Be honest, although you may have heard about nature spirits, how much do you really know about them? Faery seer Danu Forest shares 5 fascinating facts about otherworldly kin…
Turn your coats for faery folks live in old oaks…
British folklore and myth abounds with tales of faeries and nature spirits, and our indigenous Saxon and Celtic magical traditions are full of lore regarding encounters with these mysterious beings, yet should you go down to the woods today and are lucky enough to discover the fey, you may find they are not what you expected…
1 They don’t all resemble Tinkerbell
Contrary to popular belief, which owes much to Victorian children’s book illustrations, the faeries so familiar in folklore are not tiny scantily clad girls, all glitter and glamour. Real faeries are friends to witches, and so-called ‘good neighbours’, to those who remember the Old Ways.
Many tales recount how they are often black skinned, or have the form of half human half animal, some even have hooves and tails! They can be as tall as humans or taller still. Some are detected by subtler signs such as the river water dripping from their skirts, or their red caps.
2 Faery figures tend to be representations of old Pagan gods
Many of our most famous faery figures, such as the leprechaun or puck, are in fact memories of our old pagan gods and ‘genius loci’ or powers of place… literally diminished in size and reputation in our tales and folklore by the onset of Christianity and our later sceptical thinking. And yet much of the history of magic in Britain relies on good relations with these, our wild spirit cousins and ancient divinities.
3 We can all connect with the faeries
If you would be a faery friend, take time to connect with nature as much as possible. Spirits and faeries can be found everywhere – even in the city – if we allow ourselves to be sensitive enough to notice them. Seek quiet spaces, where nature reigns, and be an ally to the land around you- plant nectar rich plants, clean up litter, walk lightly on the earth, allow yourself to dream.
Listen to the wind in the trees, and spend time stargazing. Meditate on the moon when she is full, and you will find more magic in your life than you thought possible. Spend time in wild places, especially at twilight.
Learn the names of trees and plants around you, and keep an eye out especially for elder, oak, hawthorns and ash trees, which all have a reputation of being popular with the fey.
4 They have favourite times of year
The best time to catch sight of faeries is when the seasons turn from spring to summer for Beltane (May 1st), and from autumn to winter for Samhain (Oct 31st). Why? Because these are the favoured times for faeries to go a-wandering on their ‘faery rades’ or rides.
5 Magical faery power can reinvigorate your life
Should you ever feel befuddled by them while out in the woods, turn you coat inside out to reverse the magic, but remember, the yearning for faery is strong in all magical souls, and heeding the call may lead you on a journey of rediscovery with the magic of the land itself. To be a faery friend is a blessing, and while these beings may be wild and unlike any human soul, the only thing to really fear is the negativity you may bring with you to the encounter.
About the author
Danu Forest is a wisewoman, priestess and Awenydd, a traditional faery seer, and spiritual teacher. You can find out more about her books and online course, An Introduction to the Celtic Faery Tradition, on her website.