The letter ‘F’ and I struggled with what to write. Not for lack of folkloric things, I stress, but more for the plentiful abundance. There are foxes and flowers, fawns and folklore itself.
What is it?
I thought about talking about the fili as a Celtic social role, the importance of poem and story – quite apt given I love writing. Or fog and fairyshot, a host more beside. In the end I opted to write about the Fae in their widest sense. A broad brushstroke on a magickal topic, so to speak, and what they mean to me.
Also called Faeries, Fairy, the Tuatha de Danaan, Sidhe, Shee, Daemons and Grey Folk, and so many more besides. Some will disagree they are even the same thing using these words; some being constructs of modern paganism, others born in the myth of the Celtic Otherworld, and no small few being named and truly feared by the Church in past times.
I’m not so fussy.
I don’t think our ancestors would’ve been that fussed either.
For me, the Fae, faeiries, Tuatha de Danaan and Sidhe, are all part of a wider world of magickal creatures. They’re of the Otherworld and of nature. A glimpse of shadows in this world, on the edge and at the most liminal of borders. Catch sight in fog and forest, in mist and on moor; but ne'er t' be confused with the dead.
The dead are dead.
They haunt both our world and the Celtic Otherworld,.
But they are not Fae.
Fae are immortal in the count of our years, Gods of earlier times, the monsters of men and as one with nature and its elements. They are beautiful, gracious, light, with souls of darkness and hearts of hate. Some are hideous and ugly, deformed, a soul so bright they might light the world with love. In trees they hide and shadows play, under rock of hill, ride on roiling wave, in waters of river, puddle and stream they dance and laugh.
Walk on the moor and watch from out fog and mist.
Some help, others harm.
Driven by motives known only to the self; love, hate, greed, sloth, riches, charm. It can be anything and everything a man might dream of or imagine, hold hidden in a heart. Some steal children of men to themselves, to be loved, others take them as slaves and servant. Food. But not all are bad. There are those who help not hinder. They heal cuts, cure wounds, tend to the gentle and look after the lost, the kind, the lonely.
Others collect. Gold and silver, bread and honey, steal souls, save souls, stop hearts, dream of life. They’re greedy and don’t care - good or ill. They know no bound but their own whim, Lords and Lady to the self and Lovers of fun.
Beauty and sin.
They invoke fear and friendship, swift to judge and cruel in the sentence.
Their word is law and in Britain you feel them. In the old woods they watch with animals, hide behind trees and run with deer. Whisper on moor. They see you worry from behind rocks and grass, in hills, on mountains, in wild flowers that blossom white and pink and blue. They're of hedgerow and field, in the green of the land. Behind mushrooms in the damp of the forest, under toadstools; in the blue of sky and run of water, as one with the stones that stand about this land.
Listen and hear them play.
In Iron Age forts.
In the smallest hamlet and biggest town they simply are.
You might be lucky.
It depends on who and what you find.
As a last thought, did you know that Joan of Arc was accused by her English enemy, high-ranking officials and clergy of the time, of being in communion with the Faery Folk. True historical fact!
Next week, I'll be writing about Giants and the finding of Albion.