The fairy tradition is an important and essential aspect to shamanism worldwide, and especially to the Celtic Bardic/Druid Tradition. WY Evans-Wentz documented the fairy faith in his famous book, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries.* He traveled throughout and studied native Celtic speakers in the six Celtic lands of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, and the Isle of Man. He was able to document and preserve the many stories, legends and myths of the ancient Celtic druid traditions, as it had been preserved by the country people in the various Celtic lands. He documented that the country people in their "fairy faith tradition" had preserved the druid bardic Celtic spiritual tradition. This research study luckily was done before World War One, which resulted in such great devastation that the fairy tradition rapidly dissipated. World War I resulted in the massive destruction of communities. It eroded people's connection to ancestral lands and resulted in the dispersal of families and traditions, which had dwelled in the lands for thousands of years. RR Tolkien wrote his famous trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, being heavily influenced by his experience in World War I and World war II and their destruction of British and European families, cultures and traditions. World War I and World War II completed the destruction and dispersal of British and European families, which had begun with the Industrial revolution in the 1700's.
Modern Conceptions of Fairies.
It is important to note that most modern peoples conception of the fairy is a diluted degraded demystified dishonored, and corrupted version of the elder tradition's powerful view. RJ Stewart , the important Celtic underworld and faery teacher, has emphasized this degeneration in his many books. This degeneration of the fairy tradition has occurred since the 18th century CE and the industrial revolution. This has resulted in a particularly nasty and vacuous view of the powerful fairy beings. For example, they are seen as small beings with little butterfly wings and wands like Tinkerbell.
Types of Faeries
In ancient traditions worldwide there are perceived a multitude of faery beings and faery tribes who come in a huge variety of shapes sized and qualities. Katherine Briggs, for exapmle, in her book "The Vanishing People, Fairy lore and Legends (1978, Pantheon Books/Random House, New York/Toronto, originally published by B.T. Batsfield, London) points out a few of the many faery races. Brownies, hobglins, pixies, bwcas, shelly goats, corrigans, spiggrans, phynnoderees, name but a few. Others include Trooping faeries, house spirits, nature fairies, fairy midwives, faery changelings, Bogie Beasts, Bwbachod, Sidhe, Dwarfs, Elves, Fees, Gnomes, Goblins, Kelpie, Korrigan, Meg Mullach, Mermaids, Mermen, Moss Women, Water Horses, Padfoot, People of Peace, Pouka, Sluagh, Spunkies, Swanmaidens, Trolls, Tuatha De Danann, Tylwyth Teg, Will o' the Wisp. See attached glossary of Faeries from Katherine Briggs.
Faerie Beings as Demigods
In the elder traditions the faery beings are perceived as being immortal. They were created at the beginning of time and have cohabitated the earth with humankind along with other creatures. The fairy beings are perceived as being closer in consciousness to humanity than other spiritual beings, such as Angels. They are perceived as being living beings like humans and creatures, but without physical form.
Faerie Beings as Shape Shifters
Many faery beings are perceived as having the ability to shape shift, being that they are non material, They are believed to psychically read humans minds and are able to change into a shape that conforms to the human expectations.
Therefore a faery being in Ireland may appear as a little leprechaun with a green coat, red hair and pipe, whereas in native North American traditions, one of the traditional native faery beings is the Sasquatch . Also, in he USA the faery being may appear as a gray alien with a big head coming out of a space ship. Faery beings appear to shape shift according to the particular land and people where they reside.
Human Faery Creature Alliance
RJ Stewart, in his books, The Living World of Faery, Earthlight, and Power within the Land emphasizes the faery underworld view that are three kinds of life or consciousness upon the Earth: The Human Beings, the Faery Beings, and the Creature beings (all living beings other than human and faery which includes animals trees, plants, etc.)
According to RJ Stewart, The Faery Tradition's core beliefs involve the need for the preservation of the Earth, of alliance and communion between the three orders of life that human beings, the fairy beings, and the creature beings. In this tradition all powerful magic and spiritual work must include a communion and collaboration between these three orders of life. It is the belief of the modern faery tradition that our major spiritual work is the rebuilding of the cosmic web and through the rebuilding and reawakening of the alliance between the humans, faeries and creatures. Shamanism worldwide emphasizes the same necessary goal. The most important rituals and magic must be done outdoors within a grove of trees under the sky, stars and moon so that the faeries and creatures can be fully present to ally with the humans present.
In European, Mediterranean and African traditions, faeries are frequently referred to as the "daemon". A daemon is perceived as a kind of demigod. They are immortal and of a spiritual rather than of a physical nature. They have many godlike powers of foreknowledge and magic. The Daemons are believed to mate with human partners and create humans who have godlike superhuman abilities. The Greek and Roman examples of gods mating with humans and creating mortals who have super human powers are good examples of this tradition. Many outstanding human beings in ancient history according to myth and legend are purported to have daemon fathers, including Socrates, Merlin , Alexander the Great, King Arthur and Jesus.
Confusion occurs in terms of faery lore because there are a multitude of different beings called "Faery". Some of these beings are really primitive elemental spirits who inhabit particular trees, streams or land. They may be of the four different elements, Earth, Air, Fire, And Water. The most powerful faery beings are the ones referred to in the Irish Tradition as the Tuatha De Danann, the high faery, the Luminous Ones, and the Shining Ones. These faery consciousness are closer to the ancient gods and goddesses in their nature, and involve a great deal more magical power than an elemental spirit. The daemons of Europe are analogous to the Tuatha De Danann.
The Celtic tradition, like the Daemon tradition of Europe, has numerous myths concerning outstanding humans such as the Irish warrior hero, Cuchilean (sp), who have faery fathers and have inherited the faery gifts. Such individuals are referred to as "Half-lings". Many Celtic families retain myths that have faery ancestors and a history of faery marriages. Dr. Karr himself has such a tradition in his father's family. Based upon numerous legends, it is hypothesized that in order for a human being who is material in this world to have a faery parent one must have a faery father and a human mother because the faery are not material and in order to be born in a material form we require a material mother. The half humans in myth who have physical form in the material world, appear to have faery or daemon fathers, not faery mothers.
There are also many stories and legends about human beings going into the faery realm and mating with the faery beings. A classic example lies in the poem, Tam Lin, in which a young handsome man is taken by a faery queen into her realm of faeries, to be her lover. It is hypothesized that the children produced in the faery realm must be of the mating of a male human and a faery woman because the faery realm because the faery realm is non material, but rather spiritual and that one must be born of a spiritual nature rather than of a material nature in the material realm. The myths of faery maidens in the faery realm seem to be concerning a young man and a faery woman.
The concept of the fairy marriage in Celtic tradition is related to another concept, the faery cousin. The concept of the fairy cousin involves the belief that human families which have a history of fairy marriage also have as a result, fairy cousins are fairy beings related by marriage. They might be the ancestral fairy father of ones halfling line, or fairy beings related to ones faery father. Fairy cousins are faery beings who form close bonds with particular families or lines and maintain this relationship for thousand of years, being that faeries are relatively immortal. There are many stories regarding faery cousins who even migrate across the ocean to America with their human families. This is part of Dr. Karr's family mythos as well as many other Celtic families who have immigrated to America. Faery cousins bring many gifts to their human families. These gifts include the gift of mediating second sight of foreknowledge for members of their human family. It is common for members of such faery-human families to have the gift of second sight. Dr Karr's mother, for example, developed extensive, psychic gifts.
Fairy cousins in such families often intervene in crisis situations for the benefit of their human cousins. For example, when Dr. Karr's aunt was accidentally about to administer poison instead of medicine to her sick daughter, the poison was knocked from her hand by a faery cousin, saving the life of her daughter. There are classic faery cousin stories in Scotland in which faery cousins deflected bullets aimed at their human cousins.
A strange and interesting aspect of faery beliefs is the concept of relative immortality of the faery beings. The faery beings are perceived as almost immortal. This connects to the viewpoint that they are much closer to archetypal perfection than humans, but not quite there. It is believed that the faeries have a little way to go before becoming once again gods and goddesses (fully immortal). This concept is explored in The Lord of the Rings when the ring of power tempted the elf queen, and she overcame the temptation and passed the test. The Elf Queen, Galadriel, after passing this test, the elf queen and the other elves prepared to leave the world and go to a higher realm. An important part of the fairy tradition is the belief that under certain specific conditions, faery beings may be killed or destroyed. It is believed that faery beings are extremely uncomfortable with iron or steel. It is believed that they may be made weak or ill by weapons of iron or steel. There are also other magical rites which may destroy faery beings in faery traditions. Given the above, humans working with the faery tradition do not use or have around objects or tool of iron or steel when performing faery workings. Rather sacred tools of copper, silver, gold, stone wood, (anything but iron or steel must be used).
A related issue to faery beings near immortality and great age is the belief that faery time is very different than human time. The faery beings, being nearly immortal, have experience millions of years upon this planet and therefore, one year is experienced by them as les than a second of our time. Many of the myths concerning humans entering the faery world undergo a profound shift in their experience of time. For example in the myth of Rip Van Winkle, he goes into the faery world and thinks that he has been gone a few months, and when he returns, over a 100 years has passed in the human world. Related to this difference in time is that because faery beings exist in such a long time and a year appears as just a moment to them, they perceive us humans not individually, but as an ancestral line. They therefore relate to a Rodney Karr as a Karr, not as a Rodney Karr.
Faery Hive Consciousness
Another kind of faery consciousness involves a kind of hive consciousness, which is a collective consciousness. A multitude of faery beings may form a collective consciousness in which all are connected psychically. The trooping fairies are one of these types of faeries. This collective faery consciousness creates and manifests a faery queen who represents and speaks for the collective consciousness of the hive. A collective faery consciousness is extremely different from the individuated high faery known as the Tuatha De Danann. It is believed in many faery traditions, that when the current era of Christianity came, that the high faery withdrew into the Earth or went away far out to sea in ships, to Avalon, and that the old gods of the elder tradition became the high faery. The gods and goddess are archetypal energies which live exist and feed upon their worship and honoring by human beings. They are not exactly immortal. When their people lose faith lose memory and forget them they can no longer exist and manifest heir power in the middle world (material world). They then retreat and wait within the Earth or out to sea and await the time when they may be honored and remembered again and brought to life. The elder tradition believes that there are great cosmic cycles similar to the seasons, which come and go and return. These cycles may last thousands of years. The elder tradition believes that the cycle will cycle back and that there will be the time of return. The faeries and elder gods and goddess have been patiently awaiting their time of returning which is at hand. A big part of the faery tradition is the mythos of the faery beings (gods and goddesses) leaving the middle Earth because of the changes and shifts in human consciousness. This theme is clearly expressed in The Lord of the Rings Trilogy when the Elves get upon the boats and go out to sea, to the west, to Avalon. It is the purpose of the modern faery tradition as well as the pagan revival movements to reawaken and re-enliven the old beliefs of the old traditions of the Gods Goddess and high faery to build the bridges for their return in this time of ecological, social, political, and spiritual crisis and destruction.
In faery tradition, each of the three kind of consciousness human, have different abilities and gifts. There are many gifts, which faery beings have which include second sight, seeing through time and space, which seem godlike to us human beings. Whereas we humans have many abilities which are as foreign and impossible for a faery being, such as building a castle, of moving a rock or tree. It is incumbent upon us humans to open the gateways for the faery beings and God and Goddess to return. They cannot do so by themselves.
These poems are bardic poems which may date back thousands of years with the oral tradition, and express the processes of the bardic druid faery traditions. They may be used as guided journeys / meditations to enter and return from the faery worlds.