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Wild Sabbats, Ley Lines & Little Green Men

A Link between the Old Religion, Celtic Faery Faith & U.F.O.s?

previously published as “Ley Lines, Little Green Men and U.F.O.s” in issue 13 of WitchCraft magazine

Networking across our planet like some ancient highway system, the mysterious ley lines are thought to be paths of earth-energy traced out in the physical landscape by some ancient, lost race. According to writers like John Mitchell, the purpose of these lines was to connect, ground and focus the cosmic energies of stars and planets into the sacred power centres of Earth.

In folk magick traditions such as Witchcraft, the ley lines and the standing stones that mark their nexus points are for working magick with the energies of the Land. With seasonal rhythms, the ley lines become spirit-paths for helping the Dead leave and the Unborn arrive. They are also the faery paths, through which the Nature Spirits of fertility and abundance pass in their seasonal processions. An Irish farmer whose cottage was crossed at one corner by a ley line, would at these times suffer many a prank from the local faery folk, until he followed the local wise-woman’s advice and removed the corner of his house so the fey folk could troop through unimpeded!

In the Northern Hemisphere, Beltane and Samhain are also marked by the rising and setting of the Pleiades, a constellation very significant in both ancient mysteries and modern E.T. folklore! At the seasonal turning points the Star-Ancestors passed through the land as the fey Shining Ones, and anyone who stood in their way might be struck dead or carried off forever.

The Life-tide coming in at Beltane is a great awakening of elemental spirit-forces that spill out of Nature’s Underworld into a glorious mayhem of fruiting, flowering and sexuality. In folk tradition these spirit-forces are the un-nerving “Wild Hunt” phenomenon, a haunting of shape-shifting faery beings and gremlins led by the Horned God with ghostly horse and hounds. At Beltane the Wild Hunt brings souls into incarnation; with the Death-tide at Samhain, the Ancestors often ride with the elemental forces as they gather up all the old shapes and shells of life and take the Dead back to the underworld for rest and renewal.

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One English Beltane some years ago, a bold group of ghost-hunters decided to camp overnight inside Chanctonbury Ring, to investigate long-standing local reports of strange lights and hauntings at that time of year. When the fun started, they all bolted in terror, leaving behind their sleeping bags, tape recorders and expensive camera equipment, never to return. The “strange light” phenomena occurring over ley lines, along which U.F.O.s reputedly have a tendency to navigate, is associated with earth-energy fields powerful enough to create altered states of consciousness and periods of amnesia. Close encounters with such lights could very well open the trance -doorways into Elfland.

As they seem to manifest within the very fabric of the land, the Faery Beings are often indistinguishable from the “spirits of place” and godforms related to ancient sites. If there are unclear boundaries between faeries, ghosts, ancient gods, ancestors and other beings in the collective memory of tradition, it is because we are dealing with different orders of reality in the Celtic fashion, treating many levels of the astral Innerplanes as one fluid continuum. So who are the mysterious folk the Irish call the Gentry, and the Scots, the Good People (Sleagh Maith)? 

W.Y. Evans Wentz collected this description of the Gentry early this century: “They are far superior to us… they are not working class, but military-aristocratic, tall and noble, a distinct race between us and that of spirits. ‘We could cut off half the human race, but would not,’ they said, ‘for we are expecting salvation.’ They live inside the mountains in beautiful castles, with many branches in other countries; take great interest in human affairs, always standing for justice and right. They take young and intelligent people who are interesting, taking the whole body and soul, transmuting the body to a body like their own.

Asking them if they ever died, the informant was told ‘No, we are always kept young.’ “They marry and have children, and can marry a mortal who is good and pure. One appeared to me once only four foot high. He said ‘I am bigger than I appear. We can make the old young, the big small, the small big.’”

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There are many curious parallels between the “Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and faeries” and our contemporary equivalent - the mysterious U.F.O. phenomenon which has persisted throughout history, physical in nature yet unexplainable by contemporary science. UFOlogist Jacques Vallee, a scientist respected even by leading debunkers, thinks that U.F.O.s are likely to be “windows” to unknown time-space dimensions that are manipulated by intelligent, often mischievous, always enigmatic beings we are yet to understand.

His groundbreaking book, “Passport to Magonia” (1969) took a folklorist’s approach, collecting tales that read too much like U.F.O. encounters to be coincidental. In dreams, mythology, mystery traditions, folk and faery tales, the astral/shamanic/otherworld journey is universally imprinted into the human psyche and has obvious links to the U.F.O. phenomenon.

The U.F.O. abduction experience may well be an “out of body” one. Usually the person, alone and at night, in bed or out in lonely country, feels that they are “floated” along an energy beam and brought to a strangely lit interior, usually interpreted as a “craft”. Surrounded by strange entities, they apparently undergo invasive physical probing and sometimes are shown cosmic scenes from the spacecraft window or where the spacecraft takes them. The abductee is then returned to their bedroom or location, with no recollection of how they got back.

But what of the physical evidence of unexplainable cuts, scars and *scoop marks frequently found on the bodies of such individuals? Alien beings have taken them through the walls of their houses, subjecting them to procedures which seem reproductive in purpose. The abductees are not suffering from any obvious psychiatric disorder, and their experiences sometimes coincide with U.F.O. sightings by friends, family or community members, including the media. There have been numerous accounts through history of abductions by the faeries, especially of pregnant women, young mothers, and children most of all, often leaving one of their own, a changeling, in their place.

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It is interesting that Robert Kirk, in his “Secret Commonwealth” (1691), stresses that Faeries are a more active and subtle form of matter, but still physical. Their substance, which is like condensed vapour and easiest seen in twilight, is so sensitive that it can be shaped by thought and emotion. He implies that the good or evil nature of an Otherworld or faery contact is defined by the positive or negative inner condition of the contactee.

Kirk considered the Faery people to be an order of life halfway between humankind and angels. In the Middle Ages, daemons were considered to be an aerial, but mortal race, “Inhabitants of the Air”, ruling over the Elements, who could be contacted through the symbol code of the Qabbalah (Hebrew magickal system). Communication with the Elementals became a major focus for such medieval philosophers as Paracelsus (1491), who wrote a book on their nature but also gave dire warnings about the dangers of associating with them.

In ancient Qabbalistic tradition, the first created Beings of Primordial Fire were known as the Sons of God, the Watchers of the Heavens. They were called angels or messengers by the Church, daemons by the Greeks. Some rebelled against their masters and chose to descend to earth to educate and civilize primitive humanity. In the process they mated with human women, which created giants called Nephelim. While some Nephelim achieved great wisdom and renown, others became depraved monsters.

To amend matters the Watchers destroyed the lands where the evil Nephelim dwelt, resulting in the legends of the Flood and Atlantis. The Zohar suggests that the immortal spirits of the Nephelim can still incarnate in human form. Collectively in their non-physical form they are the so -called “demonic” hierarchy of intermediary spirits. They are considered by some to be alien intruders, but have been understood for centuries as having a physical nature of a different order to humans, which is at the same time biologically compatible. The medieval clergy called them demons or incubi.

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Franciscan theologian Fr. Sinistrari (1647) noted that the “demon” either enters into a formal pact with a magician or witch, or simply happens to “contact” an individual. The demon/faery shape-shifts in female form (succubus) to steal semen (genetic material) from a man while he is either awake or asleep. By then shaping into a male form (incubus) the demon/faery can then complete the operation with a chosen female, human or faery. The resulting child is physically tall and outstanding in charisma and character. Notable people whose birth resulted from the reputed union of human and faery include Plato, Alexander the Great, and the Merlin Emrys. The similarity of the Faery preoccupation with bloodlines and ancestry to the U.F.O. abduction phenomenon is striking, especially when one considers that both the Sight, (which Kirk explains as being a visionary process created by the whole faery experience) and abductions, occur in families for generations.

Witch lore tells of the wisdom of the Watchers being saved from the Lost Lands by priestly survivors of the cataclysm, who arrived in Britain and Europe, and mingled their faery blood with the Prytani, the Neolithic pre -Celtic inhabitants of Britain. When the iron-bearing Celts arrived, their shaman -priests, the Druids, were probably the first ones to appreciate the magickal lore of these strange wild Bronze Age people, who communed in their stone Circles with the Dragon-power of Earth and Heaven.

In Arthurian legend, King Arthur’s half-sister Morgan the Fay, like Merlin, was of Elven descent, while Vivian, the Lady of the Lake, was said to be completely Elven. As the Prytani had retreated to Northernmost Scotland by Roman times, there remain certain Scottish families who still claim Elven ancestry. Under successive layers of invading cultures, Celtic, Roman, Saxon and finally Christian beliefs, the legend of Elven ancestry remained. They were now the offspring of fallen angels, neither intrinsically good nor evil, but with enormous potential for either.

A Scottish clergyman deeply and actively involved in the traditions of faeries and the Second Sight, Robert Kirk’s book is a major source of faery lore and contains obvious connections to shamanism, pagan Celtic religion and those elements of Native American tradition popularised by Carlos Castaneda. In terms of paralleling the U.F.O. experience, the notable common denominator between Celtic and Amerindian lore is the literal physical translation into other unseen worlds, either deliberately or by accident. Ironically, Kirk himself has become a persistent local faery tradition in his home region, which reports that he was taken into Faeryland. His body was found beside the faery Knowe (hill) in Aberfoyle, but tradition insists that this body was only a ‘stock’, a simulacrum left by the faeries, while the real Kirk is still living under the faery hill!

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Elfland is not even a heartbeat away, it lies in the magickal Time and Space between heartbeats.  Without a human physical body, an astral spirit or subtle -energy Being vibrates at a faster rate, so in order to  interact with them, we have to paradoxically go into a trance state where time is slowed down or suspended.

The slowing of breathing and heartbeat, which govern our experience of time, leads to the deeper trance states of ecstasy and bliss, where time stops altogether and we pass into Tir n’an Og, the faery realm of immortality and eternal youth. The “missing time” of the U.F.O. encounter can be considered in the light of the many stories involving the supernatural lapse of time in Faeryland, which predate Einstein’s time relativity concepts by centuries!

Jacques Vallee believes that the intelligence guiding the U.F.O. phenomenon is a kind of control mechanism, an invisible hand shaping the development of human consciousness over aeons. This is precisely the definition of the “Inner Planes Contacts” of a Witch or Magician working within any of the Mystery Traditions. Much of what occurs in Kirk’s book is an account of an active initiatory tradition, that of non-human intelligences guiding and developing humanity. In their purest expression this Secret Commonwealth are like patient Gardeners, bringing the light-force of the Sun, Moon, Planets and Stars into the Garden of Nature, into the kingdoms of mineral, plant, animal and human alike.

The materialists of mainstream culture say that reality is outside of us, and look to outer space for the Promised Land. I say they’ve got it backwards. Our paradise lies in Inner Space. “The truth is in there.”

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