Winter can be a wonderland if your imagination allows it. I find winter to be a self-reflecting time that craves a reconnection to our fairy roots. Seven years ago, I realized what I was missing in my spiritual diet was imaginary friends. I knew if I could just let go of my ego then I could cross over the threshold between the seen and unseen realm and interact with the fairies for real.
To prepare for such a journey I reacquainted myself with childhood fairytales. I reread Alice and Wonderland, Peter Pan and found myself wanting to go to Neverland too. Then the impossible became a possibility when I took Brian Froud’s teachings to heart and literally jumped into the land of fairies.
Froud had a special etiquette when meeting the fairies and describes them in detail in his book, “The Runes of Elfland”. Froud explains that there are doorways into the fairy world hidden in plain sight and if we crossed them with intention we would be in the fairy realm.
I decided to put my findings to the test and cross the threshold of my imagination. I planned a fairy meeting in the woods on Valentine’s Day. Since it was the middle of winter I dressed for the occasion in snow pants, a heavy winter coat, boot, gloves, and a hat.
I packed myself a backpack and filled it with various treats. Froud had given some pointers when entering the fairy realm. “Don’t take anything without asking. Laugh at their jokes, remember, humor is sacred: so is hospitality…pack extra sandwiches, bring fine gifts, sing for your supper, and listen as if your life depended on it.”
I took myself out to my in-law’s property in northern Minnesota and began looking for a hidden doorway into the fairy realm. I started out into the woods, as I had done for the past fifteen years, only this time I openly in my imagination. I walked with purpose listening and looking for fairies, hoping for a real adventure.
I had walked a few hundred yards when I noticed two tall birch trees on either side of the path. Normally, I would have walked right through them but this time something stopped me and suggested I try knocking first. I looked at both trees and felt that the door opened from the right so I knocked three times on its trunk.
“May I enter?” I asked?
It didn’t take long before I felt the door crack open and the Birch tree spirit asking my name.
“My name is Shelli Haft and I’ve come to see the Queen of the forest”
“Wait here!” the Birch tree spirit said and slammed the door.
“Could be a while you might as well have a seat?” the “Left” Birch tree spirit said.
I looked around and saw fluffy snow so I plopped down in it and waited. I remembered what Froud said about sharing a song so I started singing, “You are my sunshine”. It must have worked because right after I was finished the Birch tree spirit opened the door.
“She will see you now”
I got up and brushed off the snow. As I crossed between the two trees it was literally like I had entered a different dimension. I now felt small amongst the forty foot tall Birch Trees, like they were giants looking down on me. In the middle of them was a large rock pile that resembled a throne. I got down on my knees, humbly bowed my head and made my presence known.
“I come in honor,” I say
“Come here my dear”, this sweet voice replies.
“Sit with me a while”
I see a spot on top of the pile, which looked like a seat so I climbed into it. The snow covered rocks was like sitting on a soft recliner and I laid my head back. The sky was a vibrant blue and as the sun peeked through the white birch branches, it was a breathtaking contrast.
“I am the Great Mother Nanna”
“It’s nice to meet you” I reply.
“My motto is, “There is room in your heart for everyone”
“Do you believe me, Shelli?”
“Sure I do”
Suddenly, I am in a crowded room full of thousands of people. They are climbing all over me and it feels like I am being smothered to death. I start to panic and I couldn’t breathe. I tried to overcome my anxiety but it becomes too overwhelming and I feel like passing out.
“Bring it into your heart Shelli”
I am skeptical but I still focus all my attention on my heart. I felt myself getting smaller and smaller deep inside my heart. I let my ego go and like magic, my heart opens up and it becomes the universe. All the people had turned into celestial energy and we just expanded throughout the galaxy.
“Do you believe me now?”
“Yes, there is room in my heart for everyone, Great Mother Nanna!”
I was so excited that I started crying and she seemed to pull me closer. I sink deeper into the snow and cuddle with her. I stayed for a long time until I felt calm and then I thanked the Great Mother Nanna.
I scattered whole corn near the entrance and covered it with fresh maple syrup for the deer ones. Then, I jumped over the threshold, between the two birch guards and left a grape cigar and a couple of coins on the other side. I walked back to the cabin in awe of the Great Mother Nanna and all the forest fairies.
I was hooked! Finally, I was able to move beyond what I saw and into my infinite potential. I believed in fairytales again and this blog is a reminder to myself that they’re real. I understand how difficult it is to see beyond our present situation but when we go to our inner strength provides us with the hope we crave. Follow your heart and create a play-date with you and the fairies this Valentines. I know I sure will.