What is the Faerie Faith?

by Linda Kerr

A lot of people have expressed curiosity about the Faerie Faith: what is it; is it the same as the Fairy Tradition of Starhawk; is it similar to the teachings of Victor Anderson and Francesca Dubie; is it what we've read about in the current crop of books on fairy wicca?

To all of the above, no, the Faerie Faith is not the same as any of these. There are many similarities, especially with Victor Anderson's tradition, but so far the southern brand of the Faerie Faith seems to be unique.

About the Faerie Faith

The Faerie Faith is both a belief system and a tradition. In its most basic form, it is a belief in, and almost a symbiotic relationship with, the Faerie Folk or Little People. This belief does not conflict with the following of other religions or traditions, any more than a child's belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy prevents that child from going to church each week and learning bible stories. Being thus a belief system, the Faerie Faith does not demand or need followers, or leaders, or rituals. It also does not have a pantheon of deities, such as Norse or Egyptian traditions do. The Celtic gods you may be familiar with, including Bridget, the Dagda, and Lugh, are actually Faerie Folk themselves, who have been elevated to the status of gods over the centuries by the Celtic peoples. These gods can be looked on as archetypes more than actual deities, but they are no more and no less real than the other Little People, the spirits of the earth, the nature spirits.

Over time, however, the Faerie Faith evolved from simply a belief system to a pagan tradition, complete with its own rituals, training, and initiatory system. It is still a very simple system, and can be practiced hand-in-hand with other traditions, if one so desires, or can be followed entirely by itself.

Our tenets:

What Are the Lunar Tree Energies?

The main component of, and most unique thing about the Faerie Faith as a tradition are the energies of the year, and how these energies affect us. These energies can be correlated to the 13 lunar months of the Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar. These lunar months begin shortly after the Winter Solstice, and continue until the next Winter Solstice. Each of these lunations, the period from new moon to new moon, has a different energy, personality, or mood, and each of them have effects on us, whether we believe in them or not, whether we are Faerie Faith, Gardnerian, or Christian. It doesn't matter what path we're on; the effects are real.

I cannot explain why there are energies to the different lunations of the year. There seems to be no physical reason for it that I can see. But they do exist, and their effects on us are quite real. We find validation for this system of energies in the Bach Flower Remedies. In this system of healing, the 38 remedies are made from trees or other plants. Each remedy heals certain emotional states, such as despondency, resentment, jealousy, etc. What is most interesting about this system of healing is how many of the tree remedies correspond to the trees of the Celtic Lunar Tree Calendar and their energies. For instance, the Willow Bach Flower Remedy cures resentment, and during the Willow lunation, we tend to feel resentful. The Oak Remedy is for strength and endurance, for feeling tired, but still carrying on in spite of it all. The energies of Oak moon are strength and endurance. The Bach Flower Remedies thus contain the essence, or spirit, of the tree, and heal our negative emotional states.

Dr. Bach discovered his remedies by first feeling the negative emotional state, then going out to the plants and listening to them. His sensitivity was so highly attuned he could tell the energy of a plant and what it would cure simply by placing a leaf or flower petal of it on his tongue. Dr. Bach didn't invent these remedies; he simply discovered them and made use of them. He tapped into a system that already existed, and has probably existed since the earth was formed. We don't know why this system exists, only that it does.

We of the Faerie Faith study the different properties of these energies, and have developed an understanding of them and how they affect us in real life. We speak of the "mysteries" of the trees, and truly, they are mysteries, for they are not easily explained. There is no written information on them at all; the closest I have found are the books on the Bach Flower Remedies, and of course these only cover the 38 Remedies, and leave out several of the 13 lunar trees. Apart from this article that you are reading now, if you wanted to research the energies of the 13 lunar trees, you'd pretty much be out of luck. In the book on the Faerie Faith that I am writing, I've covered each of the 13 lunar trees from several angles, including physical description, food uses, medicinal properties, and folklore, Bach Flowers that correspond to the trees, the glyphs of the trees, and of course the energies of the trees. But you can only learn so much about the energies of the trees from reading about them. To fully understand them, they must be lived and experienced yearly. Each new cycle brings about a deeper understanding of the energies, and there is no substitute for personal training as a student under a High Priest or High Priestess of the Faerie Faith.

Other Aspects of the Faerie Faith

If the belief in the Little People can be looked on as one leg of a 3-legged stool, and the energies of the 13 lunar trees as another leg, then the Huna system, as written about by Max Freedom Long, would be the third leg. This is so important to a student's training in the Faerie Faith that we often require these be the first books read. Once you gain an understanding of this rather simple and very logical system, it can be applied to almost every aspect of your life. As there is currently a good bit of written information on this system, I won't cover it here, but rather will leave it to you to discover.

Other topics essential to a well-rounded education in the Faerie Faith include Jungian psychology, particularly the anima and animus, and bringing the two into balance in ourselves; dowsing and divining; earth energies and ley lines; Native American spirituality; women's mysteries and spirituality. We also place a strong emphasis on ethics and morality, as well as (or especially) personal transformation.

Origins of the Faerie Faith

We've worked to sift out the truth from the wonderful but not necessarily true stories of the origins of our tradition. The version of our history, as told to Epona by the late Mark Roberts, was that he was given the mysteries of the Faerie Faith by Margaret Lumley Brown, and returned to the States to spread these teachings. Much of what Mark claimed has now been cast in doubt. Below is what we had been told by Mark, and below that is what we have been able to research and figure out on our own.

Mark Roberts' version: (see Imre's history)

Mark Roberts was in England in 1961, pursuing his interests in archaeology and studying with Thomas Maughan, Arch Druid of the Druid Order, when he met Margaret Lumley Brown at a 'social-metaphysical' gathering. Mark told Margaret that he had seminary training with the Methodists as a minister, been initiated in a New Orleans Coven, was in personal training with the Arch Druid, had married Valerie Melhuish, who was part of a Wiccan family trad in England. Margaret told Mark about the Faerie Faith, and he began visiting her at Chalice Hill Cottage, which had been Margaret and Dion Fortune's home. In 1963, he was given the Mysteries and the three prime lessons of the Faerie Faith, which were written by Margaret, and then taken through a ritual. Margaret then instructed Mark to take the Faerie Faith to the States. He returned to the U.S. and met Morgan McFarland, and initiated her into part of his background, but kept the Faerie Faith a secret until after he and Morgan separated.

The history as we have gotten it from other people:

In 1971, Morgan McFarland, in Dallas, TX, met Mark Roberts. He told Morgan that he had only practiced within a coven with his ex-wife, Valerie Melhuish, who had initiated him into her family tradition in England. Mark and Morgan began working together, and she became a very public Craft figure. They called their tradition Dianic, from a reference to "Dianic cults" in Margaret Murray's The Witch Cult in Western Europe. In the late summer of 1971, Morgan began for the first time to write down her oral lessons, which she had gleaned from her years of solitary working prior to meeting Mark. Around 1976, Mark created a written, mail order series of lessons based on both Dianic lessons and Nature-oriented ideas, called "Footsteps on a Dianic Path." Mark Roberts served as High Priest for Morgan McFarland until early 1977, when Mark announced that he was moving on to another path called Hyperborea, which in turn begat Faerie Faith. Mark later claimed to have been learned about the Faerie Faith in 1963 in England from Margaret Lumley Brown. However, unlike the Melhuish Family Tradition, he had never mentioned the existence of this tradition to Morgan. (Morgan retired in the summer of 1979, but the Dianic Tradition she helped create is still in existence, having been re-named McFarland Dianic.)

Between 1977-1979, Mark had traveled to New York, and finally to Georgia, where in 1979, he met Epona in Atlanta. He initiated her into the path of Hyperborea, and gave her the teachings of the Faerie Faith (the three lessons supposedly written by Margaret Lumely Brown), the concept of Dianic witchcraft, and also the rituals that Morgan had written down starting in 1971 (Mark claimed to have practiced similar rituals when he was married to Valerie, but never showed any written Dianic or Melhuish rituals to Morgan). Mark and Epona worked together for two years, until their paths split over the vision of Hyperborea, but the teachings of the Faerie Faith fell on fertile ground with Epona. After Mark left Atlanta in 1981 to eventually move back to Dallas, Epona continued in her exploration of the Faerie Faith, developing greater insights into its mysteries.

The Garden Club

Epona stayed in Atlanta, and formed a coven called The Garden Club in 1987 (she had other students in the years between 1979 and 1987), whom she trained in the Faerie Faith tradition. With Epona as the High Priestess, the group had 6 other regular members for a period of about 5 years. After the Garden Club disbanded as a coven on Winter Solstice, 1992, the name The Garden Club became an umbrella/community name, encompassing both inner and outer court folks and other friends in Atlanta, GA and Auburn, AL.

Where Are We Now?

We of the Faerie Faith feel that there is no better way to learn than to teach, therefore it is our tradition that a senior student take on a student of his/her own when they feel ready. In 1991, Linda Kerr started teaching her own students, while still studying under Epona in The Garden Club in Atlanta. At Winter Solstice, 1992, she was given her Fifth Solar by Epona, which is analogous to other traditions' 3rd degree initiation; and became a Faerie Faith High Priestess. Over the years many students have come and gone. Although she taught many, Linda has only "graduated," or given the Fifth Solar to, four students: Imr‚ on Litha of 1999; Cliff on Yule of 2006; Marsha on Yule of 2008; and Krys on Litha of 2009. Linda has now retired from teaching, and her former students Cliff and skippy both have students of their own.

Pages by Other Faerie Faith Folks

Faerie Faith Origins by Seamus
freaking wiccans or fond memories of the 70's (September 1, 2010 by prueitt)
Faerie Faith Wikipedia
The Faerie Faith by Cliff Landis

Copyright © 2003 by Linda Kerr. All rights reserved.
Revised July 24, 2003.