Alexander Averin

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Do You Believe in Fairies?

Dear Diary.

Clouds, Joni Mitchell, audio only.

Cloudwatching is one of my favourite occupations. This is probably one of my top five songs of all time. Even the lyrics alone would make it a most- loved, yet tear-inducing poem. Do take the time to listen. I only posted it because the fairytale line came up in my headphones as I was typing this blog. Another coincidence?.......

All things by immortal power
Near or far

To each other linked are

That thou canst not stir a flower
Without troubling of a star

Francis Thompson

There are so many wonderful fairy illustrations from favourite artists of mine from Cecily May Barker to Charles Rennie Mackintosh.

There is an old book on my shelves called Fairies in Legend and the Arts by Alison Packer, Stella Beddoe and Lianne Jarrett, published in 1980, It was withdrawn by the library service but I rescued it for the price of just one pound. It contains illustrations by the usual fairy artists: Cruickshank, Rackham, Jessie M King and many others. I gleaned much from it to help me write this blog entry.

I have a much-loved fairy artist Trudi Finch who has a studio in Wales. Here, the pic below, (not the one above) is an example of her work. She is the Celtic Fairy.

Why am I blogging about fairies? There has been a discussion in Purplecooland posed by a question in the forums (and a poll!).

Do you believe in fairies?

Of course I voted ‘Yes’ though I have never seen one and probably never will - though I said that about ghosts once and was to be surprised.

Fairies and gnomes all belong to the group known as the elementals and their existence and mention of them can be traced back to the twelfth century. They have many names these elemental folk : goblins, hobgoblins, brownies, boggarts, sprites, Mer-people, The Good People, The Gentry, People of Peace and of course the Irish Little People.

Fairies in some places were thought of as Fallen Angels and that is where their ownership of wings came from as their stories evolved through literature. Humans’ understanding of fairies has changed through the ages, much of it down to their many kinds of representation in literature. But love and sometimes-belief in them still persists and it is enjoying a renasissance at the moment.

Many people believe in other (spiritual) realms inhabited by spiritual beings which sometimes come into contact with our own. ‘Twas ever thus. I have seen a ghost on two occasions. I care not if folk believe me or not - until you see one yourself you are likely waiting to be convinced.

So what is the earliest written account of fairies from the twelfth century? Ironically enough, as I live in the Cambrian mountain region of Wales, it was in a story handed down by Gerald of Wales (Giraldus Cambrensis) in a chronicle Itinerarium Cambriaie (translated in Penguin classics). Funnily enough a contact of mine has written an article about this chap Gerald and it was published recently in Country Quest which is a fine Welsh magazine. I have also linked my sister-in-law to dear Gerald as an ancestor so he seems to be haunting me somewhat does our Gerry.

There were many sightings of fairies in the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and much literature had a fairy theme including much from a favourite poet and mystic, William Blake no less.

There was a revival in the nineteenth century. Theories abound - lost souls, a pygmy race, fallen angels denied access to Heaven and Hell , this latter was most widespread in Ireland where we Irish see them as gentle folk and beautiful.

The Puritans sometimes saw them as no better than devils probably because the white witches seemed to confess to knowledge of Fairyland but they denied there was evil in it.

Another idea is that they are creatures of the imagination. We can get into deeply metaphysical water here - is all life but a dream, imagined and produced by our thoughts and our I-magi nation? Do our thoughts produce our reality? I happen to believe they do but that is another story. I believe that we give fuel to energies such as evil and if we poured love on them instead then they would nor enflame us. But I shall save the subject of creative visualisation for another time.

Back to fairies. The tradition is still strong in Scotland and Ireland.

Talking of Scotland.

And talking of elementals, I read a book years ago that has always stayed with me. It is The Findhorn Garden written by the Findhorn community, I am sure you know it. It tells the story of a Scottish garden created out of a small area of wasteland, just a caravan and a row of beans that developed into more than a garden, it became a spiritual community fuelled by faith and love, accompanied by the sighting of devas and nature spirits.

Everything we grow grows BIG and we always share a joke about Findhorn as the same thing happened there - everything they grew was massive in size!

I will come back to this subject of fairies as I have only just got going, there is so much written on the subject and so many beautiful works of art to share.

I’ll sign off now with a few pics of my own fairies who live all over the garden, not just at the bottom. M was lucky enough to capture these images with his camera.

Look out for yours!

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Norma Murray said...

O.K. I may have talked to a few when I was a child, but that doesn't mean I believe in them now. Does It?

Pondside said...

Lucky you to have all those lovely fairies in your garden!

Unknown said...

This is a wonderfully written, and illustrated tribute to fairy folk. I really enjoyed it! May they one day reward your belief by letting you see them.

Faith said...

Aha I have a fairy like your bottom photo, asleep in a shell in my garden. And my garden, or maybe its setting, has inspired people to call it healing and magical. But fairies, for real.... I'm not convinced.

Kim said...

Your fairies are quite beautiful, Cait.

CAMILLA said...

A wonderful post Cait, I like to think there are Fairies in the garden, truly magical.

Beautiful pictures Cait, thank you so much for sharing this with us.


Debbie Schramer said...

I just love your blog and am so glad that I found it! I am sure that I’ll visit it often!! I thought you might like to know about our Fairy Art!! My husband and I make beautiful little Fairy Furniture, Houses and Characters, and Fairy Films!! Our new movies are called “Creating Beautiful Fairy Furniture” and “The Enchanted Treehouse”. To see more about our movies, just go to my blog at: or my Etsy store at: They are really wonderful! I’ll be back!