Who or what are Faeries and how you can connect with them?
There are many theories out there about what the faeries are. Over the past centuries we managed to put them in neat little categories, so it is easier for us to understand them.
However in my own experience with the faeries, the longer I work with them, the more I understand how unnecessary these categories are, and how unfitting they are.
Each culture, each country and each region has their own races of faeries. Alone here in Germany, in my own small area, they are given so many different names, that it actually can be confusing at times. For that reason I leave the usual part of listing all the different types of faeries out and I will share something more important with you. However I also know that many people are interested in the different types of faery, and I definitely encourage you to do you own research about it. It is a fun way to explore the Faery realm and to get more aquatinted with the beliefs of our ancestors when working with the Fae. At the end of this lesson I will list a few book titles that you may want to read, if you want to know more about the different faery types.
As I mentioned already you will see after a while, that all those set beliefs about the different types will merge and blend together, the faeries don't necessarily like to be put in boxes, and I think that many of you will fully understand this reluctance.
Faery is a vast umbrella term, and when we talk about them today we include all the beings from the Otherworld.
In our modern days they are often referred as reflected aspects of our personalities, or expressions of our psyche. Please know that the faeries are not that, they are independent beings, with a purpose of their own. They live their own life, they have an ego, and they have their own goals.
In the old tales we often see that their own culture and their traditions are comparable with our own. They even have a hierarchy, but it is still slightly different than our ideas of Kings and Queens.
They are said to be the first spiritual beings in the world, and it doesn’t matter if we believe in them or not, they will not cease to exist.
Faeries are shapeshifters and they may appear to you in many forms, sometimes in a form well known to you, and sometimes in an utterly unexpected form.
Many faeries often tend strongly to one element, think of gnomes who are connected with the element of earth, or the mermaids who have of course a connection with water.
Faeries are closest to our kin, and they are often referred to as our co-walker or cousins.
The way I see it, they are the intelligence behind the living force of the planet. They live in a world within our world, yet hidden from our sight. Faeries are with us at any time at any place, you don't have to visit ancient power places to experience them, even though it might be easier at those places to access their realm. We will talk more about places of power in a future lesson.
When I read books or blogs about faeries, I often see how strongly authors feel about that we cannot compare the „real“ faeries to Tinkerbell. It always makes me smile a bit, to some extend I agree with this statement, but I also think that we may judge the Disney faeries a bit too harshly.
I want to make sure that you understand what ancient magic runs through Faery and their inhabitants, but I also want you to know, that a representation like Tinkerbell is also part of the truth. There are definitely small faeries, and you will find them most likely in your garden and with your flowers. They are joyful and take care of your plants.
I agree that many faeries are represented as innocent little beings with wings, who are just cute and wouldn't ever harm anybody, but when we look a bit further and see how the Tinkerbell franchise also represents their power over nature and how they take part in the changing of the seasons, we are not that far of the truth anymore.
Faeries have a great sense of humor, it may seems sometimes a bit odd, or even cheeky at times, but their heart is light and joyful. However as with everything in nature they carry light and shadow within them, just as you and I. This brings us to the next point.
Seelie and Unseelie
Many of you have heard of this categories of the faeries, the Seelie Court, the light faeries or the good faeries, and the Unseelie Court, the dark faeries or the bad ones.
The seelies were seen as benevolent and happy faeries who are eager to help us. The unseelies were the malevolent ones, that brings us bad luck and were seen as dangerous.
In my opinion this is an immense simplification, and nothing in nature works with simple black and white thinking. We also have to remember that many texts about Faery were written during a time were religion demonized these beings, and religion has a tendency to put everything into black and white.
Every faery, same as every human being, has both sides within them. Most of the faeries who would be likely to harm you, will not cross your path anyway, in my experience.
J.R.R. Tolkien took another approach to this light and dark separation.
His elves were inspired by the Ljósálfr (light elves), and the Dökkálfar (dark elves).
Here is a quote from the Prose Edda :
Many splendid places are there. There is one place that is called Alfheim. There live the folk called light-elves, but dark-elves live down in the ground, and they are unlike them in appearance, and even more unlike them in nature. Light-elves are fairer than the sun to look at, but dark-elves are blacker than pitch.
He was influenced by this categories but changed it to his liking. I spare you now my nerd wisdom when it comes to Tolkien’s World, so I keep this explanation short. He divided his race of Elves into the category of Calaquendi (the "Elves of the Light" or "Light-elves"), referred to those Elves who had seen the light of the Two Trees in Valinor. This group was also often called the High Elves, and of Moriquendi, or Dark Elves (those who had not seen the light, or the divine). There is no distinction between good and bad, only that the Moriquendi never saw the Two Trees and didn't finish their journey to Valinor.
So always keep this is mind when you do your research about faeries, you will often come across old tales and folklore that talk about the evil nature of the Fae, of course you are entitled to your own opinion, but in my opinion this is just another area where people tried to understand the nature of something, didn't manage this task, and went on with a simplified world view.
Faery Kings and Queens. Many of the Faery King and Queens has also been worshipped as gods or goddesses. A good example is the old Faery race of the Tuatha de Dannan. You can read more about the history of Ireland, the Tuatha de Dannan and the Sidhe in the Book of Invasions, or Lebor Gabála Érenn. The children of Danu were a powerful race, magical beings, who lived in Ireland. It is mentioned that they arrived in ships from the ancient cities of Finias, Gorias, Murias, and Falias. The Book of Invasions claims in a poem that they came to Ireland riding in “flying ships” surrounded by “dark clouds.”, and there are some interesting Alien theories about this topic.
King Daghda ruled during the invasion by the mighty Melesians. The Tuatha Dé Danann were defeated, legend has it that they were allowed to stay in Ireland, but only underground. Thus they became the bearers of the faeries of Ireland, consigned to the underworld where they became known as 'Aes sidhe' (the people of the mound, the fairy mounds).
Other gods and goddesses that might derive from the Faery race are the Morrigan, she plays a part in the battle of the Tuatha de Dannan and can also be found in disguise as Morgan La Fay in the Arthurian Saga. The god Lugh is also associated with Faery, as is Brigidh, Elen of the Ways, Aine, and Manannan Mac Lir, the Celtic god of the sea. Another well known god from Wales is Gwyn Ap Nudd, he is said to be the Faery King who dwells in Glastonbury Tor, but it is also said that he rules the Welsh Underworld Annwn and is the leader of the Wild Hunt. In the northern tradition we can find the God Freyr, who is the King of Alfheim, home of the light elves. Another God in this pantheon is Loki, who is a descendant of the Giant race.
Cernunnos, a god from the Celtic pantheon, is also considered to be a Faery King. The horned gods also have a connection to the Underworld and the realm of the dead which leads us the belief that faeries are also closely connected with our ancestors. The dead and the faeries are to be found in the Underworld. The Sidhe (pronounced shee) are named for the burial mounds in which the dead rest. Even though they might reside both in the same realm, I still believe that faeries and the dead, our ancestors, are not the same, keep in mind that the faery beings were never human.
The Welsh faeries, the Tylwyth Teg are said to be under the rulership of Gwyn ap Nudd, and they live in the lakes and in the mountains of the welsh landscape. It is told that they are very alike human, only their love for music and dancing are greater. They also dwell in the midst of humans and are thought of to visit markets and fisher towns in Wales.
A special Faery Place in Wales is the Fairy Glen in Bettws y Coed. I’ve visited this place in 2017, and it is truly magical and full of Faery energy.
In Welsh it is called Ffos Noddyn „the Sink of the Abyss“. This place can easily been seen as an entrance to the Underworld.
The Tylwyth Teg are mostly seen as friendly, as long as you treat them with respect. In Folklore we can see that they had a close relationship with the farmers and they were not averse to help them as long as offerings of milk, cheese or butter were made. They did small tasks in and around the house, and they brought good luck and love to those whom they liked and cared for them. In later additions, just like in Irish mythologies, they were accused of stealing children and to leave changelings, this was probably added by the church to scare the people and so the demonization of the faeries started.
Faeries, Nature Spirits, and Elementals - Is there a difference ?
As I mentioned before already, the more we try to categorize, the more confusing it can get.
However in my opinion there is a difference between those three categories, even if today they are often put together.
Elementals are components of pure air, fire, water, or earth, however it may also be possible that
they carry very small amounts of the other element within them. The best way to perceive the elementals is when we see them at their work; this might be a tornado, a storm, thunder, when you see the waves crashing at a cliff, an earthquake, but also the slight breeze that brushes your skin, the sound of rippling water of a stream.
Nature Spirits can be found in all cultures and traditions throughout the world and they reflect the landscape where they reside. When working with Nature Spirits you will see a difference between those beings who dwell in a city park and those who live in a more inaccessible environment. As the area becomes more uninhabitable, the wilder the beings will be. They will also vary in size; in your own garden it is more likely to encounter small beings with a gentle energy, but in the mountains for example you can encounter tall beings and even races of giants, who are wild and powerful, and maybe even at times dangerous. Nature Spirits are also bound to a place, a tree, a flower, which faeries are not, they can move around freely.
How can you approach Faery?
The best way to approach the faeries and their realm is through your heart. Whenever your want to work with them, let your intentions be pure. Do not seek contact with them for your own personal gain. This is something I unfortunately see more often in the Faery community nowadays. People are often overwhelmed with their life, and understandably they seek guidance and want to find something that can help them, however there is often little understanding that the faeries are not our little helpers, to whom we run to every time we have a problem. The Fae can be of help to us, they can be very supportive in matters of healing, may it be yourself or the environment, but always remember that there needs to be an exchange. Don't just ask for help for every problem you have, but enter the Faery Realm without the expectation to get something from them. They can be wonderful allies, but they don't solely exist just to be our servants, as I mentioned already they have their own agendas and if you can make contact with them, see this already as a gift as they chose to welcome you in their world. Throughout the years they did often helped me, especially when times were though, but I honestly never asked for it. My own approach towards them comes from a place of joy and wonder. This will also be the easiest way to connect with them, when you are light of heart, and not dragged down with the worries of everyday life. That’s why it is so much easier for children to see and connect with the faeries, kids are fully present, and everything around them seems magical to them. Try to find this place within yourself before you choose consciously to connect with the Fae. Go as often as possible out in nature, even if you only have a few minutes a day, make the commitment to spend time outside in a natural environment as often as possible. If you live in a city, go to the park, many curious being dwell in those places, and you will make their day brighter by acknowledging them. Always be honest with yourself and with the faeries when you enter their realm, they know when you tell lies, they know it before you do. Don't try to hide anything, they scanned us long before we were even thinking about connecting with them. So don't play games with them and don't try to look good to them when you don't feel it. All of us have a day where we feel off, and even if I say that it’s best to enter Faery with a light heart, that doesn't mean they don't understand that we may be troubled sometimes. What you also have to keep in mind when entering Faery is that you need a good sense of humor. I just give you now an example of my own experience with them, how silly they can be sometimes.
So there I was, doing my very serious work wit Faery and I meditated on the crossroads and was open to receive any messages I needed to hear. One message was very clear to me, I heard the phrase „treasure in the water“ over and over again, I also saw something golden, yellowish shining beneath a water surface. At that point I really didn't knew what to do with this kind of information, so I didn't fret over it anymore. The next day I went for a walk with my husband and my two dogs. We went to the forest where, guess what, a stream followed the path. At some point a bit further away I saw a beautiful young deer hopping over the stream and I heard the phrase „treasure in the water“ again. I thought by myself, well that was really beautiful, and I absolutely adore to see a deer crossing my path, but there was no connection to the golden shimmer underwater. So I thought I might have mixed up something and didn't think about it anymore. After a short while we came to a small bridge that we crossed, and when I looked down off the bridge I truly saw something yellow shimmering in the water. First I tried alone to figure out what it is but I couldn't reach far enough to see what was hidden in the water. After a while my husband was wondering what I’m doing so I explained it to him. Now you see two people for twenty minutes trying to reach something that looked like yellow nuggets, we used branches, and still we couldn't reach until my husband got his feet wet and figured out what truly was hidden in the water. The mystery nuggets, where plain and simple potatoes, probably from a potato salad that somebody threw in. Can you believe it, just silly potatoes. I swear to you at that moment I've heard them giggling throughout the whole forest, and this is the kind of humor you might encounter 😂
I’ve made two versions of this exercise, as I know it is not always possible to go outside, especially in winter when it is just too cold to sit quietly outside for a longer period of time. This exercise will only take you a few minutes a day, and even though it might not seem very advanced, it will help you to bring some consitancy within your work and it will bing you a greater awareness of your environment. It also helps you too see how your own feelings are reflected in your environment. You can find the written text for these exercise just below, you can read them through and do the exercises on your own, or you can download the audio file if you prefer to listen to this exercise.
Outside in nature
Find a spot outside where you will not get disturbed, do this exercise wherever you like, you can do this in your own garden, in a park, in the forest, at a lake, wherever you feel comfortable and save. You can sit or stand, whichever you prefer. Close your eyes for a moment and start by becoming aware of your own breath, slow it down and breath deeply. Nothing else matters at this time, just breath. When you are calm become aware of the space you are sitting in. Bring your hands to the ground, how does it feel? Can you feel the wind on your skin? How does the air smell? Can you feel the warmth of the sun or do you feel cold? Open your eyes and have a look around you. Imagine yourself as a Faery, slowly let yourself transform into a being of nature. Where would you go in this area? Look closely at the spot you chose, what makes it so special? Look around some more, become aware of the sky above you, maybe you even see some clouds moving, what can you see in them? Take some time now to scan through your environment, become aware of every movement that you can see and let your faery self dance within this movement. Slowly transform yourself back into your human form. Take a deep breath in, and exhale. Begin to move your body again and feel the connection with the earth. Take some time to listen, listen closely to your surrounding and observe what the sounds sparks within you. Give yourself a minute to do this and then I release you slowly back to your world.
Go to a place where you will have some privacy and where no one will disturb you. You can lay down or just sit, whatever you feel most comfortable with. Become aware of your own breath, let it become deep and steady. Your breath is the most important thing you have to think about at this time. Breath deep and slowly. Become aware of the room you are sitting in. How do you perceive the air in your room, is it light and fragrant or does it feel heavy? How does this relate to your current feelings? Visualize how you breath out your feelings and let them fulfill the room. How does it look like now? Is it different than before? Know that you are able to change the energy of the room at any time. Send in whatever you want it to feel like at this time. Take another deep breath in and exhale. Imagine how you transform yourself into a faery, observe your own tranformation. What is your first impression of this room? Take a moment to scan through the entire room and than let your faery self choose a spot that she wants to explore further. What does it make so special? Have another look around the room, is there something else that attracts your faery-self? Become aware of the entire room again and see if there is something that you would like to change, why? How would you change it? Now let yourself be transformed into your human-self again, observe the process. Take a deep breath in again and with the next exhale just let go. Slowly feel your body again, start moving your hands and your feet. Before you come to an end with this exercise I want you to take a minute to just listen to any sounds that may surround you and observe how you react to it. And then come back slowly into your world.
Your Faery Homework for Lesson One
- Do your own research about the faeries and the Faery Realm. Please know this is something that does not simply takes a week, a month, or even a year. You will come across many tales, myths, and legends over your whole lifetime, just try do get a basic understanding.
- In your own words, write down what faeries are to you. How do you see the Faery Realm? Remember there is no right or wrong, just write down your own ideas.
- What are your favorites stories about the faeries, and why?
- Explore the myths and legends of faeries from your own area, write down what you figured out so far.
- Explore and experience your own landscape, your own surrounding. What beings do you think will you be likely to meet in the environment you live in ?
- Do the Exercise 1 on a regular basis throughout this lesson. You can use the Audio file to do this or you just read the text a few times and do it on your own. When I mention to transform into your faery-self, how does it look like? Are there any other experiences that you want to share?
- Cassandra Eason : Complete Guide to Fairies & Magical Beings
This book has a few exercises about how you can connect with them as well as a huge encyclopedia of the different races from faeries all over the world.
- W. Y. Evans Wentz : The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
One of the must haves if you want to dive deeper into the Faery lore.
- Robert Kirk : The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies
Another very well known book about faeries written by a Scottish minister, where legend has it that he still lives in the Realm of the Fae.