As a long-time student of Rudolf Steiner and anthroposophy, I was delighted with Tanis Helliwell’s story of Steiner recruiting leprechauns who would help narrow the chasm between nature spirits and humans. It added a fanciful flavor to what I have often experienced as Steiner’s stern demeanor. Picturing him in the elemental world, though still on an urgent mission, somehow allowed me to imagine him kicking up his heels and laughing—though perhaps still wearing the long black frock coat of the photographs.
This seriousness and delight mingled together in Julie’s and my visit with Barbara. When she had her early morning hot tub dip, for example, she saw the little gnomes just sitting on the edge of the tub. She asked them why they weren’t getting in, as they usually do, and they responded that they were disturbed because we had been laughing at them. “Oh no,” she told them. “We’re not laughing at you; we’re laughing because you bring us such pleasure.” This explanation cleared the air and they jumped in happily.
I am always wondering if, when I am light-hearted or joke a little about writing a gnome blog, they understand the edge I’m trying to walk between seriousness and delight. I try and do a quick heart-check to be sure I’m not misreading myself. And yet, given the misunderstandings humans have with one another around these edges, it should come as no surprise that intentions can be misinterpreted between gnomes and humans. Laughter is so important, and so is the back and forth tussle of keeping heart and mind aligned so that the laughter is not tainted.
As I begin to develop my own relationship with Mano, one filled with warmth and respect, I appreciate the different levels of consciousness that come through in the exchanges the “large gnomes” and the “little ones” have with Barbara.
The little ones, Mano has told her, help the project by giving her amusing pictures to grab her attention and keep her mind focused. When she detects them gamboling around, he asks her to expand her awareness “and see if you feel the presence of any ‘larger ones’ around. When you get into the habit of doing this regularly you will build your own inner knowing and personal self.”
“Years ago,” Barbara remembers, “Mano brought a number of small elemental beings to live in my house and learn what a human is like. At first I thought I was making up this whole idea, but when my sensitivity was raised I could look within and picture what they were doing. Some of the pictures were so funny I had to believe they were real.”
“Once after I had washed my hair and was using the hair dryer, I felt activity around me and looked to see what was happening. Each elemental had a hair dryer and was blowing over its own head and then blowing the hot air at one another like children. Another time I was washing dishes and saw each of them with an apron on like mine drying dishes. On my way to the hot tub one day I ‘saw’ them in little old-fashioned one-piece striped bathing suits carrying beach balls, colorful inner tubes and water wings.”
The elementals themselves encourage Barbara to mix her serious dedication with levity. They want the energies that are recorded in her writing to come through the filter of joy as well as love—in order to keep the love “bright and sparkling”.
“I have been watching you over the years,” a small sprightly faery told her once. “I’ve seen you in the amphitheater and going here and there, and I am always surprised that you are so serious about what you do. I see beneath the serious coat a dancing, bubbly effervescent energy. The serious coat dampens the light you carry and holds in, contains, the nourishment that you could interchange with us. We watch each day to see if that joy is going to be released so we can participate with it. I finally asked permission to come and speak to you of what I am seeing. The others have encouraged me to do this.”
Barbara responded by thanking the faery for coming. “I do sometimes feel that solemn energy,” she said, “though I have also felt the joy. The seriousness is not intentional on my part. I actually don’t know how to free the joy, and I would love to have that freedom. Can you help me?”
“There is nothing I can’t do for you,” the faery responded. “We can dance around you and give you the lifted experience. We can invite you to join us in the dance. . . . As you say yes, I can see things beginning to break loose.”
“Can I know your name?” Barbara asked. “My name is Joy,” the faery replied. “I ride on the back of the hummingbird that comes close to look at you. I belong to these mountains, to the amphitheater. I have watched you for years and have asked to relate.”