Dear Fairy Friends,
I have to confess a little something: as a new, human mother, I had no idea how one celebrates human birthdays! I researched the topic online and may have gone a little overboard with my first daughter. Having once been Fey, I had our understanding of birthdays, which are to reflect on the years past and set our sights on goals for the years ahead. Our kin and friends do celebrate with us, but not with balloons, gifts and cake. Instead, we will often invite the birthday fairy to a walk to collect acorns and stop and chat with the forest. We might suggest collecting herbs and preparing them together, making teas, baking – things that are done in the enjoyment of one another’s company. I will note that the human tradition of adding a cake to the celebration is brilliant!
Now that I have had my third child, my son, I find that our fairy and human traditions are blending into one another. We made him some Unicorn Dip instead of a cake and held a very small celebration, decorating the table with books that included fairy tales, wooden knights, lords and ladies. We did so in anticipation of a magical, weekend-long celebration.
We tidied the cottage, found care for our pets and drove to Edmonton. The trail of magic got stronger as the event drew closer, we arrived on the Friday for the Harry Potter Pop-Up shop in the Highlands area being held on Saturday, September 16, year 2017 on this side of The Veil.
The leaves on the beautiful residential streets were showing off their newly golden tips by rustling in the sunlight. Rounding the corner, leaving our car behind, we left behind the Muggle world.
It felt as if we had wandered into Diagon Alley as we saw the Honeydukes sign, witches and wizards in their house colours everywhere, WANTED posters and pages of The Daily Prophet up on the buildings. There was also a wand maker with an exquisite outdoor boutique that my children saw and were immediately draw to.
Connorvanders & Co had wooden cases open in their tent, which must have been enchanted because no ordinary person would have been able to fit the displays inside a tent that size. Very clever spell work! The wands were on display: some straight and at attention, others with secrets tucked into their kinks and curls, some slender and cunning, others robust and cheerful. Personalities radiated from the cases – these were no ordinary hunks of wood, I felt that in my bones. While fairies rarely use wands, we are often acquainted with a number of witches and wizards. Wands – real wands – have energies about them. Let me attempt to explain a little what I mean.
Have you ever chosen a pet? Often, there is a connection that makes you select one over another equally cute pet. We gravitate towards certain wands and if you can imagine it, the connection to the wand is as deep a connection as with a special pet. These were wands of the highest quality and there was no question that they would, in fact, chose their witch or wizard.
A Ravenclaw wizard helped each of my girls hear the call of the wand wanting to be theirs. My eldest daughter refused to even touch the first wand offered to her, while my second daughter’s hand shot out and would not drop the first wand shown to her. My wand surprised me greatly. After all this time and my past experience as Fey using magic, it was lovely to be surprised like that! There was even a wand perfect for my 1 year old son.
Connorvander himself then demonstrated a defensive spell to my children. He explained that in order cast a successful Patronus charm, the caster must first think of memories that make them happy. Then, they must put their wand to their forehead to draw on those memories and, in a fluid motion, while saying “expecto Patronum”, lower the wand to the heart and then out to cast. The memories and love from the heart project the Patronus. We discovered that my eldest daughter has a tigger as a Patronus, my youngest daughter a cat and mine was revealed to my children: a ferret.
After the charm lesson, we also purchased some Patronus Bundles, as one can never be too prepared in case of a run-in with Dementors! These also came with bundles of sage to help cleanse spaces of negative energy – something Dementors are drawn to. Upon opening these bundles, we also discovered that the art on the bundles was created by a local artist!
The children adopted adorable Pygmy Puffs (very low maintenance, highly recommended by fellow mother witches) and a couple of bottled spells. The witch helping them complete the adoption papers and select their spells made their experience one to remember, answering the questions as they bubbled over, like a cauldron full to the brim. The experience at Connorvanders & Co was remarkable and I was astounded to have found such a knowledgable wand maker, wand fitter and Pygmy Puff breeder.
The incredible smell from Honeydukes, which is usually known by Muggles as Be-A-Bella, drew us into the line. While we waited, the Edmonton Aurors Quidditch Club had brooms and hoops set up for the littles to test their aptitude for the sport. I am a terrible player since I am slow on a broom, but we discovered we have a Quidditch witch in the family with my youngest daughter!
Inside the shop, the children filled a bag with Chocolate Frogs, other magical sweets and even some of Dumbledore’s favourite Sherbet Lemon Drops. We had Giggle Potions made out of Buttescotch Beer and we bought a case of it with our galleons.
With our purses significantly lighter but with brand new wands in our grasp, we took a little break before heading back. Returning to the car confirmed that the street was cloaked in some strong magic because the minute we got near the car, we were back in the Muggle world.
We rested, changed our clothing to dress robes and headed back. Sure enough, at about the same distance from our car, there was a slight shimmer and we were back in the wizarding world. To Muggles, La Boheme is a restaurant. In actuality, it is a very clever disguise for a way to Great Hall of Hogwarts. We had to pass through Platform 9 3/4, use our Hogwarts Express ticket to arrive at the Great Hall. It was lit by candles floating near the ceiling and we were seated as guests at the Slytherin table.
We feasted from the inspired menu and enjoyed being sorted by Sorting Hat cupcakes. We had made educated guesses as to our houses prior, the cupcakes confirmed our suspicions! They were filled with coloured icing in the centre that sorted you into one of the four houses: Ravenclaw, Gryffindor, Slytherin and Hufflepuff. We have 1 Ravenclaw (myself), 1 Hufflepuff (my youngest daughter), 1 Gryffindor (my eldest daughter), and 2 Slytherins (my husband and son).
We also enjoyed Pumpkin Pasties and celebrated my son’s birthday with some of the birthday cake Hagrid had baked for Harry.
We did not manage to get in to Majesty and Friends, but harbour no hard feelings! We traded stories with other magical families while we waited and although the line-up was past the endurance of my girls (who are not very patient – possibly a fairy trait passed on), we made friends! We will absolutely go back another time to pick some of the homemade bath salts and candles there and hopefully try some of the famous chocolate made by The Violet Chocolate Company.
That night, the children were tucked in bed with bottles of Butterscotch Beer and their Pygmy Puffs, eager to practice more charm work in the morning. This was part 1 of our birthday celebration! I would like to thank all of the businesses that revealed their true, enchanted nature, to the lucky ones who dared to venture into their world. We know it was no dream, we know that the magic was real because we have our wands, potions, Chocolate Frogs and Pygmy Puffs as reminders of the wonder.
May you find wonder in the everyday, maybe even wander into a magical world just around the curb.
Your Lady Star