Cultivating Connection: The Fairy Circle Model

“The Universe is a communion of subjects, not a collection of objects.”

Brian Swimme and Thomas Berry, The Universe Story

A fairy circle, or fairy ring, is a scientifically sound structure, but magical, nonetheless.  Just the presence of the colorful caps of mushrooms supported by sturdy stalks scattered across the dark forest floor, creating a community of kaleidoscopic canopies, leaves me awash in wonder.  Much like the fruiting bodies of flowering plants, these unmistakable umbrella-shaped designs are the sexual reproductive structures of these spectacular species of saprophytes. The fairy ring is brought to life when these prismatic parasols of fantastic fungi, originating from the far-reaching fungal network underfoot, protrude above the ground to create a circular pattern. This awe-inspiring arrangement begins underground as a single spore settling and spreading its small, hair-like filaments called hyphae outwards to absorb nutrients from dead and decaying matter in the soil. Soon, other spores settle and join this covert circle, creating a colony of connected hyphae, a mass network of root-like structure called mycelium. However, the magic of the fairy circle manifests only if the fruiting mushroom bodies of the fungal network appear above ground. These mushrooms are mesmerizing, but short-lived. The fascination of the fairy circle is not without folklore.

There is a myriad of folklore that follows the fairy circle. Most of the stories do not bode well for humans. Fairy rings are the gathering spaces for nature spirits and fairies. Although humans are forbidden to enter the sacred circles, they are a symbol of good luck if you come upon one. I honor and celebrate the fairy circle in my model design for cultivating an intentional and purposeful connection with nature.  If we look above and below the simple ring on the forest floor, we can imagine the 2-dimensional circle as a 3-dimensional sphere – a sacred sphere of life.  Within that sacred sphere, we immerse our whole body to connect to the natural world through stillness, silence, and solitude.  As we deepen our engagement, we explore and experience certain emotions and feelings – wonder, awe, love, peace, gratitude, beauty, and joy. They are the fruiting bodies of our richer relationship with our natural environment. It is in these emotions and feelings where we cultivate our deepest connections with nature, ourselves, and each other – kinship, belonging, purpose, harmony, and balance.  It is here in the sacred fairy circle where we embrace our life source, unearth our place and purpose, and celebrate our magic.

Join me here, as this is the BIG journey for 2023. We can connect in-person and via Zoom for those interested. Look for my podcast announcement as that is coming in the very near future! I appreciate your continued support and look forward to connecting soon!

Published by Sarah Croscutt

I am the owner and facilitator of From the Outside, LLC, a program that connects people to the natural world, themselves, and each other through plant and nature-based activity, promoting self-awareness, healing, wholeness, and community. In addition, I am an environmental writer with essays included in several anthologies published by Plants and Poetry Journal and Wild Roof Journal (online). I would love to connect here or on Instagram @sarahc_outside.

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