The Stolen Child

Come away, O human child!

To the waters and the wild

With a faery, hand in hand.

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.”

– The Stolen Child, WB Yeats


Yeat’s poem is based on legends of how the faeries would tempt children to leave their human families and lives, and to go with the fey instead. The legend and folk tales usually are from the point of view of the worried parent, fearful that their child would be taken. This blog is looking at the Stolen Child in all of us; the child within that wants to be taken, to leave with the faeries.

All of us can, to a greater or lesser extent, relate to this archetype – the child that is overwhelmed by the breadth and dept of suffering in the world, and cannot comprehend it; and who wants to taken away from such a world, to where it is, as we’re so fond of saying, love and light. Whether we have this consciousness within us only peripherally – either by tenuous connection (which is unlikely if you’re the kind of person who is reading this blog), or deep reflexive suppression – or whether we have it strongly, being acutely aware of this double-faceted inner of state of horror and fear of/at the world, and wanting to flee it – this is a poetic and archetypal expression of the kind of consciousness that is to do with ungroundedness, and very early wounding, the healing of which I have dedicated this website to.

If you’re interested in New Agey things, there’s a good chance that you actually ARE interested in faeries, and other spiritual totems like unicorns, angels, archangels, and ascended masters. There’s nothing wrong with that; they are all real beings, even if they don’t have physical bodies. And having that interest and connection can often be very nourishing to the inner child, to the inner source of wonder, of providing nurturance and joy and gentle protection to the tender young parts of ourselves. Faeries and angels and other beings represent and bridge consciousness to the spiritual worlds; either that of the earth-in-spirit, or higher spiritual realms. They are bona fide spiritual beings, and much support can be gained by being open to these ethereal presences.

A strong connection to these beings and realms is, however, a mixed blessing. Although being away with the faeries (either through daydreaming, or conscious meditation) is a nominally very “spiritual” thing to do, there’s also often an element of seeking refuge in these realms and with these beings, of running away to these planes and places, to where it is safe, and you are looked after, and warm, and loved unconditionally. Seeking refuge is no bad thing – at a young age we simply aren’t equipped to process large amounts of emotional pain, or widespread suffering, or deep trauma, such as most of us are exposed to (turn the news off, folks!). And when you consider the effects a birth trauma can have, escapism is actually a very healthy adaptation; we call it a ‘defence mechanism’ in psychotherapy, and there’s a time in our lives when that protective strategy (of  taking your consciousness to be with the faeries, or angels, etc) is just what’s needed. We need it less and less as we grow up, but even as adults, we have tender child-consciousness within us. We need our defences, until eventually we don’t.

We also gain the ability as we grow and mature to process and handle and allow and to be with suffering. What would have been ‘too much’ for our baby selves, or our toddler selves, or our infant selves, or our child selves, is ‘tolerable’ for our adult selves, with our developed egos, emotional filtering and armouring, and so on. So for those of us who do indeed relate to The Stolen Child, it’s ok and safe for us to start to come back and return home, back to our bodies and to this physical world, piece by piece and step by step. It’s a long process, and very delicate. We aren’t talking about the vibrational/earthly extremes of an energetic attunement or a fearsome Haka dance to make you grounded. We’re talking about coming to the place of ‘maybe I can handle this’ in relation to the weeping of the world; a place where everything within us is felt, and everything is ok for us. When we arrive at that place, we no longer need to be taken away to greener lands, or to leave with lighter and brighter beings. By being able to tolerate and be with ‘what is’, the lightness and brightness within all things starts to become apparent. People, places, events (even tragedies) have their own inner light, which is visible once the suffering and darkness is allowed (I don’t mean condoned, just a simple inner acknowledgement of the isness of what is is enough). At least, this is my experience, and the experience of those people I know who have transformed an amount of their own pain, so that they can be with pain (their own, or others) without feeling overwhelmed. Our experience of life doesn’t shift like you might expect from reading 2012 ascension literature, where everything feels love-and-light, or from enlightenment-centric literature, where everything feels detatched. We still feel, we feel plenty. We don’t feel only light; we feel everything that comes as part of the human experience. The bitter-sweetness of life. Joy and sadness, anger fear and rage, ecstatic happiness, contentment, dissapointment, apathy, ennui, and more.

This is our human birthright, and our common existence and heritage; even if you feel you are and identify very strongly with non-human consciousness (feeling that you come from or belong to another solar system, for example) please know that you are a beloved member of the earth and human tribe, that you belong here. Maybe you have something like dual-nationalities, who knows? But you belong on the earth, as a human, with your fellow humans. None of us are perfect, and things can get very messy, and very painful, and things can go horribly wrong (from a limited perspective). But things can also be very beautiful, and can touch us deeply, and can teach us valuable lessons that go all the way down into our soul. All of this – the “good” and the “bad” – is to be found on earth, in and with humanity. And as helpful and lovely and wonderful as the non-human beings are, they don’t touch or affect us in the same way as humans do.

So my invitation is: come back, o human child! Come back! You are wanted and needed here. The earth and humanity needs you. You have work to do!


With all my love, Justin


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