Every year for Samhain I publish accounts of my more charged, and in some cases creepy, spiritual pursuits. The Dead Time is a treasured journey to Solstice, and as it is a time of untime, the shadowed season presents a great opportunity to tell the stories that many who do shamanic work won’t tell–the occasions when things don’t go well or the unseen presents itself unexpectedly. You may recognize some of these accounts from my previous stories, while others are more recent. Enjoy the solitude of the darkness, and know the light will soon warm!

I’m not a skeptic by any stretch, but I am an experiential junkie. I need some level of personal exchange with something before I can fully give myself over to its reality, even if that exchange happens in the ether. I’ve realized that there can be a wide berth between knowing something is entirely possible and experiencing it to be so. I’ve also learned that when experiencing something energetically overlaps witnessing it physically such an opportunity is a gift.

Real Wyrd - A Modern Shaman's Roots in the Middle World by S. Kelley Harrell

Several years ago I was attending a weekend class at a retreat in the mountains of North Carolina when I saw faeries. The location, itself, is somewhat of an anomaly in that it sits at the convergence of several ley lines. I personally believe it sits between diverging strata of time and dimension based on other intriguing experiences I’ve had there, but perhaps that’s more of a personal gnosis. The caretaker of the retreat has a very close relationship with the faeries of the land. I’d visited the retreat several times and heard stories from the horse’s mouth of the fae striking a deal with the caretaker, in that if she would tend their portal on her land they would commune with humans—by invitation only—between Mother’s Day and Summer Solstice each year. She told us how she’d made conversation with them learning what their job was in this realm and how they did it. They told her that their purpose was to collect dew to protect the sacred seed within blossoming floral life, which apparently they take very seriously. They let her know that they enjoy colorful, shiny trinkets. In an attempt to better understand their work and forge unity with them she complimented them on the plants and overall landscape. They replied, “That’s gnomes. We only do flowers.”

The night I met them was the evening after Summer Solstice of 2002. It was the close of the faeries’ interactive season, as well as the pinnacle of what had been months of dreadful drought. The caretaker told us that the fae had not been very active at all through the summer, as they had been struggling to maintain the flowers.

In agreement with the caretaker of the garden that worked for lawn care in Utah, our class met in the faeries’ garden around 9:30 that evening. There were only a few of us, maybe ten to twelve, and we were told that upon entering the garden people often feel the sensation of a cool droplet on their forehead, or have ringing in their ears. I felt nothing of the sort. I remember crossing the threshold of the garden and instantly feeling as though I wasn’t supposed to be there, as if my presence was an interference. I had the distinct impression that the tension I felt was an indication that the presence of humans, at least at that taxing time in their season, was pulling the faeries’ energy in the wrong direction. I had the sense that we shouldn’t focus so much on them appearing to us and we should just let them tend their jobs.

Midsummer's Eve by Edward Robert Hughes

Midsummer’s Eve by Edward Robert Hughes

I remember sitting in the talking box, the bench the caretaker usually sat on when she conversed with the fae, waiting for something to happen. Group members wandered peacefully about in the lovely open space. I had meandered to a level area toward the front of the garden that overlooked a flowering planting bed at the base of the mountain that rose just behind it. To one end of that bed stood an old chimney, the portal, of which the caretaker said the fae called “the tower” that allowed them to pass from their world to ours. I had reached a point of blissful meditation on the mountain and wasn’t even thinking of faeries when one of the women who worked at the retreat grabbed my arm and exclaimed, “There she is!” I all but jumped out of my skin, jolted from my peaceful state, but when I looked in the direction the lady was pointing sure enough there was a brilliant blue spark wafting through the dark night. It glided down the mountain and came to exactly where the lady had dragged me. Mere inches from my body, the light circled my midsection. I felt very much like it was regarding me as much as I was observing it. The blue spark drifted amongst us, weaving between all of our bodies, squeezing between tree limbs, rising above our heads and sweeping past our feet.

The whole time I had this chatter in my head, ticking off the things the flying light could be. I wasn’t intentionally trying to disprove what was right in front of me; rather, it was more like a reflex of my mind reinforcing that it was right in front of me and I had no context to suit it. The spark was bigger than a fire fly and it stayed lit for long intervals. Even when the spark would dim a halo of blue stayed lit several inches out around it. Each of us stood in awe, even the retreat worker, watching the blue light greet us.

About the time that I gave over to the idea that I had no idea what I was witnessing something even more strange happened. A few smaller golden sparks lighted amongst us, but the slightly larger blue one flashed into a big orb. It literally exploded into a blue ball of light as big as my hand, the bright spark at its center growing stronger with luminous force. The spark in the center continued to float out amongst us, dimming and lighting while the glowing ball around it remained consistently lit.
I know what I saw visually and it fits into no other phenomena I can source. Etherically I observed a profoundly peaceful strata of Earth’s experience of itself that required nothing of me but to honor it. There aren’t many better ways to spend a weekend.