The Way of the Celts – Fairies

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By Kristin Olsen

The magic and mystery of the Celtic Nations are the focus of my writings and a passionate part of my world. My lineage is part Celtic and part Viking and I am fascinated with the Spirituality, Fantasy, Magic, History and Illusion that this part of the world represents. Here in this column I will transport you to the lands of mist and magic. I am but a humble student on a grand exploration of this planet. I was placed here to learn, share and teach. Together we will explore the wondrous Celtic Lands.

Have you ever had your heart leap and you had to stop and catch your breath? Have you ever thought about a place, a thing, or a person and felt that you just belonged there, like your heart and soul were in some way intertwined with it? Join me now as we step back to a time long past that is steeped with mystery, illusion, promise and fantasy. Oh and possibly a glorious pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. A time when what mattered was living life. Close our eyes and see with me green trees, wide open lush valleys, streams teaming with fish, fairies dancing, dragons roaming and leprechauns running freely with human kind and of course magick a glitter everywhere. Welcome to the land of Erin. Come, SHH… you don’t want to awaken the Banshee Fairy!

The belief in fairies is an almost universal attribute of early folk culture. Fairies are magickal creatures that entertain children and adults alike. For adults the fairy represents the innocence of youth and the promise that there is something more than just what we see. Most adults have lost the ability to see fairies peeking out from behind a tree or chasing a butterfly across the lawn. To read about the Fae folk takes us back to childhood and cotton candy, slip n slides and magic. Well what if you could see fairies and they were chasing butterflies in your backyard? Would the world think you sane? Would you care? Let me tell you of the Irish Fae Folk and then you can decide for yourself if they are real or not. If you do believe, maybe you can bring the magic of the Fairyland into your life.

Most Fairies today are seen as beautiful fluttering creatures that you see out of the corner of your eye or just imagine them to be dancing around happily. Not so of the ancient Celtic realms. Sidhe (pronounced Shee, a fairy) and other magical creatures lived with human kind. They were there to possibly teach and assist the human folk of the land. Since they were a part of the life process you have the mean, ugly, beautiful, sad, happy and death fairies of the Celtic Isles. The people of the Isles call their fairies wee folk. Lets take a brief look at some Fae Folk.

The Leprechaun: A solitary creature avoiding contact with mortals and other fairies. He is usually making shoes or protecting his pot of gold. It is said that if a mortal catches a leprechaun and sternly demands his treasure, he will give it to him. He is very symbolic of Ireland.

Merrows: The female is also called a mermaid (murúch) or a sea-maiden (maighdean mhara). She has the tail of a fish and web-like scales between her fingers; she is most lovely and graceful. The male sits on a rock, always scanning the sea for cases of brandy lost from wrecked ships.

Silkies: Are seals by day but men and women by night. They are fabled to be extreme beauties.

Lianhan Shee: Love Fairy. She seeks the love of mortal men at a high cost. She creates such desire in her lovers that they will overcome all obstacles to embrace her. She does insist on meeting her lovers in Tir-na-n-Og. Mortal men must die to enjoy her fairy delights.

Changelings: This is the dreaded creature of all mothers. These mean, ill-tempered fairies trade places with mortal children. The children are sent to Fairyland to play beside the fairies. There are ways to banish the Changeling and thus bring back the mortal child in perfect condition.

Pooka: This creature can appear as a Black Horse, an Eagle or a Black Goat. In ancient days the pooka was in charge of all that went ventured our after dark, except those on missions of mercy.

Dullaham: (Gan Ceann) rides during the dead of night. He is a headless horseman riding wild upon a headless horse. Wherever he stops a mortal dies. They fear gold, so to save your soul, always carry a gold coin in your pocket.

Banshee Fairy: The banshee, from ban (bean), a woman, and Shee (Sidhe, a fairy), is an attendant fairy. She wails only for certain families, those whose names have Mac/Mc’ or ‘O’. She heralds their passing into the otherworld with fierce wails and moaning.   She normally appears in one of three stages: a lovely young woman, a graced matron or an old knowledgeable hag. These represent the Celtic triple goddess made so famous over the years – Mother, Maiden, and Crone. She also appears in a variety of other forms, such as that of a hooded crow, stoat, hare and weasel. These are all animals associated with witchcraft in Ireland.

Join me again for more tales of the Celtic Lands. We have much to discuss, St. Patrick, Book of Kells, The Otherworld, Tir Na n-og, Holidays, Runes, Goddesses, Gaelic and perhaps even a way to see Fairies in your everyday world or how to obtain the pot of Gold from that dreaded Leprechaun. Magic and Adventure is all around you, just close your eyes, open your heart and listen to your soul. Celtic Magic is everywhere.   Visit me at http://www.celticattic.com