Faeries & Pixies
- The Beginning
- They are called the Fae, fay,
faeries, sprites and pixies. Are they the same thing? Are
there separate variations or species? What are they exactly? Where do
they live? Who believes in them and how do they communicate with them?
- The best place to start this topic is with
spellings and definitions. There are several spellings used throughout
the world and spiritual community for faeries. Fairy and faerie are the
two most common, but they can also be described as fay or fae.
leprechaun, faerie, brownie, sprite are all terms for these
supernatural beings, thought to be helpful or harmful to people. These
variations in name are often attributed to different cultures of the
world using different languages to describe the same thing. For
instance, here in America we call the roof over the engine of our car a
hood. In the U.K. it's a bonnet. The way we label these magikal little
people is similar to that. Thus we have different names to describe
nearly the same group of little people.
- Faerie is the most general name for such
beings: a good faerie is often referred to as a godmother (faerie
godmother); but they may also cause misadventures for humans. A brownie
is a good-natured tiny being who appears usually at night to do
household tasks: more often outside chores, such as cutting
the lawn and tending weeds in flower beds. A pixie is usually
young, mischievous or roguish faerie. A Sprite refers to a faerie of
pleasing appearance who is older than a fae and who is to be admired
for ease and lightness of movement. Sprite can also refer to an impish
or even hostile being.
these generalizations can get mixed up based on where you are in the
world and which faerie legends you read or research. Here in the west
we can define these names and labels in dictionary standards, but to
really understand them, it's best to research the etymology of these
labels and not just their definitions.
- ~ Brownies
benevolent goblins (an ugly little creature), who are supposed to haunt
old farmhouses in Scotland. First used in the 1510s, and described as
"a wee brown man".
- ~ Dobbie
- A "household
sprite." First seen in 1811, from playful use of the proper name
represented in dobbin (the name of a farm horse in Merchant of Venice).
In Sussex, England such apparitions were called Master Dobbs.
These Germanic Elves were some of the first concepts of the Jolly Old
Elf. Over time, these elves and specifically Santa Claus, slowly became
kind little people thanks to the Yule version of their kind.
- ~ Elf
early folklore, an elf is one of a class of "out of the ordinary
beings", especially from mountainous regions, with magical powers,
given to capricious and often mischievous interference in human
affairs. They are usually imagined to be a diminutive beings in human
form; similar to a sprite or fairy.
Elf appears in various European regions. In Germanic folklore elf
appears in the form of Old Norse alfr,
German alp as
"one of a race of powerful supernatural beings" referring to an "evil
spirit, goblin or incubus". Used figuratively for "mischievous person"
- The small diminutive Elf rises in
stature in Old English folklore in the late 16c. In the Middle Ages
(5th to 15th centuries) Elves were confused to some degree
with faeries; the more noble version begins with Edmund Spenser
an English poet best known for "The
Faerie Queene". Their image as a tall
and beautiful race of mystical people is further cemented in the works
of J.R.R. Tolkien's Hobbit
- Nonetheless a popular
component in Anglo-Saxon names, many of which survive as modern given
names and surnames, cf. Ælfræd "Elf-counsel" (Alfred), Ælfwine
"Elf-friend" (Alvin), Ælfric "Elf-ruler" (Eldridge), also women's names
such as Ælfflæd "Elf-beauty."
- ~ Faerie
- First found around 1300AD, faerie refers to "enchantment,
magic". It derives from Old French "faerie"
as the land of fairies, meeting of fairies, enchantment,
or magik. It may also be derived from fae
"fay," from Latin fata
(plural) "the Fates".
- Faerie as "a supernatural creature"
is from the late 14c.,
perhaps through intermediate forms such as faerie
knight "supernatural or legendary knight" (early 14c.).
The diminutive winged beings so-called in children's stories seem to
date from the early 17c.
- The slang meaning "effeminate male" or a
homosexual man is first recorded 1895.
- Faerie ring
is from the mid 1590s.
- Fossil sea urchins found on the English
Downlands were called fairy loaves.
- ~ Faery / Fae / Fairy / Fay
- Are all alternative spellings
- ~ Leprechauns
a figure from old Celtic legends (most specifically Irish lore),
described as a little old man who will reveal the location of a hidden
crock of gold to anyone who catches him.
- It can be found from 1604, Irish "lupracan",
Old Irish "luchorpan" in literature, as "a very small bodied person".
Is commonly spelled lubrican in 17c. English.
- ~ Pixie
seen in 1630AD, the name is from obscure origin. It
perhaps comes from or is related to Swedish dialect pyske "small
fairy". But West County origin
suggests the ultimate source is in Cornwall and thus comes from Celtic
oral traditions and lore. The earliest references were in pixy-path
"bewilderment". Literally it referred to a "path on which one is led
astray by pixies," and pixie-led, meaning "lost."
is seen as a regional term to define faeries of a particular region or
culture. Most specifically in Celtic (Scottish and Wales)
Pixilated referred to a person who was touched by Pixies, implying they
were slightly insane, or made mad by the touch of the pixies.
- Pixy is an alternative for Pixie.
- ~ Sprites
- First seen in the 1300sAD, from Old
"spirit," from Latin spiritus.
Described as a nimble elflike creature, especially one associated with
- Nixie comes from an Old High Germanic word (nihhussa) to mean a water
- In folklore a faerie is one of a class of
supernatural beings, generally conceived as having a tiny human form
and possessing magical powers with which they intervene in human
affairs. There are over 1000 varieties of faeries throughout legend and
lore around the world. Almost every culture has some form of faerie
being who interacts with humans. Some cause havoc others protect or
- The earliest depictions of faeries is
reportedly found in Etruscan* art around 600 BC, where paintings
display small human formed beings with wings. The Etruscans called
these beings Lasa. Some have suggested that faeries don't appear in
Celtic lands until after the rise of Christianity. But earlier Celtic
lore doesn't support this approach and suggests the faeries were first
described around 400 BC as the Celts were exposed to the practices of
the Etruscans. Others suggest they can first be found during the Stone
Age period (9000-8000BC) in Old Europe's Cult of the Dead. The
Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (800 AD) were writings that described, among
other things, charms against 'elf-shot'.
link between faeries and the dead has been a long association. Some
suggest fairies were originally the spirits of the deceased. Thus their
association with the Cult of the Dead in Old Europe, the tomb paintings
of the ancient Mediterranean and in Etruscan art which depicts faeries
in the company of a god or goddess. They can also be found in this
context as part of the Lare of the Romans. A Lare or Lar in early Roman
religions were guardians of an area, place or home. Statues of a Lare
figure were often placed upon a table to provide blessings to those who
sat around it, or as a place of honor where diners would thank the Lare
for the bounty of food.
- The Celtic Tuatha de Danann have been described
as early legends of Celtic faeries. The Tuatha de Danann came out of
the mist and arrived in the British Isles.
The early Celts were oral traditionalists. It's likely the Tuatha de
Danann where talked about in poems and stores long
recorded their importance. The Celtic Book of Invasions
(The Lebhar Gabhála Éireann) describes the Tuatha de Danann battling
the Fir Bolg and defeating them. The Tuatha de Danann were not friends
to the Celtic people however. Rather they are described as precursors
in the Book of Invasions. They are defined as the 5th group to settle
Ireland, conquering the island from the Fir Bolg.
- As the Celts moved into Britain around
600-500BC the Tuatha de Danann moved into the hills and forests to live
in secret. This presumably linked the faeries to nature and living in
the country lands. The Etruscan faeries are associated with vegetation
and the secrets of Nature, again aligning faeries with nature.
spiritualists of the west tend to focus on faeries of Europe, but they
do exist all over the world. they can be found in Japan, China, India
and in many shamanistic cultures of Native American Indians, African
tribes and Australian Aborigines. For instance, in Japan the Chin-Chin
Kobakama are fairy like in appearance. They are generally elderly but
are amazingly spry. They are seen as a house faerie and specifically
are interested in floors, either natural wood or rugs. They move into a
home, provide their protection and assistance as long as the home is
kept clean. They are known to tease sloppy children and chase after
- The Faeries
- Generally faeries are highly connected to
nature and take care of the natural world or what some might call the elemental world.
They bring the spring and help the nature kingdom wake up from its
long winter slumber. They work through the summer to help nature grow
and into the fall to direct nature through its transition into winter.
And in winter they bring the snows and watch over the natural world
while it sleeps. In these legends, the faeries are in charge of the
elemental seasons helping the world transition from one section of the
Divine circle to the next.
- Other legends have the faeries watching over
the vortex elements of nature. These elements being earth, air, fire
and water. They use these elements to support the natural courses of
nature as it moves around the Divine circle of change; birth, life,
death and spirit.
our modern times, this is excellently depicted in Disney's Tinkerbell
movies. Each type of fairy has his or her own talent that assists
nature moving through the seasons, which are brought to the human world
by the fae themselves.
In general faeries
live in Faerie
Land, a mystical invisible place that can rarely be seen by humans and
certain times of the day or year. Some legends foretell of humans who
touched by the faeries and can see their land whenever they want, or
night. Other stories say Faerie Land can only be seen at night during a
moon, or only during certain holidays during the year when there is
merriment and the faeries drop their guard to keep hidden. The most
these holidays occurs during 3 Pagan Sabbats (sabbath holidays). The
occurs in May and is known as Bealtaine when the God and maiden Goddess
betrothed. The second occurs on the last sunset of October known as
when the Celtic New Year begins. The final holiday occurs at the end of
year during the 12 Days of Yule when the God is reborn to the world.
- Other encounters can occur, but are often
confused as being something else and not as communications or sightings
from the faerie world. Faerie Fire is a perfect example of this. Faerie
Fire is a misty, phosphorescent light fluttering or flowing through the
night. It can be seen in a graveyard as an etherical shell around a
confused spirit. When seen on a road, it is believed to be a light
designed to misdirect a nighttime traveler. In Russia it is seen
floating around the head of an unbaptized child while it sleeps.
Presumably the light is from faeries magik designed to protect the
child from evil while it sleeps.
- Some legends describe faerie signs or signs of
faerie existence. Such as faerie circles, faerie mounds, faerie stones
and faerie weeds. Faerie mounds are described in Scotland as the actual
physical formations in the earth believed to be the homes of the little
people. Faerie Stones are stones with a naturally formed hole that has
the vibrational frequency to be worn as a healing agent or an amulet of
protection. Faerie Weed is a specific type of plant that assists the
faeries with psychic manifestations.
today people talk about the fairy circles in their yard. These are
circles of mushrooms that seem to pop-up over night in your yard. They
are said to grow from the magik dust left behind by the faeries as they
danced and celebrated during the night in our world, before returning
to their hidden land.
- Most legends of faeries agree that in Faerie
Land time and space do not move in the same manner as it does in the
human world. A single night in Faerie Land can equal several years in
human time. Because of this the entrance way into Faerie Land is
highly guarded and can only be found in the base of a tree trunk. Some
suggest it has to be a specific kind of tree, such as an old Oak. While
others specify other variations of entrances based on that cultures
connection to the spirit world.
- For instance a few legends of the orient
suggest the entrance into Faerie Land can only be found in the first
bloom of a lotus plant. In order to guard against the
faeries playing havoc with the human world, some people would
block the 'exits' from Faerie Land with iron. Faeries believe iron to
be an abomination and have no magikal influence over it. In order for a
human to gain entrance into the Faerie Land, a human would stick a rod
of iron into the door so it could not be closed. The faeries wouldn't
touch the iron and the door would remain open until the human removed
- The Faerie Traditions
- There are many Pagan Metaphysical traditions
that incorporate faerie legend and lore into their practices and focus.
Let’s have a quick definition here so we’re speaking from the same
page. Pagan is any religion that does not follow the
doctrine set forth by Abraham; what we call Abrahamic tradition. Pagan
Metaphysics is a modern name for the Old Religion or what many people
know as Witchcraft. Pagan Metaphysics is a global religion, of which
Wicca is the most common denomination here in America. Wicca is to the
Old Religion, as Baptist is to Christianity. There are many
denominations of Pagan Metaphysics, some older than Wicca, some more
- There are so many modern variations of faerie
traditions that they all cannot be listed here. One of the most well
known Wiccan based systems is The Feri Tradition founded by Victor
Anderson and Gwydion Pendderwen. Their practices are very secretive and
little is known about their specific beliefs and practices.
- Faeri Wicca places an emphasis on the Fae
(gnomes, elves, faeries, sprites, etc.), their lore, and their relation
to the natural world. Many associate this tradition with the Tuatha de
Danann. Another variation is sometimes called Faerie Wicca, which is
associated with the faerie tradition founded by author Kisma Stepanich.
- Other faerie traditions base their practices on
common thoughts and beliefs of the Faerie folk laid out in several
cultures and mythologies. These groups take what they like and
discarding other elements to incorporate into their own
Tradition. Other groups such as the Dryads, base
their beliefs and practices on a Celtic tradition that honors a
specific set of faeries. In this case the Dryads work with and honor
the Tree Spirits. They also go by the name Sidhe Draoi or the English
translation Faerie Druids.
- Connecting With The Faeries
course no one has to connect with faeries for magikal workings. But
doing so helps to add the elements and energy of nature to magikal
workings. There maybe times when a practitioner wants a little extra
help and the faeries can certainly do that. Magikal workings can be
with specific groups of faeries for specific purposes or a working can
invite a specific faerie by name.
- In her book 'A Witch's Guide to Faerie Folk',
Eden McCoy provides a great quick guide for faerie forms and endeavors.
- Healing Animals
- Brown men
- Protection of Animals
- Twlwwyth Tegs
- Protection of Home
- Chin-Chin Kobakama
- Twlwwyth Tegs
- Healing People
- Brown men
- Chi spirits
- Protection of People
- Gwragedd Annwn
- Twlwwyth Tegs
- Prosperity Spells
- Travel or Lost Objects
- Fertility Spells
- You can work in general terms as well by
calling on faeries of particular elements, such as the Faeries of the
Wood, or Water, Air or Fire. Or you can just call on the faerie folk
and allow them to come to you as they may. It's really up to you and
what you feel comfortable with.
upon the faeries isn't different than calling upon your guides or the
Divine force in your life. It requires focus and forethought. What do
you want to do, how do you want the faeries to help and what do you
want them to help with are all things you need to think about before
you call upon their magikal assistance.
- Begin by sitting down in a quiet location and
going within to your higher self. Take in several cleansing breaths,
set your shields of protection and state your intent. Move into a
meditative state and guide your visions toward creating the energy you
want to establish, be it communication, looking within yourself for
spiritual learning, or walking through the process of a ritual you are
about to conduct.
- You can create a Faerie greeting that rhymes
and that you can use each time you work with your faeries. Here are a
- For going within and looking for answers:
- Faeries bright in faerie
light, please help guide my sight, to find the answers inside tonight.
- For divination (especially with tarot):
- Faeries bright in faerie
light, please help me pull the card that is right and find the answers
I need tonight.
- For ritual work
- Faeries bright in faerie
light, please help me create energy tonight, guide my thoughts and
guide my sight to manifest the spell that is right.
- Just as important as asking for help is making
sure you thank the faeries for coming to help you. It's also a good
idea to make an offering to the faeries as well. Specific faeries like
specific thing. If you want to provide a generic gift, leave a plate of
fruit or vegetables outside by your favorite tree after
sunset. Don't leave meat, and if you leave a drink, wine is
common. Highly processed alcohol is generally a bad idea. Some faerie
experts say leaving alcohol of any kind is an insult to the Fae. They
suggest leaving natural fruit juice instead.
- Additional Reading
- The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries
by Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz, University Books 1966
- The Elements of the Arthurian Tradition
by John Matthews, Element Books 1989
- The Vanishing People: Fairy Lore and
Legends by Katherine Briggs, Pantheon Books 1978
- A Witch's Guide to faerie Folk
by Edain McCoy, Llewellyn Publications 2007
- * Etruscans - Etruscan
civilization is the modern English name given to the culture and way of
life of a people of ancient Italy and Corsica whom the ancient Romans
called Etrusci or Tusci. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Etruscan_civilization
- Sources: 1,
o2, o17, o32, o35, o36, o37, o39, o54, o57, o58, o58, w07, w08
- Created: 07.31.2010