( A brief overview of Faeries from the U.K)
What are they? Who are they? Are they Tinkerbell, like beings or are they like the wailing Banshee? I will attempt to answer these questions, but I would like to address that these beings are not so easily defined. The reason behind this is that as each generation grows and new ideas are brought onto the scene, these beings take on new shapes and forms.
So, what is a faerie / fairy / faery? Faeries, or the "Fae" are folkloric / spiritual creatures that are often seen as embodiments of nature / natural forces, and associated with the dead. Faeries can alo be broken into two "groupings", known as solitary faeries and trooping faeries, depending if they can be found in groups or on their own.
In Irish lore, the faeries are heavily associated with the departed and the other realm / realm of the dead. Inhabiting burial mounds and some even foretelling one's death, such as the Beansidhe - Banshee.and even those going to collect the dead such as the Dullahaun . A headless fairy that rides a horse / pulls a carriage with a whip of bones going to collect those to die. Though, Irish fae are not all about death, but of cunning and mischievous beings too, such as the leprechaun and clurichaun . The former a small cobbler who when caught can be compelled to tell you where his treasure is; however, will do all in power to be freed or cause their capture to never find their treasure. The clurichaun , is the drunken and more prankish cousin of the leprechaun, who inhabits / haunts breweries, wine cellars and pubs.
In Scottish folklore, we find the faeries broken into two further categories or better "courts". Those being the Seelie and Unseelie Courts. Though while the former often comes off as more benevolent, they are by no means not dangerous. For they may spirit away a foolish person who steps into their rings or take children and leave behind a changeling for humans to raise. In Scotland folklore and witch trails, we hear of the " Queen of Elphame ". A fairy / elf queen who gave familiars and taught the ways of magick, as seen in the case of Andro Man in 1597. We also find more dangerous faeries here who often sought to kill or drain humans, such as the kelpie and the nuckelavee . It is also worth noting "faerie dogs" are noted among the Scottish Fae.
English, Cornish and Welsh faeries, we find similar and dangerous faeries; however, we're introduced to another breed and kind of fae, that being the domesticated faerie. Faeries that live in the home and assist the household such as the hobgoblins , brownies and so on. Those we can find similar beings thought out Europe, such as the Slavic " domovo i". This beings are said to assist in chores and farm work, when treated well and given food; however, can become malign if offended. Destroying property, causing poltergeist like activity and so on. We also find accounts of faeries from this region (and through out the U.K) of faeries and elves who'd shoot magick arrows that would cause lameness in animals, sour milk or even cause bad-luck. Some even account faeries (and witches) for causing blights on crops. Even in Cornwall we see a form of faerie appear, that of pixies . Beings said to be invisible, small and friendly to man, and that their queen " Joan the Wad " is a bringer of good luck.
As great migrations from Europe through colonization, these belief in faeries spread with the and came to merge with other indigenous people's belief in nature spirits. As seen here in the United States, which I will write a whole post on American Faeries. As we've grown up with belief in the "Little People", "Good Folk", "Good Neighbors" and the like, the Fae have cemented themselves in our history and culture. So with them firmly rooted in our lives, what are they?
Faeries are beings that reflect the world we live in. From the Sidhe (pronounced as shee) of Ireland, which haunt the old castles and families, to the modest and humble house-faeries such as the Hob / Brownies of England and Scotland, to even pixies of Cornwall. Faerie Faith has many loops and connected strands, and each person believes something different. So while no one person can truly define them, it is safe to say that the Faeries, are spiritual beings that inhabit and embody the natural world and the spaces we too dwell. They are our unseen neighbors, and can be among our greatest allies or bitterest enemies. From solitary to troops, from court to courts. Faeries are, as faeries are.
(If people would like me to go more in depth and have enjoyed this enough to want to know more, please let me know in the comments. I wanted to just dip our toes, to say, in faeries; however, I am more than happy to go farther into detail and do focused posts on the different types of faeries!)