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Why foxfetch? - some preliminary thoughts

In many spiritual traditions, the soul or self is seen has having many parts. The training I received in the Anderson Feri tradition spoke of three souls as well as the physical body: the Fetch, the Talker and the Godsoul - to put it in very broad brushstrokes, the instinctual animal self, the conscious mind and the divine self. (though the concepts are a lot deeper, more complex and more concrete than this suggests). The first is sometimes called the Fetch, and one of my personal associations with the second is the Fox[1]. Put the two together and you have these two souls coming more closely into alignment, in part of the greater process of alignment and self-possession.

But my choice of the name for this blog goes beyond that. In the Northern (Norse, Saxon etc) traditions, the fylgja or fetch is a guardian spirit and/or part of the soul which often appears in the form of an animal.

In regard to both these concepts, when we look at the term fetch, what does it mean? To go and bring something, to retrieve it. We can expand this by looking at different definitions of the term. Retrieving, attracting, inhaling, arriving (perhaps by an indirect, an unexpected route); fetch is all of these. There's even the foxy meaning of a stratagem or trick. So much of magic is about what we intentionally draw to ourselves or exclude, what we attract and what we knowingly repel. The word fetch is an invocation, a calling-towards.

In everyday life, however, the first association that comes to mind may be a command: fetch! When spoken to a dog, the dog (if trained) brings back a ball or stick, or perhaps game, sustenance for the body. What, then, might its relative the fox bring back, by its indirect and winding route through the night woods? Something useful, maybe. Something dangerous, possibly. Something unexpected, almost certainly: laid at our feet or on our doorstep in the night, smelling of guts and the deep woods, old magic and fur and crystal-sharp night air. Food for the soul, and the fox laughs his silent laugh, tongue lolling, as we learn.


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March 2011

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