who died at the age of 103, in 1879, is said that he chased away the last fairies from the Shetland Islands, forcing them to move to the Faeroe Islands. John Nicholson, the author of a collection of stories and legends from Shetland, has this information from a habitant of the island, which at his turn found it out from an old fairy lady, who was too weak and too stubborn to leave together with the others.
A widely spread theory related to the elves and fairies was suggested by David MacRitchie, in 1890. He proposed that the mysterious Fin nation, known in the traditions from north of Scotland (the elves), as well as the other “spirits of nature” are reminiscences of the finish nation or of the Eskimos, or of other short aborigine races, which never disappeared , but withdrawn into ancient tumulus and to undergrounds in far places. This theory would be plausible in certain cases, but it does not explain the appearance of the majority of fairies. Another suggestion was given by reverend Sabine Baring-Gould, a folklorist from the XIX century. In his childhood, while he was sitting in the sun on his father’s cart, he used to see fairies running and playing amongst horses. He told him about what he saw, but he took him into the cart, where the sun rays were not reaching, and his vision got washed-out. He made the little boy think that the appearance of the fairies was caused by the sun or by the light. Though, neither this assumption is justifying completely why different people saw the fairies under the same form; his explanation was that usually children see fairies under the forms that they know from stories and their illustrations. According to Baring-Gould’s theory, in numerous cases the vision of a strange light appeared. An example is the story related to W.Y. Evans-Wentz, an expert of the Celtic and Tibetan traditions, by T.C. Kermode, a member of the parliament from the Isle of Man. He was walking in an autumn night, accompanied by a young man from the area, when his companion looked towards the river and said: “Look, the fairies! Have you seen them before?” Kermode looked and he saw “a circle of supernatural light, about which now they know that is astral light or the Light of Nature, as it is called by the mystics, and in which the spirits become visible.”
In the circle of light he saw coming in groups of two-three” a great crowd of small beings dressed in red. They were moving forward and backwards in the circle of light.” When Kermode’s friend shouted and moved his stick, the fairies disappeared.
Other appearances though, can’t be explained by this theory of Baring-Gould. We will tell you now about such a meeting.
All children believe in fairies, and this maybe because, they can truly see them. But if they can take a photo of them, serious controversial situations can appear.
In this kind of case were two little English girls, at the end of the First World War. Few days before the end of the first world conflagration, Francis Griffiths, a little English girl who was 11 years old, was writing to her friend, Johanna, who was living in South Africa, the following epistle:
“Dear Jo, hope you’re well. I wrote you another letter some time ago, which probably got lost, because I did not receive any answer from you. Are you still playing with Elsie and Nora Biddles? Now at school I am learning French, geometry, algebra, and also I take household lessons.
Last week dad came come. He was gone to France for two months. Here everyone says the war will be over soon, and then we will hang a curtain to our room’s window.
I send you two pictures of mine. First one was taken by my uncle, Arthur: I’m in swimming costume, in the back yard of our house. The other one was taken by Elsie: there are some fairies on the shore of a river. Rosebud is fat as usual, but we made her some new clothes. How is Teddy and Dolly?”
It would have been a simple letter, sent by a schoolgirl to her friend, if it was not for that strange comment about the fairies in the photo.
As the two girls admitted later, for them it was not something really surprising to see and to take pictures of fairies: the fairies were part of their life as children; their meeting place was exactly that tiny village, Cottingley, close to Bradford in Yorkshire. On the back of the picture, Frances wrote: “the fairies from the river became our friends, meaning Elsie’s and mine. What is not understandable for me is that while we were staying in South Africa we have not seen any, maybe is too warm for them there.”
The history of this picture is now well known; it made a lot of ink to pour in those times. In an afternoon in July, in 1918, Elsie and her sister borrowed their father’s camera. They wanted to take pictures to send to their cousins. The day almost ended without any incident, apart from when Frances fell in the river and wetted her clothes.
In the evening, Mister Arthur Wright, the father of the two girls, has developed the film. Was surprised to notice on the cliché there were certain white forms which seemed quite strange. Elsie was saying that those are fairies, but Mister Wright did not take it in consideration.
In august, the same year, it was Frances’ turn to take pictures of her sister on the shore of the lake. And again the father of the children discovers the cliché of some white forms of some elves. Convinced that the girls wanted to play up on him, Mister Wright prohibits them to use the camera.
And still, Arthur Wright and his wife Polly were intrigued by these events. They were looking in the girls’ room and also on the shore of the river for some traces of the children’s staging. But they didn’t find anything. Elsie and Frances continued to sustain that they saw the fairies which they took pictures of. What could be more natural for a child than a fairy?
Then after a while, the family started to show the pictures to friends. Everyone got very enthusiastic, but they quickly forgot about it.
Next summer, Polly Wright was assisting at a reunion of the Theosophical Society in Bradford. She gets interested in occultism and several types of ectoplasm. In that evening the theme of the discussion was “The life of the Fairies”. During the gathering, Polly tells to a few people that her daughters took some pictures of the curious creatures. The news gets spread out. At the Theosophical Congress, which takes place shortly after, the pictures were circulating amongst the members of this esoteric society. From here starts truly “The story of the fairies from Cottingley”. The world which was going through a world war, was now talking about a picture of fairies. Meanwhile, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the maker of the famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, was preparing an article about fairies which was to appear in the Strand Magazine. The writer was passionate about spirits and about paranormal phenomena. When he heard talking about these photos, he was trying to get hold of them no matter what. Sir Oliver Lodge, one of the pioneers of psychology from Great Britain, told Arthur Conan Doyle that is nothing else but some “dancers in fairy costumes” and that the clichés are false. Another specialist in the domain of the paranormal phenomena remarked that the fairies had a slightly too Parisian hairstyle in order to be true. But all these comments were not made based on the original photos. It has been remarked that the figures were moved: another argument for those who believed in the authenticity of fairies, which would have been alive in the moment of the shooting. The experts of Kodak declared that not even one very skilful person could have faked the clichés in this manner.
Obviously, Edward Gardner, finding the Wright family as being a respected family, was the one who triumphed: the fairies were the evidence of the existence of the “spirits of nature”.
And in order to reduce to silence his detractors, Gardner wishes to take new photos. In august, 1920, he gives to Elsie and Frances a camera. Meanwhile, Conan Doyle published his article in the Strand Magazine, promising to illustrate his affirmations as a new series of clichés. On the day the article appeared, the newspaper was exhausted in a few hours. The reactions were accusing Conan Doyle of “trying to pervert the children’s imagination with such absurdities.”
In 1921, Frances and Elsie are taking again photos of the fairies. Gardner gave to them two more cameras and they were marked, in order to stop any chances of falsifying the clichés.
And here are the two little girls aiming to take photos of the fairies. Will they succeed? Will this time the fairies be as beautiful like last time? This time an entire world is waiting for them.
This time the photos were even more convincing than the first ones, in such measure that the writer, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle became the enthusiastic defender of the fairies in the ample press investigation which started on this occasion. In the Strand magazine, Doyle was writing long articles about the return of the fairies, although he had to face a strong opposition from the sceptics, who attacked him in a witty mocking campaign.
In this way, the sensational is reduced to silence. True or not, the story falls into being forgotten until the 1970s, when the journalists discover Frances and Elsie grandmothers.
In an interview given in 1976, Frances firmly denied that the photos have been falsified, more than that, she reaffirmed that in their childhood, both of them were playing with the fairies, close to a lake near the village, and that this was not at all an extraordinary thing.
Fairies produce the most extraordinary transformations and satisfy or dispel in a second the most burning wishes. Many times they are considered being messengers between worlds (physical and astral). They are gifted with the power of magic. Materialisation of objects, telekinesis, instantaneous journeys in the physical level or in the subtle realms through temporal phallic, and these are only a few out of the initiations that the prepared one can receive through the fairies.
Associated to air, the elves are of Nordic origin, and are the correspondents of the fairies. It is said they tend to dance on fields, lands, forests, during the night, seeming to call people to join them. They are described as being little as dimension, delightful, fickle, and ethereal. They rouse dreams of love and passion, full of candour. They have a great power of fascination and the power to open hidden gates, of passing from one universe into another. It is necessary to manifest a good self control and spirit of discernment in order to maintain a harmonious connection with these entities of the air element.
Another narration connected to the fairies refers to the year 1998. Then, with the occasion of an exposition of the Maux museum by Douglas (on the Isle of Man), the last speakers of the Celtic Maux dialect have been recorded. An old blacksmith, who never left his village, was complaining that since this Celtic dialect has not been used, people stopped seeing fairies as they used to in the past. He himself recognized that he has not seen them for over 30 years.
Maurice Magre says in his book – The key of hidden things: “The legends always speak about the dances of the fairies of the forest or the gnomes of the Earth; all those who have been permitted to see the Spirits of Nature, tell that they have a joyful nature. Nature perfects her work in joy, feeling which predominates whilst the consciousness develops into superior dimensions. The germinations and the blooms are the works of joy. The penetration of the roots, the ascending of the saps, and the growing of the leaves are felt affectively by the soul of the tree, like a euphoric expansion and this happiness has communicative virtues. It can be transmitted to the human being, if he can find a contact point between the vegetative happiness and his own heart.”
He adds:” In those times when the forests were quiet, and the vegetation was freely developing, the live quintessence of the trees was materialising and could become visible for some people who got to see clearly the more subtle worlds which surround us. All primitive people talk about these shy, kind creatures who are the spirits of Nature. The nymphs, dryads or the fairies are this kind of beings, but we got used to consider them purely mythological. “
An illustrative example way of communication with the Spirits of Nature, but also with the angelic entities is given by Peter Caddy, his family and their friend, Dorothy MacLean. They have founded the community in Findhorn, and the messages transmitted to them by the spirits of nature have been published in three volumes: The Gardens from Findhorn, The magic from Findhorn and the Findhorn Spirit, at the Harper&Row publishing house.
The Findhorn community remains a real proof of the fact that the angelical entities and spirits of Nature exist, and that they can cooperate with human beings who invoke them in order to give birth to some tangibly true miracles, even in the physical world.
From the book “The Game of God” by Adela-Nicoleta Simbotin