Saturday, May 23, 2009

Fairies

First of all, What are fairies? Well, unfortunately nobody knows for certain, though there are many theories. Here are a few:

1.) Pagan gods - Fairies are the remnants of the old, pre-Christian gods.

2.) Ghosts - Fairies are the spirits of the dead. Some people claim fairies are either the spirits of unbaptised children or they are the spirits of the Pagan dead who are too bad for heaven and too good for hell, thus they are doomed to wander the earth. This theory does have some basis in fact, as many of the 'fairy mounds', where fairies were said to live, turned out to be burial mounds upon excavation.

3.) Pygmy Natives - This theory suggest that there was a widespread race of pygmy natives in much of Europe, prior to the coming of the Indo-Europeans, and later the Celts. This theory suggests that these pygmies were driven into exile and hiding upon the advancement of invading tribes. This theory would explain 'fairy raids', by which fairies were said to come into town, under the dark of night, and steal whatever they could get their hands on. -This sounds just like the actions of a race of people in hiding, to me at least. Unfortunately, there is simply no proof that there ever was such a pygmy race.

4.) Demons - Some modern religious folk claim fairies are demons. This theory goes that when the Devil and his angels were kicked out of heaven, God 'froze' them as they fell. Those demons that were frozen in the sky became sylphs, the fairies of air, those frozen in the water became undines, the fairies frozen in fire became salamanders, while those frozen in the earth became gnomes.

5.) 'The Neutral Angels' - A twist of the 'fairies as demons'-theory is that the fairies are the angels who remained neutral in the fight between God & the Devil.

6.) Nature Spirits - The most attractive and most popular theory, mainly that fairies are simply the spirits of nature. They aren't outright Pagan gods, but rather, the spirits of the trees, the water, and the landscape.

7.) Aliens - Modern theories suggest that fairies are actually alien encounters. According to this theory, ancient peoples didn't understand what an 'alien' being was so when they encountered them a unique lore about these 'little people' began to be accumulated. Of course, those who disbelieve in both aliens and fairies believe this is nonsense. Something to ponder though...Say you lived in rural Ireland a couple of hundred years ago. Also, say you were traveling in the woods and was shocked to see a 'gray' (standard alien) peeking at you from behind a tree. Now, since you don't have any language or concept of a space-alien, what do you think you would call such a diminutive creature? -Remember that the standard 'gray' is reported to be around 3-4 feet tall. -The 'Little People' indeed!

8.) Inter-Dimensional Beings - Similar to the 'alien' theory, this theory suggests that fairies are actual denizens of another dimension that crosses with our dimension from time-to-time and allows encounters. Same criticism goes for this theory as with the alien theory.

Now that we have somewhat an idea of what fairies are, what do they do, who can see them, what are their powers, and how are they dangerous?

Q- What do fairies do?

A- Anything they want, though the folklore claims that fairies can often be destructive toward humanity by ruining crops, sickening livestock and people, kidnapping people, and making people get lost. There are also stories of fairies killing people as well.

Q- Who can see fairies?

A- Fairies can reveal themselves to anyone they choose, though when concealed it is said that only small children, animals, witches, and people with 'second sight'/psychics can see them.

Q- What are their powers?

A- The magical power of fairies is called, 'glamor'. 'Fairy glamor' is the ability to alter the perceptions in a human being. They can make us see, feel, touch, taste, or experience, anything they like. They can use their power to walk amongst us invisibly, by altering our perception so that we don't notice them. This doesn't mean that they are actually 'invisible', it just means that we don't perceive them. Remember looking for something, like a set of keys, only to discover they were right in front of your face the entire time? This is how fairy glamor works, by altering our perceptions. Fairies could be walking around in broad daylight, it's just that we can't perceive them because of their power.

Fairy glamor is also used to make things appear more attractive or desirable than they originally are, hence the modern meaning of the word, 'glamorous'. For example, a fairy might trick a person into believing a sack of hay is a sack of gold, or that poisonous toadstools were a scrumptious feast. Fairies also use their powers to make us get lost in the woods, by confusing our sense of direction, and in extreme situations, causing us to walk off cliffs or sink and drown in swamps.

So does this mean that fairies are evil? Well, modern religious folk might think so, but actually in folklore fairies aren't evil in our sense of the word.

You see, The ways of fairies are not our ways. They do not have our morals. They do not believe in our religions. They do not subscribe to our values. Like children with extreme powers, they can kiss one cheek one moment and then slap the other cheek in the next. They can love you and then turn around and kill you with not an afterthought of guilt. Again, their ways are not our ways.

So are fairies evil? -Nah. According to folklore, the majority of fairies are apathetic to humanity. Some can be beneficial, while others are clearly detrimental, but any encounter with fairies can be dangerous to mortals.

This brings us to the point of this blog, How to survive a fairy encounter unscathed.

1.) Knowledge - Know the fairies. Learn the lore. Knowledge is power and can come in handy.

2.) Iron Objects - Fairies fear them. The theories why fairies fear iron are many, too many to go into detail here.

3.) Don't Dance With Them - Fairies may entice you dance with them in their circles, but beware. Time for fairies is different than it is with humans. You might think you just danced for 10 minutes but afterwards you discover that 10 years or more have gone by.

4.) Don't Eat Or Drink Anything They Give You - It could be poisonous. See #5 below.

5.) Don't Go To Fairyland - Fairies seem to enjoy enticing mortals to go willingly to fairyland with them. Other times they simply kidnap poor victims. Either way, do not go if you are invited. Just like in #3 above, time is different for fairies. You might think your visit lasted an hour only to discover upon returning that a century has passed by. There are tales of people returning only to find out that their entire families have been dead for ages. In many of these stories, when a person returns from visiting fairyland they instantly crumble into dust when their feet touch the ground. Also, as in #4 above, do not eat anything in fairyland (Now, this is for if you should be kidnapped as hopefully you wouldn't voluntarily go). Anyone who eats or drinks in fairyland can never return. Such lore is remarkably similar to tales of the underworld, like in Ancient Greece, such as in the myth of Persephone.

6.) Don't Take A Fairy Lover - Just as in Keats famous poem, 'La Belle Dame Sans Merci', all fairy-human unions are seemingly destined to turn tragic for the mortal. The same holds true for human women as well. In Ireland, a male fairy called 'Glanconer'(Love-Talker) delights in bedding human females. Unfortunately, he's a 'love-'em-and-leave-'em' type of fairy and his cast-offs soon either go mad and kill themselves or else waste away and die as no touch of a mortal man will ever satisfy them.

7.) Salt & The Lord's Prayer - Cary a pinch of salt in your pocket and recite The Lord's Prayer before traveling. I'm not sure if Holy Water and Crucifixes would work, but I guess they couldn't hurt.

8.) Don't Step Into A Fairy Circle - If you chance upon a fairy circle, a circle of mushrooms where the fairies were said to have danced, do not step into it. Lore states that people have simply disappeared after doing so and that such circles might be gateways to fairyland.

9.) Stay Indoors When Fairies Are Most Active - Samhain (Halloween), Beltane (April 30), The Solstices & Equinoxes, Midnight & Noon.

10.) If You Are A Farmer - Any crop not harvested after Halloween belongs to the fairies. Attempting to harvest after Halloween might upset them and cause them to retaliate in an unpleasant way, say the future blighting of crops for example.

11.) Fairy Pathways - Avoid them at all cost. A fairy pathway is literally that, a pathway the fairies are believed to regularly frequent. Don't build a house on one. Don't move into a house that was built on one. According to legend, anyone who builds a house on a fairy pathway or lives in one built on a fairy pathway will be plagued with poltergeist-like phenomena as well as experience extreme bad luck. The fairies are going to travel their pathway regardless if there is a house in the way. They aren't going to go around it. Instead, they are going to march right through your living room, breaking stuff and scaring the kids and pets in the process. How do you identify fairy pathways? -Ask around. If there is a fairy pathway nearby then there will be plenty of lore attached to it, especially if you come from Ireland, Scotland, and the like.

12.) Get Your Baby Baptised - It is said that fairies can only kidnap unbaptised babies.

13.) Be Observant - When fairies walk amongst us in human form, they will appear with some odd feature about them, say like one eye of a different color. Some fairies, like the German Nixes (dangerous water fairies), love going to human markets and will do so in the form of a beautiful woman in a flowing green gown. The Nix can always be spotted by a careful observer because a part of her gown will always be soaking wet and dripping water. (Nixes also like to take unfortunate mortal lovers who drown during love-making.)

Be also observant when it comes to possible changelings. A changeling is a human impostor. It's the fairies equivalent of a student exchange program, though the human recipient was taken against their will. When the fairies kidnap a mortal, they leave one of their own kind behind. They will use their fairy glamour to impersonate the abductee but a keen observer can notice certain flaws. Again, something will be 'off' They might have different colored eyes, appear slightly taller, or something else. Usually, when a changeling is discovered the fairies will return the kidnapped mortal and take the changeling back. Unfortunately, sometimes it takes threats of abuse before the fairies do so.

14.) Don't Steal From The Fairies - You would be surprised how many tales there are of foolish people who happen upon a fairy treasure and decide to help themselves. Let's just say the tales don't end good for the poor thief.

15.) Don't Cut Down Trees Or Move Boulders Or Large Rocks Without The Fairies Permission - Such could be the home of the fairies. Instead, one is supposed to ask permission, or to at least explain why such needs to be accomplished. Ample time is to be given for the fairies to relocate. Anyone who destroys the home of a fairy is likely to find himself/herself homeless soon later.

16.) Don't Spy On The Fairies - If one spots fairies, it's best to quietly scram. 'Peeping Toms', when caught, can be severely punished.

17.) Don't Follow Fairy-Lights - If you see a fairy-light, also called fox-fires or will-o'-the-wisps, do not follow them. The fairies use these lights to fool and trick people into wandering away and getting lost, or worse, falling off a clip or drowning in a swamp.

18.) If You Become The Victim Of Fairy Magic - Strip, turn your clothes inside-out and put them back on. Put your shoes on the wrong feet. This is said to confuse the fairies and destroy their ability to harm you.

19) Silence Is Golden - Do not talk about fairies directly, but instead use phrases like 'The Good People', 'The Kind People', etc., lest you attract them. If you encounter a fairy do not speak of the encounter lest you be plagued by bad luck and ill fortune for the rest of your life.

20.) RESPECT...RESPECT...RESPECT - If you don't put into practice any of the above advice, practice this one and you should be fine. Always show the utmost respect to fairies and you should survive the encounter unscathed.

Modern Fairy Sightings

The following clips are from the documentary, 'The Fairy Faith', by John Walker

"Join John Walker as he explores the magical "other world" of fairies. Visit the places fairies live and meet some of the people who have seen and believe in them." -From The Website



This clip delves into Native American beliefs. Yes, Native Americans have beliefs in 'fairy-like' beings. For some tribes, it is these *little-people* who give the medicine men their powers and teach them the ways of the healing herbs. Keep in mind how similar this belief is to the belief that fairies were said to teach magic to witches.



In the following clip, a family claims to have stumbled upon a circle of dancing fairies. Keep in mind that her tale contains the standard 'trappings' associated with fairy sightings, mainly that of the other-worldly music and the belief that one shouldn't look at them directly or talk about the experience, lest the fairies exact revenge. -And trust me, much folklore exists concerning the fairies enacting revenge against a mortal. Fairies aren't cute kid stuff. They are dangerous, and encounters with them tend to be more destructive to the mortal involved.

Don't believe me? Research the similarities between aliens and fairies. Both are said to kidnap people, both come from another 'world', time is said to be different for both, and both have power to alter the perceptions of people, i.e. 'Fairy Glamour' and the mind control that aliens inflict upon reported abductees.



Reminder: Fairies are said to be most active around Samhain & Beltane or modern day, Halloween and May Day. So, It may be wise to carry an iron object (fairies fear iron) in your pocket, especially if you have to travel by foot in nature during this time. A pinch of salt in your pocket and The Lord's Prayer before you start your venture also couldn't hurt.

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather.
Down along the rocky shore
Some make their home,
They live on crispy pancakes
Of yellow tide-foam;
Some in the reeds
Of the black mountain-lake,
With frogs for their watch-dogs,
All night awake.

High on the hill-top
The old King sits;
He is now so old and gray
He's nigh lost his wits.
With a bridge of white mist
Columbkill he crosses,
On his stately journeys
From Slieveleague to Rosses;
Or going up with music,
On cold starry nights,
To sup with the Queen,
Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget
For seven years long;
When she came down again
Her friends were all gone.
They took her lightly back
Between the night and morrow;
They thought she was fast asleep,
But she was dead with sorrow.
They have kept her ever since
Deep within the lake,
On a bed of flag leaves,
Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,
Through the mosses bare,
They have planted thorn trees
For pleasure here and there.
Is any man so daring
As dig them up in spite?
He shall find the thornies set
In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain
Down the rushy glen,
We daren't go a-hunting,
For fear of little men;
Wee folk, good folk,
Trooping all together;
Green jacket, red cap,
And white owl's feather.


-The Fairies by William Allingham

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