Friday, February 08, 2008

Ella Young - Elfland's Ambassadress

In this season of Brigid I am reminded of something that happened years ago.

In the early 1990's I was assistant editor of an earth-mysteries magazine called Dragon’s Quest. One day a very interesting article was submitted for possible publication. It was about an author called Ella Young and was titled Carmel Magic. It was written by a man named John Thompson.

Several years prior, while doing some magical work out on the land, I’d experienced some very strong Celtic energies. I found this puzzling, since I live in central, coastal California, and one would expect that I would have picked up on energies of the native cultures of the area rather than those from thousands of miles of continent and ocean away! But nonetheless, there they were. In particular, the energies of the goddess Brigid were very strong.

John’s article solved the mystery for me. Although I knew who Ella Young was, and indeed, owned her Celtic Wonder Tales, I had no idea that she had, in the 1920s, moved to an area quite geographically close to my present location, and had passed on her legacy of Irish magic to her new friends there. I had no idea that she had gathered this group of people around her and taught them about the Old Gods—Brigid, Lugh, Dana, Manannan and the rest—and about the faery folk and the other spirits of the invisible realms. Mystic that she was, she had a strong awareness of presence of these invisible realms and the beings who inhabited them, and taught her new students that nature was sacred and must be protected, and that the plants, the trees, the land, and the ocean all contained unique spirits with whom humans could communicate and from whom they could learn. Thus, she was not only one of the earliest American pagans of the 20th century, she was an early environmentalist as well.

While in Ireland Ella had been part of a magical group called the Fellowship of the Four Jewels. The jewels referred to were the four sacred treasures of the Tuatha De Danaan of Ireland—the Sword of Light of Nuada, the Spear of Lugh, the Cauldron of the Dagda, and the Stone of Fal (also called the Stone of Destiny). These treasures, in actuality, represented the powers of the land of Ireland itself. When Ella came to the USA and connected with the sacred lands in California, she quite naturally modified her focus to the land of California, while still using the magical structures and Celtic deities with whom she had worked before. So the Fellowship of the Four Jewels became the Fellowship of Shasta, with Brigid as its main deity. Ella dearly loved Brigid, whom she looked upon as the Earth Goddess herself, and it was to Brigid that the rites of the four yearly festivals performed by the Fellowship were dedicated.

Whatever work the Fellowship had done through the years of its existence (from 1931 till Ella’s death in 1956, and from 1960 till the death of her successor Gavin Arthur in 1972), it had certainly left its energetic mark within the lands of the central coast of California!

Learning that Ella Young had lived and worked so close to my own area inspired me to search out her autobiography, Flowering Dusk. I also read other works that mentioned her. I was interested to learn that she felt the area around Point Lobos, not far south of where I live, was the center of psychic force for the entire Pacific coast of America. About Point Lobos Ella said, “There are other sacred mountains, other sacred places, but this is the most powerful. But Point Lobos is not ready to make friends with society yet. Mount Shasta is making friends; other great mountains are making friends; but not Point Lobos. That is why people should be careful when they go to Lobos.” She said that when Lobos was ready to make friends, when its force was finally released, great things would happen in America.

She felt the other power spots along the nearby central coast all emanated from the Lobos area, and she often sat beneath the gnarled cypresses of Lobos, teaching her students about the powers and spirits of the earth, including the faeries right there at Point Lobos, and the great deva with beautiful wings who guarded the place. (1)

* * * * * * *

Several months after all this some old friends from Southern California drove up to visit me. They arrived much later than I’d expected, and I asked them what had taken them so long. They said they’d decided to take the coastal route I instead of the freeway. Then they asked me if I knew about that HUGE earth energy power point on the coast north of Big Sur and a bit south of the city of Carmel. They said it felt to them like a powerful dragon was in the land there. It was so strong they felt a need to pull over, park the car, get out, and make it an offering. I knew immediately that this had to be the Point Lobos area, and told them what Ella had said about it.

Some time after that, my family and I were driving down the coast towards Big Sur for a Mother’s Day outing. My husband was driving; I had my nose in a book. Quite suddenly I became aware of a huge surge of power flowing into me. The word “dragon!” popped into my mind as my head automatically jerked around to see where the power was coming from. I found myself looking at some rolling hills quite close to the coast, and they looked for all the world like a dragon lying on its side, asleep. The energy was literally rolling out of those hills. I knew instantly that we must be in the Point Lobos area, and this was later confirmed when we passed a road sign.

Because Ella was an early environmentalist, when she moved to California and was introduced to redwood trees, she quickly formed relationships with them, and soon became very supportive of the Save the Redwoods League.

Ella Young died not long before Lughnasadh, 1956, in her home in Halcyon, CA, near San Luis Obispo. Her ashes were scattered in a redwood grove near St. Helena, in the Napa Valley. She had known her time of death was nigh, and died as she lived—a Druid Priestess.

Much of the proceeds from her literary estate were donated to the Save the Redwoods League.

If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading any of Ella Young’s book, start with her Celtic Wonder Tales, which may be found here.

The very first story, The Earthshapers (my favorite), tells of Brigid’s role in the shaping of the earth into a fair and beautiful place.


Brigid’s Blessings to all!

(1) Rosalind Sharpe-Wall, A Wild Coast and Lonely, pp 187-188, Worldwide Publishing/Tetra, San Carlos, CA



Blogger Ash McSidhe said...

Margie, do you know if the papers of the Fellowship of the Four Jewels have ever been published?

4:41 PM  
Blogger Ash McSidhe said...

Margie, do you know of any published work on the Fellowship of the Four Jewels?

4:41 PM  

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