Have You Ever Been Pixie-Led?

Mythical Monday

Have you ever found yourself lost or wandering around trying to find your way?

Then, Pixie6it’s possible you may have been pixie-led!

Pixies are mythical creature commonly found in folklore particularly in the western parts of England. Up to the end of the 19th century, pixies and fairies were taken quite seriously as part of the ‘little people’, especially in Cornwall and Devon.

Pixies are Notoriously Mischievous

They are not malevolent creatures, but they are very mischievous, and love to torment and play tricks on humans.

Like many Faeries, Pixies dislike rude, greedy and cruel people and often single them out to be the victims of their pranks. They also hate human laziness.

Pixie1
Artwork by Brian Froud

They have been known to steal people’s belongings or throw things at them. They even steal horses at night, ride them wildly and then bring them back before dawn, their manes a tangled mess.

They rap on windows and walls, blow out candles, throw small stones at walls, kiss young girls in the dark and splash water around. Young girls were particularly prone to teasing by pixies. They would knot their hair or pinch one’s skin until it bruised.

So, if you find you have a lot of small items going missing, such as paper clips and pins, you might have a pixie problem. And if you happen to find your pixie’s lair, you just might find all those things that they’ve “borrowed”.

Getting Lost

Pixies are most notorious for confusing travellers. People have gotten lost even on familiar terrain. They can change aspects of the environment to confuse humans, and most reports mention a strange mist.

Pixie2
Artwork by Brian Froud

They lure travellers walking alone. The person would be so confused they could be lost for hours, or worse, vanish without a trace. This is what is known as pixie-led.

When I was doing my research on pixies, I found a fantastic website called Legendary Dartmoor According to the author, Tim Sandles, this really does happen! Dartmoor is located in southwest England in the county of Devon.

From their site:

Probably the best I have ever heard came from an old woman who has lived on the moor all her life. Whilst she had not actually experienced being pixie led herself her grandfather often related how he once earned the displeasure of the little folk and became ‘led’. Apparently one minute he was happily traipsing across the moor on a track he knew well. Suddenly a dense mist descended that appeared to have a very feint green tint to it, along with this the man’s head became ‘zwimmy’ (dizzy) and he began stumbling around trying to find his direction. The actual experience seemed to last for hours and he lost all track of time but when the mist lifted he looked at his watch and only a few minutes had passed. Despite thinking he had been wandering around for miles he had in fact only moved a few yards from the spot he had reached when the mist ascended.

 

Probably the most famous story of people being Piskie Led on Dartmoor is that of the unnamed couple who got lost near Okehampton. So relieved were they to have survived such an ordeal that the husband erected a granite cross next to the well where they were spared, known today as Fitz’s Well.

The author goes on to say:

There seem to be two modern conditions that can lead to people becoming ‘Piskie Led’, the first scenario involves an illegal substance or copious amounts of alcohol and the second is a result of the inability to read a map and compass – stoned, drunk or lost, blame it on the piskies.

How to Avoid Being Pixie-Led

One remedy to avoid being pixie-led during the 17th century was to turn your coat inside out, and if you didn’t have a coat, you could even turn your pocket out. Carrying a piece of bread could also prevent bewilderment.

If you leave gifts like honey, milk or cake, the pixies will regard this as a sign of respect and help with tidying up or helping around the farm. Sometimes doing favours for pixies will backfire though, and they may respond with mischief.

Pixie4
Artwork by Brian Froud

If you find yourself in the mist and suspect you are being pixie-led, find a spring of clear water and drink some to break the spell.

Don’t Invite Trouble!

stellaria-holostea-2Pixies are known to sleep among the Stitchwort plant, also known as Addersmeat, so to pick this plant is inviting trouble from them. Don’t do it!

 

Pixie5
Artwork by Brian Froud

What about You?

Have you ever found yourself lost in a mist, unable to find your way? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a note in the comments!

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Mythical Monday: Don’t Want to Offend Faeries? Read This!

Amy Brown 7
Artwork by Amy Brown

Faeries can be wonderful beings to have in your home, and although they can be pranksters at times, but they can also be helpful! They can help out with housework, farming or giving to the needy.

On the other hand, you might want to be careful, because faeries can also be offended quite easily, and an offended faery just might retaliate and bring some bad luck. They can spoil milk, pinch or push. You might find some unexpected bruises, too.

While Faeries enjoy playing tricks on people, they are not open to having tricks played on them. They do not take tricks in good humour!

And while they have been known to help themselves to shiny objects, food or tools, never steal from a Faery!

Amy Brown 6
Artwork by Amy Brown

Faeries can have unexpected reactions to minor things, such as bestowing a lavish reward for a small kindness or an exaggerated punishment for something minor.

The morals of faeries sometimes conflict with those of humans, but for the most part, they are in agreement with most human virtues and vices.

Faeries don’t like boasters and braggarts, nor do they like mean or rude people. Selfishness and laziness are also looked down upon.

They don’t like to be around gloomy people. They would much rather be around light-hearted and happy sorts.

Amy Brown 3
Artwork by Amy Brown

Never thank a Faery! This is a major taboo in the world of Faery. Why? There are several ideas on this. One is that it may be perceived by them as they are lesser than you and serving you. They don’t like that. Another reason is that the word ‘thanks’ seems like such a small reward for all the trouble they went to. Saying ‘thank you’ can also be seen as acknowledging a debt owed, and it is never a good idea to be in debt to the Good People.

Katherine Briggs suggests instead of saying thank you, ‘there is no fault with a bow or curtsy’. A gift in exchange works as well. Or you could say how glad you are to have things work out this way.

Never infringe on their privacy. Do not look at them directly and never spy on them or

Amy Brown 2
Artwork by Amy Brown

risk being blinded.

Trespassers into their habitats, faerie mounds or thorn trees, are punished, even if it was done accidentally.

Faerie gifts are given in secret. Never talk about your gifts from the faeries to others or you will find you will lose them.

 

If you wish to keep faeries away, whether its because you are uncomfortable with their presence or they are causing you mischief, there are ways to keep them at bay.

Amy Brown 1
Artwork by Amy Brown

Christian symbols such as the cross shield against evil faeries. This can also be by saying prayers, or singing hymns, holy water.

Bread and salt have been regarded as sacred since primitive times and are also effective at deterring faeries.

Ringing bells, whistling and snapping clappers are also protective.

You can also turn your coat inside out if you are travelling or are out and about.

If you are being chased by faeries you can leap across fresh, running water.

Self-bored stones have holes in them created by running water. To look through a self bored stone will allow a person to see through faerie glamour by looking through the faerie hole and can also protect animals and people from being kidnapped.

In my last post, I listed some plants and herbs that can attract faeries, but there are also

Amy Brown 4
Artwork by Amy Brown

plants that can be used as counter-charms to faeries.

The four-leaf clover is the most powerful, because it breaks faerie glamour. St. John’s Wort and Red Verbena protect against magic in general. Daisies can prevent children from being kidnapped.

The wood or red berries from Rowan or Ash trees will also protect adults.

Iron is probably the most effective protection against faeries, especially cold-wrought iron. Cold-wrought iron is created by beating raw iron instead of melting and casting it. Steel is also effective. People have used horseshoes, knives and scissors to keep faeries at bay, even hanging a pair of scissors over a baby’s crib to prevent kidnapping by faeries.

All artwork displayed is by Amy Brown. Please have a look at her gorgeous website and visit her Etsy shop!

 

I hope you enjoyed reading about Faeries and how not to offend them!

Jo-Ann

 

 

 

 

 

Mythical Monday: How to Attract Faeries

 

inthemossgardencsuzannegyseman
Artwork by Suzanne Gyseman

I’d like to start this post off by saying I’ve discovered this AMAZING faerie artist, Suzanne Gyseman, and I wanted to share her beautiful work with you! I’ve posted some of her faery art here on Inspiration Pie for you to enjoy, but if you’d like to see more, do check out her website!

Why would you want to attract Faeries?

Faeries have always been fascinating to humans. They are magickal, supernatural beings, each with their own gifts, talents and unique personalities.

Some believe they are always around us, especially when we are out in nature, and that you must be friendly to them in order to see them.

But are they guests that you would want in your home?

Not all Faeries are friendly or wish to have human contact at all. Some are helpful and kind, but others can be downright destructive.

Over the ages, there have been oodles of stories of faeries playing practical jokes on humans, stealing food and tools or even burning down a barn. Some people go through great lengths to not offend them, and might even use such elements as iron or bells to repel them from their homes.

The best types of Faerie to have in your home is the Scottish Brownie. They are known to help out with chores around the house.

Be careful not to invite Faeries of the Unseelie Court into your home, as they can be quite mean. You might feel a sickening feeling in their presence.

How to attract the right faeries

To attract helpful and kind Faeries, and win their favour, practice what they honour and avoid what they hate.

What characteristics do Faeries love in humans?

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Artwork by Suzanne Gyseman
  • Kindness and virtue
    • Courteous manners
    • Truthfulness
    • Performing random acts of kindness to a stranger
    • Keep promises made
    • Be generous and fair in all dealings
  • Cleanliness
    • Welcome them with a neat and orderly home. Faeries don’t like clutter.
  • Respect Mother Nature
    • Recycling
    • Not littering or further damaging the Earth
    • Plant a Faery garden
    • Leave a corner of your garden wild and uncultivated
  • Be straightforward in your answers and ask straightforward questions
  • Show appreciation for their gifts.

If you wish to make contact with faeries, you must first work to win their trust.

Beltane and Midsummer are excellent times to make contact.

forestsecretcsgyseman
Artwork by Suzanne Gyseman

Gifts and food they love

  • Ground ginger, barley, sweets, cream
  • They love anything that glitters.
  • Clean water, butter, wine, honey and bread

Never toss gifts out like you are feeding wild animals, however. They consider this to be very disrespectful.

Faeries are also known to love stones as well. Some of their favourites are tiger’s eye, peridot, jade, lava, fluorite, and especially emerald.

Faeries are particularly fond of Hawthorn trees, Foxglove and Groundsel. Take care not to damage these plants, you might be dealing with a peeved Faery!

Faery bush
Motorway built around the “Sceach” , the sacred Faery bush

Faery trees such as Hawthorn and Blackthorn are considered dangerous to chop down. In 1999, a roadway in Clare County, Ireland had to have its plans changed because of protests not to damage the sacred Faery bush, also known as a “sceach”. Read the article here!

Interested in planting a faery garden?

Here are some plant that will attract faeries:

amongtheleavescsgyseman
Artwork by Suzanne Gyseman
  • Common Yarrow
  • New York Aster
  • Shasta Daisy
  • Western Giant Hyssop or Horsemint
  • French Lavender
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Fountain Butterfly Bush
  • Orange-eye Butterfly Bush
  • Shrubby Cinquefoil
  • Petunia
  • Verbena
  • Pincushion Flowers
  • Cosmos
  • Zinnia
  • Foxglove
  • Primrose
  • Ragwort
  • Cowslips
  • Pansies
  • Bluebell
  • 3-leaf Clover
  • St. Johns Wort
  • Toadstool
  • Foxglove
  • Groundsel
  • Lily of the Valley
  • Forget Me Not
moonmothfairycsgyseman
Artwork by Suzanne Gyseman

Trees that Faeries love

  • Hazel
  • Rowan
  • Blackthorn
  • Hawthorn
  • Oak
  • Willow
  • Elder
  • Birch
  • Alder
  • Apple
  • Ash

Source:  www.earthwitchery.com

I will have more next Monday on how to attract faeries (and how not to drive them off!)

What about you? Would you welcome Faeries into your home or are you afraid of them?

Thanks for reading and stopping by!

Jo-Ann

 

Mythical Monday: The Problem with Faeries

Brian Froud2
Artwork by Brian Froud

Faeries are unique supernatural beings that have their own hierarchy amongst themselves. Some types of faeries are more powerful than others, and have their own powers, strengths and temperaments.

They are capable of bringing good fortune to humans or bad luck if they become offended. It can be dangerous to anger them, even some of the weakest ones.

They can heal injuries and cure the sick, but they can also cause blight on plants and illness in animals and humans.

Problems Faeries can Cause

fairy-knotsHave you ever woken to find your hair in tiny tangles? These are called Elf-locks or Faery knots.

They may have the power of Glamour, making people see what they wish for them to see. Or, not see what is actually there.

They can cause people to get lost by changing landmarks, or disguise treacherous ground to make it appear safe.

They have been known to steal small items or lead travellers astray, but they are also

Brian Froud1
By artist Brian Froud

capable of more dangerous behaviour.

Consumption, also known as tuberculosis was sometimes blamed on the faeries forcing men and women to dance at their revels every night, and waste away from lack of rest.

Kidnapping and Changelings

Some believe that a sudden death might actually be a faery kidnapping, the corpse being a wooden stand-in or stock, about the same size as the kidnapped person. It would be crudely carved and then glamoured to make it look like the victim. Humans bury it, and the victim is not missed nor is rescue attempted.

Women were kidnapped to be used as midwives, nurse maids or nannies. Stories are told of the woman being asked to rub the eyes of the faery child with Faerie ointment, said to be made from shamrocks. When she inadvertently touches her own eyes, the ointment allows her to see through the Faerie glamour, and see the Faery world as it is. Grease on the fingers from a meal will have the same effect.

unseelie-court
Artwork by Brian Froud

Humans can be taken to be used for their skills at a craft, music or singing.

A man might be kidnapped to participate in a war or ball game, or he may have caught the eye of a Faerie lady. He may be used as a lover, and possibly as a stud.

Women, as well might be used as breeding stock.

Sometimes faery children are left in place of stolen human babies, called changelings. It’s likely that these children may have been afflicted with unexplained diseases, disorders or developmental disabilities, and changelings were used to explain their infirmities.

A more sinister reason for taking captives is to pay a teind or tithe to the Devil. Every seven years, one of their own must be given as tribute, and many legends hint that humans are used so the faeries may be spared.

As long as the human captive does not eat or drink any Faerie food, he or she may be rescued. He or she will be otherwise trapped forever.

Faeries have no scruples about stealing grain, milk or even cattle. They believe they are entitled to take whatever they need. Yet, they become furious if humans take from them.

They delight in playing tricks on people, but when the joke is on them, they usually do not take it in good humour.

Even when faeries are being kind, their goodwill can be embarrassing.  It is not unusual for faeries to reward a human friend by stealing from his neighbours.

Locations known to be faery haunts are to be avoided. Even cutting brush on faery forts was said to be the cause of death to those who did so.

Mythical Monday is part of series of posts on myths and legends. I hope you enjoy learning about Faeries and the legends and folklore surrounding them. Next week, I will continue the series with How to Win the Favour of the Faeries and Faults Condemned by Faeries.

See my other Posts on Mythical Monday:

Oberon: King of the Faeries

The Rise and Fall of Vortigern

Seelie and Unseelie Courts

Trooping and Solitary Faeries

 

 

Faeries: Seelie and Unseelie Courts

Mythical Mondays

Faeries are magical, enchanting creatures and a major part of European folklore. They have fascinated and frightened people for thousands of years. 

The Fairy folk are generally believed to be kind and helpful, but can be spiteful, especially if they’ve been offended. There have been tales of terrible luck to those that have been disrespectful or have damaged, by accident or on purpose, mystical sites such as fairy rings, paths, hillforts and trees.

Offerings such as milk, butter or wine has been said to win their favour.

The Seelie and Unseelie Courts are two groups of fairies in Scottish folklore.

The Seelie Court

The Seelie fairies, such as pixies, brownies, selkies, leprechauns and nature elementals Seelie Faerieare generally considered to be light, good and benevolent. The word Seelie stems from the Middle and Northern English word seely, and the Scots word seilie, meaning happy, lucky or blessed. Seilie Wichts is a Lowland Scots term for fairies.

The English word silly is derived from Seely and is recorded in numerous works of Middle English literature such as by Geoffrey Chaucer. 

In contrast, the word Unseelie means unhappy, misfortunate, unholy. 

 

james_browneThe Seelie Court is often looked at more favourably in human terms. They are more kindly disposed, or at the very least neutral toward humans who obey their laws. They are known to seek help from humans, warn those who have accidentally offended them and return kindness with favours of their own. 

They are capable of gratitude by rewarding any kindness done to them such as gifts of food, good health and fortune, and even being saved from danger or death.

Both courts, Seelie and Unseelie must be treated with caution. Fairies from the Seelie Court are quite capable of their own mischief and will not hesitate to avenge insults, though you’d much rather encounter a Seelie fairy than an Unseelie fairy.

Seelies are known for playing pranks on humans but with a light hearted attitude. They don’t necessarily realize how they might be affecting the humans they play pranks on.

Hobgoblins are one of the most common types of Seelie Fairies. An example of a famous hobgoblin is Puck in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream. They are known for their love of pranks and practical jokes, not taking the joke too far. They can also be kind and generous. 

The Seelie court is ruled by the Fairy Queen, often named as Titania or Mab, as suggested800px-johann_heinrich_fc3bcssli_058 by Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In Irish folklore, the last High Queen of the Daoine Sidhe – and wife of the High King Finvarra – was named Oona. In the ballad tradition of Northern England and Lowland Scotland, she was called the Queen of Elphame.

The Unseelie Court

unseelie-courtThe Unseelie Court consists of the darkly-inclined fairies. They do not need to be offended to bring down their assaults. They appear at night and assault travellers, often carrying them through the air, beating them, and forcing them to commit such acts as shooting at cattle.

Just at the Seelie Court is not always kind hearted, the Unseelie court is not always malevolent. However, if forced to choose, most will prefer to harm rather than help humans.

Some can become fond of a particular human if they are viewed as respectful, and would choose to make them something of a pet.

The Unseelie court are known to not lie, but they do equivocate, and use ambiguous language to conceal the truth.

Many tales recorded in Medieval times were of Unseelies in human form that would seduce men and women into the woods with a luring embrace. Once kissed, they would be trapped into 7 years of servitude in the fairy realm.

Once a human had been lured to fairyland, they would spend years there in human time,unseelie which translated to only a matter of days in fairyland. When they were finally sent back or managed to escape, they’d be very old and decrepit, or immediately disintegrate into a pile of dust. 

Another legend was if a human stared too long at one of the Unseelie, the dark fairy would take on the image of a dead relative. 

Common characters in the Unseelie Court are Bogies, Redcaps (vicious creatures with hats drenched in human blood), Bogles, Boggarts, Abbey Lubbers and Buttery Spirits.

The Welsh fairies, Tylwyth Teg and the Irish Aos Sí are usually not classified as wholly good or wholly evil.

What do you think? Do you believe in faeries? Let me know in the comments!

Jo-Ann

Review: Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

Blurb from Goodread:  Rule #3: Don’t stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in the mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty – especially if they learn of her Sight – and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.

Rule #2: Don’t speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.

Rule #1: Don’t ever attract their attention.
But it’s too late. Keenan is the Summer King, who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost — regardless of her plans or desires.

Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.

Faery intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr’s stunning twenty-first-century faery tale.

As soon as I found this book on another blog and read the premise, I knew I had to get my hand on it!

Aislynn, her mother and her grandmother were all born with the Sight. That means that they see faeries. Everywhere.

The average human is oblivious to their existence and the tricks that they play. 

These are not the cute, magical, Tinkerbell fairies that sprinkle dust to give good luck. These faeries are dark and mischievous. They can be glamorous or frightening. They are not creatures that you want to have hanging around.

Aislynn must pretend that she cannot see the faeries. If they become aware they she can see them, she risks being killed or at the very least, blinded.

The Summer King has chosen to court Aislynn. Most girls who are courted by him fall head over heels, but Aislynn sees through his glamour, and her fear of faeries demands that she stay as far away from him as possible.

She is unwillingly pulled into the Faery world, conflicting with her friendship and the beginnings of romance with Seth. Aislynn was a strong character who stands up for herself even when she is afraid to.

I absolutely loved the way the relationship between Seth and Aislynn grew. Aislynn fought any romance with him for fear of jeopardizing their amazing friendship. It developed as a slow burn that I found it touching and warm.

I would liked to have seen more background on Aislynn’s mother and her role in the story. It was a great start, but then the reader was left hanging about what happened, her connection with the Summer King and why she died.

I enjoyed the writing, though it was a bit confusing at times and I had to go back and reread. I did like the way it was written with multiple POVs. I enjoy getting into the heads of the other characters.

I was completely captivated by the story and wouldn’t put the book down until I found out how it ended. What was going to happen to Aislynn? To Seth and the Summer King? 

I enjoyed the ending, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more interesting if it things hadn’t worked out quite so perfectly.