I’ve been taking pictures of fairies. Not literal fairies, or at least I assume not. I take pictures of nature and see if I can see the illusion of faces in the foliage, branches and leaves. This is not as easy as it sounds. Usually nothing is seen, but on occasion an image appears.
I wondered if there would be any difference between daytime pareidolia and nighttime pareidolia. There should be no difference as pareidolia is what it is. I took some pictures of foliage at night and discovered a difference. Daylight fairies tend to be more whimsical, more jovial. However, the nighttime fairies are darker…more sinister as they snarl at you from behind leaves. I can’t explain why this is so. It couldn’t possibly be genuine fairies staring back at us?
Above is an example. The daylight fairy is a teatime fairy, a handsome chap holding a teacup under his chin. The nighttime fairy is a top hat fairy. He is a scarier character, with black bulbous eyes (or sunglasses) and a frown. Notice there seems to be another face behind his top hat.
The other dark fairies seem to snarl or look ghostly. Yet, I’d suggest nighttime fairies are not evil; they are just different. I imagine daylight fairies feel superior to their nighttime fairy brethren. I think dark fairies are just misunderstood. Maybe that is why dark fairies have a chip on their shoulder.
Below is another picture. Take at look at the top image and see if you can detect faces. Then check out the picture below where I circled faces. They may not be immediately obvious, but with a bit of imagination you’ll see them. It is curious how they seem to be clustered together in the same image…
I’ve been trying to photograph images in nature that resemble faces in the forest. I seek images resembling humanity in the forest’s leaves and branches. This is not as easy as it sounds. It happens by sheer happenstance. I am trying to figure out what combination of location, natural lighting, camera angle and camera focus has the best chance of replicating man’s image in the natural order. So far it seems the real trick is afterwards when observing the photo. You really have to look hard to find this trick-of-the-eye. And it is easy to lose it! I spot something intriguing in a photo, but when I return to the picture later I can’t find what I had previously seen.
I noticed that these whimsical photos reminded me of the art of Brian Froud, the famed fairy artist. I love Froud’s work. He incorporates the natural world into his fairy art. His fairies sometimes blend into the background as if they are part of nature and don’t completely resemble humanity. His fairies are an “other” combining nature and man.
Below are a few photos I took. At first you may not see the shapes that resemble people. But look closely and let your imagination take over.
Here is a photo of someone drinking tea. He is in profile looking to your left, has a dark hairline and is wearing a green jacket. Imagine his hand holding a teacup just under his chin.
Below are some spindly fairy types. Again, use your imagination. They are also looking to the left. The one on the left is mostly obscured, but with the one on the right you can see the shoulder and arm.
Finally, I have a bear photo, except there are no bears around where I am. It is a fantasy standing bear, visible if again you use your imagination.
I had another trip into the forest hunting for trolls, fairies and anomalies. I left a donut as an offering for the fairy folk. Folklore suggests an offering of sweets is a good method to entice the fair folk to reveal themselves. The Fay are called by polite names…the wee people, the good people, so as not to offend them. Calling them hairy ugly ”things” will not get results!
It is fun trying to get photos suggestive of the fairy folk, real or not. One may protest…these photos are just a trick of the light on branches and leaves. Perhaps, perhaps not, regardless it’s fun to capture images suggestive of the fantastic. They like to hide so they may not be immediately apparent. The photo above is possibly a hairy ugly troll/bigfoot character crouching down staring back at me. It doesn’t seem to want to be photographed. Too bad…gotcha!
To the side is the legendary Green Man, spirit of the forests. In the past Green Man carvings graced medieval churches and castles. His face combined leaves and branches. With the forests and rural life in decline, the Green Man is not quite what he used to be. The motif, once everywhere, is now as unpopular in architecture as the gargoyle.
Below is a curious picture…a ghost tree branch! At first glance it seems the camera flashed in the gloom of the forest and reflected off a branch. However, I’ve never seen branches glow like this before. Branches are not reflective. Even more curious, this branch seems to be transparent. Look carefully and you can see through it! A ghost tree branch? Do trees have ghosts? I never heard of ghost trees.
Ghost hunters are known for their efforts to obtain evidence of ghosts. Yet the realm of nature spirits is widely ignored by enthusiasts of the paranormal. I feel this is an under-explored area of the esoteric. People may believe in ghosts but find it hard to accept non-human spirits. Fairies, trolls and nature spirits seem only the stuff of fairy tales. We have Bigfoot hunters but no troll hunters. The picture above appears to show someone wearing a strange hat peeking between tree trunks.
Bigfoot or Troll?
Non-human spirits are recognized in most of the world’s religions. Sightings of these entities are not relegated only to the past but continue on to this day. Nowadays we interpret these entities as the aliens/fairies involved in alien abduction or with Bigfoot/troll sightings.
IF such entities exist is it even possible to photograph them? Photographing nature spirits is tricky business. Nature spirits, fairies and trolls don’t exactly resemble human beings. Any image of such an entity could simply be pareidolia, which is imagining meaningful shapes in random patterns. Then again, there is always a chance what appears to be a fairy is actually a fairy.
Forest Orb or Fairy?
There is also a third possibility…intentionally created pareidolia. Even if non-physical beings can’t necessarily be photographed, perhaps they can manipulate their surroundings to give themselves shape. Might they use branches and leaves to give substance to their formlessness? What appears as pareidolia may not always be the result of purely random patterns but the result of serendipity and synchronicity. I have included a few photos I took while “troll hunting” in a forest preserve in a populated area just outside Chicago.
I was invited to visit the annual World of Faeries festival by a friend. I like faeries so I was happy to join Jamie and his family. I’ve never been to this annual festival before which was held in South Elgin, IL. The weather was overcast and windy, with the threat of rain at any minute. Somehow it seemed appropriate for a fairy festival, since fairies very much symbolize the captiousness of the natural world. The faeries of legend can be friendly one day and hostile the next, and as nature spirits they reflect nature.
Many of the attendants were dressed up in fairy and medieval costumes. A lot of the costumes were really elaborate. It did feel like we had entered fairyland. There were tents selling all types of fairy related crafts, a lot of cool stuff. They had performers. Above is a picture of a crowd pleaser, a performer who created huge bubbles that floated through the air as the children chased after them. The music included the Elven Drummers. My favorite was a lady who would freeze and appear to be a statue (pictured left below).
Jamie joked that maybe some of the people here were real fairies. That jest might not be purely a jest. It was held in a park by a river at a natural area. A gathering of fairy friendly humans might actually attract the attention of the invisible fairy folk. The idea of wearing masks and pretending to be fairies is a method to summon the wee people. Did anybody possess the second sight to actually spot one?
Jamie is a pagan and he ran into number of fellow pagans he knew at this event. I thought about the significance of the faerie in paganism. Christianity has its angels and paganism has faeries. Bird’s wings symbolize angels while butterfly wings symbolize faeries. Angelic folklore and faerie folklore seem to express the same desire to touch the “other”, to contact benevolent spiritual entitles who sometimes interact with humanity.
To what extent does the faerie of popular imagination reflect the faerie of folklore and reality? I think the fairy of popular culture does not represent the real thing. The fairy of folklore was not a sugarplum, Victorian style fairy that rode on caterpillars. They don’t have butterfly wings. Unless we imagine them that way. With their glamour they would appear to us anyway we visualize them.
The faerie of folklore were dangerous beings. Long ago people would use pleasant names to refer to them, such as the “People Of Peace”. Why? So as not to offend them. To offend the faeries was to bring peril into your home. The People Of Peace did not suffer fools gladly. Encounters with the faerie folk were an exercise in diplomacy. The faerie did not think the same way human beings did. They essentially had an alien mentality. They shared some common elements with humanity, but most of their thinking could be considered…non-human.
The UFO abduction phenomena seem to be the faerie folk at work in the modern world. They still interact with humanity, at the time and place of their own choosing. And it is not a pleasant experience for those who make “contact”. Based on these modern true real life encounters with the Wee People (Grays), our image of fairies as cute things is the result of popular culture and not reality. Try to imagine butterfly wings on Grays as they abduct your astral body.
As for the festival, I liked a vendor who crafted some nice leather facemasks (below). I like to dress up for Halloween parties, but finding a classy mask that allows me to breath is not easy. His masks were great, and he can customize a mask if you wish. When Halloween comes around I might be giving him a call. His booth and his business card are below.
Recently I was discussing the topic of angels with someone. The topic of angelology is large. One question we pondered …why were all angels male? All the Biblical angels had masculine names. Where were the female angels? Which lead me to expand that question to spirits in general. Do spirits have a gender? On the surface it would seem a spirit, being a non-physical entity would not have a gender. Sex is a physical biological function for the reproduction of a species. Why would a disembodied incorporeal spirit need a gender?
First let’s look at what religious traditions have to say about the possibility of spirit gender. Traditional religions are clear that angels are sexless, neither man nor woman. And humanity will become like the angels in the afterlife. Here is a passage from the bible concerning this:
“‘In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her.’ But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”" (Matthew 22:28-30)
This would seem to settle the topic from a religious viewpoint. Yet, Jesus retained his male aspect after his resurrection. Also intriguing are the Marian apparitions. When the Virgin Mary appeared to individuals (like at Fatima) she clearly retained her womanhood. Does this mean what we were in life, we retain in the afterlife? What about those who believe in reincarnation? People who subscribe to reincarnation have reported that in past lives they often lived as different genders. Different religious viewpoints come to different conclusions.
Outside of religious thought, we can look at people’s first hand experiences with ghosts and out-of-body near-death experiences. People who have encountered ghosts report that these spirits are clearly male or female. Look at the story of the ghostly hitchhiker, Resurrection Mary, a famous Chicago area ghost. Resurrection Mary was reported as a young woman seen walking alone down a street (Archer Avenue) near a local ballroom, and is offered a ride by a passerby. When the car passes Resurrection Cemetery down the road, she asked the driver to stop and left the car only to vanish, or even vanished while in the car. There were dozens of actual reports of Resurrection Mary over the decades; it was not just an urban legend. Resurrection Mary and other ghosts clearly retain their sexuality identify after death.
Looking at near-death experiences, those who go through this experience feel they still resemble their physical body. Here is an example from a previous post of mine: http://occultview.com/2009/01/14/near-death-out-of-body-experience/ Also interesting, when the tunnel of light is encountered (a typical part of this experience) there are reports of being greeted by their dead loved ones. Their deceased greeters appear as they did in life, but appear young and vigorous, not old or decrepit as when they passed away. And they still appear as men or women.
Spiritualist and occult philosophy has a viewpoint about this. According to these ideas, we have a physical body and a spirit/soul. We also have something that is in-between these two…an invisible, ethereal double. The ancient Egyptians called this concept the ‘Ka”, or life force. This life force was an invisible double of our body. At death, the Ka leaves the body. Then this Ka “dies” and the Ba (the Egyptian name for the soul) is released to travel outside the realm of time/space. This Ka double could be called our ghost. Our ghost-double closely mirrors our physical self, including our sexual identify. Some suggest that sexuality is not only a physical phenomena but also a spiritual one. It is said our body’s life force connects with another’s life-force during sex, sharing this life energy as well. And what about the Soul, the Ba? Does the soul retain any aspect of sexuality identify? I have no clue about that.
A step further into the unknown: can non-human incorporeal entities have sex with humans? There is a strange passage from Genesis that suggests this is so. This passage below is often interpreted as angelic entitles actually copulating with mortal women and breeding children. Hard to get my mind around that one.
” There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown. ” (Genesis 6:4)
In mythology non-human beings have a strong sexual identity, and often have intimate affairs with mortals. Fauns, satyrs, nymphs, the fairy folk are all male or female. There are many stories in our folklore of non-human entities having something resembling sexual interaction with living people. This was a common theme in faerie phenomena with many tales of the faerie being intensely interested in human sexuality. Look at the stories of changelings, where the faerie steal away human children and replace them with something else, or faerie abduction of someone taken away into fairyland for sexual purposes. Why would an immaterial being want such relationships with us?
This still happens today, but it is called something else. It is called the UFO alien abduction phenomena. These reports very often include sexual experimentation on those abducted by these beings. It seems like these entities’ primary purpose for contact with humans has something do to with reproduction. These beings may not be flesh and blood alien from outer space, but the same entitles that were once called the faerie, and can appear in any form they wish. They seem to steal away someone’s “Ka” for their own purposes and then return it. Again, why? We’d have to ask them!
A final thought. The idea about a realm invisible to the physical world is not just speculation. Science has already recognized something similar to this. It is called dark matter. We have no clue what this dark matter is, but it has a detectable gravitational influence on a cosmic scale. The vast majority of the matter in the universe consists of this invisible dark matter; it holds our galaxies tighter preventing them from flying apart. The idea of an invisible reality outside our perception may not just be a fantasy.
QUEENS OF HEARTS AND CUPS
The Rider-Waite Tarot is a legendary deck of tarot cards. They are unique in having symbolic imagery for every card of the deck and not just the major arcana. The minor arcana consist of what is now our standard deck of playing cards, except it has the addition of a Page added to the face cards of King, Queen and Jack/Knight. The Rider-Waite deck is full of symbolism from mystic A.E. Waite and Pamela Colman Smith. It can be fun trying to find all the symbolism in the cards, like a game of spot the symbol.
To understand the symbolism in the Rider-Waite deck, we need to understand that each of the four suits of the cards represents one of the four basic occult elements. The suit of diamonds represents the element Earth, and in the Rider-Waite deck it is symbolized by the Coin. The diamond/coin symbolizes matters of money, commerce, and property.
The suit of hearts is the tarot’s Cup, and it symbolizes the element of Water. Water represents matters of emotion, the heart, and relationships. The suit of spades represents the element Air, and is shown as the sword in the Rider-Waite deck. I tend to disagree with this, I think the spade/sword should represent fire, but so be it. The spade/sword symbolizes conflict, politics, and power. And finally the suit of clubs is symbolized by a literal wooden club in the Rider-Waite deck, representing the occult element of fire (as in kindling wood).
The first card of the major arcara is the Magician (or Juggler). It shows the Magician at his working table and laid out before him are the four suits of the minor arcana (and our modern day playing cards). The Magician seeks to obtain mastery over the four occult elements and thereby all aspects of the human condition. Notice the magician points upward towards the Heavens/Universe and downward towards the earth, to call down divine power for dominion over the physical world.
Aces and Queen of Cups
Today is Valentine’s Day, so in honor of the holiday lets look at the Rider-Waite Queen of Hearts/Cups. Can you spot the symbolism in the Queen of Cups? Now that we understand the Cup symbolizes the element of Water, we can see all the symbols of water in the card. She sits on a throne at a beach with the water and sand at her feet. She holds in her hands the elaborate Ace of Cups. Her robe has the pattern of the ocean’s waves on it. And most interesting, engraved on her throne are Undines, which in occult theory are the elementals of the water.
In occult theory each of the four elements have spirits that exist in those elements. In water exist the Undines, in earth the Gnomes, in the fire live the Salamanders, and in the air dwell the Sylphs. These elementals are a big deal in occult theory. Some say faeries are the same thing as the elementals. I sort of doubt that. Elementals are a cornerstone of occult practices and their power is summoned in ceremonial magic. Faeries are not so cooperative!
The Rider-Waite face cards have these elementals represented in them. Knowing the Rider-Waite cards are filled with elemental symbolism, it can be fun to search the cards yourself and see if you can spot the symbols.
Is it possible to initiate contact with aliens? It would seem to be impossible. How could anyone possibly make contact with beings from other worlds? It would seem that aliens contact us; we don’t contact them. They pick the place and time, and if someone is at the right place at the right time…. contact! So is it a fool’s errand to even attempt contact? Maybe so, but it would be interesting to try. By looking at cases of alien abduction, we can get a few clues about how to go about making contact ourselves.
First, are alien abductions real? People have genuinely experienced these phenomena. The real question should be, what exactly was experienced? Could aliens from another world be visiting us and interacting with us? It’s not impossible. However, I have a problem with literal physical aliens doing the tasks reputed to them. I tend to think a supremely advanced extraterrestrial civilization would be…subtler. Add to this the amount of effort required to abduct people…just imagine the physics involved in a typical abduction.
Nevertheless, contactees believe in their experience and this can’t be dismissed. I suggest this is all about a non-physical phenomenon that occurs inside our perceptions. Suddenly these remarkable stories become more plausible. Non-physical entities can at times interact with us. Then altering reality is not required, only altering our consciousness.
Most interesting are the outdoor alien abductions where someone is driving a car in a remote rural area. They see a light hovering on the empty road ahead. Intrigued or curious, they leave their car to investigate. Or their car stalls and they stare out at the amazing spectacle before them. They might see small humanoid figures emerge from the glowing light, approaching them…then they black out, without memory of what occurred afterwards. They experienced missing time. Here we have rural entities kidnapping and manipulating the minds of men. According to folklore this has been happening throughout man’s history.
Here is a typical abduction story online, with their almost universal elements, from the 100MileFreePress.net.
It sounds like a frightening experience. Yet, what price would we pay to have such an experience! That is the ultimate thrill of contact with the Unseen World. It would be the same as seeing a ghost…terrifying but at the same time proving the existence of life after death. Or having an out of body experience and then never fearing death again. To know that there is something more to life then just what we see around us. Which leads to this thought…
The Unseen World can NEVER force itself on us. The skeptic is impervious to any attempt at contact. Sensible people who’s heads are on straight, who know reality from nonsense, cannot be abducted. Just like an atheist can never see a ghost. The unseen world can be contacted only when it is invited in. We must initiate the process, consciously or unconsciously. As far as I’ve seen this has been true. The irony is that a skeptic will never be disproved his skepticism. Maybe it has something to do with the concept of free will, but the spiritual/supernatural cannot impose itself on anyone. This is both the perfect defense against abduction…and the greatest barrier to contact.
Lets say we want to contact faeries. Faeries are not the cute sprites of popular imagination, with butterfly wings and riding on caterpillars. No, these are Entities, Beings who exist on a different level of existance just outside but parallel to ours. Like us, they can be good, sinister or indifferent. Some say the aliens of the UFO phenomna are simply faeries appearing in a credible guise to a world that no longer accepts fairies. Grays are Brownies! How do we go about making contact?
Attempting to contact the Wee People requires several things. First and most important is having the “second sight”. That is a tall order! Second Sight is the sensitivity to perceive the unseen world. Few people are born with this talent. Most of us we will have to try developing it as best we can. How to develop this talent? It is not done overnight. It requires practice with visualization…imagining we can see without our eyes, symbolized by the concept of the third eye. We close our eyes and imagine seeing our surroundings with our mind.
We also need to train our intuition. We need to listen to our intuition. That is hard to do when we live busy lives, but by strengthening our intuition we aid in developing a version of second sight. One extra trick is the use of our peripheral vision. I have been able to detect things with my peripheral vision that I could not by looking straight on.
An example of something similar to “second sight” is this article in the Guardian.co.uk, concerning blind sight. Blindsight is the ability of some blind to unknowingly see using something other then recognized vision. There are pathways of perception that lie beneath our consciousness. We can train them like we can train any skill.
Blind man amazes scientists with his ability to detect objects he cannot see
When we want to try contact, after having developed our second sight and locating a likely location, the traditional method is to offer a gift of food and drink. Announce our intentions out loud. Then meditate, enter a heightened state of consciousness, and visualize. We might only imagine things. Or we might actually perceive a part of the unseen world. Faeries and shrooms have a long-standing relationship together. A bottle of hooch has been known to work wonders as well.
Second, we have to identify likely locations where we would suspect the faeries dwell. This is also a tall order. The faerie co-exist with nature, away from electricity, cold iron, mechanized farming and plowed fields. Cities are not the place to find a Fay. Places of natural power like ravines, springs, and mounds would be good places to investigate. We need to use our intuition to aid us in guessing where the fairies may exist. If we get a feeling about something at such a place…that instinct is worth listening to.
I think we need a new, improved method for contacting faeries. I suggest studying alien contact/abduction cases. With these cases we might find useful clues on how to encourage “contact”. What type of person has contact with aliens? What about them and their lives are different? Is there some common thread that could be useful? What makes someone susceptible to contact, but not another? If we analyzed these cases in detail, I suspect we’d find some common threads. I have a guess. Contactees unknowingly have the second sight. Back to where we started!
I like fairy tales. Modern adaptations of fairy tales are watered down versions of the original tales, which can be pretty graphic. It can be fun to speculate about the theme in any fairy tale. What is the message behind the story? These stories are meant to be fun but also serve as cautionary tales.
For example, what is the symbolism of the giant, troll or ogre? They serve as a story’s antagonists for sure. But I think these creatures also serve as metaphors for the capricious and dangerous side of the natural world. In the past people were at the mercy of the natural world. Drought, famine, pestilence, blizzard, and flood…people had to defend themselves against the unexpected forces of nature. At times the natural world must have seemed almost alive. And so the ogre symbolizes the dangerousness of the world outside of home.
In today’s modern life nature is not as dangerous as it was centuries ago. We don’t have to worry about having enough harvest to last the winter. Yet, in the modern world we have new worries. Modern worries. Instead of a bad harvest, we worry about losing our jobs, worry about our retirement, fret about paying the bills. We worry about survival just as people did centuries ago, but in a different way.
With our modern anxieties we also have modern fairy tales. Much of popular culture is a modern fairy tale. Horror movies speak to our fears; romantic comedies speak to our dreams. Instead of cautionary tales concerning the precarious nature of life, popular culture offers escapism. Yet the old symbolism still exists in our modern fables, if we look closely enough.