Fairies of the Realms – Part one: Introduction and their environment
Part one: Introduction and their environment
When we think of the word Fairy [which means realm or enchantment] we conjure up images of young humanoid wing like creatures that are very ethereal that and are blessed with magical powers. The fairy is also considered an air spirit almost transparent to the eye and light as a dew drop. Their realms are magical places where humans should not tread. In most folklore tales, they are portrayed as more earthly creatures than heavenly. Fairies are sometimes linked with Romantic tales such as in the works of Shakespeare and Le Morte de Arthur by Sir Thomas Malory. The majority of stories revolve around protecting one self from their mischief and malice or in medieval romances as one of the beings that a knight errant might encounter.
Fairies in various forms go as far back as Greek Mythology, where they were portrayed as nymphs and Sirens in Homer’s The Odyssey. The majority of the older fairy origins were believed to date back to Pre Christian beliefs in gods and goddesses. In Medieval times they were depicted as the stealer of Women and Children. The women were spirited away and made to nurse fairy children, and in due course a mirror image of the woman was left behind. When the fairy folk stole children they would leave behind a Changeling which in European Folklore describes the off spring of a fairy Elf or other legendary creature that was left in place of a human child. It was also believed this was made up to account for the various deformities and unusually sick children that were encountered during this period. In Puritan times the Fairies were considered Demons, and anyone said to be consorting with fairies would be tried as a witch and punished.
Often categorized as Supernatural or Preternatural, the best read on this subject is by renowned folklorist Robert Kirk, a Gaelic scholar best known for his treatise called The Secret Commonwealth. He was highly acclaimed in the subject of fairy folklore and his collection of supernatural tales are considered to be an important work in this field. Highly recommended!!
The Fairies are said to have the ability to move between the seen and unseen worlds becoming invisible at will. Signs of fairy realms were the presence of rings of mushrooms or toadstools which was said to appear after the fairies danced in delight in a circular motion.
An Ideal Fairy environment would be woodland areas. They loved and worshiped the great oaks which was said to enhance their magical abilities. Tree hollows were also a sign of the fairy presence, and adding rose quartz stones would attract these creatures to your gardens. It was also though that if there was also the presence of a pond or shallow pool in your garden it would attract them as well.
Toadstools would act as the perfect resting places for fairies, and placing small shiny stones by the pond made it perfect places for them to relax. Having lots of flowers and shrubbery in your garden were also ideal as this would also attract butterflies which the fairy loves. It was also thought that the adding of a small pebble pathway would help ensure that the fairies do not lose their way.
Interestingly enough the book titled The Case of the Cottingley Fairies, by Joe cooper tells the story of two cousins who claimed to have interacted and photographed fairies, the environmental conditions were almost exactly the same as depicted in many books, even Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was willingly convinced that these fairy spirits were real and that it was not a hoax, this was never really proven as the photo editing back then was not really heard of, and many puzzled that if it was a hoax how was this done? This book is worth reading as its very entertaining. Let us know what you think about The Case of the Cottingley Fairies, was it real or a hoax???
Next week I will cover in the segment Fairies of the realms Part 2: The Dark Fairy Folklore
Posted on July 2, 2013, in Folklore and tagged european folklore, Faerie, faeries, Fairies, Fairy, Fairy environment, fairy folk, Fairy legends, Fairy Lore, Fairy Origins, Fairy Realms, Fantasy, Folklore. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.