Episode 2: A Call to the Otherworld

In the second episode of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast Our guest describes an truly beautiful experience whilst immersed in nature.  The meeting itself was perhaps induced by her heartfelt song to the wilds. The response she received was truly breathtaking.

Here’s a link to an example of kulning (cattle herd calling).

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Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but some may contain details which some may find unsettling or frightening. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older. 

Episode 1: A Remote Encounter

In the first episode of The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast, Jo speaks to a man who crossed paths with a being from an Otherworld while walking in a remote area of Scotland. This was something he had never considered a possibility. He candidly describes his experience.

Warning: These are not fairytales and the content is unsuitable for children. This episode describes a wonderful experience but some may contain details which some may find unsettling or frightening. The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast is designed for listeners 16 years and older.

Artwork: Peter Hall Studios

Podcast intro music: Transmutate by Snowflake (c) copyright 2020 Licensed. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License. 

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Big exciting news! The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast launches 8th November 2020 at 8pm (GMT)

The Modern Fairy Sightings Podcast will launch at 8pm (GMT) on Sunday 8th November 2020. Listeners will hear first hand accounts of fairy sightings – a rare opportunity in these modern times. This is a project close to my heart. It’s so important to me, that people get a chance to share their fairy experiences in their own words.

Hear the Podcast here.

The Modern Fairy Sightings community began in 2016, when folklorist, Mark Norman and I began research for Dr Simon Young’s book, Magical Folk: British and Irish Fairies 500 AD to the Present. During our research, we spoke to people who had encountered fairies, though weren’t discussing it openly.

Eager to find out more about this continuing taboo around fairy sightings, I started the Modern Fairy Sightings Facebook Group, a place where people could openly discuss their sightings and exchange experiences.

Many people have had encounters but are reluctant to talk about them for fear of ridicule. While we, as a western society, more commonly accept the existence of ghosts and UFOs, fairies are often a step too far for most people to acknowledge.

As evolved as we are, it’s sometimes tough to admit that we humans still know so little about this Universe and all its mysteries.

So lets learn together. Suspend your judgment, take that trip into the unknown…and always remain curious about this universe.

Images: created by Peter Hall Comics, from a description of a fairy sighting in 2008.

Virtual Dawn Chorus: Mass Participation

For the last few years I’ve organised a birdsong identification workshop, taught by the brilliant Peter Holden MBE, renowned ornithologist and author of the RSPB handbook. After a day of learning, we meet the following morning to experience the dawn chorus together, and test our recognition of birdsong.

It’s always a wonderful experience, but as we’re all following social distancing measures, we won’t be meeting in person this year.


Instead, on National Dawn Chorus Day Sunday 3rd May at 5am, let’s each audio record our local dawn chorus, wherever we are.  Whether you’re recording in your garden, from out of an apartment window, or in the midst of a forest.

In these extraordinary times, we can draw strength from the exquisite nature which surrounds us. The birds’ enchanting expression of spring is particularly powerful and our sharing of this experience, reminds us that we are – and always will be – connected.

What is a dawn chorus?
It’s when the birds begin to sing at the break of a new day.  In springtime their song is particularly potent, as it’s all about defending territory and finding new mates. The magic happens when the silence is broken by the first song, which builds to a magnificent chorus. 

When will it happen?
National Dawn Chorus Day, Sunday 3rd May.  Sunrise is around 5:30am, so we advise that you  prepare to record from around 4:45am to 5:00am, at the latest.

How will it work?
Use the recording device on your phone and send the mp3 file to clearly noting your permission to share the audio, a name if you want us to include it, and most importantly, remember to tell us where you are recording from. I’ll upload it to Soundcloud

How large should the audio file be?

The chorus builds from one song to many over around half an hour, but a large file will be difficult to send and upload.  Please send me a short clip of no more than 1 minute – maybe your favourite highlight! You may, if you wish, within the end of the minute describe your experience in just a few words.

Can anyone take part?

Yes!  Anyone and everyone is welcome to take part, wherever you live and wherever you are recording from.

Will the audio be sharable and accessible to the public?

Yes, all the audio you share will be open to the public and you’ll be able to share each recording, or the whole collection if you like!

Do I need to give permission to share the audio?

Yes, because it’s going to be open to the public. When you email us with your recording, please do remember to state in writing that you give your full permission for the recording to be uploaded and made public.

What sort of audio file do I need to send?
Please send an MP3 file if you can but here’s some other types which SoundCloud supports:  WAV, FLAC, AIFF, or ALAC, OGG, MP2, AAC, AMR, and WMA. But do ensure that it is no more than one minute long.

Will the recordings be bought or sold?
No, the recordings will remain freely available for everyone’s enjoyment.

I want to have a go at identifying the birdsong.  Are there any helpful links?
Yes indeed!  The Guardian recently published a helpful guide to common birdsong, with links to the RSPB app Giving Nature a Home (which is highly recommended and was also developed by Peter Holden MBE). And here’s a link to RSPB’s free birdsong radio.

Will you hold face-to-face workshops again?
Yes, we really hope so, as it’s always good fun and we learn so much from Peter, whether we’re beginners or experts! If you’d like to take part in the next workshop in Bristol, please contact me and I’ll add you to the mailing list.

Contact me for more details:

In this time…

Mother Earth needs to heal herself.  She’s tried to tell us in so many ways, but to no avail. Finally, she has sent us to our rooms.

She is such a good nurturing Mother and we can trust her love. She’ll nurture us, no matter what.

While we’re shut off from our usual routines, we may find time to rediscover the things that make our hearts sing. And we might decide to keep them close or share them with the world. For some, they’ll find that it’s helping others that makes them shine. For others it will be crochet that brings peace…or singing that makes them feel alive. Great experiments with cooking, a depth to your meditation, discovering new ways to code, excelling at journal writing, the fulfilment of yoga, devouring literature, finding ever more enjoyable ways to make love, playing video games…whatever it is, absorb yourself in this beautiful self-spun cocoon.

All the while, we’re sharing this experience with whomever we live with. Maybe we’ve had no choice about who we live with, or perhaps we’re living alone. Either way, we might now feel the urge to reach out to family and loved ones, because we’ve had time and space to remember how much we care.

Some will have the opportunity to straighten out misunderstandings or even decide that their differences aren’t really that important after all. Or they may realise, how much someone means to them, now that seeing them is not so easy.

Whatever the situation, feel the love between you all.

In this time, you may realise that the work you’re doing just isn’t really what you love doing. Perhaps you now have time to explore other options? Maybe the activity that makes your heart sing is what you’ll choose to pursue as your daily job.

When we do emerge from our cocoons into the world again, Mother Earth will be transformed. And each of us will also have changed forever.

Earthly Mortals, Approach the Portals!

A new decade and a new era for Scarlett of the Fae and Modern Fairy Sightings. Our family was blessed with the coming of a tiny new human in November 2018, which has kept us very busy.  Modern Fairy Sightings (an FB group dedicated to the discussion and sharing of personal fairy experiences) remains a place where people can openly discuss their experiences without fear of being ridiculed. We continue to learn from each other and some members are happy to discuss their encounters with me as part of my ongoing research. While my own contributions to the page have been minimal during the last year or so, I’ve noted with great interest the increasing requests to join and share within this group.

Fairies and magic have popped up in other popular media. There are now a great many podcasts dedicated to fairies and if anyone watched the new BBC TV adaptation of Worzel Gummidge, they will have been treated to a sense of real magic.  TV and film rarely get it right, but the first episode’s portrayal of ritual Earth magic was spot on. It captured a genuine essence of enchantment and Fae energy.

It seems that portals are opening all around us.  My feeling is that human hearts are opening and that this marks a shift in our evolution.  Our love and connection with the land and our beautiful, nurturing, Earth is being rekindled. These are hard times for many people – that is certainly recognised. Many humans and creatures are suffering. The transition to open heartedness is also proving difficult for those who depend on the negative qualities of the old Solar Plexus consciousness: power, ego, “I am more…you are less…”, the drawing of boundaries and ownership over land and over people. Many of us can recognise or instinctively sense that humanity is progressing to Heart consciousness: love, acceptance, “I am you, you are me, we are one”.  Around the world we see many examples of toxic leadership, power grabs, ego-driven behaviours.  Yet we also see open-hearted, emotionally intelligent, honest leaders emerging and being recognised as progressive.

I sense that we’re seeing the last gasps of the unbalanced Solar Plexus consciousness before it gives birth to Heart consciousness*, or the Age of Aquarius as it’s also known. But it’s proving to be a difficult birth. We’re witnessing struggles between these two energy polarities everywhere. Rich and poor (the gap has never been wider in Britain), left and right politics, men and women (#metoo, attacks on feminism, abortion rights stripped away by groups of old rich white male politicians, calling out on toxic masculinity) young and old (views on environment-related issues and politics are particularly polarised between young and old), Brexit vs Remain. Love vs fear is apparent to me in the way that ethnic minorities, immigrants, refugees and poor people are demonised.  So many souls have lost their lives in all the upheaval. We’re experiencing great change and it’s traumatic to witness. Destruction is ravaged upon the environment: pollution, forest clearance, global-warming-related bushfires and flooding, all of which are being fuelled by right-wing egocentric political leaders.

But take another look. We are being called by nature itself and so many of us have responded.  At the micro level, from foraging, growing our own produce and clearing rubbish from local parks, to the mass emergence of Extinction Rebellion and leaders like Greta Thunberg, environmental consciousness is ascending.  Similarly, we’re seeing support for fellow humanity in the rise of volunteer-run community groups and generously crowdfunded social projects, mass demonstrations to protect people’s freedoms and rights. Even platforms like Facebook and other social media sites, though they have their own issues, provide a space to join together, support and advise each other through all sorts of difficulties.  We’re doing this every day in every part of the world.  People are birthing it themselves. Heart consciousness is emerging through us.

Though it looks like recent events and movements appear to be pushing us down dangerous paths we’ve been down before, I feel certain that those forces will not succeed this time.  I see that too many of us are awake and ready to fight back with love. Our hearts and souls are open and our connection to the All and to each other is stronger than any attempts driven by those peddling fear with weak, fragile egos. Their ‘way of being’ is dying out.

In this time of great change, as our hearts continue to open, many of us are experiencing nature spirits, fairies or other elemental spirits in lucid flashes of lightheartedness and love for the land.  I feel certain these experiences are increasing everywhere and indicate that humanity is moving in the right direction but we need to keep listening and taking positive action in any way we can.

Winter Solstice 2019 at Stanton Drew (160 people in attendance and the nos. grow each year).

I’m looking forward to spending this year, talking to many who have encountered the Fae and piecing together their experiences in order to understand a little more about how and why some of us can sometimes see beyond the veil. My hope for this decade is that we witness real change…that the balance finally tips into widespread heart consciousness: the energy that I feel connects us with nature and the Fair Folk.

Main image credit: Daria Hlazatova

*For more information about the energies of different chakras and how the global consciousness is evolving through these energies, see Martin Brofman’s book, Anything Can Be Healed.

Identify Birdsong Workshop & Dawn Chorus Walk 2019

Famed ornithologist, Peter Holden MBE returns to Bristol to help us identify common British birdsong and discover why birds sing.

Peter is the author of the RSPB handbook and developed the RSPB bird identification phone app. He originally pioneered the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists Club (now Wildlife Explorers) after co-presenting TV programme, Big Garden Birdwatch in 1979 with Bill Oddie.

In recent years, Peter has been collaborating with his son Andy to create, ‘Natural Selection’ an art exhibition which was featured on 6 Music last year and returns to Bristol Museum later this year.

Peter’s much sought-after workshops are very entertaining and informative, so prepare to have a lot of fun while learning!

During this workshop we’ll be:

  • identifying common British birds
  • listening to examples of birdsong and learning tips to recognise each song
  • exploring the purpose of birdsong

The following morning (very early indeed) a DAWN CHORUS WALK* will take place. We’ll be able to put all our identification skills to practice!

Date: 27th April, then early hours 28th April for dawn chorus walk).

Time: 09:30 – 16:00 (dawn chorus walk will be 04:00 – 06:00 following morn).

Venue: Bedminster Quaker Hall, Wedmore Vale, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 5HX.

Cost: £35 – £50 (self -choose scale of affordability e.g. low/un waged rising to full wage)

Restrictions: 16+ event.  Not suitable for children

Deposit £20 secures your place (plus Eventbrite booking fee)

Peter will be selling RSPB handbooks at the event.

*NB: The walk is free but only open to attendees of the workshop. Walkers join us at their own risk and will be required to sign a disclaimer.

‘Birds in Autumn & Winter’ Workshop & Walk with Peter Holden MBE

Join legendary ornithologist, Peter Holden MBE as he returns to Bristol to teach participants how to understand and observe the birdlife around us as we move from summer into autumn.

Bird communication is not so obvious, but what should we be listening out for at this time of year and what else is going on that the curious observer might discover for themselves?

For birds the urge to breed evaporates and other urges take over – moulting feathers, finding new food supplies, joining flocks and perhaps leaving the country – how will they navigate across the globe and be back again ready for nesting next spring?

Peter is the author of the RSPB Handbook and pioneered the RSPB’s Young Ornithologists’ Club (now Wildlife Explorers). He co-presented the TV programme, “Bird in the Nest” in 1994/5 with Bill Oddie and also created the annual “Big Garden Birdwatch”. More recently Peter collaborated with his son Andy to create an art exhibition, “Natural selection” (coming to Bristol next year) which has already featured on 6 Music with Jarvis Cocker, and Peter has developed an RSPB bird information app.

Peter’s much sought-after workshops are very entertaining and informative, so prepare to have a lot of fun while learning!


During this workshop we’ll be:

– identifying communication (songs and calls) in autumn and winter
– learning tips to recognise which bird they belong to
– changes in bird behaviour during these seasons
– exploring migration: where do they go and how do they get there?
– images of birds in art and interpretations

A walk in the Bristol area will also be included (more details to follow soon) which will reflect the content of the workshop. This is a great opportunity to put all your new knowledge and identification skills to practice!


Dates: Workshop Saturday, 29th September / Walk Sunday 30th September
Times: Workshop 09:30 – 16:00 / Walk times to be confirmed
Workshop Venue: Bedminster Quaker Hall, Wedmore Vale, Bedminster, Bristol, BS3 5HX.
Cost: £35 – £50 (self-choose scale of affordability).
Book tickets

Restrictions: 16+ event. Not suitable for children.
Deposit: £20 (plus £2.15 EventBrite booking fee)


*NB: The walk is free but strictly only open to attendees of the workshop. Walkers join us at their own risk and will be required to sign a disclaimer.

Viking Runes and Ritual Workshop: Yggdrasil

“Nordic Nights and Northern Lights with Ana Adnan”

This workshop gives us the opportunity to explore Yggdrasil, the mighty tree upon which Norse mythology hangs, through some of its key stories.

We will conclude the day with a ritual using the inspiration of the runes, which we will create together.

(No prior knowledge or experience of ritual is necessary).

Facilitator, Ana Adnan is a storyteller and timeless weaver of magic, who has been facilitating workshops and creating rituals since 1990.


Cost: sliding scale of affordability £50 – £75
Timings: 09:30 – 18:30
Date: Saturday 9th June 2018
Location: Bedminster Quaker Hall, Wedmore Vale, BS3 5HX.
Deposit secures your place: £20 click here for: Eventbrite tickets


Spaces are limited so please book early. 

Innermost Creativity Retreat: The Garden of Complete Being

This summer, R E T R E A T to the peace and wild of the East Devon Forest Garden, “The Garden of Complete Being,” over four days to replenish, reconnect to our deepest roots of stillness, nature and creativity. We’ll create a healing space together supporting each individual to take a next step in their life, letting go of the past.

This transformative and healing experience strengthens the relationship with your essence and truest way of life, held and supported in surrounding nature.

Take a journey, as your mindfulness meditations and creative art deepen in interactions with the land and it’s materials, kind supportive community and meditative foraging.


Facilitator Naomi West, is an accredited mindfulness-based psychotherapist with a long background in meditation, Karuna Institute psychotherapy, arts and creative therapies. Naomi has been running retreats internationally since 2012. More information at


V E N U E:: Hidayabija (Seed of the Heart) also known as the East Devon Forest Garden is a 3-acre food forest and ecosystem. Visitors are encouraged to fully integrate with the land during their stay and many of the meals will be foraged from the garden. The project was started 8 years ago from a bare horse paddock and is now an abundant pure land, which aims to nourish visitors on every level. Home to over 700 varieties of edible perennial plants, it incorporates enhanced warm microclimates, outdoor living rooms and a natural swimming pond – so bring your swimming gear! A hot tub will be provided. Hot solar showers are also available.

E X C H A N G E: we are offering this 4 day retreat on a £300 to £400 sliding scale based on low to high incomes. An alternative 2 day option is available from Friday to Sunday (£200)

Camping (BYO) and food included. £75.86 deposit secures a place (two concessionary places are available by application)

L O C A T I O N: Kerswell, East Devon.

T I M I N G S: Four Day Option: arrive from 5pm Friday to begin at 7pm, finishing at 3pm on Tuesday. Two day retreat option will finish at 3pm on Sunday.

A C C O M O D A T I O N: This is a camping retreat. However two shared yurts are available on site at a rate of £20 per person, per night. Get in touch for further details.

T R A V E L: Hridayabija is a 10 minute drive from Junction 28 on the M5. Nearby train stations are Tiverton Parkway (6 miles) and Honiton (7 miles). Falcon buses (very cheap!) arrive hourly into Collumpton from Plymouth and Bristol.


F E E D B A C K:

“The perfect combination of meditation, creativity/healing in the wonderful environment of the Forest Garden – what an amazing space to be nourished and restored.”

“Wowsers! Thank you so much for a completely re-energising and restful weekend. This really is an open heart-space. So looking forward to returning next year and seeing how the garden has developed – so many special places. Inspiring!”

“So many seeds of inspiration, nourishment, courage, determination and strength have been sown. Thank you. Inner garden and outer garden – all one and the same. This place embodies this effortlessly.”