Eighth Mount Haemus Lecture: Entering Faerie – Elves, Ancestors & Imagination


Elves and Faerie folk are alive and well in modern culture, especially among the culture of magical folk and those pursuing a nature spirituality, but also most obviously in children’s literature. Fictional representations of the Hidden People are drawing more and more on the study of folklore and actual present-day accounts of “meeting the Other Crowd.” Rejecting the term “supernatural” and the dichotomy between subjectivity and objectivity, I consider the reality of the Sidhe as something that is part of Nature and part of the human psyche at the same time. Modern Druids must walk a fine line between the study of old folklore and the creation of new folklore. How do we live in a culture of scientific materialism and yet challenge the dominant knowledge paradigm? Looking at both fiction and non-fiction, I suggest a middle way between credulity and skepticism that posits the power of imagination as central to perception, and perceptions of the Faerie realms as manifest in many ways. However we commune with the Faerie realms, we do well to recognize the importance to our Ancestors of magical beings as integral parts of their world.

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Spiral triskelion (formed from mathematical Archimedean spirals), occasionally used as a Christian Trinitarian symbol

About The Author

James W. Maertens, Ph.D. (Alferian Gwydion MacLir) holds a doctorate in English language and literature from the University of Minnesota in the United States. He is an independent scholar and Chancellor of the Avalon Center for Druidic Studies, a non-profit institution of higher learning inspired by Druidry, the love of imagination, and nature spirituality (www.avaloncollege.org). Dr. Maertens enjoys studying the history of Druidry and the Celts, medieval history, Elf-lore, tree-lore, magic, and fantasy literature. He teaches at the Avalon Center and is presently working on a book on the art of wandmaking.


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