Fairies and witches work together in The Veil. Elara and Leda were two such partners, creating and transporting magickal moments for only the most deserving human lovers. These lovers were often without physical partners, and this is what made them so deserving. To speak a language nobody hears is a heavy load to carry in this world filled with so many other burdens.
Elara was named for one of Jupiter’s moons and Fate conspired to introduce her to the fairy sprite named Leda, another of Jupiter’s moons. They were once both young enough to laugh about this, but now they were older, wiser, and funnier than that. Elara in particular had developed a long list of experiences which made her as wise as a crone without yet burdening her physical body with the consequences of age. Leda was unlikely to ever fully mature as long as she had any choice in the matter. Together they gifted the world with their talents and took a good deal of joy for themselves.
Once upon a time there was a special man in Elara’s life, but he was gone now. They had conceived a child together under a cold Ice Moon, and she had given birth under the Hunters Moon. Both were Friday the 13th, and her son was given over to Mother Earth as soon as he was weaned. She missed him terribly. She was grateful, however, that she learned more about love in that short time with her son than in the rest of her years put together.
Leda, on the other hand, had no inclination toward love. What she enjoyed was anything that was fun. Laughing. Playing. Floating. Teasing. Tether Ball. She was in awe of her friend’s wisdom, but she was happy to stick with what she knew. She could ride a bubble farther and higher than anyone else. She could do back walkovers on a single blade of grass. She could sing the alphabet backwards. She could braid the roots of a dandelion together. But she could not picture herself in a relationship. No Not Ever. At dawn and dusk, she could be found doing what was the most fun she could imagine. Sneaking into the beds of men and tickling them with her wings and her kisses.
There are times when a seven year old is just not capable of understanding the joys that can be associated with the bubbles in an adult beverage. This is why our friend Lady, who was six and a half years old now and sporting curly red hair and an abundance of freckles, was left to stir the potions meant for very young people in playgrounds.
Wiser witches of more advanced experience were left with the manufacture and distribution of Love Potion Number Seventeen. The carbonation provided by Seventeen created bubbles that were smaller and stronger than the other potions. Specialized bubble rider sprites directed these bubbles to private parties in undisclosed locations. These bubble riders were the ones responsible for the dreams that awoke people at dawn with a smile on their faces and a strange sense that they had not been alone in their dream. The potion is provided almost exclusively to women who have a longing to describe their feelings to a man but don’t have the words. Alternatively, the recipient, almost exclusively a man, may not have the comprehension to understand the words if spoken.
Many of us have known a person in our lives who provides that spark of heightened liveliness. There is often no logical explanation for it, only a solid conviction that life has been elevated to a higher, nearer and more approachable plane. It is an awakening and a sensual experience that lasts many months beyond the initial taste. Even the sprites are forever changed after one of these experiences. Some of them refuse to leave and get themselves or their host in hot water, flattening the beverage and leaving them stranded without transportation home.
These are the sprites to watch out for, because they are highly educated at this point and can get bored sometimes when they have nothing exciting going on around them. These are the fairies that play tricks on you, not because you deserve it, but because they insist that you remain joyful until death.
Lady didn’t realize she had fallen asleep beside the cauldron. In her dream, she was wide awake, still carefully stirring clockwise and testing the temperature. She never saw the sprites on the bubbles that rose from the pot and drifted over the garden wall. She didn’t know that one sat on her forehead and watched her eyelids flutter.
Now we have said before that Lady had not yet reached the age of reason, and she was not mature enough to realize that when they called her “Lady” they were teasing her for believing she knew the first thing about love potions. In fact, Lady was under the impression that “love” was that feeling you get right before you sneeze. It was no use trying to set her straight, and it turned out that her formula was actually quite effective.
And so when the moon was at its peak, the bubble rider decided to come down from Lady’s forehead to play. After sliding down Lady’s nose several times, she found the fingerpaints.
When Lady woke up at dawn, she was staring cross-eyed at the tip of her nose. There stood a pair of tiny fairies, covered in paint, and dancing. Eventually Lady realized it was just one fairy who had done the damage of two. There were little footprints all over her face, and her hair was now red.
And she couldn’t stop sneezing!
While Lady and the gnome slumbered in the garden, dusk quietly blanketed the day. In the veil of time between light and dark, the unattended cauldron bubbled over. Unseen by all, the bubble rider sprites perched atop the bubbles, one to each, and floated away. Three stayed in the garden; two by the gnome and one near the sleeping witch.
The sprites that landed on the gnome’s big nose were nearly sniffed up into his right nostril. In the nick of time they were blown back out, laughing as if in the middle of an arcade game. When one tried to ask the other how he managed to breathe so funny, it came out in such a way that ever after, the gnome would be called “Howie”.
For many nights, and mornings too, the bubble riders visited Howie in his sleep. They explored elsewhere but always returned to his nose, and they always laughed at it. All Howie ever knew was that sometimes he would startle himself into wakefulness with a loud sneeze. If the sun hadn’t risen he would return to dreamland with ease.
Everyone called her “Lady”, although she was only six-and-a-quarter years old. She carried herself with a regal clumsiness unlike any other witch in the three nearest covens. She worked alone with a serious-minded efficiency that drew the attention of her peers.
Lady ignored the gossip because she truly didn’t notice it. She was intent upon perfecting the measurements. A proper potion provides potential perfection, she had heard often enough.
Under a rusty hoe handle, a garden gnome picked his teeth with the stem of a dandelion and observed Lady’s furrowed brow with amusement. He had once believed that he could learn to read the recipe right there on her forehead, but last year he had become a toadstool for six months without explanation, and so he was uncomfortable with that level of absorption anymore. Nevertheless, he did eventually become drowsy, and the dandelion stem fell in his lap as his mouth hung open in slumber.
Lady meanwhile, was starting to lose her concentration as the afternoon headed toward evening. The cauldron before her was beginning to bubble over, and she was getting concerned that her little arms would give out soon. That was all she remembered until her hand came to her cheek and felt the morning dew upon it.
Whatever the weather, the incredibly observant among us are about to catch the fairies working with the witches as they prepare for Beltane. When May Day arrives, it will be greatly influenced by the light of the full moon just hours before Beltane begins. Under the brightness of the moon, the cauldrons of love potions will simmer just a bit longer, becoming infinitesimally thicker and stickier than usual. The fairy sprites will agree that these batches of brew are also sweeter, and therefore more easily attract the unsuspecting recipients.
At dawn on the first of May, when the space between the worlds is at its holiest, the little sprites will ride their bubbles right through their world and into ours. Someone’s nose will tickle. An unexpected giggle will erupt. A neck will feel the gentle breeze of someone’s breath. Shortly smiles will be shared in traffic. A warm memory will suddenly come to mind. A peanutbutter sandwich will take another person back to his third grade cafeteria table.
And couples will remember why they fell in love, and why it is worth any price to feel that way again, even when the heat of the coming summer will cause it to shrivel up again.
The snow arriving in April, the one that made us cry in frustrated annoyance, was in actuality the first of several love potion deliveries. If we hadn’t been so sure it was a fool’s cruel insult, we could have seen the bubble riders perched upon the icy flakes as they rode to their various destinations. The potion droplets which arrive this early in the spring are for the children and the young at heart. Later in the season, when the cauldrons have been simmering longer, the potions will take on a more somber and serious flavor more appropriate for romance and lust. But the potions that come with an onion snow early in the season are for lighthearted playfulness and giggles.
The lucky few who experience this April shower of reawakening will probably not even notice the fairies that brought it. The more likely reaction is to attribute the burst of energy to the sounds of birds returning, or the brightness of the yellow daffodils, or even the silly bonnet on the head of a woman in the pew in front of you at church on Sunday.
But make no mistake, if you grumble your way through the change of seasons like a groggy hybernating bear, the good cheer and laughter will completely pass you by, because no fairy wants to play with a party pooper.
Look at the crystals carefully as you wait for the school bus or clear your windshield. You will be glad you didn’t crawl back under the covers. Have fun, and the bubble riders will no doubt return to you again and again.