An Introduction to Connecting, Working, and Healing with the Fairies and Other Elementals by Doreen Virtue.
I have read many of Doreen Virtue’s books, and have always found them to be easy to read and easy understand. Her stories are sweet, her instructions are simple, and I’ve always felt a sense of well-being and peace when I’ve read her works.
Fairies 101, however, left me with mixed feelings. As a book intended to inspire, it truly does that indeed. It is filled with stories about the experiences that others have had while working with the fairy folk, and Doreen gives simple and easy to follow instructions on how to attract the fairies into your life.
As far as layout and appearance, this is the most visually stunning book that Ms. Virtue has published to date! The artist is Howard David Johnson, and with my first visit to his website, I found myself loosing track of time while browsing through his beautiful artwork!
The book itself includes an introduction, ten chapters, and frequently asked questions about the fairies. She covers who the fairies are, working with the fairies in regard to your home and career, healing, animals, gardening, children, school, the spirit of nature, flower fairies and other elementals and connecting with the fairies.
It is only 130 pages (that includes the author bio and artist bio), with about 29 illustrations. It’s such an easy read, I finished it in just a couple of hours. And my eight year old and ten year old each took their turn with it and found it to be, in their own words, “FUN.”
This book is perfect for someone who is just getting interested in the fairies (children love this book too as my young ones will attest!). It’s charming and sweet and offers a very easy to understand (and completely non-threatening) introduction into the magical realms of the fairy folk.
My only hang-ups with this otherwise enchanting piece of work, are a few errors in her fairy folklore, that honestly, with a bit of research, could have been avoided.
For instance, she states that the Tuatha de Danann (people of the Goddess Dana), who were the magical race of beings who inhabited Ireland before its current inhabitants, were turned into Leprechauns. Nowhere in any of my reference books on Celtic Folklore could I find this statement to be true. We do have to keep in mind that the term “fairy” actually means a supernatural being. Where the Tuatha and the Leprechauns are both considered “fairies,” that does not necessarily mean that they are of the same race.
She also refers to Selkies as “mermaids who appear as seals while in the ocean and as female humans while on land…” Again, I find no reference for this. Selkies are actually seals who can shed their skin to become human and dance upon the sand. There are stories of merpeople who can also shapeshift into human form. But the selkie and the mermaid are definitely not the same. Of course that’s not to say that somewhere there isn’t some fairy who can shapeshift from mermaid to selkie to anything else it desires!
Then she mentions the rune stone system as being symbols received by the druids from the spirits of trees. I believe she has this mixed up with the Ogham. The Celtic Tree Ogham actually is based on the energies of trees so it has a very strong connection to trees. They are an alphabet as well as a divination system. The runes, however, were said to have been discovered by the Norse god Odin, who did happen to be hanging in a tree when he received the symbols. However the runes (whose name means “secrets”) don’t have any particularly strong ties to trees or tree spirits.
With that said, I still do find Fairies 101 to be simply enchanting, and I plan on giving it as a gift to several friends who I know would like to learn more about the fairies. My only criticisms come from the fact that I’m also a folklore writer who happens to know a bit about faery mythology. The majority of readers aren’t going to care about the inconsistencies in the folklore, and will enjoy the book for what it is… inspirations on connecting to the magical realm of the fairies.