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: What is Fairyland?

 

Apart, but Separate

Faery portalFairyland has also been called Faery or the Otherworld. It is not entirely part of our world, but not entirely separate, either.

The realm is said to exist just beyond reach, on a floating island or beneath a grassy mound, on a bleak wet bog or floating in the air.

Faery Portals

There are portals or gates between the worlds that would allow faeries and humans to pass through.

The entrance was usually a pit, pothole, cave, well, knoll, crevice or hill top. This entrance is also known as the Silver Bough or Silver Branch.

“To enter the Otherworld before the appointed hour marked by death, a passport was often necessary, and this was usually a silver branch of the sacred apple-tree bearing blossoms.”

Perfection

Fairyland is said to be a beautiful place, time doesn’t pass as is does in the mortal world. Blogpic-ET-fairies-900x1188-227x300The sun always shines, the weather is always fine and trees produced blossoms and fruit at the same time.

There is no ugliness, disease or pain. There is no aging and no death. Food tastes better than food on earth. Faeries spend their time merrymaking and dancing. They would have great feasts with grand processions of white horses adorned with silver bells.

Despite the perfection of their world, faeries would often desire what the mortal world holds. They made frequent raids on this side of the veil, and would steal food, shiny objects and even people.

Where is Faery?

Faery moundIn many stories, Faeries were believed to live in ancient medieval forts or stone circles. Faeries were often called the ‘little people’ or ‘hidden people’.  Some believe they were the original inhabitants of the land, and were displaced by humans migrating, which forced them into hiding.

fairy-cave-wallThe Irish Tuatha de Danaan were said to have lived in the síd or the earthen mounds and hills that dot the Irish landscape. The term sídhe has come to mean Faerie in general, but it more properly refers to the residences of the Faeries.

Individual or isolated faeries lived in caves, wells, woodlands, bushes mines, ruins, barns, stone circles and tumuli.

They either lived in their own dwellings or in Elf-hills or hillocks which were actually ancient burial mounds called by Elfin names.

Faeryland and the Land of the Dead

There is also a strong association between Faeryland and the realm of the dead. The two realms exist side by side, and are inextricably connected.

Becuma of the White Skin, An Irish Fairy TaleBecuma

In 1920, James Stephens wrote a book of Irish fairy tales, one of the stories being Becuma of the White Skin. This is an excerpt of how he describes the other realms:

There are more worlds than one, and in many ways they are unlike each other. But joy and sorrow, or, in other words, good and evil, are not absent in their degree from any of the worlds, for wherever there is life there is action, and action is but the expression of one or other of these qualities.

After this Earth there is the world of the Shí. Beyond it again lies the Many-Coloured Land. Next comes the Land of Wonder, and after that the Land of Promise awaits us. You will cross clay to get into the Shí; you will cross water to attain the Many-Coloured Land; fire must be passed ere the Land of Wonder is attained, but we do not know what will be crossed for the fourth world.

A council had been called in the Many-Coloured Land to discuss the case of a lady named Becuma Cneisgel, that is, Becuma of the White Skin, the daughter of Eogan Inver. She had run away from her husband Labraid and had taken refuge with Gadiar, one of the sons of Manannán mac Lir, the god of the sea, and the ruler, therefore, of that sphere.

It seems, then, that there is marriage in two other spheres. In the Shí matrimony is recorded as being parallel in every respect with earth-marriage, and the desire which urges to it seems to be as violent and inconstant as it is with us; but in the Many-Coloured Land marriage is but a contemplation of beauty, a brooding and meditation wherein all grosser desire is unknown and children are born to sinless parents.

In the Shí the crime of Becuma would have been lightly considered, and would have received none or but a nominal punishment, but in the second world a horrid gravity attaches to such a lapse, and the retribution meted is implacable and grim. It may be dissolution by fire, and that can note a destruction too final for the mind to contemplate; or it may be banishment from that sphere to a lower and worse one.

This was the fate of Becuma of the White Skin.

One may wonder how, having attained to that sphere, she could have carried with her so strong a memory of the earth. It is certain that she was not a fit person to exist in the Many-Coloured Land, and it is to be feared that she was organised too grossly even for life in the Shí.

She was an earth-woman, and she was banished to the earth.

Word was sent to the Shís of Ireland that this lady should not be permitted to enter any of them; from which it would seem that the ordinances of the Shí come from the higher world, and, it might follow, that the conduct of earth lies in the Shí.

In that way, the gates of her own world and the innumerable doors of Faery being closed against her, Becuma was forced to appear in the world of men.

 

Fairy-Land

Fairyland Edgar allan Poe

Dim vales—and shadowy floods—
And cloudy-looking woods,
Whose forms we can’t discover
For the tears that drip all over:
Huge moons there wax and wane—
Again—again—again—
Every moment of the night—
Forever changing places—
And they put out the star-light
With the breath from their pale faces.
About twelve by the moon-dial,
One more filmy than the rest
(A kind which, upon trial,
They have found to be the best)
Comes down—still down—and down
With its centre on the crown
Of a mountain’s eminence,
While its wide circumference
In easy drapery falls
Over hamlets, over halls,
Wherever they may be—
O’er the strange woods—o’er the sea—
Over spirits on the wing—
Over every drowsy thing—
And buries them up quite
In a labyrinth of light—
And then, how, deep! —O, deep,
Is the passion of their sleep.
In the morning they arise,
And their moony covering
Is soaring in the skies,
With the tempests as they toss,
Like—almost any thing—
Or a yellow Albatross.
They use that moon no more
For the same end as before,
Videlicet, a tent—
Which I think extravagant:
Its atomies, however,
Into a shower dissever,
Of which those butterflies
Of Earth, who seek the skies,
And so come down again
(Never-contented things!)
Have brought a specimen
Upon their quivering wings.
Source: The Complete Poems and Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (1946)
I hope you enjoyed reading about Faeryland! Let me know in the comments!
Jo-Ann
 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Oberon: King of the Faeries

Mythical Mondays

Oberon King of the Faeries
Oberon King of the Faeries

Welcome to Mythical Mondays! 

Today, I’m highlighting Oberon, the Faery King.

Oberon

Oberon is also known in French as Alberon and in German as Alberich. It literally translates to King of the Elves. Elbe=elves and Reix=king.

His name was most likely taken from a legend of a Merovingian sorcerer named Alberich.

The King of Fairies has been used through the ages in legends and stories and plays, including Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and the French medieval poem Huon de Bordeaux.

Merovingian Sorceror

Alberich was a powerful sorcerer who lived during the French Merovingian era (between the 5th and 8th centuries). His brother Merowich was the eponym from which the Merovingian dynasty descends, although a point to note, their actual existence is unproven.

Huon de Bordeaux

One of the first to name Oberon was John Bouchier (Lord Berners). He translated the 13th century fantasy Huon de Bordeaux, which is actually based on a little snippet of 9th century fact.

In the story, Huon was the son of Seguin, the Count of Bordeaux. He was passing through the forest inhabited by Oberon, and had been warned by a hermit not to speak to Oberon, the dwarf king who inhabited the woodland. Huon was too polite to not reply to Oberon’s greetings. Oberon explained to him that a certain fairy was not invited to his christening, and because she was so highly offended she cursed him to a dwarfish height. She then relented and gave him great beauty as compensation.

Oberon ended up helping Huon with a quest. Huon had killed Charlot, the Emperor’s son in self-defense, and he was required to visit the court of the amir of Babylon and perform various feats to win a pardon. He succeeds, but only with the help of Oberon and his magic. He was given a magical cup that has been compared to the Holy Grail, always full for the virtuous.

“The magic cup supplied their evening meal; for such was its virtue that it afforded not only wine, but more solid fare when desired”.

Midsummer Night’s Dream

It is believed that it was Lord Berner’s translation that led to the fairy element in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Oberon wants to have the human child that his wife, Titania had taken into her care. It is the child of a mortal friend who had died. She wants to raise the child, but Oberon wishes to have the child for his own purposes. He wants the child to become a henchman for him.

He puts a magical ointment into her eyes to distract her, and she falls in love with a man who’s been given a donkey’s head.

Eventually he feels badly for what he’s done to his Titania and the two are reunited.

Nibelungenlied

There is also a folktale, an epic poem written in Old German called the Nibelungenlied.

Oberon was a dwarf chieftain responsible for guarding the treasures of Nibelungen.

He fought with Seigfreid and lost, so he had to part with the sword Balmung and a “cloak of darkness” (the Tarn-kappe) (any Harry Potter fans out there?)

Freya was another victor, she acquired the necklace Brisingamen, Odin’s magical ring Draupnir and the magical sword Tyrfing. Oberon had a rough go from the sounds of it!

The Dragon Prophecy: Oberon

Oberon, as he appears in the Dragon Prophecy, is the son of Maeve, Queen of the Fairies. He is a mysterious character, dark, quiet and brooding. He prefers to be alone, unless he is in the company of Titania or Aiden, his longtime friends.

Oberon is not what he appears to be. And he is not happy with the way his mother runs Court. When he unwittingly learns of his mother’s intentions for the future of the Fae, he takes advantage of the situation to change the world of Humans and Faeries forever.

Aiden is a halfling fairy. Being half human, she is regarded as a reject by the entire Court, with the exception of her friends Oberon and Titania.

She cannot fathom why Maeve is forcing her to marry Oberon. Why would she want a halfling to one day take her place as Queen? Aiden is given little choice in the matter. What’s worse, Oberon and Titania are obviously in love. 

It is hard to know who to trust in this land of faeries, sketchy druids and Shadows that kill.

I’m going to leave some references where I had found most of this information if you’d like to learn more about the legends and stories of Oberon.

ipfs.io

Wikipedia

Paranormal Encyclopedia

Long, Long Time Ago

Cryptids Guide

Hollow Tree Tales

Thanks for stopping by and reading! Have a great Monday!

Jo-Ann