Fetch-Light Atop the Hedgerow

The Fylgja

Fetch-Light Atop the Hedgerow

The Fylgja

Dawn R. Jackson

“O Sathan, give me my purpose.”

— Elizabeth Styles

A particular element or specific nuance that is a large part of the Traditional Crafter’s repertoire of experience is the intensive work done in the forms of bids and petitions, to define the Fetch (known to the Norse as the Fylgja) and later to work in tandem with your Fetch Spirit (this spirit can take the form of an animal or bird, a numinous ball of light or even a female guardian spirit).

First off we need to identify just what exactly the Fetch is and what is isn’t. A broad definition of the Fetch (also known as the Puckril, Puckerel or Bid) begins with the notion that it is a tutelary spirit of sorts, usually taking on an animalistic form. Your Fetch Spirit in the form of an animal is a specific non-corporeal entity that, once made contact with, is not only a working partner that is found to be without reproach, but also a combination of your own Soul and your Spirit working together.

Witches of Old were known to have had familiar spirits that they worked with, and countless reports abound of a Witch first meeting the Devil on a lonely path in a forgotten wood, who was in the shape and form of some sort of animal — usually a black dog — but also to have been seen in the forms of a black horse, black cloud and even a black hen. See the notes on the trials of both Isobel Gowdie and Dame Alice Kyteler or the Somerset Witch Elizabeth Styles as an example for more on those meetings. These sorts of spirits were noted not only for their advisory capacity but for their general companionship too. See here for a detailed list of Familiar names collected by the author.

Our definition of the Fetch now expands to include the premise that the Fetch is additionally a form of Awareness, a specific form of Consciousness that has been freed from somatic ties that bind it to flesh, and that freedom has allowed for an ability to seem as if the Fetch spirit travels oot and aboot. It is only our personal and subjective perception that seems to make us think that it is traveling at all. Without wandering from the subject of this essay, we and the world we are in are not separated, we are not things that are apart from one another, so in essence the Fetch does not go anywhere because everywhere is here and now.

Where, in theory, does the Fetch go and why? The Fetch travels to alternate levels of reality, to the Underworld, known as Elphame, or to the Aboveworld, the Chimeri. The Fetch travels to specific Oneiric landscapes and to distant physical locations. They follow the Ghost Roads and Coffin Paths, and can be utilized to seek out the contact of additional allies and helpers, or even to contact ancestral streams. Their benefit in helping to create powerful alliances with primal otherworldly contacts is of a supreme and unequaled nature. The Fetch travels to these places to teach as well as to learn and to share, to connect to a particular place or person and sometimes even to disconnect. The Fetch also has strong tendencies to protect the human aspect of itself as well as seeking out divinatory knowledge.

Not to confound this issue further, there is also the notion of the Fetch Spouse, the Faery Wife or Faery Husband and that is a whole ‘nother facet to this Fetch gem. That is a subject for an entirely separate essay and not one that we will tackle today. For now, you can discover more about the Fetch Spouses by reading and researching associated Faery lore and myth.

Simply put, the eventual meeting and continued contact with the Fetch Spouse and the conjunction that arises from such meetings has a similar basis in the long term goals of Spiritual Alchemy. The union of your Fetch Spouse with your self manifests a union of your Soul with Divine Consciousness. The Fetch Lover (and you will interact in a pseudo-sexual fashion) is not only a companion that encompasses the scope of friendship, the Fetch spouse also acts a teacher as well as an otherworldly escort. In addition to the Fetch Spouse there is a form of the Fetch in the Northern Tradition that is a guardian hereditary spirit, and able to be passed on from person to person down generational lines. This spirit, the Fylgjukona, is predominantly a female figure and ties in with the luck and the providence of the family in question.

But to get back to the animalistic form of the Fetch — why does the Fetch take on the form of the animal that it does? Many outlying reasons reveal what nature and form the Fetch takes on but primarily, the Fetch is actually a reflection of the human counterpart and both are connected at such a fundamental level that often the health and well being of one is quite dependent on the other. If you have not made contact with your own attendant Fetch Spirit, do not despair, that does not mean that they are not active even now in your life, totally unbeknownst to you. It is quite possible and probable that there is still action (in most cases this action will not be of a very dominant nature) on your behalf even though you may be unaware of it.

Obviously, initiating that contact will make that activity intensify. And if contact is not established immediately upon your commencement of activities designed to encourage and hasten for such do not be discouraged. If this were a feat that were to be championed with ease, it would not have sufficient merit. This is a relationship that you must work with in an intense way and with a devoted passion, and you must make sure that you are able to submit to the long term commitments as the care and requirements for your Fetch relationship are apt to be quite demanding.

My own efforts to find my own Fetch were long term spanning several years and made use of many various rites of offerings (including my own blood — while I don’t condone needlessly taking the life of an animal for such a thing, I did use my own blood on occasion) and bids of petition to the Dame and to the Horned Master respectively. When my initial contact did occur I was at what is to me is a very sacred spot, a Springs here in Florida called Ponce de Leon, it is a place I go to often and have had many deeply spiritual events happen there.

Without revealing the personal nature of my rites, I will say that I was surprised to find that my Fetch animal Spirit was one that I had not been overly connected to in my mundane or my magical life previously. And that is a natural occurrence and such a thing may well happen in your own endeavors to seek out your Fetch. My bond that I have now to my Fetch animal, which turned out to be a member of the Corvid family, is much deeper in both my mundane life and in my magical one. Such is the nature of Fate. While I may not have been attracted to the energies and the essence of the Raven beforehand, the Raven was an integral part of my magical identity and make-up without me being aware of it for the first 40 years of my life.

Another thing to take note of is that is not a frivolous excursion and should not be considered as such ever. Your Fetch animal, while being a single creature in your eyes, be it a fox, a snake, a bee is not just a fox, snake or bee. Your Fetch is the Fox, Snake or Bee. Your Fetch animal encompasses the power and majesty of not just that one creature but of all of those creatures, every last one of them. That Fetch is the primal, historical symbol and model translated into terms that are represented by a single entity as a way for us to be able to identify with it and relate to it.

There are a variety of ways for you to begin seeking ways to identify, locate and eventually meet your own Fetch Spirit. The key to success in this matter is to have strong sense of faith that such an event will occur and to approach such activities such as certain Housle rites, the leaving of specific offerings, even giving up something that is quite dear to you in order for this to happen with a complete and total love for the Old Ways and for what they espouse. If you seek your Fetch Spirit only as another form of manifested power to rule and to control others with it is highly unlikely you will be successful initially.

There are a small, select set of rites and rituals that have been written by others expressly for this purpose that have been shared via the web, and you may freely adapt others that you find for your own use. Diligence is needed as well as a strong persevering nature. Guided meditative techniques which encourage you to work in a self created visual landscape can be quite beneficial in seeking out your Fetch, and there is an excellent one to be found in the works of Nigel Jackson of which a brief excerpt is listed below.

”…Through the portals of the stone stile you now glimpse a hovering sphere of soft light, glowing in the mist beyond without casting any shadows. You look deeply at it’s color as it bobs beyond the stile.. As you gaze deeply into the ball of light you catch a glimpse of an animal, a shape or a bird. Beyond the stone stile your Fetch-light trembles and hovers over the ground, shining softly in the dark, enticing you further on the journey to the other side…” — Nigel Jackson, Call of the Horned Piper

And with that, I am off to do some work with my own Fetch Spirit. I hope you have great success with your own attempts to seek out your Fetch Spirit in whatever form it takes, and I’ll see you ‘round the Milky Way!

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