Topiary Faerie from Disney World Epcot Park
Photo by C.D. Hersh ©
“Every time a new story is told, a faery is born“—Unknown
Today, June 24, is International Fairy Day, started by fairy artist Jessica Galbreth to commemorate all things faerie, so faeries are the blog subject this week.
Faeries appear in almost every culture. They are pagan mythological creatures who possess magical powers. They are known as faery, faerie, (We rather like this spelling of the word. It’s archaic and a bit mysterious) fay, fae, wee folk, good folk, people of peace, and fair folk. They can be benign, mischievous or downright mean. They can cast spells, fly, they are immortal, and are usually not visible to humans because of the veil that exists between the mortal and the Fae worlds. The best time to spot them is at twilight. Folklore says they are an intelligent species, not angels or demons.
The faerie most known to the modern world today—the sweet flower-faerie with delicate wings—is a creation dating from the Victorian era. Walt Disney capitalized on that image and made a fortune reinventing good faeries, ranging from Cinderella’s chubby faerie godmother to Peter Pan’s blonde-haired green suited Tinker Bell, who was originally pink-haired. Catherine had a Tinker Bell doll as a child, and she had very pink hair!
According to folklore, faeries come in all shapes and forms and have good and bad relationships with humankind.
Some categories of faeries are:
- The Sidhe, ancient Celtic faeries believed to be the original race of Celtic gods and goddesses. At one time the Scots believed the Sidhe walked the earth with mortals, but eventually vanished into the hills and became the Fae. The Sidhe are divided into two camps, the more benevolent Seelie, who might only play pranks on humans, and the malevolent Unseelie, who delighted in bringing harm to mortals.
- House Faeries, which encompasses hobgoblins (originally believed to be good faeries) and hearth faeries, such as brownies who clean house at night. (Catherine wouldn’t ming having one of these.)
- Elemental Faeries who control the elements of nature: Air (Sylphs), Water (Undines), Earth (Gnomes) and Fire (Salamanders). These faeries are ruled by Faerie Kings.
- Nature Spirits, who are the faeries who tend everything from flowers to trees.
- Dead spirits. The banshee of Irish and Scottish lore is sometimes described as a ghost.
- A class of “demoted” angels.One popular story held that when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates shut; those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became devils, and those caught in between became fairies.
- Demons. This belief became much more popular with the growth of Puritanism. Dealing with faeries was believed to be akin to dealing with the devil and was often punished as such.
- A less common belief states that the Fae are humans gone missing.
Karen Marie Moning has taken the first category, the Sidhe, to some unbelievable heights in her Fever seriesl (every book of which Catherine owns). She creates a Fae world that is so dark, complex and exciting that it is hard to compete with her. As for the other types of faeries … we’ve got some ideas bubbling in the back of our collective minds. There are some great immortal characters waiting to take center stage on the pages … maybe sooner rather than later.
So let’s tell some new stories and watch the faerie population grow!
Are you inspired by the immortal Fae or other mythical creatures to write stories?