I had a wonderful time at Spoutwood Fairie Festival yesterday. Good friends, fairies everywhere, a gorgeous site, fantastic performers, perfect weather (overcast but not rainy or cold – comfortable temperatures and no sunburn), even some decent food. I went with my dear friend Maebius, my even dearer friend Mrs. Maebius (who is officially my oldest friend – I haven’t known anyone longer that I’m not actually related to), and their brilliant and charming son Maebius Junior.
Spoutwood is a very special site. It’s an organic farm that is obviously loved and cherished, and it loves and cherishes back. There’s not a whole lot of land like that around anymore. All land is sacred, and it all responds to love. Spoutwood has been loved enough that it happily welcomes everyone. I felt happy as soon as I got there, and it wasn’t just the good company or the entertaining festival. I’ve been to plenty of places where good people and fun all happened, but Spoutwood added extra joy of its own.
The festival itself was fairly typical of this sort of thing – many vendors, most of whom I recognized from other festivals (I think there must be three or four of Father Dunn – he gets all over the place.) I’m too poor and too cheap to think of doing too much shopping, but I did buy a lovely and inexpensive bronze stag pendant for myself. I wanted an eagle, for Lugh, (since I already have a large and permanent stag talisman with me at all times for Gwyn) but there were no eagles to be found and I really loved the stag – it has this kind of Scythian thing going on, and you don’t see that very often.
I went to the festival determined to hear something from Lugh, since it’s Beltaine and he’s come back into ascendancy (I think my whole “I wanna be a writer!” post was influenced by that.)* I asked him to send me some kind of sign at the festival. I was thinking it would be something like finding some really nice art piece or finding some unexpected inspiration, but I know better than to second-guess stuff like that and was just happy to take whatever would come.
Late in the day, my friend Anne (who did a fantastic job as leader of the Mountain Tribe, I say parenthetically) and I went to hear a talk by Andrew Steed, who was giving a talk on “Walking Between Worlds: Celtic Path to Remembering.” This sounded pretty, um, relevant to our interests, so we were ready and waiting when he showed up. When he showed up dressed head to toe, mask and all, as Lugh. So I listened very carefully to him. It was a good talk – he’s an excellent storyteller – but I was especially interested to learn that he does workshops and classes and guides pilgrimages and such. He’s based near enough that I could potentially attend such a workshop.
He’s got one coming up on “Finding and Working with Faerie in Your Own Backyard.” Now, I’m intrigued by this because, first, I feel like I’ve gotten a pretty heavy sign that I just might be able to learn something from this guy, and second, because hey, backyard faeries. Except… except I have to ask myself, why would I need to take a class in finding faeries in my backyard? They’re all over the place. I don’t need to pay some guy to teach me about faeries, I can just go ask the fairies themselves if I’ve got any questions. They’re generally really good about answering questions when I can’t figure something out.
This is one question I’ve been mulling over for a while, actually. I’ve said here before that I would really like a (human) teacher to help me along the path, but all the teachers I get are nonhuman. I get really good instruction from fairies and gods and guardians and such. Why would I need a human to tell me anything?
So, naturally, I asked a fairy. I asked Otter, do I need to learn more about working with fairies from some human? He said, “You’re great at talking to fairies. It’s one of the things you’re best at. Fabulous at it. Really, if there were prizes for being able to talk to us, you’d get it.
What you’re lousy at is talking to humans. You are actually almost completely incapable of talking about Faery to anyone who isn’t either invisible or a cat. So, work it out for yourself. What could you possibly have to learn from some glib, charismatic storyteller? Oh, I just couldn’t imagine…”
So I might be going to a Faery workshop on midsummer’s day. Depends on a variety of factors, but it’s on the planning horizon.
* After writing that post, on Friday, May 1st, I went to the bookstore to get a book about writing. I found most of the “how to be a writer” books to be really wrong for me – lots of stuff about “freeing your inner writer” or “getting over the fear of writing” or other such unhelpful (to me) concepts. My inner writer is plenty free enough. It’s the outer writer I want to develop. I finally found my book when I opened up “Writing Metrical Poetry” by William Baer and saw “All poets, of course, wish to be artists, but all art begins with craft, and this book is about the craft of writing poetry…” and I knew I’d found my book. I read up through chapter 3 (“The Quatrain”) and am now composing quatrains in my head left and right. Soon I will sit down and craft one for real. I knew I was getting something from it when I read the first line of a novel and said to myself, “hey, that’s iambic pentameter!” Never would have noticed that before.