Barbara's Tale: The Fairy Prince
Adam looked at his daughter and said, "Barbara, what do you have to share? I can hear you thinking."
Barbara looked at her father and said, "You know what I'm thinking, Daddy. I'm thinking about the story you made for me, the story about the fairy prince."
"Why don't you tell it, Sweetie? You know it as well as I do."
The child paused a moment, and said, "You tell it, Daddy."
Here is the tale of the fairy prince.
Long ago and far away, the world was full of wonder. There were fairies in the flowers. People never knew a rift between the ordinary and the magical.
But that was not to last forever. The hearts of men are dark in many ways, and they soon raised their axe against the fairies and all that they stood for. The axe found a way to kill the dryad in a tree but leave the tree still standing—if indeed it was really a tree that was still standing. Thus begun the disenchantment of the entire universe.
Some time in, people realized their mistake. They tried to open their hearts to wonder, and bring the fairies back. They tried to raise the axe against disenchantment—but the axe they were wielding was cursed. You might as well use a sword to bring a dead man to life.
But this story is not about long ago and far away. It is about something that is recent and very near. Strange doings began when the son of the Fairy Queen looked on a world that was dying, where even song and dance and wine were mere spectres of what they had been. And so he disguised himself as a fool, and began to travel in the world of men.
The seeming fool came upon a group of men who were teasing a young woman: not the mirthful, merry teasing of friends, but a teasing of dark and bitter glee. He heard one say, "You are so ugly, you couldn't pay a man enough to kiss you!" She ran away, weeping.
The prince stood before her and said, "Stop." And she looked at him, startled.
He said, "Look at me."
She looked into his eyes, and began to wonder. Her tears stopped.
He said, "Come here."
She stood, and then began walking.
He said, "Would you like a kiss?"
Tears filled her eyes again.
He gave her his kiss.
She ran away, tears falling like hail from her eyes. Something had happened. Some people said they couldn't see a single feature in her face that had changed. Others said that she was radiant. Others still said that whatever she had was better than gorgeous.
The prince went along his way, and he came to a very serious philosopher, and talked with him, and talked, and talked. The man said, "Don't you see? You are cornered. What you are saying is not possible. Do you have any response?"
The prince said, "I do, but it comes not in words, but in an embrace. But you wouldn't be interested in that, would you?"
For some reason, the man trusted him, and something changed for him too. He still read his books. But he would also dance with children. He would go into the forest, and he did not talk to the animals because he was listening to what the animals had to say.
The prince came upon a businessman, a man of the world with a nice car and a nice house, and after the fairy prince's kiss the man sold everything and gave it away to the poor. He ate very little, eating the poorest fare he could find, and spent much time in silence, speaking little. One of his old friends said, "You have forsaken your treasures!"
He looked at his friend and said, "Forsaken my treasures? My dearest friend, you do not know the beginning of treasure."
"You used to have much more than the beginning of treasure."
"Perhaps, but now I have the greatest treasure of all."
Sometimes the prince moved deftly. He spoke with a woman in the park, a pain-seared woman who decided to celebrate her fiftieth wedding anniversary—or what would have been the fiftieth anniversary of a long and blissful marriage, if her husband were still alive. She was poor, and had only one bottle of champagne which she had been saving for many years. She had many friends; she was a gracious woman. She invited the fairy prince, and it was only much later that her friends began to wonder that that the one small bottle of champagne had poured so amply for each of them.
The prince did many things, but not everybody liked it. Some people almost saw the prince in the fool. Others saw nothing but a fool. One time he went into a busy shopping mall, and made a crude altar, so people could offer their wares before the Almighty Dollar. When he was asked why, he simply said, "So people can understand the true meaning of Christmas. Some people are still confused and think it's a religious holiday." That was not well received.
Not long after, the woman whom he met in the park slept the sleep of angels, and he spoke at her funeral. People cried more than they cried at any other funeral. And their sides hurt. All of this was because they were laughing so hard, and the funny thing was that almost nobody could remember much afterwards. A great many people took offense at this fool. There was only one person who could begin to explain it. A very respected man looked down at a child and said, "Do you really think it is right to laugh so much after what happened to her?" And then, for just a moment, the child said, "He understood that. But if we really understood, laughter wouldn't be enough."
There were other things that he did that offended people, and those he offended sought to drive him away. And he returned to his home, the palace of the Fairy Queen.
But he had not really left. The fairy prince's kiss was no ordinary kiss. It was a magic kiss. When he kissed you, he gave his spirit, his magic, his fairy blood. And the world looks very different when there is fairy blood coursing through your veins. You share the fairy prince's kiss, and you can pass it on. And that pebble left behind an ever-expanding wave: we have magic, and wonder, and something deeper than either magic or wonder.
And that is how universe was re-enchanted.
Adam looked down at his daughter and said, "There, Sweetie. Have I told the story the way you like it?"
The child said, "Yes, Daddy, you have," climbed into her father's lap, and held up her mouth for a kiss.
No one spoke after that.
Finally, after a time, Barbara said, "Can we go outside, Daddy? I bet the snow's real good now."
Father Basil said, "Why don't we all go out? Just a minute while I get my gloves. This is snowball making snow."
Five minutes later, people stepped out on the virgin snow. Macrina said, "This is wonderful. It's like a fairy wonderland."
Paul said, "No. It's much more wonderful than that."
A bit about myself. I have not specifically identified as Otherkin; I have read George MacDonald and pined for faerie blood. I do, however, identify as divine as well as human. I am not a pioneer in this. My author bio reads:
Who is Br. Christos Jonathan Seth Hayward? A man, made in the image of God and summoned to ascend to the heights of the likeness of God. A great sinner, and in fact, the chief of sinners. One who is, moment by moment, in each ascetical decision choosing to become one notch more a creature of Heaven, or one notch more a creature of Hell, until his life is spent and his eternal choice between Heaven and Hell is eternally sealed.
Man, mediator, midpoint, microcosm, measure: as man he is the recapitulation of the entire spiritual and visible creation, having physical life in common with plants and animals, and noetic life in common with rank upon rank of angel host, and forever in the shadow of that moment when Heaven kissed earth and God and the Son of God became Man and the Son of Man that men and the sons of men might become gods and the sons of God.
He's also a writer with a few hobbies and a magnum opus of Hidden Price Tags, but really, there are more important things in life.
I have as a youth registered multiple protest votes, socially speaking. I read and strongly identified with the Do De Jing (I have not tried to be Doist for years, but other people have commented that I am calm enough that being around me is itself calming to others), and in my political science class I read the textbook outlining ideologies and identified as anarchist. My heart goes out to people drawn to the protest votes today.
I identify as profoundly gifted, and you could say I have been brainsized from a PhD.
There are a few things in life that I think we under-appreciate.
One thing I have learned... actually, let me take a step back a bit.
I read an article mentioning Otherkin identity, and I started thinking more concretely about writing a bit about myself about the same time that I was fed up with my computer running native Windows and virtual Linux, meaning not only randomly timed reboots, but a system that always seemed to crash if I hit the power key to suspend and then resume. What I had was between my father's advice that Windows needs to be native more than Linux does, and the practical result that Secure Boot left me with no obvious way, even after inspecting UEFI, to let the computer run native Linux (I had to send it to the shop after my first attempt to install Linux Mint). So I've upgraded to Linux with virtual Windows, and have recovered data after multiple software failures (I've been a geek of all trades Unix wizard for a little longer than Linux has been around), and things actually work. As in Just Work.
I remember in said PhD program that I did not enjoy Rahner's talking about being man, because of my focus on divinization, but I did get a takeaway, that man as such is "the exteriorization of God," and the classic quote about God become man that men might become God has a variant in that Christ did not just become God so that I might become God; Christ became man that I might become man. We were made for a divine humanity that is genuinely divine, and the door to being genuinely human. As I wrote earlier,
How shall I praise thee, O Lord?
For naught that I might say,
Nor aught that I may do,
Compareth to thy worth.
Thou art the Father for whom every fatherhood in Heaven and on earth is named,
The Glory for whom all glory is named,
The Treasure for whom treasures are named,
The Light for whom all light is named,
The Love for whom all love is named,
The Eternal by whom all may glimpse eternity,
The Being by whom all beings exist,
The King of Kings and Lord of Lords,
Who art eternally praised,
Who art all that thou canst be,
Greater than aught else that may be thought,
Greater than can be thought.
In thee is light,
In thee is honour,
In thee is mercy,
In thee is wisdom, and praise, and every good thing.
For good itself is named after thee,
God immeasurable, immortal, eternal, ever glorious, and humble.
What mighteth compare to thee?
What praise equalleth thee?
If I be fearfully and wonderfully made,
Only can it be,
Wherewith thou art fearful and wonderful,
And ten thousand things besides,
Thou who art One,
Eternally beyond time,
So wholly One,
That thou mayest be called infinite,
Timeless beyond time thou art,
The One who is greater than infinity art thou.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit,
The Three who are One,
No more bound by numbers than by word,
And yet the Son is called Ο ΛΟΓΟΣ,
Divine ordering Reason,
Eternal Light and Cosmic Word,
Way pre-eminent of all things,
Beyond all, and infinitesimally close,
Thou transcendest transcendence itself,
The Creator entered into his Creation,
Sharing with us humble glory,
Lowered by love,
Raised to the highest,
The Suffering Servant known,
The King of Glory,
What tongue mighteth sing of thee?
What noetic heart mighteth know thee,
With the knowledge that drinketh,
The drinking that knoweth,
Of the νους,
The loving, enlightened spiritual eye,
By which we may share the knowing,
Of divinised men joining rank on rank of angels.
The Hidden Transcendent God who transcendest transcendence itself,
The One God who transfigurest Creation,
The Son of God became a Man that men might become the sons of God,
The divine became man that man mighteth become divine.
Beyond measure is thy glory,
The weight of thy power transcendeth,
Thy power of thine all-surpassing authority bespeaketh,
And yet art thou,
Not in fire, not earthquake,
Not wind great as maelstrom,
But in soft gentle whisper,
Thy prophets wait upon thee,
For thy silence is more deafening than thunder,
Thine weakness stronger than the strength of men,
Thy humility surpassingly far exceedeth men's covetous thirst for glory,
Thou who hidst in a manger,
Treasure vaster than the Heavens,
And who offerest us glory,
In those things of our lives,
That seem humble to us,
As a manger rude in a cavern stable.
Thou Christ God, manifest among Creation,
Vine, lamb, and our daily bread,
Tabernacled among us who may taste thy glory,
Art come the priest on high to offer thy Creation up into Heaven,
Wert thou a lesser god,
Numerically one as a creature is one,
Only one by an accident,
Then thou couldst not deify thine own creation,
Whilst remaining the only one god.
But thou art beyond all thought,
All word, all being,
We may say that thou existest,
But then we must say,
Thou art, I am not.
And if we say that we exist,
It is inadequate to say that thou existest,
For thou art the source of all being,
And beyond our being;
Thou art the source of all mind, wisdom, and reason,
Yet it is a fundamental error to imagine thee,
To think and reason in the mode of mankind.
Thou art not one god because there happeneth not more,
Thou art The One God because there mighteth not be another beside thee.
Thus thou spakest to Moses,
Thou shalt have no other gods before me.
Which is to say,
Thou shalt admit no other gods to my presence.
And there can be no other god beside thee,
So deep and full is this truth,
That thy Trinity mighteth take naught from thine Oneness,
Nor could it be another alongside thy divine Oneness,
If this God became man,
That man become god.
Great art thou,
Greater than aught that can be thought,
And thus dealest thou,
With thy Creation.
For thou camest into the world,
Thy glory veiled,
But a few could see thy glory,
In a seed.
But thou returnest soon,
In years, or centuries, or ages untold,
A day or a thousand years, soon,
Then a seed no more.
None shall escape seeing you,
Not an angel choir to shepherds alone,
But rank on rank of angel host.
Every eye shall see thee,
And they also which pierced thee,
Thou camest and a few knees bowed,
Thou wilt return,
And every knee shall bow,
And every tongue shall confess,
Jesus Christ is Lord,
To the glory of God the Father,
As the Father triumphs in the Son.
Who mighteth tell of thy glory, thy might?
We hope for Heaven yet,
Yet the Heavens cannot contain thee.
Great art Ο ΩΝ,
And greatly to be praised.
Thou art awesome beyond all gods,
Wound not my christs.
For the Son of God became the Son of Man,
That the sons of man might become the sons of God,
And the divine image,
The ancient and glorious foundation,
And radix of mankind,
Into the likeness of Christ,
And shine with uncreated Light,
The glory of God shining through his sons.
Let our spiritual eye be ever transfixed upon thine eternal radiant glory,
Our hearts ever seeking thy luminous splendour,
Slaked by the greatest of draughts,
Which inflameth thirst.
Glorified art thou,
In all ages,
In every age,
Thy soft, gentle whisper,
In every here and now,
Let us give our lives,
To thine all-surpassing greatness,
From this day,
From this hour,
Henceforth and forevermore.
So be it. Amen.
One kind of harmony with nature that is waaaayy under-appreciated today is to recognize that I was created a man, meaning a lord, and that having an identity is not about fighting it, but working with it. Oh that I could unfold with a pen or keyboard what majesty and glory it is, in a traditional sense, to be a lord! I tried to do that in Knights and Ladies, and outline the glory of the Two Ways. The glory is the glory of Heaven and Earth, each made more glorious by the other.
And in the meantime, I am at a monastery, the original "alternative lifestyle" within Holy Orthodoxy, and it just keeps getting better. As far as sexuality goes, closing a door means, as the new 10th Century Seer of the Light wrote, Divine Eros. (Never mind how the text is introduced; the introduction is junk.)
There is also something natural that can get covered under layers of bark in technology. It's like Omega's Scythe of Death; it kills anything with one hit and then cuts you on the backswing. I wrote it in, for instance, Hidden Price Tags: An Eastern Orthodox Look at the Dark Side of Technology and Its Best Use: Volume One, Start Here.... You don't have to read all seven volumes; that one is enough. It has something to do with my awakening, an awakening that continues to unfold.
Holy Nicholai of Ohrid wrote, in Prayers by the Lake,
I feel mute and inarticulate, my Luxurious Lord, when I want to express your stability and all your fullness. Therefore, I beseech the entire universe to kneel down with me and speak in my stead, since I am incapable and inarticulate.
I build stone altars for You, O stone Foundation of my hope. And the arrogant sons of the world, who pretend to be nearer neighbors to You than Your saints, ridicule me: "Look at the pagan, who would rather worship stone than the Lord!"
Truly, I am not worshiping stone, but rather I, together with the stone, am worshiping the Living Lord. For stone is also distant from the Lord and is in need of salvation. Sin has made me more impure than stone before the face of Heaven. May the stone be saved together with me and may it, as a symbol of stability help my feeble words to express the stability of God's justice. Therefore, I embrace stone as a companion in the Fall and as a companion in prayer and salvation.
I light oil and wax on the stone altar, O Inextinguishable Light. And the arrogant puff themselves up and exclaim:
"Look at the superstitious man, who does not know that God is spirit!"
Your servant, O Lord, knows that You are spirit, but he also knows of Your mercy towards all flesh. And so when I see the radiant oil and fragrant wax, I say to myself:"How are you better than oil or wax? Oil and wax at midnight, like the sun at noon, represent the glory of the Lord more clearly than your tongue. Let them be your help in prayer. Let them be your companions in prayer and salvation."
I adorn Your altar with wooden icons, golden crosses, silver seraphim, silk brocades, and books of salvation bound in leather. And I prostrate myself before Your embellished altars. But the arrogant laugh at me and say: "Look at the idol-worshiper, who does not worship the Lord but mute objects!"
Nevertheless, You know, my only Idol, that I am worshiping You alone. But so that arrogance may not engulf my heart and delay my salvation, I call upon tree and plant, resins and animals, to cry out together with me to You, each in its own language. Indeed, all creatures and all creation are in need of salvation, therefore all also need to join in prayer with man, who led creation into sin and leads it to salvation.
I consecrate bread and wine on Your altar, and I nourish my soul with them. Let the arrogant ridicule me to the end of time, and I shall not be ashamed of my desire to have You for my food and drink, O my life-giving Nourishment.
I worship before an altar of stone, so that I may learn to consider the entire universe the altar of the Most High.
I nourish myself with consecrated bread and wine at Your altar, so that I may learn to consider everything I eat to be Your holy body, and everything I drink to be Your holy blood.
I pray with all creation and for all creation, so that I may learn humility before You, and so that I may express all the mystery of my love for You, O all-embracing love.
As far as preferred pronouns go, I prefer Your Majesty / His Majesty, but go by he / him. And I, with many others in the same shadow, identify as prophet, priest, and king. All three reflect the divine status of the anointing oil when I was Christed.
Oh, and by the way: G.K. Chesterton, "The Ethics of Elfland." Read it. Love it. Live it.
And as I have said elsewhere in The Consolation of Theology, the Holy Grail cannot be acquired, nor can it be achieved. The only game in town is to become the Holy Grail.
How Shall I Tell an Alchemist?The cold matter of science—
Exists not, O God, O Life,
For Thou who art Life,
How could Thy humblest creature,
Be without life,
Fail to be in some wise,
The image of Life?
Lead and silver and gold,
The vast emptiness of space and vacuum,
Teems more with Thy Life,
Than science will see in man,
Than hard and soft science,
Will to see in man.How shall I praise Thee,
For making man a microcosm,
A human being the summary,
Of creation, spiritual and material,
Created to be,
A waterfall of divine grace,
Flowing to all things spiritual and material,
A waterfall of divine life,
Deity flowing out to man,
And out through man,
To all that exists,
And even nothingness itself?
And if I speak,
To an alchemist who seeks true gold,
May his eyes be opened,
To body made a spirit,
And spirit made a body,
The gold on the face of an icon,
Pure beyond twenty-four carats,
Even if the icon be cheap,
A cheap icon of paper faded?
How shall I speak to an alchemist,
Whose eyes overlook a transformation,
Next to which the transmutation,
Of lead to gold,
Is dust and ashes?
How shall I speak to an alchemist,
Of the holy consecration,
Whereby humble bread and wine,
Illumine as divine body and blood,
Brighter than gold, the metal of light,
The holy mystery the fulcrum,
Not stopping in chalice gilt,
But transforming men,
To be the mystical body,
The holy mystery the fulcrum of lives transmuted,
Of a waterfall spilling out,
The consecration of holy gifts,
That men may be radiant,
That men may be illumined,
That men be made the mystical body,
Course with divine Life,
Tasting the Fountain of Immortality,
The transformed elements the fulcrum,
Of God taking a lever and a place to stand,
To move the earth,
To move the cosmos whole,
Spiritual and material,
Returned to God,
And how shall I tell an alchemist,
That alchemy suffices not,
For true transmutation of souls,
To put away searches for gold in crevices and in secret,
And see piles out in the open,
In common faith that seems mundane,
And out of the red earth that is humility,
To know the Philosopher's Stone Who is Christ,
And the true alchemy,
Is found in the Holy Orthodox Church?
How Shall I Tell an Alchemist?
I no longer pine to have a little trace of fairy blood in my veins because I have divine blood coursing through my veins.