What is “Fairycraft?” Part I
Over the last few years, I have developed an interest in “fairycraft,” which is a direct result of my amazing experience in meeting a fairy elemental when I lived in Florida.
It was a warm late Autumn morning in November 2014, the first time I met the swamp fairy. The fog curled around the tops of the trees and the autumn breeze smelled of fragrant flowers, even though the early frost had killed all the wildflowers.
That day, I left early for my regular morning walk. I took the narrow back road behind the housing area where I lived. My destination was a natural Florida slough, split in two by the road where I found myself each morning, mesmerized by the magic of the location.
That particular morning I could hear the chirping of birds, as tiny bugs hatched on the warm autumn breeze, buzzing about my head. As I walked along the road, I saw something darting about in the underbrush. At first, I thought it was a bird, but I couldn’t be sure. Whatever it was made a pleasant humming sound.
I inhaled the intoxicating fragrance that wafted around the area and peered into the dense foliage. It was a lovely peaceful morning. My heart beat faster as I approached the bushes. My eyes strained to make out the tiny being as her colors blended into the dead leaves hanging from the branches.
I have no idea how I knew she was a fairy elemental. Yet, somehow I just knew. When her eyes met mine, I felt something akin to a spiritual encounter. This experience ignited something inside of me that I didn’t know existed.
Currently, I’ve followed a path that seems to have led me to the fairy faith. Maybe that was the destination my swamp fairy had always intended for me. I don’t know, but here I am.
The book, “Fairycraft ~ Following the Path of Fairy Witchcraft,” by Morgan Daimler, has figured prominently in my understanding of this path. I’ve quoted several passages from the book for convenience.
“Fairy Witchcraft is a way to bring the old Fairy Faith ways and beliefs forward into a modern neopagan context. The Fairy Faith is a belief system that transcends religion and so can be followed within any religion; however, it is uniquely suited to combining with paganism. When a neopagan witch chooses to follow the Fairy Faith and blends the two together, the result is a new system, which I am calling Fairy Witchcraft, that uses elements of the beliefs and practices of both to create a whole.
It is a way not just to honor the fairies, but also to connect to them and to the Otherworld on a deeper level. Fairy Witchcraft as described in this book is the summation of my own personal practices, developed since 1991. It weaves together the different threads that have influenced me: the Irish Fairy Faith, neopagan witchcraft, Druidism, Celtic Reconstructionism, Germanic folk beliefs, and Heathenry.”
As a Buddhist, this fairy faith path seemed logical to me. I see nothing in this journey that doesn’t mesh with what I already believe. In fact, because of the polytheistic elements of both Fairycraft and Buddhism, I felt quite at home with the teachings, as I believe everything has a spirit.
Daimler says she has coined the term, “fairy witches” although I feel the name has probably been in use for centuries.
“Like a bean feasa, a Fairy Witch is someone who deals often with the fairies and gains knowledge from them. The bean feasa helped the community with herbal remedies, divination, and advice especially relating to the fairies; similarly, the Fairy Witch should be willing to help people in their community as best they can with the skills they have. The bean feasa used herbal cures, but not for medicinal purposes; rather her herbal cures were magical in nature.”
Click to read what a bean feasa is: AskaboutIreland.ie
From what I’ve read, Fairy Witchcraft is a solitary practice where the individual works on their connections to the otherworld and the spirits. Each person’s experiences differ and will be unique to that individual. Fairy witches seek to honor the fairies and to practice ancient fairy magic.
A fairy is more than the name suggests. Dispell the Hollywood image of a fairy from your mind. The word “fairy” includes sprites, fairy giants, tiny pixies, human-sized elves, hags, and even banshees! Just wait until I explain all the hierarchies involved!
My experience was with an elemental. I believe she was a part of the swamp she dwelled in, not necessarily a fairy by definition even though to me, she displayed ethereal abilities.
The fairy faith is an animistic belief that all physical things contain a spirit that can be communicated with. Animals, plants, stones, even things created by mankind like houses and cars all possess a spirit. As the spirit is tied to the human soul during life, so are the spirits tied to the physical things.
These spirts are also called fairies who appear to live on a separate dimension from us. They have the ability to interact with humans even though they are “otherworldly” in nature. One thing I’ve learned is that the fey folk prefer to be called the “good neighbors, good folk, or the gentry.”
To connect to the Otherworld it is believed that one must nurture certain qualities within oneself. These seven qualities are hospitality, generosity, kindness, compassion, courage, politeness, and adventuresomeness.
The last one made me laugh. Those same qualities are what make up the elements of a good myth, so I’ll share how Daimler defines adventuresomeness:
“There’s a saying ‘fortune favors the bold’ and that certainly holds true when dealing with the Otherworld. Although caution and a willingness to deal with the consequences of any action are also important, the Fey Folk have always seemed to respect and be drawn to people who take chances.”
To summarize, the fairy faith encourages a belief in many gods. Central to their tenants is a belief that everything has a spirit. The fey like to be called the “good neighbors, good folk, or the gentry.” (Daimler)
In addition, the fairy faith combines the teachings of the Irish Fairy Faith, neopagan witchcraft, Druidism, Celtic Reconstructionism, Germanic folk beliefs, and Heathenry.
I’ll continue my fairy faith series next week. See you then. Namaste and Blessed Be!
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