The only thing more special than finding your own magical self is finding a community of other magically minded people to be a part of. Dragonspace is a place where dragon-lovers, Wiccans, occultists, artists, clairvoyants and more meet and collide, but there are communities all over the world that come together to celebrate, bond and believe in the unbelievable.
One of our Dragonspace staff members had the chance to visit one such place over in England last weekend. Nestled amongst the trees of the New Forest in southern England (home to over 3000 gorgeous wild ponies) was the annual New Forest Fairy Festival, a celebration of all things fairy.
From market stalls selling Dragonspace-esque goods (wands, incense, jewelry, altar supplies) to live music and healing workshops, the Fairy Festival was a place where magic really came alive. Here are some of the highlights:
Meeting Josephine Wall herself
In our last post, we wrote about some of our favourite fantasy artists, of which the whimsical Josephine Wall was one. What a delight it was to meet Josephine at her stall at the festival, looking stunning in a long green gown with threads of gold woven through her hair. We told Josephine that her artworks are loved all the way over in Vancouver, and she was pleased to hear! She was selling prints, notebooks, calendars, oracle decks and gift cards, and we got some merchandise personalised signed. A spell-binding experience!
Learning lesser known facts about Tarot and Runes
The festival workshops were held in a cosy colourful tent, featuring interactive talks by practitioners in various mystical arts. The tarot workshop, run by Rudi, cut through a lot of the noise about tarot and really got stuck into the history and the symbolism. Rudi explained how the cards of the Major Arcana beautifully articulate the human experience - from The Fool staggering naively through the world as a child, to the turmoil of The Lovers, and the cyclical nature of Death. Even those sceptical about divination would have enjoyed Rudi’s explanations.
The Runes workshop was run by Glenn, who took us on a journey through the runes, not only explaining their history and symbolism, but how runes appear in everyday life. For example, you’ve probably seen the Gebo rune ('X') meaning “gift” at the bottom of greeting cards, letters or emails from loved ones, likely in the form of “xoxo”. And we’ve actually got a rune on our cell phones - a bind rune, in fact! Take a look at your Bluetooth symbol now. That symbol is actually two runes - the one for ‘H’ and the one for ‘B’ - bound, or merged, together. It was the signature of Harald Bluetooth, a 10th-century king who united Denmark under his rule, and so the Bluetooth function is named for him as it unites two electronic devices together. The more you know!
We couldn’t help but notice that the Fairy Festival wasn’t the only magical thing about Burley, the charming village in the middle of the New Forest where the festival was held. The village itself was full of shops selling magical goods, including the iconic Coven of Witches. Apparently, during the 1950s a famous white witch lived in Burley named Sybil Leek, who had a pet jackdaw and would walk the village in a long black cloak. It’s no wonder magical folk flock to the New Forest - with its ancient woodland, open moors and wild ponies that wander the land freely. We highly recommend a visit if you’re in England!
It’s just not a festival without music. From Celtic jigs to medieval marketplace music, Irish folk ballads to Enya, you’re always surrounded by music in Dragonspace, and the Fairy Festival was no different! The main stage saw an eclectic mix of live bands set the scene - country rock, dreamy folk, New Age and more - always with a crowd of little fairies dancing in the front row. The cosy Acoustic Tent was a great place to sit and take a breather for a few moments, serenaded by acoustic sets. There were also belly dancing and drumming workshops, and a wonderful Elemental Dance tent which invited festival-goers to just let it all go and dance...sometimes the best form of healing.
We have to mention the abundance of fairy dogs walking around the festival. These furry friends seemed to love sporting glittery fairy wings or tutus, enjoying the magical atmosphere (or maybe the scraps of food dropped under picnic tables). And of course, we can’t forget the famous New Forest wild ponies! While they didn’t make it into the festival grounds, these majestic free-roaming creatures are found all over the New Forest - they can cause quite the traffic jam on the winding roads! If you’re lucky enough to pay a visit to the Forest, appreciate these beautiful beasts, but keep your distance - while gentle, they are wild and shouldn’t be petted or fed. Just like a unicorn, of course.
And there you have all the ingredients for a truly spell-binding weekend! It was also lovely to see all the parallels between our Dragonspace community and a community all the way across the ocean. Britain and its European neighbours are the original home of much of the myth and magic we trade in at the store - Celtic wisdom, Irish fairy stories, Viking lore, medieval dragon tales. We love that the magic lives on at the New Forest Fairy Festival and we can't wait until next year!
Some of our favourite fairy forest treasures here at Dragonspace: