A Question of Faeries
My dearest Joli -
Today your Mommy told me you said "I'm never going to be a REAL fairy.." and that made you sad. I'm sorry that you were sad. It's hard sometimes when our life starts to feel a bit too ordinary, when the magic is quiet. I know that you are getting to the age where you are beginning to understand that a lot of the things we do at Faerieworlds, or any time really, is all for fun, it's fantasy, pretend, and theater, like in the movies.
But rest assured, that doesn't mean it isn't real. Yes, it's good to know that it's not ALL real (I mean, who would want scary ogres that might live under our bed to be real, right!? Although if a scary ogre lived under your bed he'd probably just play dollies in your little fort and forget to be scary.) Anyways, it's good to know the difference, and it's also good to not be quite sure where fantasy stops and real begins. Or maybe it's where real stops and make believe begins? Because even now, at my very old age, I am never quite sure where that change is. I think I know and then something new happens to me and I am surprised and happy to realize that there are lots of things that I thought were fantasy that might be real after all.
And even though we make up a lot of things about faeries, why do you think we make them up in the first place!? It's because we feel the real faerie things inside us, in our hearts. And we sense them outside us, in those magical places where the ordinary world meets the unknown edges of what is possible. When we make things up, we aren't doing it because it's not real, we're doing it to celebrate the world we know is possible, even if we can't fit it all inside our everyday lives.
So yes, I guess in some ways, granddaughter, you are not a "real fairy". I mean, the wings you put on when you play and pretend won't ever help you fly. You won't have all the magical abilities you see in the movies. But those aren't the important parts about being a faery anyway. Faeries, real faeries, are magical exactly because they live just beyond our ability to see them. (although sometimes we might, I have caught glimpses of them, rare but cherished glimpses) Real faeries can't be seen because they live just beyond what we understand and know. They live there because they protect the edges of our world from becoming dead and crumbling. By filling up the unknown spaces we can't usually reach, they are making it possible for the real world to get larger and more magical every day. Without the fae, we'd never have anything but what we already have, there would be nothing new to discover or search for, and that would be a very sad world to live in.
We don't really know if faeries are big or small (or maybe both or any size they want to be) or what they look like or what they eat or even if they have wings at all. If we knew that, we wouldn't have to use our hearts to imagine all the infinite possibilities of what faeries could be. Because we don't know for sure, we have the freedom to envision more amazing and ever expanding worlds and we create even more magic than if we already understood everything about the faerie realm. For example, what if I told you to make a toy, and I handed you a scissors and blue paper and three buttons and said that your toy had to be made with only those objects. Boring! What the faeries do is much better. They say "Make a world. And use EVERYTHING! Use your imagination, of course. And trees. And hugs. And pretty colors. And twirly skirts. And dark caves. And drums. And spirals. And tea parties. And stones. And singing. And shadows. And clouds. And everything, everything else you can possibly imagine!" Isn't that far better than just one way of knowing and seeing the faerie world? I think so. Because it means we aren't just seeing it, we're part of making it manifest.
You are a very special person, Joli, one who has the gift of living very near the edge where the human world brushes up against the faerie realm. The faeries have sought you out because they know that you have a very beautiful imagination and can imagine all sorts of wondrous things into being. You see, not everyone can do this. It is a very big and joyful responsibility to believe in the faeries. Because faeries, the real kind that we can't see, need belief to work their magic. Just like we humans need food and air and water and homes and warmth and all manner of things to be alive (we wouldn't be alive without those things, would we!), the fae need... well, they need all those things too, and they also need belief and dance and song and art and love and nature as well. (Hey, and people need all those things too!) So, every time you do any of those things, you are a very important adventurer who is protecting and building up the magic that keeps the world growing larger and more amazing every single second. This might not make you a real faery, but it makes you someone with a faery heart, and that's the most important part of being a faery.
I like to think that some day, when enough people grow a faery heart, like you, like your Mommy, like your Grammy, then maybe the edges between real and make believe will be strong enough to allow us to go back and forth at will. I believe that some people already have the ability to do that, but because much of the world is fragile and scared of things they don't understand or can't explain, isn't ready for that much believing, those who can travel between the worlds don't really talk about it too much.
Maybe some day you will be one of those travelers. I hope I'll be one too. I have felt very close sometimes. I've had real faery moments. They weren't glittery or fancy. They weren't anything I could explain very well about why there were real fae near. It was like walking past an opened door and feeling a faery wind blow through my hair, or like turning my head and seeing through a window into the unknown but then when I realized it was important, suddenly it was gone. Those moments are hard to describe, but they have changed my life always.
In the meantime, while we're busy doing the things we have to do in our world, I think we should continue to do as much as we can to listen and watch with our faery hearts open. I am ever so thankful that we are chosen by the faeries and by our own faery nature to live close to the edge where the two worlds meet. Remember that the edge isn't in a certain place, like your bedroom, or Faerieworlds, or the garden, or nature (although those are all places faeries love!), the edge is wherever we can feel the faeries near, and we catch a bit of their music floating on the air, and we stumble upon things that we can tell a faery must have left or touched. And sometimes we hear them whisper silly or inspiring things in our ear, things they want to share with us, with those of us who believe. Because magic is about faeries and humans both, and only people with a fae heart know how to listen.