Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Who's the Fairiest of Them All?

The Good People maintain their timeless power and presence, whether you can see them or not
by Joie de Vivre 

Michelle Pfeiffer as Titania, Queen
of the Fairies, in Shakespeare's
A Mid-Summer Night's Dream
This last weekend I officiated a Hogwart's High Tea, e.g. a Harry Potter party.  The only thing more pleasurable than the whimsical proceedings was the affable crowd.  They were just the nicest people ever.  Through the course of the event I learned that in addition to HP fans, there were all sorts of LotR groupies (that's Lord of the Rings to non-denizens of Middle Earth) and a few Twilight enthusiasts, primarily among the tween guests.

When I faced a lull in the action while waiting for a few participants to finish their Goblet of Fire quiz, I stalled by conducting an impromptu poll.  I asked how many in the audience were lovers of mermaids -- half of the hands rose in curiosity.  Next I asked about genies.... only a few jumped on that magic carpet.  Finally, I asked about faeries.  I expected little to no response given that the audience was about 20-50 years older than the usual pint-sized fairy fans I have encountered.  To my surprise the air was filled with wildly waving hands.

Turns out faeries are still big news... and have been so on and off since the time of Homer.  In doing a wee bit o research on the subject for our Faerie weekend Getaways premiering next year, I was able to cull my findings down to just over 100 pages.... Don't panic, I won't regurgitate it all here - especially since I came across mounds of contradictory information on everything from the beings' size to intent to proclivities... even the spelling of their species!  Just take a gander at the intro to the topic posted on Wikipedia:

fairy (also faeryfaeriefayfaeeuphemistically wee folkgood folkpeople of peacefair folk, etc.) is a type of mythical being or legendary creature, a form of spirit, often described asmetaphysicalsupernatural or preternatural.
Fairies resemble various beings of other mythologies, though even folklore that uses the term fairyoffers many definitions. Sometimes the term describes any magical creature, including goblins orgnomes: at other times, the term only describes a specific type of more ethereal creature.

A Fairy Ring
As with many research projects, a little knowledge can prove dangerous, and I admit to being far more baffled by faeriedom after all my reading than I was prior to it.  According to what could be considered a bevy of 'reputable expert' sources on the subject, faeries have been found far and wide, from the UK to Scandinavia to Asia.  In Britain, the fee folk enjoyed their Golden Age between 1840 & 1870.  Ironically, they are said to have departed the world as we know it the century before.

Apparently the fae come in a variety of flavors.  There are more classifications of fairies than there are races of humans.  One such example is that of Nature Fairies which includes mermaids, water-sprites, tree spirits and so on.  Faerie People of the Elfin race are regarded fairies in the truest sense.  They generally dwell underground, have a penchant for green, an attachment to cattle, love milk, can become invisible at will, enjoy pranks, and love nothing better than dancing... in Fairy Rings.  The lure and enchantment of the latter has led many a mortal to his doom.

....Yikes, this only takes us through the first page of my notes!  All right, Plan B.  For now I will take the easy way out by stating that all fairy questions will be answered at our 2-day Faerie Fete getaways launching in just a few short months.... in mortal time, that is.  There we will cover  faerie festivals, sightings, folk legends, customs, enchantments, traits, language, history, human relations, fairy etiquette, fairy tales, music and, of course, dancing!... not to mention all manner of proprietary secrets I dare not mention in so public a forum.

To share your own love of faeries and their relations, please flit on over to our Siren School Facebook page.
For incredibly detailed information on this ethereal subject, visit faerie.monstrous.com.

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