“Christianity knows them as angels, saints, demons, and souls of the dead; to un-civilized tribes they are gods, demons, and spirits of ancestors; and the Celts think of them as gods, and as fairies of many kinds.” - W. Y. Evans-Wentz, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
When you think of the term fairy you may think of a delicate being with the wings of a butterfly or dragonfly, darting from flower to flower. Or you may think of Tinkerbell and her Pixie friends as they dance across the Disney Channel for children. But it would probably never cross your mind to imagine that a glowing, red-eyed horse that chose to drown mortals for sport on dark eves, could ever be a fairy.
To the Celts, the term Faery simply meant otherworldly being. They had a strong belief in the unseen world, and felt that it was important to respect what they couldn’t see or explain.
“…there seems never to have been an uncivilized tribe, a race, or a nation of civilized men who have not had some form of belief in an unseen world, peopled by unseen beings.” - W. Y. Evans-Wentz, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries
The Faery folk are beautiful and shining, as well as terrifying and magnificent, and Celtic folklore is filled with tales of Scary Faeries who would just as likely drown you or drain your blood as look at you.
Fairy or Faery?
Fairy (with an I) is a Victorian creation. The Victorians, who also did this with the angels (who aren’t actually cute little cherubs, but powerful beings) may have done this to strip them of their power and make them harmless and sweet to the public at large.
Faery (with an E) most often describes the otherworldly beings of the land. The faerie are closer to humanity than the angelic realms, and experience many of the same longings that humans experience.
Renowned folkore writer, R. J. Stewart, says that three orders of beings live in the world; the faery, the creatures of the land, sea and air, and humankind. These three orders were once united, as the Bright One, but now “walk different ways through time, place and power.” - R. J. Stewart
The key to enlightenment, or waking is to become aware of humanity’s deep connection to the land and the unknown, and to walk in peace with each other. Through this deep connection, humanity will once again be reunited with the world of Faery, and the Bright One will shine once more.
“It is the light of the world shining back to the Sun which is its sister, and each knowing that they are of the stars and united in being.” - R. J. Stewart