In a recent Tumblr conversation, it was mentioned that it is a great shame that so little is said in our teaching about fairies. Indeed, if we exclude mentions of the Star Fairy, I think I can count on one hand the number of Madrian and Aristasian documents that mention them, and the only distinctive point of information of which I am aware is that the Filianic term for them is siani. That they are little acknowledged, however, does not make them unimportant.
Today, on our way home from the park, my three-year-old son asked to stop and pick a flower for his mother, which has become a common occurrence in the last couple of weeks. On this occasion, however, I told him to go choose one from the meadow and then wait until I told him what to do next. He bravely charged into the tall grass, placed his hand on the stem of a bright purple bloom, and then dutifully held his position.
“Now,” I said, “you need to ask the fairies if it is okay for you to take it.”
“Okay I take it?” he repeated, and then, without a moment’s hesitation, he grinned and nodded, “Oh, yes!”
At this stage, the ritual is mere formality. As he gets older, however, and grows in awareness and patience, my hope is that this little acknowledgement will teach him how to listen. I was an adult undertaking the study of Druidry before I learned that one can, indeed, slow down enough to hear the response of a tree, or a flower, or a stone—that there is an awareness that most modern people (at least in Europe and North America) have never cultivated, but which can still hear our Mother’s echoed laughter, bright and conscious and alive, in the being of each thing that exists. I have had trees offer their leaves or fruits for some good work, or refuse a request for good reasons; I have even had them offer unsolicited advice.
One can say one is talking to trees, or perhaps one prefers to think of it simply as making silence and stillness for the still, small voice within to speak. It really makes little difference to the grander point, which is that the effort at this awareness—this ability to simultaneously turn deeply within and open oneself wholly without—builds one’s capacity to discern. At three years old, my son can listen for the wishes of the fairies who tend a flower and it may seem a small thing, but that same skill, well-honed when he is thirty, will hear the wishes of his own heart. Fortunate indeed is the maid who can do this deceptively unsimple thing.
Thus may it seem that a small matter prepares for a greater, but I do not really believe that to be true. Our Lady assures us that “not a … grain of sand shifts in the desert reflecting not some spiritual truth; neither does a star fall in the farthest corner of the cosmos without an inward meaning.” (1 Teachings 11:28–9) What, then, can it mean to pluck a flower that has not greeted springtime with austerity (3:8)? There is a world of gravity in the plucking of a flower—the death of what is beautiful and visible in order to reveal what is invisible and still more beautiful—that I can only truly conceive in the sadness of the little fairy who grieves the blossom she has tended, but who gives it freely that the heartbeat of a child may be completed in expression.
When we get home, I watch my wife’s face as she receives the gift, and it seems to me that she is a flower, or is, perhaps, revealed as a far-strewn petal of that rose we lately honoured at the summer’s height. She takes the tiny stem from a tiny hand and leaves it on the altar at our Lady’s feet, where it lies dead at the very fount of Life. Yet I perceive it now alive as I cannot imagine, and all worldly life seems death beside what has been thrice-offered in this way.
I have no clever flourish to conclude this—no subtle turn or clinching argument. I have only the image of a fairy, sparkling in tears that run in sorrow and in joy as she yields up her treasure to a giant hand that is yet small by any other measure, but which will yield it in turn to a greater, and thence the Greatest still, that it may be placed again at the very centre of that fairy’s being—the place within herself that she had always longed to take it, but could not while it yet lived.
I have only this image to which my words can do no justice, and that is exactly why the siani are important.
Edit (22 July 2017): Thanks to @hearthshrine for digging up the reference for the term “siani”.