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I think it's pretty cool that we have two translations because in the OP's we have Goethe reading as fen fires and in the Vallee we've got will-o'-the-wisps. Goethe was ready to describe them just as he saw them, which seems to agree with member EnPassant's post about how Goethe knew what he was looking at. He just chose to remain one step removed in expressing himself in writing, I think. He had to have been culturally primed to say what everyone else said they were.
I can tie in a couple of things that we have talked about in past threads. One is the connection again to William Bloom having performed the Abramelin operation and as a result having written the book Devas, Fairies and Angels a Modern-Approach. Bloom describes them as an interface as well, and performed experiments based on that conviction at Findhorn Garden.
Then I am reminded again of what we talked about on the 8th Sphere thread about how Plotinus claimed to be teaching the original teachings of Plato when he discussed self-reflection at the level of the animus mundi, and how learning not to become absorbed in it was a way to contemplation of The One.
And here we are now seeing this current of thought that runs through all of this that concerns the "elementals" being a possible interface to the network out.
Just for fun and to extend the reading pleasure on this line of thought. I would like to offer this: the only place that I have ever seen practical teachings concerning both of those things, the tiny-ones and the mirror of self-reflection, is in the writings and teachings of Czechoslovakian magician Franz Bardon, in his book Initiation Into Hermetics.
What struck me also, in terms of Bloom particularly was that he dealt only with the positive aspects of interaction. It is difficult for me to express this appropriately, or candidly, but he avoids discussing how such 'elementals' may express themselves when things are not as they should be. Rage, anger...the such like, and what can be done about that when it is communicated.
It's true, there is a whole downside to the wee-folk that may be reflected now more in the modern UFO abduction phenomenon than in the modern conception of the faerie. I certainly am not suggesting that aspect of them should be loathed, only respected, but yeah, I agree, it's missing in Bloom's work.