This story begins with my youngest son, Duncan. I was living in Ringwood, Victoria, Australia with my first wife, Diana, on a three-quarter acre block on which we had built a modern weatherboard house with no carpets, just polished floors. I was standing in the loungeroom and could hear Diana approaching from the bedroom, her shoes clicking on the boards.
When she appeared she had our ten month old son, Duncan, slung over her left shoulder. He was looking back towards the bedroom while standing on Diana's hands as she held his legs tightly. He was waving his arms about as he passionately regaled an invisible audience in a language that I couldn't understand. It was like when someone goes past you and you overhear a couple of words. I couldn't tell you what Duncan said but I detected a kind of structure. It wasn't just gobbledegook and Duncan appeared to have full command of it because he was talking fast as if his life depended on it. As he passed me by, he didn't acknowledge me at all.
That image is still deeply embedded in my brain and the question still arises: who was he talking to? As you would expect, Duncan himself has no memory of the incident. The interesting thing is, surprising as that image was, I forgot it almost immediately. Roughly thirty-two years later, when I took my second wife, Rosemary, to meet my daughter Cecilia, the memory of it came back strongly across the years. Cecilia had ten months previously given birth to her son Jonathan, and as we entered her house Jonathan was sitting in his high chair, his eyes darting about as if he was watching something flying around the room. At the same time he was laughing and giggling and was completely oblivious of our presence.
Rosemary and I were intrigued by the question: was Jonathan seeing something we couldn't? And what about other children?'We should write a book about psychic kids,' I said, 'But where would we find them?' Rosemary laughed.
'Half my friends have got psychic kids,' she said.
There was one even closer to home. When Jonathan got older, Cecilia told us that he started reading her thoughts.
'Once, when I was driving the car, I had the song Frere Jacques running through my head. Jonathan had never heard it to my knowledge, yet out of nowhere he started singing it, with words and everything. I was stunned.'
Another time she was driving and wondering whether there were any foxes living in the bush beside the freeway.
'Then Jonathan piped up, asking me if there were any foxes living in the bush, and he pointed to an area I had just been thinking about.'
In 1992 we began openly discussing the subject wherever we went and there was always someone who had a story to tell. Some parents were willing to allow their children to be interviewed as long as they themselves were present. In the case of very young children we interviewed the parents. As word spread we found ourselves with a lot of material about both adults and children. The parents often turned out to be quite aware, themselves, of things beyond the mundane. We encountered other adults who vividly remembered being psychic as children and some who still had such experiences. We wondered if there was more than one book.
At this point the investigation didn't have a high priority as I was working full time and Rosemary was busy as a Reiki Master and Tarot reader. But the tapes kept piling up.
We were living in a small flat in Brighton, a suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It was early in our investigations, and didn't strike us as relevant, when Rosemary said to me one day, 'Let's write a fairy story!'
I'll let Rosemary continue.
We were visiting my Mum in Tasmania, and something on her TV triggered the idea. I was a poet, Andrew was a journalist; neither of us had attempted a fairytale before, but I'd always wanted to. As it turned out, I wasn't the one who did.
'Sure,' Andrew said to my suggestion, and that night he sat down and wrote four pages in his notebook before getting stuck and handing the notebook to me. I added a bit and passed it back. We went on like that for a few weeks, in our spare time, and then our story got seriously stuck. Somehow we couldn't find time to try and pick up the thread.
Almost at once two books fell into our hands written by people who believed they'd had real experiences of seeing fairies: The Real World of Fairies by Dora van Gelder and The Boy Who Saw True by Cyril Scott. These authors were children who retained the ability to see fairies all their lives. Their accounts matched and so did others which we happened across about this time. We were also continuing our interviews with mothers of apparently psychic and telepathic infants, and with older children themselves. Some of these children, too, reported adventures with fairies in this and other lifetimes. Again the descriptions tallied.
It was all pretty mind-boggling, but gradually we came to accept the idea that fairies might be real, rather than the objects of fantasy we had believed them to be. And we began to realize that the Universe was tapping us on the shoulder, saying: 'Hey, forget about making stuff up. There's a real story to tell and it's time you did your research.'
So we began, and it was easy. We were guided all the way. The right books appeared. Often people who heard of what we were doing offered to lend us books that were just what we needed. The right people turned up, agreed to be interviewed, and spoke to us with remarkable candour. Surely the angels were with us!
I did already believe in angels. For a few years I'd had occasional experiences of seeing them, or other people mentioned seeing angels around me. Fairies? Well, OK. When I thought about it, I could remember seeing them myself when I was a child – only I was soon taught that they were my 'vivid imagination', not real. But dragons? I was always fascinated by dragons – not repelled nor afraid; almost in love with them – yet it never occurred to me to regard them as real. Then we met a whole family who had no doubt about this.
The unseen world expanded a little further.
Now, back to Andrew.
One of the most fascinating leads took us to a family farm house in central Victoria. I was able to record two hours of a mind-boggling conversation in which the two boys and their mother told of encounters with dragons and fairies, and how one of the boys learned to protect himself by using an imaginary silver shield. Their father was a polite observer who didn't share in their experiences, in fact this was the first time they had openly discussed the whole subject. (This whole incredible interview will be a later post here – along with all the others.)
A particularly memorable interview was with Ch'kara SilverWolf, an adult who never lost her capacity to see fairies and angels. When we entered her loungeroom, the first thing we noticed were two or three large pumpkin-shaped soup tureens which Ch'kara told us were there for the fairies to play in. Ch'kara has inherited a rare gift. Her father was an American Cherokee Indian from whom she acquired her psychic gifts and her ability to see and communicate with nature spirits. She learned to work with fairies and angels in her healing work.
Toward the end of the interview Ch'kara told me I had a fairy on my right shoulder. My first reaction was complete scepticism. Then, as Ch'kara described her, I started feeling excited and asked what her name was and if she would be willing to come home with me. Ch'kara said the fairy's name was Jorell (pronounced Juh-RELL) and that she wanted to go home with me. That was the beginning of my telepathic communications with Jorell. I learned to value the advice of this wise little being on all sorts of subjects. [There are some details about living with Jorell in the next post, by Rosemary.]
In the ensuing years we moved to northern New South Wales, where I began writing an environmental fairy story while we continued to gather material on psychic children. In total this went on for about six years during which time we found out about Findhorn in Northern Scotland and Perelandra in Virginia in the United States, places where people grew plants in conscious partnership with nature spirits (fairies).
I wondered, when we moved to New South Wales, if Jorell would still come to be with me. I was retiring with the aim of writing fiction. We settled in a house overlooking the Border Ranges. We could see down the valley for about twenty miles. It was awesome. Our house looked up to The Pinnacle, a sizeable rock which jutted out from the range. It was a very powerful location. I could feel its power as I sat in the garden each day and meditated, calling on Jorell for inspiration. Then after 20-30 minutes I'd go into my room to my computer and type in what had come through. What came was the continuation – or evolution – of the story Rosemary and I began at her mother's place so long ago. It became the environmental fairy story for children mentioned above, a work of fiction with some real characters in it such as Jorell herself. Rosemary, by her own choice, was no longer involved; it was a collaboration between me and Jorell. By then I already knew a lot more about fairies from all those interviews.
This continued for many months until eventually we had an ending. I first posted the manuscript to Eileen Caddy, co-founder of The Findhorn Foundation in northern Scotland, who said, 'I received your delightful fairy story and I read it and was delighted with it, it is charming with a real message in it, and it also links up with what we did here at Findhorn when Peter, ROC, Dorothy and I were starting.'
I also sent it to major publishing houses. It was sometimes nine to twelve months before I received an answer. But basically it was a big THANKS, BUT NO THANKS! It was a very frustrating time.
I decided to put the book on a shelf and I told the Universe, 'It's up to you now!' At the end of 2003 the Australian Society of Authors had an item in their newsletter which said that the Australian Booksellers Association was looking for manuscripts to assist unpublished authors to get across that first hurdle. Well, I wasn't unpublished but I hadn't been successful with a book yet. So I sent Jorell off and on 26th January 2004 flew to Perth after learning that a close friend had died unexpectedly. When we returned nine weeks later there was an email from the ABA telling me I had been successful. They appointed an editor and away we went.
I sent Barbara Cullen at ABA a copy of the front cover which I had commissioned a local artist to do, but she told me it wasn't good enough. We would have to provide another illustration. I was mad at first because I hadn't yet seen what Tom Giffin would produce. After I had I was grateful that the original cover was knocked back. Barbara told me to go to the internet and look for illustrations that were free of copyright. I did that but found nothing. Then Roger Carr, a writer friend in Melbourne, whom I had known for many years, told me to go through the same procedure but when I reached the section of illustrations not covered by copyright, to click on Fairy. I did that, and blow me down, an illustration came up that literally hit me between the eyes. It was one of many by American artist Tom Giffin. His use of colour was extraordinary and startling. I emailed him straight away and asked if he would paint a cover for my book. He agreed and I went off to Mount Warning, about an hour from where I live, armed with a camera and took photos of the forest vegetation and the mountain which dominates the surrounding landscape.
I followed up the photos with the manuscript of the book. Tom had told me earlier that the cover would cost $US600, at that time about $AUD1200. I agreed, not knowing how I was going to pay it. Nevertheless I sent him $AUD400 as a starter.
It was not all that long afterwards that Tom emailed me. He wrote:
You have created something that should be out in the world and I would like to support you in that. I would really like you to accept this painting and not worry about paying me any more money for it. From my heart I mean it.
Holy Moses! What a gift! I emailed back:
Oh my God! I'm dumbstruck. That is the most incredible gift which has come at a time of great financial stress. A miracle which will change everything!
And it did!
© Andrew Wade and Rosemary Nissen-Wade 2008
Tom's painting for the cover of Jorell © Tom Giffin 2007