Fairies

February 18, 2018

Fairies begin their day by coming together a moment and sharing joy.

They love the feeling, which dew on the leaves draws from grass, lilacs and the response of meadow and flowers to the dawn.

Diminutive green sylphs now run in the grass, whose growth seems intimately associated with theirs, a single line of concentration.

They talk to themselves, constantly repeating, with an intensity causing their etheric doubles, grass, to vibrate as they pass, vivifying growth.

To rabbits and young children they’re visible, but I see points of light, tiny clouds of colour and gleams of movement.

The lawn is covered with these flashes.

In low alyssums along a border, one exquisite, tiny being plays around stems, passing in and out of each bud.

She’s happy and feels much affection for the plants, which she regards as her own body.

The material of her actual body is loosely knit as steam or a coloured gas, bright apple-green or yellow, and is very close to emotion.

Tenderness for plants shows as rose; sympathy for their growth and adaptability as flashes of emerald.

When she feels joy, her body responds all-over with a desire to be somewhere or do something for plants.

Hers is not a world of surfaces–skin, husks, bark with definite edges and identities.

Trees appear as columns of light melting into surroundings where form is discerned, but is glowing, transparent, mingling like breath.

She tends to a plant by maintaining fusion between the plant’s form and life-vitality contained within.

She works as part of nature’s massed intelligence to express the involution of awareness or consciousness into a form.

And she includes vitality, because one element of form is action.

Sprouting, branching, leafing, blossoming, crumbling to humus are all form to a fairy.

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Anne Jefferies was the daughter of a poor labouring man, who lived in the parish of St Teath. She was born in 1626, and is supposed to have died in 1698. When she was nineteen years old, Anne, who was a remarkably sharp and clever girl, went to live as a servant in the family of Mr Moses Pitt. Anne was an unusually bold girl, and would do things which even boys feared to attempt. Of course, in those days every one believed in faeries, and everybody feared those little airy beings. They were constantly the talk of the people, and this set Anne longing anxiously to have an interview with some of them. So Anne was often abroad after sundown, turning up the fern leaves, and looking into the bells of the foxglove to find a fairy, singing all the time –

“Faerie fair and faerie bright;
Come and be my chosen sprite.”

She never allowed a moonlight night to pass without going down into the valley, and walking against the stream, singing –

“Moon shines bright, waters run clear,
I am here, but where’s my faerie dear?”

The faeries were a long time trying this poor girl; for, as they told her afterwards, they never lost sight of her; but there they would be, looking on when she was seeking them, and they would run from frond to frond of the ferns, when she was turning them up its her anxious search.

One day Anne, having finished her morning’s work, was sitting in the arbour in her master’s garden, when she fancied she heard some one moving aside the branches, as though endeavouring to look in upon her; and she thought it must be her sweetheart, so she resolved to take no notice. Anne went on steadily with her work, no sound was heard but the regular beat of the knitting-needles one upon the other. Presently she heard a suppressed laugh, and then again a rustle amidst the branches. The back of the arbour was towards the lane, and to enter the garden it was necessary to walk down the lane to the gate, which was, however, not many yards off.

Click, click went the needles, click, click, click. At last Anne began to feel vexed that the intruder did not show himself, and she pettishly said, half aloud –

“You may stay there till the kueney [moss or mildew] grows on the gate, ere I ‘ll come to ‘ee.”

There was immediately a peculiar ringing and very music laugh. Anne knew this was not her lover’s laugh, and she felt afraid. But it was bright day, and she assured herself that no one would do her any mischief, as she knew herself to be a general favourite in the parish. Presently Anne felt assured that the garden gate had been carefully opened and again closed, so she wait anxiously the result. In a few moments she perceived at the entrance of the arbour six little men, all clothed very handsome in green. They were beautiful little figures, and had very charming faces, and such bright eyes. The grandest of these little visitors, who wore a red feather in his cap, advanced in front the others, and, making a most polite bow to Anne, addressed her familiarly in the kindest words.

This gentleman looked so sweetly on Anne that she was charmed beyond measure, and she put down her hand as if shake hands with her little friend, when he jumped into her palm and she lifted him into her lap. He then, without any more ad clambered upon her bosom and neck, and began kissing her. Anne never felt so charmed in her life as while this one little gentleman was playing with her; but presently he called his companion and they all clambered up by her dress as best they could, and kissed her neck, her lips, and her eyes. One of them ran his fingers over her eyes, and she felt as if they had been pricked with a pin. Suddenly Anne became blind, and she felt herself whirled through the air at a great rate. By and by, one of her little companions said something which sounded like “Tear away,” and lo! Anne had her sight at once restored. She was in one of the most beautiful places – temples and palaces of gold and silver. Trees laden with fruits and flowers. Lakes full of gold and silver fish and the air full of birds of the sweetest song, and the more brilliant colours. Hundreds of ladies and gentlemen were walking about. Hundreds more were idling in the most luxurious bowers, the fragrance of the flowers oppressing them with sense of delicious repose. Hundreds were also dancing, engaged in sports of various kinds. Anne was, however, surprised to find that these happy people were no longer the small people she had previously seen. There was now no more than the difference usually seen in a crowd, between their height and her own. Anne found herself arrayed in the most highly-decorated clothes. So grand, indeed, did she appear, that she doubted her identity. Anne was constantly attended by her six friends; but the finest gentleman, who was the first to address her, continued her favourite, at which the others appeared to be very jealous. Eventually Anne and her favourite contrived to separate themselves, and they retired into some most lovely gardens, where they were hidden by the luxuriance of the flowers. Lovingly did they pass the time, and Anne desired that this should continue forever. However, when they were at the happiest, there was heard a great noise, and presently the five other fairies at the head of a great crowd came after them in a violent rage. Her lover drew his sword to defend her, but this was soon beaten down, and he lay wounded at her feet. Then the faerie who had blinded her again placed his hands upon her eyes, and all was dark. She heard strange noises, and felt herself whirled about and about, and as if a thousand flies were buzzing around her.

At length her eyes were opened, and Anne found herself on the ground in the arbour where she had been sitting in the morning, and many anxious faces were around her, all conceiving that she was recovering from a convulsion fit.

Robert Hunt
Popular Romances of the West of England

spirit lights

It was difficult to settle down in England. My mother missed the warmth of the Irish people, the rough country scenes, and the soft Irish rain. She became ill, and one day just before my seventh birthday, Sarah (the young woman’s governess) took us all into the room to say goodbye. Although it was a winter evening, the room was strangely light. A soft radiance flooded my mother’s face and enveloped the tiny face , which was all we could see, of the baby lying in the crook of her arm. We (the six children) waited in silence beside Sarah. My mother beckoned, and Sarah went forward and lifted the baby from her arms. She murmured, ‘Goodbye,’ then held out her hands to my father, who clasped them in his own until my mother’s smile faded and she was at rest. At that moment, fifty or more fairy people, holding a shimmering blue cover, came instantly forward and drew the wonderful gauze over the bed and the still figure. The light faded and the room felt cold. Then from the corner came the clear notes of my mother’s harp.

Marjorie T. Johnson
Seeing Fairies: From the lost archives of the Fairy Investigation Society, authentic reports of Fairies in modern times

The spirits fly about in great clouds, up and down the face of the world like the starlings, and come back to the scenes of their earthly transgressions. No soul of them is without the clouds of earth, dimming the brightness of the works of earth. In bad nights, the Sluagh shelter themselves behind little russet docken stems and little yellow ragwort stalks. They fight battles in the air as men do on the earth.

A Carmichael
Carmina Gadelica (1928)

where they work much evil

October 10, 2017

…all the Irish, believe that the fairies are the fallen angels who were cast down by the Lord God out of heaven for their sinful pride. And some fell into the sea, and some on the dry land, and some fell deep down into hell, and the devil gives to these knowledge and power, and sends them on earth where they work much evil. But the fairies of the earth and the sea are mostly gentle and beautiful creatures, who will do no harm if they are let alone, and allowed to dance on the fairy raths in the moonlight to their own sweet music, undisturbed by the presence of mortals…

Lady Wilde
Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms and Superstitions of Ireland

Lost Mystical Fairy - Frits Vrielink

…The Manx people believed that the fairies were the fallen angels, and that they were driven out of heaven with Satan. They called them “Cloan ny moyrn”: The Children of the pride (or ambition). They also believed that when they were driven out of heaven they fell in equal proportions on the earth and the sea and the air, and that they are to remain there until the judgment…

William Cashen
Manx Folk-Lore

“AN account of Anne Jefferies, now living in the county of Cornwall, who was fed for six months by a small sort of airy people, called fairies; and of the strange and wonderful cures she performed with salves and medicines she received from them, for which she never took one penny of her patients.

– In a letter from Moses Pitt to the Right Reverend Father in God, Dr. Edward Fowler, Lord Bishop of Gloucester.”

Anne Jefferies, who was afterwards married to one William Warren, was born in the parish of St Teath in December 1626, “and she is still living, 1696, being now in the 70th year of her age.” From the published narrative, we learn that Mr Humphrey Martin was requested by Mr Moses Pitt to see and examine Anne in 1693. Mr Martin writes, “As for Anne Jefferies, I have been with her the greater part of one day, and did react to her all that you wrote to me; but site would not own anything of it, as concerning the fairies, neither of any of the cures that she did. She answered, that if her own father were now alive, she would not discover to him those things which did happen then to her. I asked her the reason why she would not do it; she replied, that if she should discover it to you, that you would make books or ballads of it; and she said, that she would not have her name spread about the country in books or ballads of such things, if she might have five hundred pounds for it.”

Mr Pitt’s correspondent goes on to say that Anne was so frightened by the visitors she had in the arbour “that she fell into a kind of convulsion fit. But when we found her in this condition we brought her into the house and put her to bed, and took great care of her. As soon as she recovered out of her fit, she cried out, ‘They are just gone out of the window – they are just gone out of the window. Do you not see them?'” Anne recovered, and “as soon as she recovered a little strength, she constantly went to church.” “She took mighty delight in devotion, and in hearing the Word of God read and preached, although she herself could not read.”

Anne eventually tells some portions of her story, and cures numerous diseases amongst the people, by the powers site had derived from the fairy world. “People of all distempers, sicknesses, sores, and ages, came not only so far off as the Land’s End, but also from London, and were cured by her. Site took no moneys of them, nor any reward that ever I knew or heard of, yet had she moneys at all times sufficient to supply her wants. She neither made nor bought any medicines or salves that ever I saw or heard of, yet wanted them not as she had occasion. She forsook eating our victuals, and was fed by these fairies from that harvest time to the next Christmas day; upon which day she came to our table and said, because it was that day, she would eat some roast beef with us, the which she did – I myself being then at the table.”

The fairies constantly attended upon Anne, and they appear to have vied with each other to win her favour. They feel her, as we have been already told ; and the writer says that on one occasion site “gave me a piece of her bread, which I did eat, and I think it was the most delicious bread that ever I did eat, either before or since.” Anne could render herself invisible at will. The fairies would come and dance with her in the orchard. She had a silver cup, given at her wish by the fairies to Mary Martyn, when she was about four years of age.

At last, “one John Tregeagle, Esq., who was steward to John Earl of Radnor, being a justice of peace in Cornwall, sent his warrant for Anne, and sent her to Bodmin jail, and there kept her a long time.” The fairies had previously given her notice that she would be apprehended.

“She asked them if she should hide herself. They answered no; she should fear nothing, but go with the constable. So she went with the constable to the justice, and he sent her to Bodmin jail, and ordered the prison keeper that she should be kept without victuals, and she was so kept, and yet she lived, and that without complaining. But poor Anne lay in jail for a considerable time after; and also Justice Tregeagle, who was her great prosecutor, kept her in his house some time as a prisoner, and that without victuals.”

We have a curious example of the fairies quoting Scripture. I am not aware of another instance of this. Anne, when seated with the family was called three times. “Of all these three calls of the fairies, none heard them but Anne. After she had been in her chamber some time, she came to us again, with a Bible in her hand, and tells us that when she came to the fairies, they said to her, ‘What ! has there been some magistrates and ministers’ with you, and dissuaded you from coming any more to us, saying, we are evil spirits, and that it was all a delusion of the devil? Pray, desire them to read that place of Scripture, in the First Epistle of St. John, chap. iv. ver. I, “Dearly beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God;” and this place of Scripture was turned down so in the said Bible. I told your lordship before, Anne could not read.”

Anne was at length liberated from confinement. She lived in service near Padstow, and in process of time married William Warren.

How honestly and simply does Moses conclude his story!

“And now, my lord, if your lordship expects that I should give you an account when, and upon what occasion, these fairies forsook our Anne, I must tell your lordship I am ignorant of that. She herself can best tell, if she would be prevailed upon to do so; and the history of it, and the rest of the passages of her life, would be very acceptable and useful to the most curious and inquisitive part of mankind.”

C. S. Gilbert
An Historical Survey of the County of Cornwall

see fairies

April 30, 2017

Few humans see fairies or hear their music, but many find fairy rings of dark grass, scattered with toadstools, left by their dancing feet.

Judy Allen
Fantasy Encyclopaedia

The spirits of Faerie…

October 6, 2016

gustave-dore-a-midsummer-nights-dream

The spirits of Faerie are the earthbound Celestial Host, corresponding in many ways with their heavenly brethren , but making their habitation instead amid the Green Round of Nature and the elements, hence their appellation ‘fallen’. They inhabit the land, waters and airs, assuming a multitude of forms, some of terrible and unearthly beauty. A considerable number are directly allied unto the Green Dominion and stand as guardians of worts, trees, and groves. In general the places of their dwelling are far from the habitations of Adam’s race.

Whilst their presence in nature is consistent, their perceived forms are not: they inhabit the shifting margins of the waking sensorium, revealing themselves at such times as local orientation is disrupted; they haunt mists and take the forms of spectral lights, shadows, men, women, beasts or plants; or the pareidolic co-mingling of these forms with others of Nature. Their appearance unto mankind is often preceded by sudden fatigue, intoxication , or inexplicable rapture; and lore relates that some among them first appear in water, as beautiful men and women emerging from lakes and springs. Though of an infinitely wise nature, the numerous taboos and superstitions governing their appeasement testify to the Faerie Host’s capacity for malice. This liminal domain of manifestation is subject to its own laws of governance, bound by the Hidden Virtue and the Queen of Elphame herself, and cannot be traversed by the artifices of mankind. Thus the audience of Elphame is granted on its own terms, usually without expectation, and is frequently attended by high danger.

Daniel Schulke
Viridarium Umbris

Vengeful and arrogant…

June 23, 2016

Faries - Liselotte Eriksson

The fairies, besides being vengeful, are also very arrogant, and allow no interference with their old-established rights.

Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde
Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland