Fairies and Form

Carnival! Mardi Gras! Everybody hides his true form behind masks and costumes, grasps for the opportunity to be different. Alvin is not really a fan of this crazy time of the year, but children (of all ages) love to dress up and change their outward appearance. Fairies share this joy with human children, as Dora van Gelder so prettily describes:

„They sit about at intervals and relate anecdotes to one another, and this takes an astonishing form. The fairy has an immense power of mimicry and a sense of drama. He is an emotional artist of rare ability, and a group of them will put on a show for mutual entertainment. I must explain again that a fairy has the power not only to change his form but also to clothe himself in marvelous garments, a process that is carried out by drawing the denser part of the material about him by means of his will power or desire into a thought garment. This requires effort and concentration and takes a few minutes to achieve, especially if he desires to change his form. The thought garment will last as long as he sustains the effort at transformation. Most fairies are deficient in concentration, and thus they do not keep up the show for any length of time. Because of this lack of sustained concentration and their lack of thoroughness in thinking out their disguise, whole parts of the makeup will be missing, or they may lack a limb or other important part. This often gives them a ridiculous appearance. When the failure is prodigiously exaggerated, even the fairies are uproariously amused, and the failure will himself skip about in glee – for any cause for fun is good. If, all of a sudden, for lack of concentration one of them slides right out of his part and is discovered in his normal role, it is enough often to suspend the whole performance. But when a show is well under way, they get into the sprit of the thing, and the show gambols along merrily.“

(Dora van Gelder, The Real World of Fairies. Second Edition 1999, Quest Books. Chapter 3: A Typical Fairy, p. 44f.)

In my view Dora van Gelder is an exceptionally gifted clairvoyant and I love her descriptions of nature beings. It is a pity that she is so little known in the German speaking world (which is fortunately not true for  the English speaking world – you can always get reprints of her “fairy” book, but also of her works on healing).

Particularly during carnival time you can expect to be tricked by people in costumes or motley. What better topic for our “Mardi Gras”-edition than the question how reliable descriptions of elemental beings by clairvoyants are.

I would like to tell you of a personal experience which has inspired a lot of deliberations. Maybe my conclusions may be helpful for you also!

In our article “Fairies and Giants” (September 2013) we focussed mainly on flower fairies. The known literature on elemental beings seems to agree that they are beautiful and lovely and that they are in some relation to the growth of flowers and plants. An imaginative and very well known description can be found in Hans Christian Andersens literary fairy tale “Thumbelina” (1835):

A woman desperately wishing for a child gets a magic barley corn from a witch. A beautiful flower grows out of the corn. When the bud opens “with a bang”, the woman discovers a tiny girl called “Thumbelina”. Because of her beauty many creatures want to catch her. First she is abducted by a toad, then by a chafer (May beetle), during wintertime she lives with a mouse and is expected to marry a mole. Finally she flies on the back of a swallow to a distant warm country where she meets and marries a male flower fairy “with the most exquisite, transparent wings”. The flower fairies give her a new and more fitting name (“Maja”) and fit a pair of fly’s wings to her back. Thus she can also fly with them from flower to flower.

Many artists and illustrators were inspired by Andersen’s fairy tale. In due course for depictions of flower fairies wings became very popular.

In 2012 I had the good fortune to get to know Margot Ruis and Gerhard Kogoj and to be able to work with them for a time. And I had the opportunity to attend one of their legendary seminars on nature beings. Margot Ruis and Gerhard Kogoj can perceive flower fairies and they describe them as small, but beautiful and lovely.

But both of them emphatically deny that flower fairies have wings!

Similarly, we could possibly look for the origin of another “characteristic trait” of elves, namely the pointed ears (well known from movies and toy boxes).  Margot Ruis and Gerhard Kogoj  also vehemently disagree with this popular depiction.

Being influenced by the usual imaginations, our film team (none of us a clairvoyant) has discussed this question intensively during working on “Nature Beings – Message from Forgotten Friends”: Do flower fairies have wings or not? Are tree devas male or female? And what about the pointy ears?

To be very clear on one point: Alvin believes the descriptions of Margot Ruis and Gerhard Kogoj to be very plausible. I am convinced that they perceive and experience the world of subtle matter in just the way they describe it in their books and texts. And I view these texts as reliable and valuable! It is a blessing for us that today as well as in past times (maybe then more than nowadays) there are people who are able to glimpse the other world “behind” or “beyond” the world of gross matter.

But if you study the issue more intensively and read the relevant literature, you get thinking: obviously, even if the authors agree on the existence and general characteristics of elemental beings, the descriptions or pictures of their perceptions are seldom the same. From my point of view it is therefore self-evident that objective generalizations of appearances and form of ethereal beings are not easy to come by.

Let’s consider again the flower fairies: In Dora van Gelder’s already quoted book there is a description of a typical kind of flower fairy:

„In this particular garden that I am describing there were some lovely beds of pansies. About them floated some equally lovely and delicate beings, which remind one of butterflies and are short-lived. They are tiny things, only a few inches tall, having faces much like the pansy itself. The body is very like that of a butterfly or dragonfly – torpedo shaped and much narrower than the face. The body and head together are perhaps four to five inches long, and of this, the face is perhaps an inch. Projecting from the neck and virtually the whole length of the body are two thin winglike structures, which, however, do not fulfill the tunction of wings but so far as one can judge, are merely decorative. The face and body are flesh-colored but tinged with shades of mauve, viole, and purple; the wings are similarly colored, but variegated and brilliant. While I was watching, I saw four of these in only a few minutes, moving about the pansies in the window boxes. After all, in the invisible world, just as in the visible, there is community of life, and fairies are as likely to be wherever there is a bed of flowers as a group of butterflies would be.“

(Dora van Gelder, The Real World of Fairies. Second Edition 1999, Quest Books. Chapter 6: Garden Fairies, p. 82f.)

Obviously, whereas Margot Ruis’s and Dora van Gelder’s descriptions agree on the size and “loveliness” of the flower fairies, there are differences concerning the details of their form. Additionally, Margot Ruis experiences the flower fairies according to her descriptions as rather stable (standing on a blossom or peeping out of it), whereas Dora van Gelder seems to perceive them as floating around the flowers.

But we don’t want to preclude that perceptions of nature beings are only phantastic imaginations or even an elaborate hoax. By this comparison, I don’t want to throw doubt on the different depictions. But I see it as an important goal to find out if and how far reports by clairvoyants can be seen as objective or what that means for our day-today life. Nobody wants to parrot mindlessly what someone tells, we rather want to understand it thoroughly! Quite apart from the fact that it can be rather fatal to let one’s life be guided by “phantasms”.

These are the reasons that I would like to share my deliberations (as far as they are developed). I am no clairvoyant and I can’t prove the correctness of my conclusions, but I ask you, dear reader, to actively follow the thread of my thoughts and to decide for yourself, if what I say is correct.

I am convinced (and that is my “artistic” credo) that everything has a form, even if it can’t be perceived. Thoughts, feelings, forces … everything is formed and this form is an expression of its inner “true self”. It is the artist’s task to show the inner self: through literal descriptions, or sounds, through light and colours, through dance, painting or sculpture.

Understood like that, the artist creates exterior forms that mirror the inner true self! In this sense, real art is not about the making of outwardly beautiful things, but about truth!

Thus not only matter is formed, but also thoughts, forces, information have forms (in-form-ation), even if our bodily senses or technical mechanisms can’t perceive them. These invisible forms can be called “ethereal” or “subtle“ matter.

Part of them are elemental forces.

People who can perceive the world of subtle matter and can relate their experiences, are media (lat. translator, middle man). A prerequisite is a heightened sensitiveness to “pressure”. Every human being has not only a material body, but also ethereal parts. To be a medium, these parts have to be able to perceive the ethereal “beyond” our material senses and to translate them to the body. The ways of perception can be via seeing, hearing or feeling.

I say: the medium’s perception of the ethereal world can be more or less clear or more or less cloudy.

If you wear coloured glasses, you will perceive the world around you in coloured pictures.

Could it be possible that the same principle applies to the ethereal world?

Why is it for instance for some people totally unthinkable to believe in the existence of ethereal beings? Maybe because their materialistic thoughts stand between them and these beings. The way of thinking filters and influences the way of experiencing the world. When every experience and every conviction speaks against the existence of ethereal sapient beings, it is only understandable that many people don’t want to approach such world views. Only if they would let go of these thoughts and surround themselves with different thoughts, they would by and by be able to experience the world differently.

In the same way coloured glasses influence optic perception, (wrong) thoughts, views and convictions can colour and influence the perception of the subtle world.

It is well known that also the cardinals responsible for the inquisition refused to look into Galileo Galilei’s telescope. What he wanted to show to them didn’t fit into their view of the world. Galilei had to abjure his scientific findings. On 15th February the 450th birthday of the great scientist was celebrated.

A small consolation (which of course can’t undo the pain and humiliation Galilei had to suffer): when the way of thinking is changing, the perception changes also. If there is a strong will to change, this can happen very fast. (But usually such things take their time: Galileo Galilei was rehabilitated by the catholic church only in 1992!)

Could Galileo Galilei have been saved if the Cardinals had accepted his offer to look through his telescope? I don’t think so. As they were not prepared to go a step further and to follow the thoughts of a genius scientist, they would not have drawn the same conclusions as Galilei but would rather have found other reasons to condemn him.

How can it happen that a unique form is perceived by different people so differently?

Because, figuratively spoken, the “light of recognition” is part of the inner self and only by the beam of that “light” human beings can perceive all forms.

Let’s compare it again with optics: If you illuminate something with red light instead of normal white daylight, you will perceive only red parts truly – all differently coloured parts will seem off-colour.

The physical reason is that daylight contains all visible frequencies and therefore all colours can be seen by this light. By coloured light (light with a limited frequency range) only those colours can be seen truly that are related to the same limited frequency range.

This physical fact can as well be translated to human emotions and feelings: a happy or angry or sad person perceives the world differently, according to his or her emotional state. If you are grumpy, you will mainly perceive facts that mirror the state you are in, and you will be offended by a lot of things that on a better day you wouldn’t even have noticed.

The surrounding world is in both cases the same, but they seem to be different, according to the perception.

And the perception depends from the actual sentiments and thoughts „radiating“ into the forms.

Let me summarize: shapes and forms of our material world can be measured and photographed. They stay the same for all people. Nevertheless human beings experience them differently, each one according to his nature (emotions, thoughts) and spiritual development, because we have put different sentiments and thoughts (being themselves ethereal) into the material forms.

In the world of subtle matter things are not solid and anchored to a material form. Here the forms and our ethereal inner world that influences the perception are of the same nature.

Therefore it is understandable that different people perceive the same ethereal being in different shapes.

Since I have thought about these connections, I am amazed that there are still so many accordances between reports of clairvoyants!

Incidentally, Abd-ru-shin (Oskar Ernst Bernhardt, 1975-1941) has elucidated these issues already 80 years ago in his book “In the Light of Truth” – where you can find the following quotation:

„The Greeks, the Romans and the Teutons, for instance, could see still further! Their inner seeing reached beyond the World of Matter into the Animistic Sphere lying above it. In their more advanced development they could finally even see the Lords of the Elementals and of the Elements. A few mediumistic individuals among them, by virtue of their ability, could even enjoy a closer relationship with them (…).

Any outward expression of the inner seeing and hearing of men is always dependent upon their personal ability to comprehend and to express at the time. Thus it is that the Greeks, the Romans and the Teutons depicted the same Lords of the Elements and of all that is animistic in form and conception, but always in accordance with the views prevailing in their surroundings! Despite some differences in their descriptions they were the same, however!

If today, for example, five or more really good clairaudients are assembled, and all of them simultaneously hear a very definite sentence spoken in the beyond, then only the sense of what they heard will be rendered uniformly, but not the actual words. Each will report the words differently, even hear them differently, because even in the reception much that is personal makes itself felt! It is the same as with music, which is perceived quite differently by the various listeners, yet recognised as being fundamentally the same!“

(Abd-ru-shin, In the Light of Truth. The Grail Message. Lecture: The Gods, Olympus and Valhalla. Verlag der Stiftung Gralsbotschaft, Stuttgart)

Philologists know that there are similarities between the Greek, the Roman and the Germanic pantheon – but have you read these myths? Would you have thought that the described acting persons (Nature “gods”) are indeed identic?

From my point of view, these remarks should caution everyone to avoid partiality and to acknowledge that a seer’s experiences can be personally coloured and should not be taken for the absolute truth!

The well-known Russian medium Jana Haas speaks for instance about her experiences with clairvoyance:

“My main task concerns the wisdom of angels. I see angels in their energy. They have no real form, but form their energy as shapes that we can understand best because of our cultural preconditions – like for example a winged being for a Christian. If there is a Buddhist, I would see instead a Buddha’s shape. And if it is a Christian, I see a winged being, usually defined as a guardian angel.”

Jana Haas’s remark that angels “have no real form” is from my point of view no contradiction to our former assertion that “everything has a form”. What is meant is that angels have no form perceivable with earthly senses – as the seer goes on to explain:

“I see them (the guardian angels) in their representational form, in their garments of light with wings made of light, in their radiance, I see them in colours, because colours have specific meanings, also in symbols, because symbols have specific meanings. I see them in movement, in gestures, because the enlightened spiritual world is so subtle and highly vibrating, that it can never be compressed to one word or even one language. Therefore you can’t hear angels or touch them, you can only experience them. That’s how I see them and then I feel in what way their love, goodness  or wisdom touches me via colours, movement, gestures or radiance. And after 11 years of experiences of communications with angels I know how to express it in a human form, in a human language, free from judgement, lovingly and applicable, as it was meant by the angel. And only then it is really a truthful, enlightened, spiritual message and no fantasy of the sub-conscious or own sorrows or even a lower vibration, which is able to deceive through own impurities and traumas.”

(Jana Haas, Interview for the childrens magazine “Vorhang auf”, parents’ part, No. 97/4/2013. Waldow Verlag 9309.)

Obviously, this text shows that the medium is well aware of the uncertainties accompanying the transmission from subtle to gross matter. There is no outward hold and you have to fight continuously for the purity of the transmission.

From my point of view,  the following quotation out of Rudolf Steiner’s “Theosophy” fits very well (I have already used this quotation in our article “Elemental Beings and Gaea” in December 2013).

„Those who have powers of spiritual sight perceive such beings and can describe them. To the lower species of such beings belongs all that is described by observers of the spiritual world as salamanders, sylphs, undines and gnomes. It should not be necessary to say that such descriptions are not to be considered reproductions of the reality that underlies them. If they were, then the world in question would be not a spiritual, but a grossly sensory one. They are attempts at making clear a spiritual reality that can only be represented in this way, this is, by similes. It is quite comprehensible that anyone who admits the validity of physical vision only, regards such beings as the offspring of confused fantasy and superstition. They can, of course, never become visible to the sensory eye because they have no sensory bodies. The superstition does not consist in regarding such beings as real, but in believing that they appear in a way perceptible to the physical senses. Beings of such forms co-operate in the construction of the world, and we come into contact with them as soon as we enter the higher regions closed to the bodily senses. Those people are not superstitious who see in such descriptions pictures of spiritual realities, but rather those who believe in the sensory existence of the pictures, as well as those who deny the spirit, because they think they must deny the sensory picture.“

(Rudolf Steiner, Theosophy. Chapter III: The Three Worlds – The Physical World and its Connection with the Soul and Spiritland.)

Additionally, I would like to quote Marko Pogacnik, a Slovenian land artist and geomantist:

 „When I visited the other continents, I found the elemental beings making real use of the language of the local culture in order to show themselves to me. They clothed themselves in the grammatical forms of their particular language and in these I recognised the characteristic art forms of the relevant culture.

For example, the gnomes of South America showed themselves in forms resembling the script of the Mayan or Inca cultures. My intuition tells me that, to make contact with me, they use the language of the last culture that communicated with them. The Spaniards or Portuguese who have conquered the land were certainly never interested in the language of South American gnomes. In consequence, the elemental beings of the conquered lands could never learn the medieval forms of speech that at that time was still occasionally used to converse with nature beings in Europe.

After making contact with me, their traditional forms of communication faded away. I could now put the elemental beings of foreign lands in their rightful place within the usual pattern of the elemental world, and for this I looked at their function in their respective landscapes. These are similar world-wide, or nearly.

As a result of these experiences, I stopped using the old names like ‚faun‘ or ‚Pan‘ for elemental beings. I sense that over time they have become too linked to the traditions of Western culture. As long as we are not in a position to invent new names, I propose to name individual kinds of elemental beings and environmental spirits by their functions. These are the same worldwide. They are essential functions without which the web of life on the terrestrial eco-spere cannot survive.“

(Marko Pogacnik, Nature Spirits & Elemental Beings. Working with the Intelligence of Nature. Second edition, Findhorn Press, Scotland, 2009, p. 82f.)

Elemental beings in the shape of letters?!

This may be not the place for Alvin to judge, but I can imagine that it was necessary for the medium, not for the elemental beings, to build a bridge for understanding through the last indigenous culture’s scripture and art.

Be it as it may, this is a highly interesting quotation … especially because it seems to be somewhat bizarre at first glance, it points out how much the perception of the ethereal world is influenced and imprinted by the thoughts and views of the medium.

In our „FairyPics“ we show another drawing by Marko Pogacnik and in comparison a photograph with a drawing of high Icelandic mountain elementals by Erla Stefansdottir, the Icelandic medium known as “Elves envoy”. In both cases the mediums perceived the nature beings not, as usually, in human form – but pay attention at the amazing accordance of the two depictions!

I hope that the multiplicity of shapes in our “Carnival-edition” has not confused you – be consoled: with the Ash Wednesday all fools have to end their revelries…

Mardi Gras 2014                                                                    Alvin – The Elfenfriend

(Translated by Rowena in May 2015)


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