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A troll named Turkll asked a human couple named Marilyn and Thomas Twintreess to put on Festival. When he made this request, Turkll was speaking--as he often does--through Marilyn's body.
"Turkll told us that Spirit would like to have Festival," says Marilyn, speaking, at the moment, through her own body as herself. "We didn't know what that meant, but we said yes."
(Just as the British say "hospital" instead of "the hospital," Twintreess refer to themselves as "Twintreess," their upcoming event as "Festival," and their favored Godlike entity as "Spirit." Which sounds singular but is actually plural in an overall multiple cosmic being sense.)
Twintreess, whose headquarters are in Tucson, have big plans for Festival, slated to happen August 23 and 24 in Willow River, Minnesota, their home state. And this is not to be just any festival.
It's Festival of the Little People.
The Little People being feted include elves, gnomes, sprites, angels, fairies and, of course, trolls. Thomas and Marilyn consider themselves "open channels," and practice a lifestyle they call "listening." This involves communicating with not only the aforementioned beings, but, as they write in their book Naturespeak, "our listening experiences have ranged from furniture and toilets to planets, stars, and solar systems." They also chat with rocks, lakes, rivers and, once, a toxic oil spill.
Before meeting Twintreess, I had thought that elves, fairies, sprites, etc., all looked like the Lucky Charms cereal guy, or those ceramic garden gnomes. White beards, red felt hats, pointy-toed shoes, that sort of thing. I had no idea how naive I was.
"Most of those type of beings have been relegated to myth for one reason," Thomas explains, "because cultures have tried to prevent people from being empowered. So those are the constant [images] that most people have. Which is why Festival has been asked by Spirit to be put on, so that Spirit can present itself from its own perspective. So, for instance, Turkll wants to come as a troll and just present his trollness to people."
I looked up "trolls" in a heavy text called Mythical and Fabulous Creatures to attempt to get a handle on exactly what "trollness" might be.
In Scandinavian mythology, trolls were gigantic beings associated with the subterranean world. . . . They craved human flesh and blood; but because they were dim-witted, human beings were often able to outwit them. In later traditions, trolls were represented as dwarflike beings . . . the dwarflike trolls were not bloodthirsty monsters like the giant trolls and lacked their strength, but they posed a threat to human beings because they had a fondness for stealing women and children and because they were more intelligent than giant trolls.
It was obvious to me that Thomas was right. Any culture that would have me believe outrageous vital stats like these about trolls--either giant or dwarfish--would clearly be out to deny my personal power.
This is important: Festival will host not only Turkll and his "buddies," the actual entities, but the Little Persons in all of us. Toward this goal, Twintreess ask that anyone working Festival be costumed as "the sprite, gnome, elf, etc., that they will be."
So how do you know what a sprite looks like?
"I think you have to look into that part of you," Marilyn advises. "We feel that each of us is a part of everything else, so we all are part gnomes and whatever. All of us are co-creating it together, so all of us have to find out for ourselves what those things are."
"Our experience is that the designation is often a human invention because those other realms don't use words as much as we do," Thomas offers. "They don't relate to naming things. This is much bigger than a festival. It's about a new way of living on the Earth with respect to all life. So it's not about Thomas and Marilyn saying, 'Okay, Peter, this is what a sprite looks like.'"
So how do you know what a sprite looks like?
"A good way to do it is get real still," Marilyn says.
Thomas elaborates: "What we've asked people to do, if someone wants to come as a sprite, we've asked them to be with that and write a sprite story out of their own heart and dress however they feel about that. What happens at Festival is [people] will be capable of sharing their spriteness with other people."
"Yeah, we're talking very multidimensional," Marilyn marvels.
Twintreess are going to make this perfectly clear for me.
"It's kind of like me trying to tell you what Peterness is about," stresses Thomas. "I can give you my perspective, and that would be based on my own experience . . ." Then, as if the two are speaking as one teacher, as one learned voice, Marilyn finishes the thought.
"But would it relate to any other Peters?"
For Twintreess, "relating" is a key concept. Thomas often begins an answer with "The way I relate to your question is . . ." Now, he reveals how he relates the roles of himself and his wife to you and me.
"I relate to Marilyn and I as shamans for our culture. We're not trying to be Native American shamans or indigenous shamans or people from any other culture. We're blond-haired and blue-eyed, we're shamans for this culture, and I think it's very important that Spirit asked for [Festival] to be put on in this country . . . we're just amazed how it's taking off."