People often ask me what kind of gifts I give to Faery. It's a fairly tricky question. Let me tell you a tale or two. One day in September, I was out for a day off up near Dallmally. There is a small road north of there that runs alongside a river. It's a good place to pull off road and to sit with one's feet in the water and write or sketch or just look around and visit with the faeries. The road may have gone somewhere up in the hills, but I never followed it further than my favorite picnic spot by the river. One of the lovely things about that road was that it had rowan trees on both sides of it, and at that time of the year they were covered with bright orange-red berries. As I admired them, Someone said, "Take a bunch of berries home and put them on your upstairs altar." So I did just that.
The next morning, I was downstairs having breakfast and I could hear the kittens stampeding in the room above me. This went on for a while — clearly they were having a major frolic. When I went upstairs to get ready to go to work, they were still rampaging. Climbing up to see what was going on, I discovered rowen berries on the stairs, all over the upstairs hall, and a multiplicity of them rolling around the guestroom floor, hotly persued by seven lunatic kittens. The room was full of merriment, but I looked over at the empty bowl beside Kuan Yin, and said, "You naughty kittens! You've stolen all of the berries the fae sent home for Kuan Yin!"
In my mind, quite clearly, an indignant Voice said, "But what did you think I wanted them for?"
I learned something then. Goddesses think more like faeries than people do. At least, Kuan Yin does.
Next, flowers — what I put on my altars... and with what I don't. I keep wondering why people put cut flowers on altars, whether the altars are for fairies, gods, goddesses, or whoever. I know the theory of burnt offerings where the smoke of the burning carries the offering up to distant gods. BUT! Faeries are not distant at all. Why would they want you to kill the flowers when they had so much joy in helping things grow?
Living flowers on an altar can be lovely. The fae certainly agree with that. The flowers can symbolize all sorts of wonderful things — growth, fertility, joy, celebrating the seasons are just a few examples. It's easy — a pot of lobuyvely flowers and put it on a sunlit altar. Then when the time comes take the plant outside and put it in the ground to grow bigger, and perhaps even cast seeds around to grow more for next year.
You have an outdoor altar? No problem! Plant flowers there, and tell the fae that the plants are a gift for them. You might even ask them to come shopping with you and choose what they want.
The fae also enjoy pretty stones, including crystals. The "stone" I'm found them to enjoy most, isn't stone at all — it's the kind of pieces of cut glass that you can hang where the sun shines and they cast rainbows all around. I discovered that one day when I hung a "crystal" in a window and went outside. When I happened to go near that window, they were whooshing all around. I asked what was going on, and they thanked me for making a "faery jacuzzi" for them. Apparently swooping through a rainbow beam (not where it lands on a surface of course, but where it passes through the air invisible to human eyes, is a wondfully fizzy experience. They were totally delighted when I invited them to extend their dance into the house whenever they liked — which turned out to delight the cats as well. They had as much fun chasing faeries as the faeries had teasing the cats.
The faeries also delight in anything that makes Earthmama and her children healthier and happier. Bird seed for the birds, corn and sunflower seed for the squirrels, grain on the deer's breakfast table — just stuff like that. You'll discover what is valued in your neighborhood if you think about it and try things. The faeries themselves seem to like things bright and sparkly, but they value other things as well. I don't know, but I wonder if this is why the old Celts got started tying bits of bright cloth in trees for the fae. To find out more about this, see The Blessing of the Trees by Terri Windling.
Please note that, while the clooties were put there for the fae, they seem to have no objection when the cloths are picked apart for bird nests.
Copyright ©2019 by Jessica Macbeth. All rights reserved.