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Who or what are faeries?

Beltane (Halloween) is historically a period when the curtain between our world and the Fae is thin for many Pagans. Unless they needed something from their human neighbors, the Fae in most European folktales kept to themselves. It wasn’t uncommon for a story to tell of a human who experimented too much with the Fae—and paid the price for his or her curiosity! There are various forms of faeries in many stories. Most fairy tales divide them between peasants and nobility; therefore, this appears to be mostly a socioeconomic division.

It’s vital to remember that the Fae are notoriously mischievous and cunning and should only be interacted with if you know exactly what you’re up against. Make no promises or offerings that you can’t keep, and don’t make any deals with the Fae unless you know exactly what you’re getting and what you’re getting in return. There are no presents among the Fae; every transaction is an exchange, and it is never one-sided.

Early Myths and Legends

One of the first conquering races in Ireland was known as the Tuatha de Danaan, and they were regarded as formidable and powerful. The Tuatha were said to have gone underground when the next wave of invaders arrived.

The Tuatha, who were said to be the children of the goddess Danu, came to Tir na nOg and set fire to their own ships so they could never depart.

The Tuatha evolved into Ireland’s faerie race while hiding from the Milesians. The Fae are usually connected with mystical underground tunnels and springs in Celtic tradition and lore; it was thought that a wanderer who wandered too far into one of these places would wind up in the Faerie realm.

Finding a secret entry to the Fae’s world was another option. These were usually guarded, although an enterprising adventurer would occasionally find his way in. Upon departing, he frequently discovered that more time had passed than he had anticipated. Mortals who spend a day in the fairy realm discover that seven years have passed in their own world in various stories.

Faeries in the UK

In some parts of England and Britain, it was thought that if a baby became unwell, it was most likely a changeling left by the Fae rather than a human infant. The Fae may come to collect it if it is left unprotected on a mountainside. In his narrative, The Stolen Child, William Butler Yeats tells a Welsh version of this subject. A wreath of oak and ivy kept faeries out of the house, as did iron or salt laid over the entrance step, and parents of a new infant might keep their kid safe from abduction by the Fae by employing one of the numerous simple charms. The Fae cannot abduct a child because the father’s shirt is stretched over the cradle.

In some accounts, examples of how to view a faerie are given. A wash of marigold water wiped about the eyes is thought to give mortals the ability to see the Fae. It’s also said that if you sit in a grove of ash, oak, and thorn trees under a full moon, the Fae will arrive.

Are the Fae Just a Fairy Tale?

A few books claim that people have believed in the Fae for thousands of years, citing early cave drawings and even Etruscan sculptures as proof. Faeries as we know them today, on the other hand, did not first appear in literature until the late 1300s. People used to believe in faeries a long time ago, according to Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, but they no longer do by the time the Wife of Bath narrates her story. Surprisingly, Chaucer and many of his contemporaries acknowledge this phenomenon, although there is no definite evidence of faeries in any preceding texts. Instead, it appears that earlier societies interacted with a variety of spiritual beings that fit the 14th-century writers’ definition of the Fae.

So, what about the Fae? Do they actually exist? It’s difficult to say, and it’s a topic that is frequently and passionately debated at Pagan gatherings. Whatever the case may be, there’s nothing wrong with believing in faeries. As part of your Beltane celebration, leave them a few offerings in your garden, and maybe they’ll return the favor!

Do you believe in faeries? or have any encounters with them? Leave us a comment below; we would love to hear your story!

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