In a recent GypsyWytch Diaries newsletter, I asked if any of my readers had a topic they wanted me to discuss on the blog. Heather asked me what my thoughts were on the topic of the Faeries and Fae Magick. My immediate reaction was to say that she was asking the “wrong person,” as up until that point, I honestly wasn’t sure what my beliefs were about faeries… But after opening myself up to the idea that “Magickal Musings” are just that – musings, it occurred to me that I actually have a lot to share, and could absolutely organize my thoughts and feelings about the topic of faeries, allowing my Inner Child to do some of the talking… And I was pretty amazed with what I found!
It was definitely the “logical, literal” part of my conscious mind that was closed to the idea of talking about faeries in an article. At first, I figured that this subject would be better left to the experts – you know, someone who grew up with the Faerie Faith or who practices Faerie Wicca… But even just within the five minutes it took me to come up with a written excuse to give to Heather for why I couldn’t do it, my wheels were already turning in a new direction…I got to thinking about the purpose of my blog as a whole, and it occurred to me that the GypsyWytch Diaries blog has really never been about regurgitating the typical meanings and practices of Wicca and traditional witchcraft. That type of information is out there for those who are interested in doing things the “proper” way, but my craft and my method of sharing with the community is eclectic and intuitive. My target audience consists of people who are either new to magick, preferring to follow their heart rather than a strict instruction manual, or the seasoned spiritual seeker who is looking for a fresh perspective. Well, guess what? This article is going to do just that – provide a fresh perspective on an age old idea, and some advice on how to follow your heart as it pertains to the topic of faeries!
What do I think I “know” about Faeries?
Where do I even begin on this vast subject? Well, I suppose I’ll take the advice of the Mad Hatter and begin at the beginning, and when I come to the end, stop. As I’ve mentioned in several of my previous articles, I was raised with an “Abrahamic” belief system, and it was strictly against my family’s religion to believe in things like fairies, witches, ghosts and psychics. Some of the other children from our religious group were not even allowed to watch movies with magic or talking animals in them… That rules out practically every children’s story! I was fortunate in that my mother has always been in touch with her Inner Child, and was happy to indulge in some fantasy fiction with her kids, but only on one strict condition: we could enjoy imaginary magic so long as we never, ever confused that fantasy with reality. My parents kept a close eye on us to make sure that we never began to believe in the magic. It was strictly “imaginary.”
For us, fairies were little characters from fiction; creatures we could dress ourselves and our Barbie dolls up as just for the fun and beauty of it. My sister and I were always drawing fairies in our sketchbooks and admiring artists who painted intricate scenes of fairy lore. In my tween and teen years, I began reading Tolkien and collecting Amy Brown keepsakes from Hot Topic… But it wasn’t until I discovered one particular author that I was really carried away with the faeries…
One day my little sister came home with a stack of tiny little children’s novels called The Spiderwick Chronicles. Holly Black’s well-woven story accompanied with the enchanting illustrations of Tony DiTerlizzi had me hooked! This was the first time I’d seen the word spelled “faerie” rather than “fairy,” and Holly Black wrote about the Fae in a way I hadn’t been introduced to before. In Peter Pan, for example, a fairy is just a little glittering winged companion that could only be found far away in Neverland. But in The Spiderwick Chronicles, the faerie world was very close to home, existing side by side with the human world, and the Fae included everything from Tinkerbell-type sprites to giants, dwarfs and elves. Having been written for a younger audience, the series was extremely easy to read, and I blew through the books very quickly. My sister and I pooled our allowances to buy Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide, a brilliantly illustrated book meant to mimic an “authentic” Audubon style biology guide, bringing faeries of all shapes and sizes to life in a natural environment. I guess I couldn’t have known this at the time, but that book series was one of my first glimpses into the type of faerie lore found in the Faerie Faith. It was there that I first learned of the idea of having “the sight;” that there was a reason some people could see faeries and others couldn’t.
Two ideas always stuck with me from those stories: One was the myth that the Faerie realm was a place between seasons where time passes differently, where partaking in the fruits and cakes could make you forget your human troubles. The second was the idea that finding a hag stone and peeping through the hole in the rock would give you a glimpse into the world of the Fae. Even without allowing myself to believe in actual faeries, forever after reading those books, gifts from nature such as hag stones, acorns and wild fruit became even more sacred to me, and the times between seasons, sunsets, and falling leaves have always been deeply magickal experiences.
Although I was already in my teens when that set of childrens’ books was introduced to me, I had no shame in allowing my Inner Child to adore everything about them! So you can bet your butt that I was super excited to discover that Holly Black also had faerie stories for young adults! Her novel Tithe, a Modern Faerie Tale quickly became one of my very favorite books, and still is till this day. It takes the same sort of faerie lore and weaves it into a story that is appealing to teenagers. It goes into even more detail about the myths and legends of the Fae, such as the idea that they show themselves to children, but begin to disappear from your life as you lose your innocence. Referring to the concept that unicorns, for example, only hang out with virgins, the main character wonders why she doesn’t see faeries anymore in her teens, and figures, “I know I’m not exactly unicorn pure anymore.” The book really emphasizes the theme of distinction between growing up and being an innocent child, and faeries really helped illustrate that motif. It reminded me a lot of how I, too, had grown into this punky teenager, but clung to my childhood by keeping a shrine of My Little Ponys and Skydancer dolls on my dresser. Tithe also goes into detail about changelings as well as the Seely and Unseely courts and the Solitary Fae. After reading that book, I found even more magick in the nature of night. A walk under the moon, a warm breeze blowing off of the sea in the evening, or the crackle of a bonfire in a dark forest became just the sort of moments I lived for!
It says in the back of Holly Black’s book that she drew her inspiration from her childhood, in which she was “fed a healthy diet of faerie lore,” but it wasn’t until many years later that I came to understand that some people really did believe in faeries. In my early 20s, I attended an event where an author shared some accounts from his recently published book, which was about “Little People” in the Native American culture. He explained that many Native Americans still believe in a race of tiny people that separated from human society and live in natural environments, using magick long forgotten by humans. All of the alleged encounters sounded extremely similar to what I’d gathered in passing from places like Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide. I still wouldn’t say I believed it, but I’ve always had a deep respect for Native American culture, so I guess hearing faerie stories from that perspective must have hit a little closer to home. I was definitely intrigued.
Around the same time, I was also immersed in the New Age community on Youtube, and I began to randomly stumble upon videos in which faeries were mentioned. Generally, they were regarded more as benevolent energetic beings than actual little guys who could steal your children, but none the less, these people took the concept of faeries very seriously. I still couldn’t really get behind it, myself, but I listened to the videos anyway, out of sheer curiosity. Often, they seemed to imply that seeing or feeling faeries was something that came along with other symptoms of spiritual awakening and the opening of the third eye. Connecting to your Inner Child, quieting your mundane mind chatter, eating a natural diet, and drinking purified water, along with meditating in nature were meant to open one up to communication with faeries… These were all things I’d been doing along my path by this point, but alas, I was not being visited by these alleged faeries that everyone kept talking about.
When finally I began creating my GypsyWytch Diaries, I allowed my Inner Child to guide me on what themes to design my books after. One of the first ones was my Faerie Land diary, and I figured I’d pass the hours it took to design the diary listening to free audiobooks of fairytales to help me get into the project. Of course, as Youtube goes, this led me down a rabbit hole into not just Brothers Grimm type stories, but also myths and legends of supposed encounters with faeries as well. I came to understand that there are Fae and/or little people legends throughout many world cultures, and that the majority of our ideas about them in Western culture come from Scotland and Ireland. And those myths are mostly the ones that made their way into the Holly black stories that I’d loved so much as a kid.
And that brought me full-circle in an unexpected way… The time I spent working on the Faerie Land GypsyWytch Diary happened to also be May’s Eve to Midsummer season, and, go figure, it’s said that that’s faerie season too! Just when I was beginning to feel that I might never get the whole faerie thing, I simply decided to light a candle, soak in the bath and empty my mind. It happened to be sunset, and the golden glow filtered through the frosted glass of my bathroom window, filling the space with a magickal “tween-time” feeling. I stopped trying to rationalize my thoughts and simply allowed myself to feel. Rather than grinding my gears about how far fetched everyone’s faerie accounts sounded, or bothering to care that I might never see things that way myself, I allowed myself to feel into what faerie energy actually meant to me…
And then my consciousness took me on a trip down Memory Lane, washing across every fairytale I’d ever read, every faerie illustration that ever inspired my own artwork, every quiet moment in nature when my whole universe felt interconnected synchronistially. I revisited every serene sunset on a summer day; every autumn leaf that had fallen and gotten caught in a spiders web, just so that it looked suspended in time. Every breeze that littered the air and ground with cherry blossoms in the spring. Every time I’d felt warm night air on my skin, or seen a distant glow in the forest, or imagined a face in the wrinkles of a tree trunk. Every game of dress-up my sister and I had played; every gentle classical piano ensemble I’d ever heard; every performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream I’d ever watched. Every bouquet of wildflowers I’d ever gathered; every Sky Dancer and My Little Pony I’d collected; every glimmer of rain on a leaf catching the sunlight… All of these things were my faerie energy, and I allowed them now to color my memory with the sweet, innocent feeling tone of the sort of magick only the Inner Child knows… And then I understood.
For some of us, faeries are sprites with wings. For some, they are little people who live in nature. For some, they are the living spirit within everything in nature. And for some of us, faeries are the kindred spirits of the Inner Child, existing perhaps only in the realm of Imagination… And of course for those like me, imagination is as real as anything, for it is that which gives our life meaning.
Please share your stories in the comments! We’d love to hear your perspective!
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