The words ‘fey’ and ‘faerie’ come from the French and started to replace the Old English ‘Elf’ during the Tudor period. Spenser and Shakespeare popularised the change. ‘Elfland’ and ‘Faerieland’,’Elf’ and ‘Faerie’ were and still are interchangable words. The spellings of ‘faerie’ are numerous: fayerye, fairy, fayre,faerie, faery, fairy.
The fictional Faerie is a world of dark enchantments, of captivating beauty,of enormous ugliness, of callous superficiality, of humour,mischief,joy, and isnspiration,of terror, laughter, love and tragedy. It is far richer than fiction would generally lead one to believe and, beyond that,it is a world to enter with extreme caution, for of all things that faeries resent the most is curious humans blundering about the private domains like so many ill mannered tourists. So go softly-where the rewards are enchanting, the dangers are real. Respecting faeries and their habitats is extremely important. If the faeries leave a place, the life and energy of a place goes and soon becomes sad and in natural places diseased.
The myths and legends about Faerie are many and diverse, and often contradictory. Only one thing is certain-that nothing is certain. All things are possible in the land of Faerie. The mystery of Faerie has been, from the earliest times, a subject of human speculation. What are faeries? Where did they come from?
The Icelandic version, on the other hand, states that Eve was washing all her children by the river when God spoke to her.In her awe and fear she hid those children she had not already washed.God asked her if all her children were there and she replied that they were. He then declared that those she had hidden from him would be hidden from man. These hidden children became the elves or faeries and were known as Huldre Folk in the Scandinavian countries. Huldre girls are exceptionally beautiful, but with long cowstails; or else they are hollow behind, presenting only a beautiful front. Thus they fulfil the deception of their origin.
Elsewhere faeries are believed to be fallen angels; or the heathen dead, not good enough for Heaven, but not evil enough to find a place in Hell-compelled to live forever’in between’ in the twilight regions, the Middle Kingdom. In Devon for instance pixies are considered to be the souls of unbaptised children. However, these beliefs stem only from the advent of Christianity, baptism being unknown prior to that time, and hence cannot be considered reliable. Faerie is very ancient and predated Christianity by several millenia. Moreover it exists, and has existed, in varying forms, in many countries all over the world. Whatever these spirits are, however they came into existence, they are here and should be respected at all times.
Any place that you expect to find deer, wolves, foxes, and the like, there is where you are likely to find faeries. Not where there is concrete and vinyl siding and glass. In fair woodlands, removed from the sprawl of housing and traffic. They have not adapted to the changed face of the earth, nor is it in their nature to do so.
There are two thoughts, one that a world of Faerie exists unto itself, a place where the little creatures reign supreme. The sad reality may be that they exist in our world. Either way one needs to believe in the hidden, the shadowed, and have an open mind to “see” them.
In myths the race of faeries has existed side by side with our human one for many thousands of years. Once the human and faerie worlds were one. But our ancestors became less and less aware of what was preciously hidden just beyond. As our connection with nature and the loss of balance and harmony with nature has lessened the elemental spirits suffer the most.
A nature spirit may be given guardianship of a particular tree or rock, a faerie may dwell around a particular pond or root on the forest floor. They are timid and shy to us, just as other woodland creatures are – they tend to vanish at the glance of man. One who is tuned to them can see them if only in peripheral vision.
“Faerie” is a collective term for many different beings, classes, or races usually possessing magical powers. Some fairies can have a human form, but some have animal or other shapes. They can range from the size of a small dot of light to the size of a human.
Legend has that when the first Gaels arrived in Ireland, they found that the Tuatha De Danaan – “People of the Goddess Dana” – already had control of the land. They defeated them in battle, driving them into the hollow hills or sidhe mounds. There these faerie people made their home – inhabiting rolling hills, fields, streams and forests ranging from the northern tip of Scotland to the southern shores of England and all of Ireland and Wales. Some are small timid creatures, others horrid in appearance and some, like the death-whaling Banshees of Ireland, you do not wish to encounter.
In Celtic lore, some faeries have distinct tribes, ruled over by fairy queens and kings. They have their own noble palaces where they hold merry feastivals with music and dance. There is much magic to the Faerie Realm. The fairy kings and queens, it is said, are in fact guises for the old Pagan Gods and Goddesses of the Earth. The Celtic gods thus preserved from the mastery of Christianity.
Tools of copper, silver or woods that are sacred to Faeries. Bells attract them. Iron on the other hand is avoided, and can be used as protection when travelling astrally in faeryland.