A Film About Faery Seer, Rev. Robert Kirk

The Secret Commonwealth

in 1692, Reverend Robert Kirk hand wrote a notebook about on Scottish folkloric Faery Tradition not long before his mysterious death. The  notebook was called “The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies.”

Legend has it that Robert Kirk walked between the worlds and had finally entered into Faery and was never seen again. That his experiences with these beings was real is proven by the evidence of his writings for he gives many Magical Instructions, descriptions, experiences,  and answers the questions of good and evil that concern Christians about Faery.

Author and Faery Seer, R.J.Stewart translated Robert Kirk’s notebooks annotating it with a great deal of his own knowledge.  It is a must read for those who wish to work with the Faery. It is called: Robert Kirk: Walker Between the Worlds.

For Bob’s book go here: R.J.Stewart Books

He sent me an email to find this exciting trailer on Youtube. What an amazing subject! Us Faery Seers may finally have our day!

Kirk!

For related books click the widget for Amazon!

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London: How I Encountered the Spirits of the Land

The Faery Queen and the Horned God

In March 1998, I went to live in London, England. I had thought I would stay there for 18 months while I researched my  Grail Bearers’ Tarot, but the Spirits of the Land had other plans for me. I have since come to believe they called me to the British Isles because of certain Magical links I had made, and because of my contacts with the Celtic Faery who are the true Grail Bearers.

As a Celtic Faery Initiate, I received powerful visionary visitations by the Tuatha de Danaan, or the Irish Faery. This began just after Samhain in 1996 a few weeks after a workshop I took with R.J.Stewart. The Tuatha de Danaan not only came to my house and opned portals into the Otherworld for me to pass through, they taught me many secrets of the Underworld Faery and their connection to the Holy Grail and the Arthurian Mythos. I was compelled to go the U.K. to wander through the lands of Arthur and Merlin to ground the visions into my soul and body — for when we embark on the Initiate’s,  journey our blood changes, our ancestors wake up in our blood.
My King Arthur Tour to the U.K. took place in a beautiful March of 1997. During the month I was there,  I roamed through England, Wales, Cornwall and Ireland. The last thing I did before I came home, was an eight hour overnight coach trip to Edinburgh to see Rosslyn Chapel, reputed to be the final sanctuary of the Holy Grail.

I had many powerful experiences on this Quest of mine that will be shared in future posts.

Mystical Encounters with the Spirits of the Land

Having grown up in the woods in Massachusetts and maintaining my bond with wild nature throughout my life, I have always had a strong sense of how different places have their own spirit, and spirits who are particular to that place. The liminal twilight atmosphere of the Massachusetts woods, the low rolling hillls, swamps, and  changing light, the striking cycles of seasonal transformation, suit beings very akin to traditional fairies, the types you find in Grimm, and in the Romantic descriptions of Yeats or Fiona Macleod; seasonal spirits of snow, ice and  flaming and then falling leaves, silence, and subtlety. There are also witchy spirits, for  the Black Man of the Forest, ruler of the witches lives there. There is the Salem Witch current, ghosts, and Iroquoise False Faces and Manitous.

Some of these seem to have been brought from England during Colonial Times. There are records of Scottish Faery Seers coming to these shores in during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I who brought their spiritual contacts with them, or drew them here over the water after seven years of separation.

Mexico has spirits of another sort: desert beings, spirits that rattle in the night, wind ghosts, an earth that vibrates with living currents of serpent power that you can feel as you walk over it. The animals behave in mysterious ways. Coyote appears on the horizon and in the blink of an eye is gone; the sea tortoise comes ashore under a moonless sky, and vanishes under the waves of the sea as if she never been. The sun charges the Earth so that, even in daylight, the spirit world is palpable.

In Ireland, I took a bus  ride over the Burren. As lead singer in a Celtic band, Castlerigg, in the 1990′s, I had heard form Irish players that many tunes had been given  to the bards by the Faery. Maybe it was imagination, but as my contacts with the Underworld Faery, especially of Ireland had taught me, imagination is the key to the Kingdom. But I heard music, the same as that of an Irish tune, coming up from under the Earth. Had I been a proper musician, I could have written it down.

As the Queen slays the King in the Upper World, so he rules in the Underworld.

Tarot of the Grail Bearers

I wasn’t in London long before the God and Goddess of the British Isles made themselves known to me. I was living near to Hampstead Heath, formerly the stag hunting forest of the Royal families of Britain. I had arrived in that neighborhood in late April of 1998, finding a cheap bedsitting room with a large bay window that gave me plenty of light to paint by.

I was working on a Tarot Deck, Tarot of the Grail Bearers. Each image was designed after intense 3-dimensional visions given to me, in an ordered fashion, by the Tuathaa de Danaan. It was clear they wanted this Tarot deck to be painted, and to be painted by me despite my lack of skill. The project took over my life for four and half years during which teaching after teaching was given to me along with the images for the cards.

Perhaps the Tuatha deDannaan chose me because I had been reading and teaching for most of my life. The Tarot lived in me. I have been told that my images have great spiritual intensity. I think this is because, as I painted each card, I was passing back and forth a doorway of its symbols the entire time. This deck is charged with Faery magic.

To see the full Tarot of the Grail Bearers, please visit my website at http://www.whiteswan-tarot.com/ and look through the Gallery. It used to be called Tarot of the Holy Grail until I realized it is not about the Grail. but about those who guard and keep it in the Otherworld.

50 The Drive

I had no idea the house was haunted. Not only haunted — but also on the Spirit Line of the Wild Hunt!

See my post  How to Know if Your House is Haunted for another angle on this tale of woe.

Initiation of the Horned God

This etching looks like Old London, doesn’t it? My bedsitting room was in a house down below there, on the path the Wild Hunt has taken through North London, over the Heath, from antiquity.

It began with nightmares.

Not long after Samhain, 1998, I was woken at 3AM by the presence of a shadowy Stag/Man standing near my bed. He was looking down at me with pale, fiery eyes. I had been visited by such a spirit as a child in Massachusetts, ( See my post: The Horned Ones)  but never had he displayed to me such awesome power, never had he focused his entire being on me. Alarmed, I sat up, but the vision did not go away. I was experiencing the same level of clairvoyance that brought the visions of the Faery and Holy Grail. But, where the Grail Bearers were gentle, lofty, sometimes tricky, this being was dangerous.

The Stag/Man was not endowed with a human conscience, he did not let feelings or emotions concern him. He embodied raw, untamed, male sexual power. There were nor reasons, no inhibitions, no consideration for me. He intended to take me, to possess me as if I was the same as he — a wild animal from the forest. I wasn’t about to let him.
Since I was well versed in magical protection, and because I thought this was an illusion brought by some kind of psychic attack, I got to work. On the first night, I performed a  Rite of Banishing, sealed my space and, finally, at 6AM, went back to sleep.
I thought I had succeed. It was peaceful for two nights. Then, the third night, at 3AM, the Horned One was back again, and much more insistent and violent. This  time, the Stag/Man was also accompanied by a wolf. The wolf prowled around the edges of my protective circle. I was so grateful my Rite had been strong enough that he couldn’t get in! The wolf was beautiful, with a shimmering silver coat of thick fur. He howled and stared while
the Stag/Man commenced to try to attack me.

I chanted all the spells of protection I knew, and refused to go to sleep and surrender control of my being.


To cut a very long ordeal short, over the course of six weeks, I was stampeded by Wild Riders that raged through the bed room from the windows through the wall. Vines grew up from under my bed, crawled up from the foot of the bed, wound around me, bound me in tendrils and stems as thick as your arm so that I could not move. Under the blankets, great phallic stems rushed  towards me like special effects in a horror film.
Spirits of darkness circled around the room, uttering strange piercing cries like night birds hunting, wolves prowled, and owls fluttered across my dreaming eyes. A strange man entered my dream/ visions,  playing crazy clown,  Ringmaster, or walking on stilts, trying to get into my brain.

There was no place to go! For me the invasion of my very inner space, always my last ditch sanctuary,  was just not acceptable. The Stag/Man came every night at 3AM to get into bed with me, holding me down while I fought. I refused to go to sleep until 6AM when the visions stopped with the dawn.

It is unfortunate that I did not understand what was going on, for in my desperation to ward off the nightmare, I began to throw psychic fireballs, and to attack these beings, devastating my inner world. This was because I was afraid that if I surrendered, I would be possessed. My training in kundalini Yoga had taught me to send spirits away and purify myself so that the serpent could rise without triggering karma. (snark) Well…

I am sure for initiated Wiccans this attitude is incomprehensible, but I was not, and am not, an initiated Wiccan. I was born with the Witchblood, so much of what goes on between myself and the Otherworld is unexplained. My teachers have been lax in this area also. There seems to be a conflict of interest.

If you wonder why I refused to surrender to my mystic, nocturnal visitor, it was also  because of the raw power, strength, and violence of the God. Imagine being chased through the forest by a horney wild elk! How can you surrender to that?

Eventually, near Christmas, I was so exhausted that I just stopped fighting.  As I slept, exhausted and unable to care, I felt the Stag/Man enter me. I was instantly consumed in a fire that burned from head to foot. I was wrapped in flames. This sensation lasted for three days — even in during my daily activities. I burned, and burned, and burned…It was highly charged erotic energy. Soaring fire and burning eyes. As a student of Alchemy, I knew I was in the furnace.
I made a decision to stay away from magic after that. It was the wrong thing to do because the magical people were the very ones who had an explanation of what I went through…


It comes to mind that such a fiery Initiation seems to mirror the fate of witches burned in Elizabethan times, and later under King James. How passing strange it all is…

We hunt him and then he hunts us. The God of Death and Rebirth.

I had spent so many years connecting with the bright side of Faery. Little did I know that I would be forced into the dark, that my pursuit of the White Hart into the Forest of Brociliande would carry meh into the abyss as the God took on his cthonic, or Underworld, form.

For seven years I felt I had been a spiritual victim. Afraid of psychic attack, I  avoided the magical practices that had once been second nature to me. I stayed away from like-minded others: magicians, witches, magical people. It was lonely trying to fit in with mundanes and New Agers, but at least I was safe…I thought.

Unable to bear the isolation any longer, I found my way to Treadwells Bookshop in Covent Garden. There I found a thriving and brilliant community of occultists and pagans. With much trepidation, because I was afraid of being thought mad, I approached the owner, Christina, and asked her if she would explain something to me.
Over tea and cookies, I gave her my horrific story. Despite my trauma, I knew my experience was significant. I wanted to know what it meant, what was it for, and why did I have to go through it?
What she told me was actually quite beautiful. She gave me an illustration of a circle patterned after a labyrinth. At the bottom of the circle, a powerful stag stood in a dark forest. At the top of the circle was a little cottage with smoke coming out of the chimney.

The Horned God in the Forest

Christian explained that the bottom, the dark forest where I had been, represented death; that as we hunt the Horned God, so he hunts us, and takes us. At the top  of the circle, where the sunlight shines upon the cottage, is our reward when we pass through our ordeal successfully: safety and coziness.


Of course this idea of the ‘hunt’ is not a literally about killing for food or sport. One chases the white stag into the forest of the deep self, the unconscious, the soul, if you will. The goal is to find a transcendent experience, perhaps to gain healing, or powers, or a gift from the Otherworld. But in entering the uncharted, moonlit labyrinth of the soul, one must encounter the dark forces that dwell there, the repressed things, the caged animals within, the history of old hurts, rages, and hates. To avoid this experience is impossible once one has set foot on the Path, and dark experiences are necessary if one is to gain spiritual maturity, true depth, and wisdom. Without these qualities, one is not fit to take one’s place as a teacher of the Mysteries. I had been a teacher before, and a healer. But now, my work is made richer, and more potent, for my having passed through the Abyss.
Christina also told me that Hampstead Heath, near where I lived, had been a Royal stag hunting forest since Norman times. So it was no surprise that the Horned God might follow an ancient trackway through the haunted house I lived in.
One of the great hunting monarchs of all time was the Faery Queen, Elizabeth Tudor. So it was no wonder that the two came to me hand in hand, symbolizing the inner marriage of the polarities of the Land
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Thomas Rhymer: An Exploration of A Faery Ballad

Child Ballads:

One of the things that drew me to the Faery Tradition was my love of the old Child Ballads. these were collected throughout the British Isles by a folklorist Francis James Child in the late 19th century.

This definition Of the Child Ballads comes from Wikipedia:
“The Child Ballads are a collection of 305 ballads from England and Scotland, and their American variants, collected by Francis James Child in the late 19th century. The collection was published as The English and Scottish Popular Ballads between 1882 and 1898 by Houghton Mifflin in 10 volumes. The ballads vary in age; for instance, a version of “A Gest of Robyn Hode” was printed in the late 15th or early 16th century, and the manuscript of “Judas” dates to the 13th century. The majority of the ballads, however, date to the 17th and 18th century; although some probably have very ancient influences, only a handful can be definitively traced to before 1600. Moreover, few of the tunes collected are as old as the words. While many of them had been individually printed, e.g. as broadsides, Child’s collection was far more comprehensive than any previous collection of ballads in English. (However, there were comprehensive ballad collections in other languages, like the Danish collection Danmarks gamle Folkeviser, which Child referred to in his comments.) One Child number may cover several ballads, which Child considered variants of the same story, although they may differ in many ways (as in “James Hatley“). Conversely, ballads classified separately may contain turns of phrase, and even entire verses, that are identical.
The Child Ballads deal with subjects typical to many ballads: romance, supernatural experiences, historical events, morality, riddles, murder, and folk heroes. On one extreme, some recount identifiable historical people, in known events. On the other, some differ from fairy tales solely by their being songs and in verse; some have been recast in prose form as fairy tales. A large part of the collections is about Robin Hood; some are about King Arthur. A few of the ballads are rather bawdy.”

Initiatory Ballads:

I discovered the ‘fairy tale’ ballads when I heard Joan Baez sing song like ‘House Carpenter’ and loved the haunting Elizabethan tunes she sang whether from England or Appalachia where they were brought with the early settlers to Virginia Colony — named after the Virgin Queen herself by Sir Walter Raliegh.  It was  pretty clear to me as child with the witchblood, that some of these ballads were talking about the Otherworld, about visitors to the Otherworld and the things that could be expected to happen there.
As an example, I have posted below the Childe Ballad of Thomas Rhymer. This is based on a true story of Thomas of Ercildoun, who was lazing about on a Faery Mound when the Queen of the Faeries approached him and whisked him off to her Otherworld Realm. He was not seen by the villagers for seven years. When he mysteriously returned, he was a changed man: a poet with the gift pf prophecy. He might have been thought a little mad, away with the faeries, due to his gift of the Second Sight.
Thomas Rhymer is what is known as an ‘Initiatory Ballad’. In other words, the ballad describes how the Faery Realm is entered, what its main features are, and how one is advised to behave if one finds oneself there. There is a warning given very clearly be the Faery Queen: “Don’t speak or eat when you are in Faery, or you will not return home for seven years.”
Of course Thomas does all of it.
Another feature of this ballad are the descriptions of the Underworld Sea, the Sun and the Moon that shine in the Underworld, the location of the Queen’s domain in an apple orchard, and the twin rivers of blood and tears.

Origin of the Faeries:

Faery is the Underworld because it is the realm of the ‘ancestors’, or more bluntly, the immortal dead. Christians would see it as a kind of purgatory where souls go after death when they were decent people but did not  become baptized Christians. In Irish Faery Tradition, there is  a story of the war in Heaven described by John Milton in his epic poem, Paradise Lost. The Archangel, Lucifer,proud of his shining beauty,  led a rebellion against God for creating the human race and expecting the angels to look after it. The angels took sides, either with Archangel Michael, champoin of God, or were Lucifer the rebel. Some stayed neutral, neither siding with Lucifer nor Michael the Archangel, but were cast down to Earth for lack of devotion along with the Prince of Darkness and his minions. These neutral angles became the Faeries. They are neither good nor evil, but neutral, like most of nature which is their expression and their love.
Thus, at an early stage, the Feary Realm was not yet consigned to Hell, but was a land between Heaven and Hell. Yet it was also not a place of purgation, but of magic, feasting, dancing — mostly to encourage the fertility of the Earth and maintain the balance of nature.
This is expressed very well in the ballad Thomas Rhymer when the Faery Queen points out three roads: The broad easy road leading to Hell, the narrow thorny road leading to Heaven, and the lovely lane winding among the trees is the road to Faeryland.

Image: War in Heaven: Gustave Dore

The Underworld Sun, Moon, and Stars:

The Faeryland is described as being in the Underworld, which most of us imagine as a land inside the Earth, underground. So how can there be Sun. Moon, and Stars, and an ocean down there?
I have two theories on that.

1: Having done many Shamanic journeys into the Underworld over the years, I immediately became aware that the heart of the Mother Earth glows like a sun at the core of the planet. This experience is very easy to access with the right intention.

2: Back in the days when the Earth was believed to be flat, being underground was probably perceived as a layer just below the surface of the Earth where the dead were buried, over which grew trees and flowers. These plants were often consulted when the living wished to speak to the dead as can be seen in fairy tales like the Juniper Tree. In other words, the Realm of Faery was physically much closer to the living, more familiar and accessible. Once the earth was known to be a sphere, it was possible to imagine a vaster realm at the center of the Earth. Now after seeing images from space, we know that the Earth is one of many stars and floats in the sea of the cosmos.

The true Faery Seer would always have seen the stars and celestial bodies below the surface of the Earth with his Second Sight. he may not have known he was seeing through the body of the planet, or sensing its place among the Heavens, but he would have seen the Sun, Moon, and, Stars and the celestial sea deep in the Underworld kingdom.
When one travels to Faery, these images resonate deeply, for the Sun.Moon, and Stars and the Underworld Sea also live inside of us as the rhythms and tides in our blood, where the ancestors ‘wake up’ to guide us deeper into our primal selves.

photo: Moonlight, Park Sadr’s photoblog

The Rivers of Blood and Tears:

The twin rivers of blood and tears are an indication of Faery as a domain of the dead, “for all the blood that was shed on earth flows through the springs of that country…”
Where mortal blood is shed so  tears of sorrow and grief. The rives of blood and tears thus flow together through the Realm of the Faery watched over by the Immortal Dead who are nourished by them.
Within this construct is tinge of the primal fertility rites involving blood sacrifice, for the blood and tears water the Earth creating the fertile conditions that allow nature to flourish. “The Earth must have blood.” This old notion still lives within us and exerts a strange power when we hear or read a tale involving the sacrificed King who gives his life for the land as in the Grail Legends.

The Apple Orchard:

In Irish Ogham the Apple has the quality of beauty. It is also the fruit of the Goddess, who is the Faery Queen. Part of the reason is that when an apple is cut form side to side and opned the figure of a five=pointed star, or pentagram appears with seeds within its points. the apple is also associated with Eve’s first transgression: disobeying God in order to satisfy her desire for knowledge, especially sexual knowledge, the basis of Earthly creation, and the generation of life, making her an equal to God.

Thanks to R.J.Stewart for crystalizing these insights for me.

Thomas Rhymer: Child Ballad 37C

Thomas Rymer

TRUE Thomas lay on Huntlie bank,
A ferlie he spied wi’ his ee,
And there he saw a lady bright,
Come riding down by the Eildon Tree.

2 Her shirt was o the grass-green silk,
Her mantle o the velvet fyne,
At ilka tett of her horse’s mane
Hang fifty siller bells and nine.

True Thomas, he pulld aff his cap,
And louted low down to his knee:
‘All hail, thou mighty Queen of Heaven!
For thy peer on earth I never did see.’

‘O no, O no, Thomas,’ she said,
‘That name does not belang to me;
I am but the queen of fair Elfland,
That am hither come to visit thee.

‘Harp and carp, Thomas,’ she said,
‘Harp and carp along wi me,
And if ye dare to kiss my lips,
Sure of your bodie I will be.’

‘Betide me weal, betide me woe,
That weird shall never daunton me;’
Syne he has kissed her rosy lips,
All underneath the Eildon Tree.

‘Now, ye maun go wi me,’ she said,
‘True Thomas, ye maun go wi me,
And ye maun serve me seven years,
Thro weal or woe, as may chance to be.’

She mounted on her milk-white steed,
She’s taen True Thomas up behind,
And aye wheneer her bridle rung,
The steed flew swifter than the wind.

O they rade on, and farther on-+-
The steed gaed swifter than the wind-+-
Untill they reached a desart wide,
And living land was left behind.

‘Light down, light down, now, True Thomas,
And lean your head upon my knee;
Abide and rest a little space,
And I will shew you ferlies three.

‘O see ye not yon narrow road,
So thick beset with thorns and briers?
That is the path of righteousness,
Tho after it but few enquires.

‘And see not ye that braid braid road,
That lies across that lily leven?
That is the path of wickedness,
Tho some call it the road to heaven.

‘And see not ye that bonny road,
That winds about the fernie brae?
That is the road to fair Elfland,
Where thou and I this night maun gae.

‘But, Thomas, ye maun hold your tongue,
Whatever ye may hear or see,
For, if you speak word in Elflyn land,
Ye’ll neer get back to your ain countrie.’

O they rade on, and farther on,
And they waded thro rivers aboon the knee,
And they saw neither sun nor moon,
But they heard the roaring of the sea.

It was mirk mirk night, and there was nae stern light,
And they waded thro red blude to the knee;
For a’ the blude that’s shed on earth
Rins thro the springs o that countrie.

Syne they came on to a garden green,
And she pu’d an apple frae a tree:
‘Take this for thy wages, True Thomas,
It will give the tongue that can never lie.’

‘My tongue is mine ain,’ True Thomas said;
‘A gudely gift ye wad gie to me!
I neither dought to buy nor sell,
At fair or tryst where I may be.

‘I dought neither speak to prince or peer,
Nor ask of grace from fair ladye:’
‘Now hold thy peace,’ the lady said,
‘For as I say, so must it be.’

He has gotten a coat of the even cloth,
And a pair of shoes of velvet green,
And till seven years were gane and past
True Thomas on earth was never seen

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