The tree peepers were vocal for the first time last night. That led me into the woods to search for any signs of The Wee Folk
I didn't have to walk far in the back of our woods. A miniature potting bench was in plain sight.
The bench itself was flaked with pine bark, a concealing form of craftsmanship.
Complete with tiny tools, clay pots, seeds and a wee watering can.
'Tis one of a kind and will soon be available at Brambles, a home decor shop in Belfast.
On a fresh rind of snow in Maine, a fairy chair appeared.....
Its sturdy legs and back are made from my favorite tree, red maple, whose branches are long and straight.
It stand five inches tall, made from all natural materials from the forest on our property. The chair's fragile back rest and rails are grapevine which I collected from various locations in Camden, Maine. (I look like a crazy person, picking withered grapevine tendrils from latticework on buildings but ehhhh...it's a hobby.)
Mossy bark of the chair's seat and the mossy details were collected from dead trees. Bits of dried hydrangea flower and Usnea provide the finishing touches.
For the person who loves trees and all that they provide, this is a beautiful gift for the Wee Folk, to leave outside under a red maple tree. (All of the materials are impervious to the weather.) Or as a collectible on your window shelf, to let a little bit of nature shine through on these long winter months.
Go online and you'll see many commercial renditions of a fairy door. They look like miniature human doors, maybe with a whimsical touch.
But, these teeny doors are not just physical points of ingress and egress; they are symbolic of the Wee Folk's eternal struggle with human nature. Fairies used to be our height and dominate areas of green pasture and meadow many centuries ago before humans, in their selfish conquest to possess certain lands, drove them underground.
The truth is, they are portals to the Otherworld. A place no human would ever want to go, for if you do breech protocol, they will keep you out of spite for eternity.
I know it is tempting to try to turn that corkscrew handle of grapevine and just send it creaking on its hinges to see what it is inside.....
But, look around. You think you're alone in the forest and the only one to discover a fairy door? They're waiting, watching...to see if you'll pass it unmolested or be tempted to open the door.
This door was made by Tonic of The Woods from tiny birch and grapevine, and real moss from our property. It is one-of-a-kind and can be found at Brambles in Belfast. If you want a custom door, contact us through Etsy.
The new year is a constructive time for the Wee Folk. This is when they build and create.
Here: a tiny sled led by a team of white mice to take provisions to a neighboring rath of the The Snow Queen.
The runners of the sled curve up high to meet the crystalline snow. The birch seat is adorned with moss and lilac.
It is a beautiful day after a stormy messy night and perfect conditions to skate across a glassy pond.
After the Hunter's Moon this past week, I knew something was up. Oh that's right....me. I was up....with insomnia all week.
But I should have known....the Wee Folk were up to something as well. Look very closely at the middle of the dead tree. See it?
I should have known something was up because we are now three days before Samhain, one of the most powerful times of the Others. I'd already found evidence that a feis (a feast) was being assembled when I'd found a throne built for the Fairy Queen. Then I discovered this one in the hollow.
My breath caught. I flipped back to the pages of my field notebook. At one point in time, the ritual of Samhain consisted of the symbolic sacrifice of the King. My fairy troop I've been following in the coastal woods of Maine for the past two years are all female, matriarch-led. So, what was this?
This was a masculine throne with a tufted mossy cushion and a Pentagram. And then, it made sense. In Ireland and western Scotland, the practice of Samhain and Hallowe'en allows people to dress in completely nonsensical, upside down ways. It's also when dead members of the clan are invited back to their old raths, to be entertained, fed, and given gifts.
Could this mean, that the new throne built was secretly for the Queen? Was she planning to reverse her robes and play a trick on Samhain in jest as her Hunters and Gathers lay apples and Hazelnuts for their celebratory fais? Was it a tribute to the Kings and Overlords, Gods and Goddesses? Or was this truly a plot to invite a provincial King to this particular rath three days before Samhain and perform a sacrifice?
This wee door was found in the cleft of a mossy tree.
People think, "Oh cute, a fairy door," but have no concept of its true power. A door to the Otherworld is a very serious thing and not something a human should blithely choose to open.
Before one's hand grasps that little grapevine knob and pushes it open to the deep cleft below, know this: when the Sidhe or the "Wee Folk" construct a door such as this, it is meant only for their kind. It is a portal from The Green World, (the one in which the physical living walk around in) to the Underworld (where the Wee Folk were forced many centuries ago to retreat) but it is also a passage to the Otherworld, an ancient place were the Irish Celts proclaim the dead walk among the living in perfect harmony.
Unless you want to make your choice right here and now about what world you choose to live in, I don't suggest you do anything but admire this door from afar. For if you walk through, the door may close permanently behind you.
Photos and creation by Kay Stephens
While the human world is preoccupied with mid-September mundane thoughts such as: "Time to go back to school; time to get the wood delivery for the winter; time to uproot the garden and fix the driveway before the first frost heaves," the Wee Folk are in their autumnal rejoicing mode. In time for Alban Elved, the Autumnal Equinox, the troop I've been observing for more than two years now, built their queen a majestic throne.
The throne is typical of their elemental architecture. It is constructed with the seat of a mossy alder, the back built like a destroyed spider web with a woven Pentagram for the Queen's protection. As she is the balance between light and dark at this time of year, she is vulnerable to the lower realms and the throne is her seat of safety.
She is the Queen of the Harvest, the giver of prosperity. And all summer, the troop has been hunting and gathering vole, elvers, fish, berries, chokecherries, honey, and acorn bread, and storing it away for their Winter Underground. The Full Corn Moon is coming up and they will be rejoicing all week with feasts and laughter, joy and dancing.
Apart from the mossy and lichen-covered limbs, the throne was built as a tribute to the Queen's loveliness with touches of dried yellow flowers to reflect her own golden hair and curlicues of grape vine to symbolize the change of the grape as it turns to wine when she lifts up her chalice each night to ask the Ancient Ones to bless her troop for another winter season.
By now, you know that solitary fairies have no interest in cavorting with other members of their troop; nor do they want any human attention.
Here is a little scene set in Merryspring Nature Garden by a natural spring. Tea for one, at a tiny handcrafted mossy table with chair, a vase of flowers and an oversized cup of nectar.
This fairy furniture has been set inside a shadow box measuring 6 x6 inches.
Inside the shadow box, the fairy furniture is set in the woods on a mossy floor with tiny mushrooms spouting up.
This one of a kind fairy shadowbox will be available soon. Stay tuned for more like it!
Seen in late afternoon just off the coast of Maine, a fairy rath, an ancient fort of the Wee Folk. All winter they've held their dances and revelries underground. But now that it is spring time, they have moved above ground.
Look closer among the hillock of wildflowers. There--
Little People have brought the Fairy Queen's throne above, so that she may sit and watch the sun arc down.
This throne was hand made, adorned with peacock feathers and red birch armrests. A chair fit for a pagan Irish queen.
Tonic of the Woods
the inspiration behind the creations
Photos, stories and concept ©Kay Stephens
Look up the story behind a fairy dress by clicking on the name below