Visioning – ©Susan Seddon Boulet
I rise in silence, steadfast in the elements
with thought a smoke-blue veil drawn round me.
Seasons clothe me in laurel and bittersweet, in ice
but my heart is constant… –
– Marilou Awiakta, © Smoky Mountain-Woman
As the magic of Summer Solstice approaches, the activity of the Faery folk increases and they may often be seen in the twilight hours. The Fey are known by many names in every culture throughout the world. Our non-human cousins are referred to by the southeastern band of the Cherokee as the yunwi tsunsdi, the Little People.
There are several Clans of the yunwi tsunsdi. The Rock Cave Clan is perhaps the least benign to humans. Their credo is “How one treats others is how he will be treated.” As you can guess, humans being as we often are, this is not always pleasant for us. But the Rock Cave Clan is fearsome only if one is in the habit of being unkind or selfish. The damage we have caused to their home, the Earth, also has strained their relationship with us. They are the ones who are most likely to steal human children, much like faery tales in other cultures of changelings. However, the grandmothers reassure us that as long as we are respectful towards them and kind to our Mother Earth, they will do us no harm.
The Laurel Clan tends to the plants and the Green realms. They help gardens to grow and even plant “warrior plants” around the fields of people who ignore the needs of plants. They encourage us to be happy, share with others and not take our perceived needs too seriously.
Those in the Dogwood Clan are the dreamers. They dream up good things for everyone and everything. The stories tell us that if the petals of the dogwood trees fall quickly, all at once, the Dogwood Clan is sad, and crying for the people. But if the blossoms stay on the trees a long time and fall slowly, they are pleased with the people.
The Little People live in various places, such as rock shelters, caves in the mountains, laurel thickets, and so on. They like drumming and dancing, and they often help lost children, and not just those who are physically lost, but children who are sad, or who are going through the tough times of growing up.
All of the clans can be quite mischievous at times. The Little People need to be dealt with carefully, and it is necessary to observe the traditional rules regarding them. They don’t like to be disturbed, and they may cause a person who continually bothers them to become ‘puzzled’ throughout life. Because of this, traditional Cherokees will not investigate or look when they believe they hear Little People. If one of the Little People is accidentally seen, or if he or she chooses to become visible, it is not to be discussed or told of for at least seven years. It is also a common practice to not speak about the Little People after nightfall.