Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland
Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland
Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland

The Holly King

Winter Solstice 2008

Snow flakes large enough for fairies to ride float leisurely through the air to rest on bare alder branches, fir boughs, and of course my head. Snow is unusual enough here on the Oregon Coast that in my excitement I rushed out the door without regard to hat or gloves, only hurriedly donning a jacket under which to shelter the camera.The deer have already come down the path. There are three sets of tracks so it must have been the doe and her two young ones, who will come to the door looking for their daily apple treats soon.

The deer will have to wait; I am on a quest to catch the Holly King, God of the Waning Year, in a regal white robe.The end of his reign nears; at Yule, the Winter Solstice, his brother the Oak King, the Sun King, God of the waxing year, will be born and the rule of the Holly King overthrown. Rebirth, growth, hope, new beginnings are poised to arrive with the Turning of the Year, but I have barely settled into the rest, inner reflection, and learning the time of the Holly King brings. Am I ready to let him go? At least I want to capture his image.

The holly and the ivy
When they are both full grown
Of all the trees that are in the wood
The holly bears the crown.

A song we're familiar with, but this adaptation of the chorus perhaps not:

Oh, the rising of the sun
And the running of the deer
The shining of the winter stars
As the longer days draw near.

The Holly King has been leading us to this point since the Summer Solstice, when he began stealing a little more light from each day. Now the days have shriveled to a bare flicker. The sun sets in the middle of the afternoon and frozen nights are endless. Yes, this is an opportunity for quiet, inner reflection but it feels more as though we have been left huddling in the dark with the outlines of skeleton trees, no flowers, and only the heartiest of birds darting thankfully to the feeders. Has the sun abandoned us to the night?

Welcome to the Winter Solstice, where the dark triumphs - but only for a moment. This is a turning point; the reign of the Holly King will end, the days will grow longer again, as the Oak King, who brings the light, is quietly born from the womb of the dark night. At his birth, he is only a small spark, but we have known in our bones since always that light, no matter how tiny, means life.

And so we have magical tales of shining stars, of bright angels, of the birth of hope and new beginnings to sustain us through the fierce storms of January, yet to come.The fires we light on the hilltops, the Yule logs set ablaze in our homes are more than a ritual of ignorant people to appease the gods and bring back the sun. We string lights on our homes, our mantles, and the tree in our living room as a recognition of the fire of spirit, the light in our hearts, and as a statement of survival - the ultimate hope that I have, inside of me, the fire and the light to continue life. That my own internal light may call forth the light of the universe to bless my life, my family, my people. That I may walk through the gateway of night and find, once more, the sun.

In lighting the fires, in stringing the lights, we do more than stave off the darkness, even more than honor the sun. We also stand with fierce courage to say to the darkness, You may come this far but no further! We have given the darkness its due, we have watched it leach the light from our lives for as long as we had to; now the long night is over, we can tentatively bring our own lights back from hiding, and let the new days begin.

This Turning of the Year, the returning of the light, this most hopeful of all days,has been celebrated across cultures and throughout millennia so, however you choose to participate, you will be part of an ancient tapestry. Whether you float old ideas and sorrows out to sea on paper mache boats with candles, make a Yule wreath to honor the sacred circle of life, death and rebirth, find a Yule log and burn it in your fireplace, or join the Fairies in ringing bells on Solstice morning to welcome back the sun, remember that this is a festival of inner rebirth. No matter how dark it seems, how completely dead the world appears, nature - including the holly and the ivy and the oak - teaches us that there is always rebirth.

Posted on: 2009-01-03 Comments (0) Add comment

If this is your first visit, please read this.

January 17, 2009
Beginning a blog is a little like entering in the middle of a conversation or ten chapters into a story. There’s so much that has gone before that acts as foundation for the words now finding their way to the page, but no quick way to share that history. Maybe the past tracks are not necessary here. This space is intended to be about events and thoughts at an intersection between two worlds: 1) The Enchanted World of Fairy Woodland, located at Woodland Springs, on the Yaquina River, just a few miles from the wild NW Pacific Ocean; and 2) The Realm of Faerie, which exists at the edge of Woodland Springs  (and many other places but that’s for another time), in a slightly different dimension, separated by a veil of mist but accessible through certain gateways.

The Fairies visit us more often than we have managed to step through to wander in their realm. In the full moon light, on especially misty mornings around solstices or equinoxes, on special holidays like Beltane or Samhain, the usually hidden doorways are a bit more evident but, even then, we still need an invitation and a Fairy guide. On a gloriously sunny day in January (a rare occurrence on the Oregon Coast), our Fairy friends are much more likely to come and play in our world than to invite us into theirs.

Even the deer seem to be wandering elsewhere today. They usually come for their daily meal of grain mixed with molasses by 9 or 10 A.M. but it’s now early afternoon and they still haven’t made an appearance. I was hoping they might have a few words to contribute to the blog but perhaps the Fairies needed deer magic elsewhere today and lured them away. I suspect that may be the case because I hear Fairy voices calling to me as well – a day as unequivocally gorgeous as this one deserves to have companionship. This is not a day to spend indoors. The Fairy voices are calling me to an afternoon stroll through the woods – I don’t know anyone who could resist such a summons so will close this commentary for today and look forward to telling you about the walk tomorrow.

Posted on: 2009-01-17 Comments (0) Add comment

If this is your first visit, please read this.

January 27, 2009

The rain scuttles sideways across the meadow, so dense at times the trees on the other side of the river are merely shadow in mist. The sun has been shining brightly for days, so a day of rain like this is a welcome treat; when it continues for a week or more, there’s a temptation to pull the covers over your head until it’s over. Fortunately, this time, it’s only a day or two before the sun is scheduled to return.

I’m always struck by how different a walk in the woods is in the rain. The mosses and lichens all wake up, wriggle their tendrils, and happily slurp the drops that balance on their points. No matter how softly I walk, every step makes me feel like Paul Bunyan, creating a new lake with each footfall. Standing under the sheltering bows of a fir tree offers a moment of relative dryness – until the breeze shakes loose a waiting shower. Enjoying the fire and watching the rain through windows is definitely a good idea.

This is wonderful thinking and dreaming weather in the quiet time of year here at Woodland Springs. The alders and maples, even the great fir trees are in deep slumber and, although the deer, porcupine, and many birds still visit each day, their energy seems muted, as though a part of them dreams deep in the Earth with the trees on the root roads.
I used to label my feelings this time of the year as "depression" until the Fairies took me on a dream journey deep into the heart of the Otherworld and showed me the Faerie Quiet Way. I was led down wooded pathways and, on every bush and tree I saw, at least one Fairy slept, curled around a mound of seeds. I had been told not to speak so I held my questions until my guide brought me back to my side of the veil, but then I could no longer contain myself. “What are they all doing?” I asked. “I’ve never seen so many Fairies, so still!”

For once, Light That Listens seemed wiling to answer a question directly, something Fairies rarely do. “They are each dreaming with the seeds of their plants,” she told me. “Gently infusing them with the encouragement they will need to wake up and sprout when Spring comes to call them.”

And, also for once, what a Fairy told me made sense. I wonder what seeds I have tucked away that need a little dream nurturing. What as yet un-sprouted ideas and projects will Spring call forth from me? What a good excuse for an afternoon nap!

Posted on: 2009-01-27 Comments (0) Add comment

If this is your first visit, please read this.

Purring. Stroking is good. Behind ears. Now other ear. Under chin. Make Flying Thing go away. [It's not a "Flying Thing," Freya, it's a Fairy. Please be more respectful. And she wants to play with you.] Yawn. Stretch. Scratch belly now. Stretch claws.

Flying thing - Ok, Ok, Fairy - sits on shoulder. Wings twitch. Interesting. Like bird. Ok, play. Crouch. Pounce. [Where did it go, Freya?]  Leap to floor and look. Fairy zooms into slit where stacks of paper live. Paw at opening, want to make opening bigger. Hop on chair, paw at top of opening. Squeeze head in. Fall off chair into round wood thing with crumpled papers and banana peel. [I’m sorry, Freya, I didn’t mean to laugh so hard. It’s just that you look pretty funny sitting in the waste basket.] Crawl out, leap to pillow on window ledge. Nap. Don't like Flying Things.

Posted on: 2009-01-28 Comments (1) Add comment

If this is your first visit, please read this.

Oh Wow! Oh Wow! I can talk to real people? Really really, really? Small humans? Children? Actual children? Really? Oh Wow, Oh Wow! OK, calm down. I should calm down. Stop hopping up and down. Come down and stop twirling on the ceiling fan. Breathe.

Hi. I'm Twinkey. I'm what humans call a Fairy. I live in the part of the Faerie Realm that touches Woodland Springs. That's where my friends at Fairy Woodland live. I like to ride dragonflies, my favorite food is blackberries, and my favorite sport is maple seed tossing. (Maple seeds are flat and look like ariplane propellers and we toss them like frisbees.) Anyway, I'm really, really excited about writing here.

I wrote a letter to ask human children to write to me so I could learn more about being a human kid. I made lots of copies and snuck the letter into mailboxes that Fairy Woodland sent out.This is what it looked like. (My favorite snack is there, too.)

When I got a few letters back I was MEGA excited! I wrote back to Livia and Martha and Auna and Jason and Kaiya and lots of others and they wrote back to me and more kids wrote to me and I tried to answer them all and, and . . . . well, I got a little buried.

That's the front door to my house. I got kind of overwhelmed and hid in the woods for a while. Then one day I saw a squirrel carrying nuts to his hole in a tree. I think he was moving. Anyway, he took a nut from a hole in a tree, ran and jumped across a bunch of other trees and stuck the nut in a new hole in a different tree. And he did it over and over, one nut at a time. It took him almost all day but he got every single nut moved. That squirrel taught me that, when I really feel overwhelmed, if I just do one thing at a time and keep at it, then sooner or later I'll get everything done.

So i came back to Fairy Woodland to deal with all the letters. Bridget said she was very proud of me for coming back and that she might even be able to find someone to help me with my correspondence. I've started answering the letters that were waiting for me and I intend to answer them all. If you've written to me and haven't heard back from me, I promise you will. And it has really been fun reading all the letters kids have written me. I just love hearing about what it's like to be a human kid. 

Oh, and Erika, I think it's great that you want to make furniture for me but please don't use nails. Nails are made of iron and Fairies are really, really allergic to that. I break out with hives and my skin feels all creepy crawley. Use glue. But I'll tell you that when I answer your letter, too. 

I guess that's all for today. I want to keep on but Bridget says I have to stop now. I'll blog (that's what I'm doing! I'm a Fairy Blogger!!) again soon.

(Bridget says I don't have to sign a blog 'cause it's under my name so everyone knows it's me but I like to sign things anyway.)

Posted on: 2009-01-29 Comments (0) Add comment
Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland
Fairy houses, hobbit houses, fairy calendars and fairy doors for your garden or home decor by Fairy Woodland
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