Mythical land of fairies in British folklore
This article is about mythical land of fairies. For other uses, see Fairyland (disambiguation).
Fairyland (Faerie, ScottishElfame, c.f. Old NorseÁlfheimr) in English and Scottish folklore is the fabulous land or abode of fairies or fays.Old Frenchfaierie (Early Modern English faerie) referred to an illusion or enchantment, the land of the faes. Modern English (by the 17th century) fairy transferred the name of the realm of the fays to its inhabitants, e.g. the expression fairie knight in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene refers to a "supernatural knight" or a "knight of Faerie" but was later re-interpreted as referring to a knight who is "a fairy".
Fairyland may be referred to simply as Fairy or Faerie, though that usage is an archaism. It is often the land ruled by the "Queen of Fairy" and thus anything from fairyland is also sometimes described as being from the "Court of the Queen of Elfame" or from the Seelie court in Scottish folklore. The Scots word elfame or elphyne "fairyland" has other variant forms, attested in Scottish witch trials, but Elf-hame or Elphame with the -hame stem (meaning 'home' in Scots) were conjectural readings by Pitcairn.
In English and Scots texts
Records of the Scottish witch trials reveal that many initiates claimed to have had congress with the "Queen of Elfame" and her retinue. On November 8, , midwife Bessie Dunlop, a resident of Dalry, Scotland, was accused of sorcery and witchcraft. She answered her accusers that she had received tuition from Thomas Reid, a former barony officer who had died at the Battle of Pinkie 30 years earlier, and from the Queen of "Court of Elfame" that lay nearby. It resulted in a conviction and she was burned at the stake in
Allison Peirson was burned as a witch in for conversing with the Queen of Elfame and for prescribing magic charms and potions (Byre Hills, Fife, Scotland). This same woman (styled "Alison Pearson") is also featured in Robert Sempill's ballad () where she is said to have been in a fairy-ride. Sempill's piece mentions "Elphyne" glossed as "Elfland" or "Fairyland".
In the medieval verse romance and the Scottish ballad of Thomas the Rhymer, the title character is spirited away by a female supernatural being. Although identified by commentators as the Queen of Fairies, the texts refrain from specifically naming her or her domain except in ballad version A, in which she is referred to as the Queen of Elfland. Poet and novelist Robert Graves published his own alteration of the ballad, replacing her name with "Queen of Elphame":
I'm not the Queen of Heaven, Thomas,
That name does not belong to me;
I am but the Queen of fair Elphame
Come out to hunt in my follie.
Elfhame or Elfland is portrayed in a variety of ways in these ballads and stories, most commonly as mystical and benevolent, but also at times as sinister and wicked. The mysteriousness of the land and its otherworldly powers are a source of skepticism and distrust in many tales. Additional journeys to the realm include the fairy tale "Childe Rowland", which presents a particularly negative view of the land.
- Henderson, Lizanne; Cowan, Edward J. (). Scottish Fairy Belief: A History. Dundrun. ISBN.
- Pitcairn, Robert, ed. (a). Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland. Volume 1, part 1. Bannatyne Club.
- Pitcairn, Robert, ed. (b). Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland. Volume 1, part 3.
- Sempill, Robert (). "Poem 45, v". In Cranstoun, James (ed.). Satirical Poems of the Time of the Reformation. Volume 1. William Blackwell and Sons for the Scottish Text Society.
Welcome to The Faery Realm.
How times have changed. The face of shopping is now almost unrecognisable to what we all experienced just 4 months ago.
As a small family run independent business, we have faced a great deal of uncertainty. We have listened to the Governments advisors carefully, and with our patrons and friends in mind, carried out our own risk assessment for health and safety.
After consideration we have decided to put yours and our own wellbeing at the forefront of all our decisions and plans. Being a small retail outlet, and especially one that has for the main many tactile products, we have decided to wait a little longer before fully reopening our shop to the public.
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The Faery Realm Family
Nissa stood in the center of the faery ring. Surrounded by a ring of pale mushrooms that glowed in the dim twilight, she breathed in the smell of the damp forest.
For a few minutes, nothing happened. She looked around, heart beating rapidly against her ribcage an aftereffect of the greensbane, most likely, or perhaps she was more anxious than she'd assumed. She hadn't ever wanted to return to Faerie. As she stared into the distance, a pair of curious, glowing eyes met hers from the shadows, holding her gaze for a moment before the creature darted away.
"I know that's you," she said aloud. "Are you going to follow me into Faerie?"
Branches rustled as her gnome came closer. "I'm not welcome there. Not until I pay my debt to a mortal." The creature's voice was thin and reedy. "Not until you allow me to repay you for saving my life."
"Hmph. Don't try to guilt me, creature. And don't tell me you actually want to go to that awful place."
"It's my home."
"It doesn't have to be. Don't you"
A warm wind blew through the clearing, raising the hair on Nissa's arms and sending a faint, crackling feeling of electricity running along her skin, like lightning. The sound of rustling drowned out everything else for a hearbeat, rushing in her ears. Everything began flickering around her, the forest fading out of view.
Nissa took a step forward and blinked, finding herself in a new world. It was much darker, so it took her eyes a while to adjust.
". . . Hello?" she called out into the darkness, realizing she didn't even know the name of the gnome that always followed her around. There was no response. It felt oddly . . . lonely. Discomfiting, even. She brushed the feeling aside, scoffing internally at herself. The creature was no friend of hers; it would betray her as soon as it could, as was its nature. Shaking her head, she stepped out of the mushroom ring and into Faerie.
It had been centuries, but the place looked exactly as she remembered. Lush woods surrounded her, brighter green than any plants in the mortal realm could hope to be. Boughs dragged the ground, laden with gleaming golden fruits. Their sweet scent wafted towards her. Nissa swallowed, her mouth watering despite herself. She turned away from them.
It didn't matter where she was. What she needed was to find the faeries, and as long as she got their attention, they would find her. She hesitated before stepping out of the mushroom circle, knowing there would be no way to find her way back without the faeries' help. Gritting her teeth, she thought of Queen Aspen and Rowan sick in their hospital beds, unable to help the kingdom. She thought of a kingdom full of people who would be slaughtered by the faeries. Holding the thought in her mind, she started walking.
Despite the beauty of Faerie, it was also distinctly alien. The differences were subtle, and difficult to pinpoint. The first time Nissa had been here, it had taken her a while to articulate exactly what they were, but now she noticed them right away.
It wasn't just that everything was gleaming and glittering, vivid and lush. It was a collection of small differences that set her teeth on edge.
All the flowers were turned to face her; she never saw them moving, but if she changed directions, they were always somehow facing her. Everything was always quiet, too quiet. She felt constantly as if there was a voice just slightly too quiet for her to hear, something moving in the corner of her eyes she could never quite catch, a thought tickling in the back of her mind. A gentle breeze blew through her hair, but all the leaves around her were still, not a single one rustling.
"I know you're watching me," she called out into the silence, irritated by the feeling of being watched, irritated by herself as well for the knot of dread that coiled beneath her ribcage, dark and sticky, even though she knew she was in no danger. Nissa was never in any danger. It was everyone else around her that suffered and died, so why couldn't she shake the feeling of apprehension?
Mysterious Worlds: Travels to the Faerie and Shamanic Realms
There are many accounts of a land of immortality and eternal youth in world myths and legends, as well as shamanic and indigenous spiritual traditions.
Writing in his recent work, Sky Shamans of Mongolia , Kevin Turner tells us that the three worlds or realms of the Mongolian Darkhad shaman don’t consist of a traditional upper, middle, and lower world but are instead overlapping dimensional realities, more in line with a holographic outlook. These places are populated by deities, spirits, and ancestors. In Irish lore it is the land of Tir na Nog where a race of supernatural beings is said to reside, although this otherworld adapts itself to incorporate the afterlife, the Summerland of Wicca, as well as shamanic realms according to other interpretations.
Often these dimensions are seen to be accessed across an ocean, leading many to associate Tir na Nog with the mythical island of Hy-Brasil, an island that was said to rise from the sea every seven years and which was populated by a race of advanced antediluvian beings.
Hy Brasil island was believed to appear and disappear. ( CC BY-ND 2.0 )
However, the realm of faeries ( fairies) or the crypto-terrestrial is more often encountered through places considered sacred or having an alignment of some kind in relation to auspicious days in the yearly cycle, such as solstices, equinoxes, and new moons. In many legends passed down from oral traditions the liminal moments at dusk, between sunset and moonrise, are when the ethereal forms of these beings are best seen.
Trapped in the Magical Realm of the Faeries
Perhaps one of the most famous anecdotes relating to this is that of the Rev Robert Kirk who was a Scottish scholar and clergyman. His book The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies was published in 1691 and collected many instances of encounters with these elemental creatures and what a person could do to either avoid or come in contact with them.
Rev Kirk wrote of the fairy realm. ( Public Domain )
At this time the Inquisition was still in full force across Europe so Kirk’s interest in what some saw as demonic entities put him at odds with many of his religious colleagues. Some, in fact, speculated that Kirk himself might be a changeling sent by the devil in order to corrupt the faith of his parishioners and to lead them back to ancient pagan ways. Kirk was also a seventh son, which lent him an aura of the otherworldly , as this was a particular sign of association with second sight and affiliation with the fairy folk.
One summer evening, Kirk, while out walking, collapsed and died upon a fairy hill. Or so it seemed.
In the days following his funeral, a cousin of Kirk’s had a strange dream in which the reverend pleaded with him to rescue him from fairyland. Kirk told his cousin in the dream that he was not dead at all but was in a magical swoon caused by his supernatural captors.
Kirk had promised his cousin that he would be able to appear for just one moment at the baptism of his child and when this occurred his cousin was to throw a ceremonial knife over his apparition. This would have the effect of releasing Kirk from the faeries’ spell.
At the baptism it is said that when Reverend Kirk appeared his cousin was so shocked that he forgot the instructions about the knife and Kirk then vanished, doomed to live in fairyland for eternity.
Fairyland has Altered Time and Space
This concept of eternity and that time can run faster or slower in these realms has been part of faerie myth for thousands of years. The Japanese legend of Urashima Taro is a good example. In this story a fisherman visits the supernatural undersea kingdom of Ryugu-jo and discovers that the three days he spent there had been 300 years in his homeland.
The season of autumn in the kingdom under the sea ; The fisherman Urashima Taro, is transported to undersea kingdom of Ryugu-jo. (Bodleian Libraries/ CC BY 4.0 )
Ryugu-jo has some specific architectural symbolism relating to the earth’s cycle in that each side of the kingdom was said to be a different season. Perhaps we are seeing an association with the solstices and equinoxes once again, which in themselves have a history of being doorways for the legendary beings like the faeries and various elementals to appear through.
The Winter side of the palace, with a light snow on the garden. ( CC BY 4.0 )
The elves and fairies of Scotland and Ireland, for example, would use certain magical doorways or stone circles in which to appear depending upon the time of the year. Each magical doorway was associated with a particular season.
There is a potential connection to the Heb Sed shamanic rituals of ancient Egypt in this context as each ceremonial area would be used once then a new structure would be constructed for the following festival.
Detail from an ebony label of the First Dynasty Pharaoh Den, depicting him running around the ritual boundary markers as part of the Heb Sed festival. ( CC BY 2.5 )
The communication with ‘star gods,’ along with offerings in return for wisdom also has parallels to folkloric interactions with the Sidhe (Irish and Scottish fairy folk) or energetic forms of various cultures. Sometimes, a ritual site would have to be left for a time in order to allow its energy to replenish and so the gods could be reached again in further ceremonies.
Another interesting connection is how the Pharaoh would be considered dead but still living during this ritual; the priests would consider him outside of time and having traveled to the Duat , the immaterial realm of spirit.
The Dreamtime and the Faerie Realm
The term ‘time outside of time’ is also one of the popular translations of the Australian Aboriginal Dreamtime. Specifically, this description is better understood as ‘eternal, uncreated’ and refers to a dimension where all mythical heroes and ancestors exist and have always existed. Although there are many regional differences, all of the connotations relate to an immaterial, timeless place outside of the physical world.
Stencil art in Australia showing unique clan markers and dreamtime stories symbolizing attempts to catch the deceased's spirit. ( Public Domain )
Indeed, there are mythical faerie-like mediators in Aboriginal lore called the Mimi who are said to have taught the first Aboriginal tribes many skills. The Mimi were said to be so thin that a strong wind might break them and they could be contacted by approaching sacred stones or mountains in the correct manner. These places were doorways to an immaterial dimension that existed outside of the human world.
Aboriginal rock painting of Mimi spirits in the Anbangbang gallery at Nourlangie Rock. (©2002 Dustin M. Ramsey (Kralizec!) / CC BY-SA 2.5 )
Often the Mimi would play tricks on humans if they or their magic places were not respected. There was a type of shamanistic process for contacting the Mimi properly and this was usually carried out by ‘Men of High Degree’ who were the shaman of the aboriginal tribes.
In his ground-breaking work, Aboriginal Men of High Degree , A.P. Elkin describes these men as “supernormal, usually super-sensory, and are derived from two sources: first, the cult-heroes of the craft-sky and totemic heroes, spirits and ghosts , who may be all the one; second, the long line and hierarchy or order of medicine men, which leads back to the same heroes of the dreamtime.”
However, the role of women in mediating with the Mimi was also extremely important. There were certain tasks and requests that could only be asked by a woman and where the context of ‘high degree’ was outranked. Writing in Wise Women of the Dreamtime Johanna Lambert explains, “That which is subtle, ambiguous, interconnected, intangible and beyond reason or logic emerges from the realm of the Universal Feminine and is the basis of what has been called “magic or “the occult”.
The Magic Arrow
The Mimi, like fairies and elementals in all other cultures, were unpredictable and could punish a human as often as rewarding them. They were thought to steal food, trip up unsuspecting travelers, and even shoot magic darts—which is a tantalizing connection to many shamanistic practices.
The magical arrow is also associated with Abaris the Hyperborean, a figure said to have emerged from a mythical land “beyond the north wind”. Abaris was said to be able to commune with spirits, heal the sick, and travel through the air on a magic arrow.
Other connections to Apollo and Pythagoras hint at the shamanistic journeying technique of incubation, best recently described by Peter Kingsley in his work, In the Dark Places of Wisdom.
When we look past the particular cultural interpretations, which change depending upon religious systems and societal developments, what we find beneath the many different faerie and shamanistic encounters are strong hints of a universal otherworldly experience. And although we find many accounts of strange lands with the help of faeries and spirits, it’s worth remembering that sometimes it is also at their insistence!
Top Image: A man with torch standing alone in a faerie realm. S ource: grandfailure /Adobe
By David Halpin
Kevin Turner. ‘Sky Shamans of Mongolia’. Published by North Atlantic Books (April 12, 2016) P.71.
Hayao Kawaii. ‘Dreams, Myths and Fairy Tales in Japan’. Published by Daimon Verlag (Jan. 1 1995). p. 107.
A.P. Elkin. ‘Aboriginal Men of High Degree: Initiation and Sorcery in the World's Oldest Tradition’. Published by Inner Traditions; Original ed. edition (Nov. 1 1993). p 38.
K. Langloh Parker/ By Johanna Lambert, ed. ‘Wise Women of the Dreamtime: Aboriginal Tales of the Ancestral Powers’ Published by Park Street Press; Original ed. edition (July 1 1993). P. 89.
Realm the faery
âKac Young reminds us of something we are in need of in our brash world: the sensitive and delicate nature of fairies and the importance of approaching nature on natureâs terms. She also reminds us of their capriciousness and how they are of the wilderness at heart and live by their own laws, which we fare best by well knowing! This book will teach you what you need to know to understand the magical and mysterious ways of fairy folk.â
âElaine Clayton, author of A Little Big of Fairies and Making Marks: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing
âThis work is as much a gift as it is a guide. Readers worldwide will be crafting fairy gardens, creating fairy doors, and welcoming wonders from otherworldly reaches. In the words of Roald Dahl, âthose who donât believe in magic will never find it.â Kac inspires readers of every age to embrace the world of fairies and invite the magic of nature into their lives.â
âAnam Cara Cat, author of How to Be a Fairy
âFairies are all around us and Kacâs book shows how to bring their special magic into your life.â
âCharming, magical, absolutely enchanting, Living the Faery Life is a handbook for understanding the origins of the faery people, where they came from and how they are still present in our world today.â
âAmy Leigh Mercree, holistic health expert and bestselling author of fifteen books, including A Little Bit of Goddess, The Mood Book: Crystals, Oils, and Rituals to Elevate Your Spirit, and Days to Calm: A Journal for Finding Everyday Tranquility
âLiving the Faery Life is a must-read for everyone who has an interest in faeries. In this magical yet practical book Kac Young has woven together stories, myths, and personal anecdotes with the practicalities of which plants, crystals and essential oils could attract faeries into your life. An informative, inspirational, compelling and joyful read.â
âDr. Kac Young has written a delightful book filled with miraculously mystical information about the fairy folk who infuse wonder and awe into our daily lives if only we will take time to listen. Dr. Young has created the definitive faery instruction guide and teaches readers everything youâd ever want to know: what faeries like, what they donât like, and how to best contact them. She dispels common myths about proper fae communication and offers tips and strategies for forging a successful bond with this often unseen race of benevolent beings. Kacâs thorough rundown of origin stories and tales of the widespread belief in fairies prevalent in cultures around the world made for fascinating reading. I absolutely loved this book and once I started reading, I couldnât put it down! I recommend Living the Faery Life to all who wish to awaken the magic in their lives.â
âShelley A. Kaehr, PhD, author of Egyptian Energy Healing, Pythagorean Healing & Edgar Cayceâs Sacred Stones
âLiving the Faery Lifeby Wicca practitioner and magic studies expert Kac Young draws on the ancient wisdom of her Celtic roots to introduce rituals for connecting with faeriesâ realms to ânurture an innate connection with the wild and natural world.ââ
Kac Young has earned three doctorates. One is a PhD in Natural health, and ND in Naturopathy and a DCH in Clinical Hypnotherapy. She is also a licensed Religious Science Minister. An active television professional for over 30 years, she has won awards for producing and directing. Besides being a producer and a director, she was studio executive for Universal and is a consultant and advisor to many Hollywood-industry companies, studios and stars.
Kac has traveled extensively to experience, first-hand, and to study world religions, beliefs, methods, practices and disciplines. Her life goal is to bring spiritual awareness to everyone, so they are able to live full, productive, generous lives and leave the world a better place for having been in it. She believes that every desire must be spiritually connected and consciously infused in order for change to transpire. When desire and intention meet passion and action, shift occurs. When shift occurs; change happens, and desired results are experienced.
To date she has written 21 self-help books: Heart Easy: The Food Lover's Guide to Heart Healthy Eating, Discover Your Spiritual Genius, Feng Shui the Easy Way, Dancing with the Moon, 21 Days to the Love of Your Life, Gold Mind, Cheese Dome Power, The Path to Fabulous, The Quick Guide to Bach Flower Remedies, Supreme Healing, The Enlightened Personâs Guide to Raising a Dog, Chart Your Course, The Healing Art of Essential Oils, Essential Oils for Beginners, The One-Minute Cat Manager, Natural Healing for Cats Combining Bach Flower Remedies and Behavior Therapy, Beyond Beginning Crystals Work, The Art of Healing with Crystals, Pendulum Power Wisdom and Healing, and the annual Essential Oils Wall Calendar for Llewellyn Publishing and
Cat is a retired high school English and Special Education teacher who lives in Boulder, Colorado, with her two grown children, three cats, and a Chihuahua.
In addition to creating innovative teaching tools, she writes inspirational fiction for children and personal-development material for adults. Cat considers herself an ever-aspiring artist and ever-evolving student of life. She is the author of several books, including How to Be a Fairy and Birdseed.
Animal advocacy is one of her greatest passions, and through her creative work she endeavors to educate, empower, and inspire people of the world to make healthier and more compassionate choices for themselves, the planet, and the animals.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
From the Foreword:
So how do we allow the fairies into our lives? How do we seek them out? What are the doâs and donâts? How do we create and maintain healthy reciprocal relations with these benevolent beings? Young graciously outlines the process for welcoming their presence into our lives, making magic accessible to everyone. She opens the door to infinite possibility and allows all who enter with pure intentions the opportunity to participate in this dance between worlds.
Genuinely connecting with fairies requires an authentic understanding of them, and Youngâs intimate familiarity with the fae grants her the authority with which to convey this understanding. She provides clear and practical guidelines for communing and connecting with the whimsical spirits on multidimensional levels, and this is an especially engaging addition to her book. She reveals that fairies exist on three geographical planes and describes the correlating characteristics and elements associated with each. The Upperworld, Middleworld, and Lowerworld serve as sacred and distinct dwellings for the fairies who have unique preferences, pastimes, and personalities. With Youngâs guidance, we can learn to approach fairies appropriately and with clear purpose. Once weâve entered this ethereal realm, is it really possible to return to a mundane predictable existence? One would think not.
Young further shares accounts of her own remarkable encounters with the âlittle folk.â While many live according to the adage Iâll believe it when I see it, Young emphasizes that some things must first be believed before they can be seen. The majority of our limitations are self-imposed and the extent to which we can see depends largely on what weâre looking for. Youngâs lighthearted, open-minded perspective has clearly opened her eyes to sights unseen by the common man. Her kindred connections and extraordinary experiences with playful pixies will leave readers with goosebumps and little doubt there is more to reality than meets the eye. Youngâs insight is invaluable and her reverence for the fae and their otherworldly kingdoms commands a deep respect and wholehearted affinity for their existence.
Read moreSours: https://www.amazon.com/Faerie-Awakening-Guide-Connecting-Magic/dp/
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