Theosophy

Fairies

Dora van Gelder – USA (part 1 and part 2)

Part 1

To most people fairies are only a beautiful dream. When they think of them at all it is with a wistful looking back to their childhood years when they did believe in such dreams.

But fairies are real and do live in this same world of ours. The word “fairy” denotes practically every invisible creature, but I like to use it only for those beings who live in our four great elements, and who have not as yet attained individualization. Most of these beings become angels after they have reached that point in their development. The great difference between the angelic and human kingdoms is that we evolve through suffering, whereas the angels and fairies evolve through happiness; but, their evolution is '’much slower than ours.

We can divide the fairies roughly into four great classes: those who live in the earth, sea, air and fire. They all have their specific work to do, each in his own element. The elements are not only inhabited by the fairies, but by the angels, who are in charge of the work in which the fairies take part.

The work of these creatures being thus divided, I will describe it more in detail. There are two kinds of fairies with whom we come most into contact – the earth and water spirits. The earth spirits, who live on the surface of the earth, are etheric or astral. They have a human outline, as they always try to copy the human form, and in fact regard it as the perfect form. If we could imagine a human figure, although by no means perfect, whose face gives one a non-human impression, enveloped, as it were in a mist of color, we would have a vague idea of what this kind of fairy looks like. But even here it would be impossible to describe the varieties of this particular kind of nature spirit, because there is also a variety of very tiny little fairies who help especially with flowers and roses. The color of the fairies differs in many countries. In Australia, for instance, where there is little variety of growth, they are mostly blue and green. The few I have observed in California, however, are of varying shades of yellow and also blue; but these of course, are very few instances. The fairies’ form is much more fluidic than ours, and they can change themselves at will into any other form they desire. One does not get the impression that they are settled down, but on the contrary, ever changing.

This power of changing their form is a great delight to these beings, and they love dressing up, as children do. They are rather mischievous, and on occasion like to tease. I had one particular little fairy friend who used to don the most marvelous costumes. We have to keep in mind, however, that fairies have little power of concentration, and thus in the process of dressing up they cannot concentrate on the details of their costume for any length of time. Due to this lack of mind-concentration the most comical effects are sometimes produced. My little friend, for instance used to forget to put the sleeves in his coat, or one of his trouser legs was missing, although his color combinations were truly wonderful. These little creatures are often very proud of their costumes, and when we think clearly about something and live in our imagination they are capable of catching our thoughts, and thereby increasing their “wardrobe" of costumes. Children often see fairies, and when they do they see them dressed up the way they imagine they ought to be. This is the fairies’ great charm, this delight in imitation, and their childish glee and intense joy in living.

The work of these special fairies is in helping our plants in their evolution. They look after the plants and direct, the energies within in order to make as perfect a specimen of its particular kind as possible. The love and affection they put in their work is very charming to watch. They also help in tinting and shaping flowers and roses, and they do this particular work with immense tenderness and care. Often they take a great pride in their handiwork, and like to have it admired. They work always very harmoniously together, and whenever there is a little disagreement among them it is settled in a friendly way by the angel m charge of them. In most of our gardens we will find fairies looking after our flowers and plants. They do not seem to us to take part in our daily life because we are not aware of them. We must learn to appreciate those beautiful simple things which make up their lives before we can realize and come into touch with these beings, who live in our own world.

The water spirits are to be found in the ocean and in the rivers, which is their natural habitation. There is a difference between the sea and river spirits. In appearance the former have a vague. human outline, but since the variety of creatures living in the sea is so great it would be impossible to enumerate them all. Roughly, however, we could classify them in two kinds: those who live on the surface of the ocean, mostly to be found near the coast, and those who live in the deep seas. I always call the former the “sea babies" because they are not so very tall and look like fat little babies, with such happy and jolly faces. They are the most care free and happy creatures I have ever seen, who love to play and enjoy themselves. The characteristic of all sea spirits is their immense vitality, as the sea is a storehouse of energy and power. The spirits who live in the ocean are on the other hand sometimes very tall and thin, and their form is far less human. They give one the impression of great power and strength; one could easily imagine them on a rough, windy day dancing upon the waves. The colors of these beings are varying shades of blue.

The spirits in the rivers differ from those in the sea in that their form is more human, and they seem, as it were, more civilized – even their colors are more delicate – pale shades of blue.

The work of these fairies is somewhat similar to that of the land fairies. They help the angels who are in charge of the sea in their work. In the sea, we must remember, there is an immense variety of life, more than we ever can conceive and the fairies look after it all, the fishes and the plants, and at the same time they act as conductors of energy. To the angels and fairies the sea looks like an immense network of brilliant colored lines and dots, the lines are -the energy being poured out constantly^ which the angels have to direct into nature’s channels. This work keeps the fairies busy. Besides that they do a large amount of work in big sea storms, when they have to aid the angels in their work, because at such times a great deal of energy is released.

This is a very sketchy description of the fairies, but they are real and do live in our world. If we desire it, life can be made more beautiful; we only have to try to come into touch with these delightful creatures, who are so happy to love us, when we love and understand them. In our gardens, if we love the fairies, the labor of looking after our plants will be done with greater enjoyment and with better results. Once when we have realized the life in all living things, we will become more beautiful in every way, How could it be otherwise – those beings are joy, beauty, simplicity, and when we realize this truly in our own life, we will in our own work show these characteristics.

Part II

In my last article I tried to describe the types of fairies living in the land and those of the water. This time fire and air fairies are going to engage our attention.

The fire creatures were called salamanders in medieval days. Interesting stories are told about them in a book, The Comte de Gabalis, and Benvenuto Cellini writes about them in his memoirs. These comparatively few references might mislead the reader to suppose that there was but one type, but in fact salamanders are very varied. Furthermore they stand at various stages in evolution. Indeed it is not possible to say, that there is one general type among them, as one can say of the other fairies. Nor do the salamanders necessarily try to imitate our human form; neither is their imitative nature in general as strong as that of the fairies I have described before. When we are watching a log fire in a big open fire place and are just gazing into the fire, we often imagine we see weird dancing figures. It is quite easy to get into the spirit of the dancing and leaping flames and by this process; we have a vague impression of these fire elves, even though we do not exactly see them. They are intensely vital and give one a sense of an immense natural power, somewhat like lightning. Imagine beings, powerful in that primitive sense, rather tall and slender, but without definite human features, and you have a rough picture of salamanders. In small fires there are often tiny little creatures, who assume sometimes the shape of flowers and other forms. These creatures are much more volatile; they are so constantly changing, that they cannot be said to be stable in any sense of the word. At the other end of the scale we have big volcanoes. These are the natural habitation of especially strange beings of all varieties. Some volcanic salamanders take human shapes, but they give one the feeling of being unearthly notwithstanding.

The salamanders are further removed from us in their feeling as well as in appearance, than any other elemental creatures. There seems to be as little akin between us and them in modes of thought and feeling as in action and form. This is especially true of the volcano salamanders. Not only the fire fairies, but also great fire angels live in the volcanoes and these are supremely beautiful in their unhuman way.

All these beings are the agents of nature, even her agents of destruction, and there is no more destructive power than that of fire. But it always must be understood, that what is right or wrong for us, does not appear the same to these beings. Destruction to them is not for the pleasure of destroying, but because they obey nature's will. Hence it is to them work, as ordinary physical labor is to us. Their work is very different from that of any other of the fairies, and it is almost impossible to describe it or to know much about it. They are so much a part of fire and its activities, and that is about all that can be said. In every fire, large or small, they are present.

Some may ask what, brings them to the fire. To understand that, we have to realize that everything in this world has a certain definite rhythm. And fire has a very powerful rhythm and vibration of a special kind. This attracts these creatures automatically, as it has the same rhythm as they have. Rhythm is the great principle by which they are attracted. Certain of the smaller sort seem to be temporary by-products of the fire, but unquestionably the greater salamanders sweep in from distant points, attracted by a fine demonstration of their element. They sense its distant rhythmic effect, and, furthermore, certain kinds of music are an attraction to these beings and they will come to hear it and to enjoy and dance in the rhythm of it.

Salamanders are interesting from an artistic point of view, but we have very little to do with them and it would be nearly impossible for us to understand them with our human minds. They are joy, vitality and power incarnate much like the dancing flames they ensoul.

The air fairies, or sylphs, are the most highly evolved of all the fairies and are denizens of the astral world. They are exquisite and dainty figures. Their human outline is more or less perfect and they have lovely tender faces. It appears as if they were enveloped in a cloud of opalescent light, which is translucent, and if we have seen opals shining in the sun, and we can get a glimpse of their beautiful coloring. These delicate beings always make me think of Cardinal Newman’s words: “And with the morn those angel faces smile; which I have loved long since and lost awhile.”

The sylphs can generally be divided into two main groups, namely those who specifically help Nature in her work, and those who do more general work – act more as invisible helpers. The former are those beings who make beautiful sunsets for us by arranging the clouds, in lovely shapes and forms. It is their delight to do this and few spectacles are so beautiful to behold as a bank of clouds. When we enjoy a sunset to its fullest extent and are absorbed in it, and are in harmony with all Nature, it is possible to get into touch with these beings. It would be interesting to try to exchange ideas with them. We should think of a special form which we would like to see woven into the clouds and ask them in our minds to do this. These cloud spirits obligingly try to weave the clouds into whatever form we think of. They like us to admire their beautiful handiwork, and take special pains over it when we do. The sylphs belonging to this group have a great variety of activity and do not look alike. They deal with rain and wind and carry out the commands of their superiors. In violent windstorms it is a beautiful sight to see them dancing in the wind and enjoying the movement. Destruction is sometimes part of their work, in gales and cyclones like those in Florida. It must not be supposed that these beings destroy capriciously when they feel so inclined. On the contrary they are working under very great angels, whose orders they carry out, and who arrange these matters, and who themselves obey the law of the universe, cause and effect.

The other group of sylphs has very different work. They often become pupils of angels and carry out their orders. By serving the angels and by doing kind acts they attain their individuality or soul. Part of their work is helping people who have just passed over into the other world; especially are they devoted to children. And children who have passed over have usually a very joyous time, because these beings act for them the most beautiful stories and can play pretty music for them. These sylphs have sometimes served men in work of a magical nature, as ‘'Ariel” served "Prospero." in The Tempest. “Ariel” is a very fine type of a sylph.

All the fairies are charming, which we discover as soon as we realize their existence. The daily life is filled for most of us only with our fellow men, but our invisible friends, the fairies, who help to make up so much of the beauty of the universe, should also have their share in our daily life. To draw them in, we need only reach out to them for they are ever ready to respond to a true call sent forth to them; they are the embodiments of beauty, joy and simplicity.

The Messenger, Krotona – Hollywood, y1924, v12 i7 Dec p103

 

Fairies [reprint Theosophy in Australia]

 

Periodical:

 

The Messenger 1913-27, Krotona, Hollywood, LA Cal, AP Warrington

Issue:

 

y1924 v12 i7 Dec p103

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