By Claire Blatchford
I first heard of the Sidhe seven years ago when I read a book about them by John Matthews. I’d heard about Pan, leprechauns, gnomes, devas, undines, salamanders and other elementals but had somehow missed out on this ancient race, and was completely drawn into John’s story.
In John’s account he describes entering a stone chamber at an archeological site in Ireland, being astonished by the abundance of carvings on the walls, and being deeply impressed by one in particular. John called this carving the Great Glyph.
This glyph was key for John when connecting with the Sidhe and, at the end of his book, he encourages others who might be interested in making contact with them to meditate on it. My understanding of John’s experience with the Great Glyph is that there are images which—when one looks at them with simple, open, heart-filled respect and wonder—can take one into new places of awareness within oneself. If this sounds odd, think not of mysterious looking symbols some might call pagan, but of how something new or beautiful which one can choose to see, as if for the first time— a certain flower, for example, or tree, or rising moon— can make one’s heart rise. And when the heart rises, I’ve found, it flows out and often finds, in return, flower, tree and moon reaching back in response.
I wasn’t thinking of any of this when, after finishing John's book, I drew a copy of the Great Glyph because I was intrigued by it, and taped it on the wall over my desk. I had a lot on my plate right then: a declining father, family tensions, a book I was working on, and more. So it’s not as though I sat and stared at the Great Glyph. In fact, I kind of forgot about it until one morning months later while walking our dog.
I was a couple of miles from home near an old stone building that serves as the village library (it was closed that day) and the dog made it clear he wanted a drink. We went off the road, down a mossy slope in the woods behind the library to a pool formed where two streams meet. The dog waded in and began lapping, and, to my surprise, I saw for a few minutes, not swirling water on the surface of this clear pool but the Great Glyph! It was as though the image had become imprinted on me and when I first looked at the water that was what I saw. Then I sensed someone standing beside me on the shore.
I couldn’t see anyone but I got some definite inner impressions. First, proud bearing, quiet dignity and height. Second, a male presence. Third, he had what I call “the listening stance.” As though he heard mostly through the way he stood—upright, at attention-- rather than through his ears. The fourth impression felt like an overall color or tone and it actually moved me the most: I felt myself to be with a truly and beautifully solitary being. In the same way an old and very tall fir tree can be solitary. Also, I knew—without knowing how I knew—he’d been around, in our neighborhood, a long, long time, far longer than we’d lived there. And I knew, from the feelings John’s book and the great Glyph had called forth within me, I had made my own contact with one of the Sidhe.
As the name of this Sidhe gentleman was too hard for me to pronounce he accepted my nickname for him—Talus—and we “talked” in the form of exchanged thoughts and feelings rather than spoken words. This is still the case. Though connecting with a Sidhe being may sound sensational, it felt—and still feels-- to me as natural and right as taking a little time to slow down in my daily dog-walking routine to say hello and chat a bit with a neighbor.
So what do Talus and I “talk” about? I sense through him deep layers of meaning in hills, rocks, rivers, farm house ruins and old pathways. Also, the vigilant presence of certain Native Americans in the area we live in. But what is shared is really appreciation, rather than information. Appreciation for this landscape, this particular place we both dwell in. Sometimes I feel I am seeing the natural world though his eyes, rather than my own, and when that happens I see relationships rather than individual objects. For example, it strikes me how that tree over there, needs to be beside this rock. I may have looked at both hundreds of times without noticing till then how right their placement is, how they lean into each other. Or, with amazed delight, I see not just a line of green in the distance but an army of verdant young ferns marching up a hillside and on into the woods.
When with Talus, personal topics are not brought up, which is not to say I haven’t felt sympathy from him in response to whatever cloud of worry I might be under when passing by. Likewise, I haven’t, thus far, asked Talus much about himself. There’s a certain reserve between us, as though I shouldn’t expect years of not being aware of him to instantly dissolve because now I am. And, for all I know, there may still be plenty of days when he’s close by and I’m sound asleep to his presence.
I have only met Talus outdoors, when walking, roaming or working in the garden. My husband and I live beside a beautiful nature sanctuary, a Sidhe sanctuary of sorts too. But my favorite place to meet Talus is beside that pool on the surface of which I saw the Great Glyph years ago. There two streams join to become one. That, I believe, is what the Sidhe are asking for: to let our lives join with theirs no matter how different the time they live in may seem to be from ours, to let love show us how to become not merely good neighbors, but true friends. Especially in these times of drought. Now, today.