descant noun 1. a melody that is sung or played above the basic melody of a piece of music 2. a comment, remark, or criticism on a particular subject (archaic)
I’d state that my early life had a dearth of vocabulary and structured understanding or practices pertaining to what I’d now call liminality, but maybe it’s more that nobody else could figure out where I stand in life for me. While I got around to digesting the mythology, theology, cosmology, metaphysical paradigms, ritual practices or customs, and specialized terms of a variety of established modes of discourse both religious and secular (that I consider beliefs, defining belief as the systematic implementation of ideas)…a belief in fairies became my belief.
I go by Thomas Keightley’s word history. In The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves, and Other Little People, Keightley noted that the word “fae” (or fay, or fey) in referring to folkloric beings of the Occident, really only existed in English—and had perhaps displaced while becoming synonymous with “elf”—and French, where the word might have come from the Fates. (France being there, and Rome being right there, it works.)
Interacting with fae and questing through Faery came later, at which point maybe the terms don’t fit but I’ve already gotten attached to wording the something.
I call my faith Faelatry. It might not fit anymore, but the word stuck. So, I thought to list of the similarities and differences perhaps to some other ways of Faelatry:
1.) I believe in a corporeal world with corporeal/physical matter, indeed I default to it. In accordance with some kinds of fairy lore maybe, I also believe in otherworlds. Otherworlds or Faerylands have been an immensely helpful concept in parsing my personal experiences with the not-strictly-corporeal. When it takes a descant divergence or elaboration is that I’ve since mapped those Faerylands as the sidereal, ethereal (or otherreal), incorporeal, and surreal. Respectively, these would be the world made of agreements (cultural or social), the world of personal experience that often isn’t shared (I guess I could describe them as partial hallucinations overlaid on the corporeal, except unlike most hallucinations they make sense and become consistent), the world experienced during out-of-body experiences (yes, that’s far-fetched, as in yes “far-fetched” is literally what I call the method to do it, this is where I wrote how I do it), and the surreal (which are fuller hallucinations that make sense and become consistent, such as with dreams, especially numinous dreams).
2.) In some traditions, the first rule of Fae club is you do not talk about Fae club. But I talk about it, write about it, express it as freely as I feel suitable, and even hope it’s even understood. I can’t talk about everything, due to the constraints of time, energy, and language. Oftentimes, a concept just doesn’t match any word in mind, and that’s when I can’t talk or write about it. Other times, the sort of experience I have might be classified as liminal, but it doesn’t make enough sense to be worth mentioning, and/or it isn’t consistent enough to have had any impact on my life, and I can’t personally justify maybe anyone else out there finding value in it. I also refer to fairies by the f-word that is verboten in some traditions, and I would probably even say thank you to them had I better manners (thanking the fae also verboten.)
3.) Every liminal entity I meet is a fairy to me unless they insist otherwise, or unless I’d be talking with someone who I think would insist otherwise before we can actually have a constructive conversation. My own ethics strive for equal empowerment and mutually-respected boundaries: I understand that not everyone is a Faelatrist, and there would even be different traditions of Faelatry—Keightley noted Scandinavian fae being repelled by the sound of bells ringing, whereas some English fae would be attracted and delighted by the sound, for just one instance. In communities and interactions with those of differing terms and understanding, I’ll make as much effort to be in harmony. To navigate and ease the challenges of coexistence make the definition of ethics to me. But, I’m just Weird as an individual (and the way I use the word Weird is weird, and I won’t elaborate on that right now.) So: Deceased shades or ghosts of human beings are fae to me. Vampires are fae to me. Therianthropic or otherwise transhumanist facets are fae to me. Demons are fae to me. Angels are fae to me. Gods are fae to me. New Age extraterrestrial alien spirits from the Pleiades or Andromeda are fae to me. Pop culture characters who act like autonomous people with agency in the Faerylands I mentioned above…are fae to me.
4.) How literal is my belief? William Bascom made the distinction between myths (which are very literal in belief, cited as authority for how the world is or how customs should be), folktales (which are told for entertainment and not much more than that), and legends (which run the gamut of belief, but, unlike the previous two, refer to earthly rather than cosmic truths). I consider it immensely important that someone makes that sort of distinction but I…don’t, generally. Sometimes I express belief in a way that’s metaphorical, other times I express impossible and unreasonable beliefs that’s can’t be justified but are just too real. All things considered, I function physically and societally somewhat fairly, thank you. Most importantly, literary interpretation isn’t what I’d necessarily consider disbelief. It’s still a systematic implementation of ideas.
5.) I do have a belief in a sense of selfhood that can become cohesive, or fragmented. The corporeal Fetch, or the physical body, includes itself in this belief on the cohesive side. When the fetch, or self, extends or enacts in the Faerylands, I do believe that it can get very strange, and that’s what I’m still exploring. The experience of holding the contradicting personal truths of several personal fetches in the meantime could influence #4 above. It also influences an idea I have, of Simultaneous Reincarnation, which is that on some level everyone is a simultaneous reincarnation of everybody else. Access to altered or decentralized consciousnesses generates empathy in some work with Glamour, and such phenomena as meditative regressions to a past life. I believe that the Fetch can fragment into shards, and that there do exist some fae whose whole consciousness resembles a shard of human consciousness, and that there would (by the same rule) exist some fae whose consciousness resembles the collective or even total understanding of several human consciousnesses—but I’m not certain I’ve met any.
6.) Glamour, I believe is related to the word for the rules of a language to which speakers and writers conform, and refers to the rules of action and consequences in the Faerylands. This theoretically includes Glamour in the corporeal world and the sidereal world. See #1 above: I know sidereal means something else in most dictionaries; that’s not usually what I mean when I use it. Nyah.
7.) When I’m not repurposing existing words to represent a meaning there wasn’t previously a word for, I make up new ones. The concept of Wildeval is the one I consider most pertinent at the time of this writing, named for Oscar Wilde, who contrasted the market price of everything to a sentimentalist’s absurd sense of value. (In one of his stageplays, Lady Windermere’s Fan.) It’s that Wildeval embodied by ritual offerings I make to the fae, traditionally “toradh”.
8.) Related to Glamour and Wildeval are the poetics (representative meaning attribution) of the body, of symbols, of objects, of locations, and of time. While the wheel of the year or the temperate seasons aren’t particularly significant to my own personal belief, I’d like to get this out on May Day. Also, I just really like eights so I’ll end this list here.