Field Guide Friday – Groovy, Groovy Fae: Devas and Elementals

Ankhie has been watching the Canadian (soon to be on SyFy) series Lost Girl. Do y’all know about this? Hot chick with some super-skills and a tendency to drain all the life from her lovers moves from town to town, thinking she’s just some psycho-killer freak doomed to be alone , then finds out that she is Fae (specifically a Succubus) and that there is a whole world of like and unlike Otherkin out there, living and working among unsuspecting mortals. There are Light Fae and Dark Fae and all kinds of politics and assorted naughtiness, some of it fascinating, some of it ridiculous, but all of it kinda fun.

Fae seem to be all the rage these days – the new Vampires , if you will – with a growing presence on shows such as this and True Blood (loves me that TB!) and the ever important YA book shelf. YA authors and their readers seem to be the new arbiters of  popular interest. Of course, long before these fictional non-humans showed up on page and screen, occultist and folklorists were busy documenting the (natural) world-unseen.

Cassandra Eason’s book A Complete Guide to Fairies and Magical Beings is not, strictly speaking, a field guide – however, if you were to ask Ankhie about how to prepare for encounters with the Fae, this would be the book I would send you to.  Take, for instance, the following excerpt from the chapter on Devas and Elementals:

The term deva in the ancient Eastern language Sanskrit means “shining one.” Devas or adhibautas represent the higher forms of nature essences, akin to angels, the opalescent beings who watch and direct the natural world. They communicate with people either through channelling or psychic communication, or directly through the healing and restorative properties of herbs, flowers and trees.

The current view of devas has evolved from Hinduism and Buddhism. These entities are far more abstract and no less readily described than the shining beings of the old Gods of Dana (the Celtic gods and goddesses) whose fairy court rivaled the  finest in Europe. It was Madame Helena Blavatsky, founder of the Theosophical Society, who brought the concept of devas as angelic beings to the West. She believed that, when humanity had achieved a high enough state of spiritual evolution, devas would enter into communication with mortals to help them to develop further. Since devic communication is now apparently occurring, it may be that humans are ready to accept this higher form of wisdom – though it may also be that the dire state of the planet has perhaps accelerated the need for higher forms of nature to intervene. Though devas do primarily relate to the natural world, they transmit messages concerning the need for peace and harmony, as well as caring for all of nature’s creations.

COMMUNICATING WITH DEVAS

In the Native North American culture, more highly evolved essences were manifest as the King of the Beavers or Lord of the Eagles.This being might offer special strength or wisdom to those alone in a forest or on a mountain, whether on an initiatory or personal spiritual Vision Quest. Vision Quests were undertaken by Native Americans as part of their initiation into adulthood and at other spiritually significant times. They involved going out into the wilderness, fasting and meditating until inspiration came, usually in the form of visions. It is a method adopted, usually under less rigorous conditions, by people who wish to reconnect with the natural world and their inner selves.

Devas are said to be aware of the thoughts of humans and can channel messages to those who are sufficiently sensitive to hear them, using clairaudient (heard within the mind) and telepathic means, especially when a person is in a state of meditation close to the natural world. Channelling is a way of receiving messages of wisdom, usually clairaudiently, that are attributed to a higher spiritual source, whether an angel, a spirit guide, a spiritual essence of the more evolved part of the self. Some cynics say that city folk have their angels and country dwellers have their devas. There is indeed an overlap between devas and those angels who communicate with humans (see below). Described frequently as appearing in the form of beautiful humans, though they inhabit the etheric or astral plane (the realm of the spirit body), devas can change size and appearance almost instantly, perhaps to harmonize with the image system of the receiver.

DEVIC POWER

Devas are credited with great powers in the skies, water and earth, exploding star clusters, regulating the tides and creating perfume in flowers.

In eastern philosophy it is said that trees can provide a home for devas who do not assume a permanent form. This may be the origin of the oracular or sacred trees that are found in different cultures and ages. For example, the prophetic oak sacred to the Greek Father God Zeus stood in the oracular groves at Dodona. A piece of the tree was placed in the Argo, the boat of Jason and the Argonauts, to give them guidance on their quest for the Golden Fleece.

Other devas assume the role of sacred guardian at ancient sites ans have been described as huge brown shadows as dusk draws in, or as silver column of light when dawn breaks through. Devas communicate telepathically with humans, and devic communication can occur quite spontaneously in a beautiful garden or woodland. It can also be induced using meditation or by visualizing a deva and allowing words to form. In the Icelandic and Scandinavian traditions that spread to other parts of northern Europe, including Britain, the land wights or landvaeitir acted as guardians of villages and settlements, passing along the fairy paths at dusk and enclosing the area in their protection. Certain fields and hills were declared sacred to them and could not be built on or even ploughed.

Devas are also associated with one of the four elements of Earth, Air, Fire and Water and rule over the Elemental beings. In Wicca and ceremonial magic devas are called Lords of the Watchtower and represent the Four Quarters of the Ritual Circle. Sometime Archangels take on this role: for instance Michael, Archangel of the Sun, is linked with Fire and Gabriel, the Archangel of the Moon, with Water.

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