Dancing with the Faeries

I’m very excited to announce that there will be an OFFICIAL book launch on 12th December in my home town of Lampeter. I know it is a long way for many of you but you’re all invited anyway!

YFM Book Launch Poster

I’m both terrified and thrilled. I love the spotlight, I love Faeries (clearly) and I love talking and dancing and having a party. I’m also, honestly, scared all my friends will judge me for being such a fluffy hippy for having an obsession with these magical, mystical, amazing wild beings because, let’s face it, they’ve not had great press. Or rather, the press has been too good, too sweet, too silly. And we don’t value silly enough. In the Reclaiming Tradition of Witchcraft – which I’ve spent many years involved in – I came across a fantastic phrase: “Reverent Irreverence”. The art of making magic through fun. The skill of doing proper, serious, important work with a light heart. The practice of not taking oneself too seriously and thus cultivating the ability to make powerful magic in pixie wings and glitter, whilst still genuinely honouring the spirits that weave within this land.

Working with faeries is often dismissed as not being serious magic, but you and I know that it is. It is very serious. Faery magic is spirit work. It is delving into the core of yourself and finding the wild magics of the heart of nature, because that is what we are. It is seeking truth and finding our own ethics, with a laugh and a whole heap of sparkles (biodegradable sparkles, mind you!).

I’m always nervous that people will look only at the surface, that they’ll see the word “Faery” and dismiss me as lacking in dedication, or without the guts or the brains to do “real magic” or “real work”. So this book launch is more than just an excuse for a party, it is a declaration that I can be a serious, philosophical, hard-working magical practitioner and that working with the Fae is real spirit-work… and that this is not incompatible with glitter. I forget this often myself, so, finally, this is also a milestone. It is the night I stop worrying about taking it seriously and wake up to the fact that I do, and no-one else needs to validate that for me!

This is not a book for those that want fancy occult rituals or deep, secret lore. It is for those who feel like the world could do with a bit more magic, but aren’t quite sure how to find it in their own way… and love faeries as much as I do!

Onwards and upwards, Feylings, onwards and upwards. Now, where did I tuck that glow in the dark wand…

 

Event Details:

Facebook Event!

Poster (PDF)

Saturday 12th December 2015

Old Hall, Old Building, Lampeter University (UWTSD), Lampeter, Wales.

FREE – you are welcome to come to all or some of it. Bring snacks if you wish and a donation for tea/coffee.

“Your Faery Magic” is being released on Friday so on Saturday we’re meeting to celebrate. I will open with a talk on my philosophy of faeries and how we can relate to them from 6pm-7pm ish. This will probably turn into a Q&A session.

From 7pm there will be:

dancing from the ladies of Tribal Unity Wales and for all who wish to
storytelling with Milly Jackdaw and Will Rathouse
book signing (if you like!)
and a faery themed open mic session.

*Note* If you want to do something at the open mic, you can sign up for it at 7:30, and we’ll have it run from 8-9pm (ish)  for them that wish to share something faery (or fantastical) themed… music, stories, poetry, readings from a play, whatever you fancy!

I may even bring my top hat for an appearance of The Goblin Circus if requested!

 

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Response Time!

I was having a wander around online last week and I came across a video, which I didn’t know existed, following the development of a piece I made for a project called Response Time last year. Response Time is a fantastic project that was launched in Aberystwyth by Scriptography Productions, and has since travelled to other spaces in Wales. It involves a set period of time, normally 48 hours, in which artists, writers and performers are invited into a space to create performance art in response to the art and the space, which is shown on site at the end of the 48 hours. It leads to some excellent work, and inspires some powerful magic in those that join in. For a start, it proves that you can make art with only a limited amount of time. It also encourages new ways of looking at art, spaces and possibilities. There is no time to worry, overwork it or lose interest. There is no time to over think it, only time to create and let it loose into the world.

There are several pieces I’ve made for Response Time that I would love to develop further, but even if I never do they have all given me a great deal of confidence and informed my way of working deeply! Anyway, I thought I’d share the video I found, so you can get a glimpse of some of the work I do (and how excited I get about things…)

Project Response: Transitions Hayley Addis from Ian Smyth on Vimeo.

The piece I ended up making in the event I talk about here was a video, which you can catch a glimpse of here. I visited the gallery on the Friday evening, filmed everything on the Saturday and then edited it together that night as I had rehearsals most of the Sunday. The sketch book I talk about was present for people to look at as well, but ended up being a mostly unseen artefact – which is interesting in itself for a performance art-work.

Now… I wonder if the video I made exists online somewhere too! It disappeared from my computer shortly after the event…

 

(Video made by Ian Smyth, who documented that weekend and filmed the footage which I edited together into my video-art!)

UPDATE – Healing Hearts: Y Mabinogi

If you’ve been with me for a while you’ll know I’m in the process of developing a multi-cultural, multi-gendered deity Oracle Deck called ‘Healing Hearts‘. I’ve been wrestling with how to start such a huge project. The crowdfunding fundraiser brought in enough for me to get started with materials, so that’s great, but wasn’t quite enough to support me in the time it will take to make this happen so, sadly, I’ve not been able to do what I’d hoped to and dedicate a day or more each week to working on it exclusively. Cue the combination of gratitude and disappointment that is so familiar in life.

Ready to Paint! At the studio...
Ready to Paint! At the studio…

As a result of the longer stewing time, however, something more fascinating has grown… my many passions are combining in a delicious, bubbling pot and a vast, sprawling, beautiful creation is emerging. And I find myself looking at something so huge and wondering how I can approach it and allow it to support me whilst I bring it into reality… which has lead me to break down Healing Hearts into several projects, starting with a focus on the Welsh stories woven into the land I live upon.

I suppose I should share what I’m talking about!

I have a list of deities that are likely to be included in the final deck, ranging across many cultures, and each culture’s tales are an entire world of magic and meaning, connection and crisis, divinity and drama. To do them justice is a vast work! So whilst I paint the deities that arise, I shall be focussing on specific cultures for several months at a time, weaving through their stories and unravelling the threads so they can be spun into new tales and perhaps shared as theatrical performances. As I live in Wales, I’ve begun with the tales of Y Mabinogi, the mythology of the land. The stories speak to me of our relationship to the land and the environment – important topics right now, given the impending doom that is climate change – and so the four branches of Y Mabinogi and transforming themselves into tales of our connection and disconnection to the land and the wild within our hearts.

As I paint and explore the stories they are weaving themselves into a performance piece… so I’m looking for a venue to share it in next year!

Works in progress rarely look like they'll be any good... raw and unedited, a foundation to be worked upon, not really meant to be shared... but seedlings only grow when given enough light.
Works in progress rarely look like they’ll be any good… raw and unedited, a foundation to be worked upon, not really meant to be shared… but seedlings only grow when given enough light.

I’ve resisted sharing about this because it feels like I’m taking on something far bigger than I should and I worry folk will judge me for being so easily tempted. I’m worried it *is* simply too big and it will fail. I’m worried that I don’t have time and I’m putting myself under vast amounts of pressure if I commit to it.

And I find myself scrawling notes at bedtime, being inspired by conversations, facing open doors. Who am I to deny the magic that leads me forwards? Who am I to turn down the demands of a tale? Who am I to say no to the Muse?

It will all work out. I have faith…

Storytelling at the Confucius Institute

RabbitYesterday afternoon I laid out my twelve Chinese Zodiac animal paintings, donned a beautiful Chinese jacket and told animal tales for 45 minutes to an audience of about 25 people.

There was much nodding and smiling and encouragement all the way through.

I did attempt to film it but for some reason ended up with a dozen 2 second clips from the first few minutes instead of a continuous recording. Such are the joys of Mercury retrograde, perhaps. I have, however, been promised photos, which will be shared soon.

DragonIt was so much fun to see a whole set of stories come together and to get such wonderful
feedback! This was my very first completely solo set and I can’t help thinking that this is one particular show that will return again…

Anyone fancy hosting a session of animal themed storytelling?

 

Thank you to Krystyna who opened the door to me and the wonderful Chinese workshoppers who made me feel very at home in that room… not to mention the rest of the audience who, upon hearing that there was to be storytelling, immediately (and literally) pulled up chairs and sat waiting patiently for silence to fall so the tales could begin!

 

View the Paintings Here!

Let your loves entwine

Pondering: Throughout the ages tales tell of otherworldly music drifting into the everyday world and leading unsuspecting humans on an adventure. Does music from another time count as coming from another world as well? 

Medieval Archery Halo at St Dogmaels
Ready to aim high!

I’m a longbow archer, (currently the County Outdoor Lady Longbow Champion at that) and our club was running a have-a-go stall at an event this bank holiday. My friend and I had agreed to go help before realising that it was a medieval day. Perfect! We’ve been working on Renaissance and Medieval Music! With 24 hours to go, and most of that full of work and rehearsals, I set to making something that might pass as a medieval costume. We pulled together the songs we’d been working on and discovered we have a full set that we can do with only the two of us and arrived, songbook in hand, to make some magic!

There is something about hands-on-activities that really excites people and we were rushed off our feet all day, talking about the longbows and organising the people as they came in to shoot so in the end we got to sing whilst packing up – which prompted some interesting heckling! It was a glorious day, the club raised a good amount of funds to keep it running over the winter and we got to sing in the end. All in all, a grand day out.

Despite the fact that we didn’t get to sing much, we still gathered several opportunities. It is funny how being open with people about what you do can lead to new connections, new chances. It makes me wonder how many opportunities I missed when I was too nervous to share my passions with those I met in case they… what? Rejected me? I’m not sure really. All I know is that I tended to keep my love of myth and magic under my hat in all but the most obvious situations. I’m learning though; every time we share what lights us up, others respond in kind and we make connections with those that love our passions too. And those that don’t share those passions often know someone who does!

It also struck me that often when we follow one passion (in this case archery) and hold the other in mind (music!) they will find ways to overlap and feed each other.

My takeaway from this: Don’t bother compartmentalising life. Share what you love and allow each aspect of your life to inform and feed the others. In this way you connect with others who love the same things, opportunities open for you and life becomes a veritable feast of delight!

Maybe at the Philosophy Conference in February I’ll do a philosophical piece on faeries… now where was that copy of Collingwood’s ‘Philosophy of Enchantment‘?

Iron Age Storytelling

I followed the white rabbit of inspiration down a rabbit hole of possibility… in the Uni café this spring I saw a friend who tells stories at an Iron Age settlement and the rabbit waved at me calling:

“Over here! Over here! Go on, you could try this!”

It was a crazy idea. Loopy. Daft. But it was also GENIUS.

“Ummm,” I started, “Do you think I could come and tells stories with you as your apprentice?”

“Sure.” He says. And the venue agreed.

Iron Age Storytelling
In full Iron Age gear!

I joined a local storytelling group. I got the costume. I brushed up on my Welsh mythology. And I was terrified. And excited!

The end of the summer rolls round and I’ve been and been invited back, multiple times. Two weeks ago I was gifted a Lyre Harp, so she joined me and enchanted our audience even more than I did… Music is so healing! Today I even got paid for it!

I love performing, I love making things (like costume!) I love mythology, I love storytelling even more than I thought I would. That loopy-idea-bunny has gotten me firmly on the pathway to performing professionally in only a few months… I’m very, very glad I said yes.

So, what loopy idea-bunny is beckoning you to follow down the rabbit hole towards your dreams? What intuition is waiting for you to say yes?

(PS: My stage name? Ceinwen… which means White Hare!)