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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    Nixies Nixies are shape-changing fresh water spirits originating in Germanic myths and legends.  The term nixie (or neck) is English in origin, while nix, nyx and nixe are the German equivalents.  Nixies usually shape shift into human form, both male and female, but some can change into dragons (wyrms), horses, fish, or snakes.  Nixies can be benevolent, malicious or merely harmless. English versions of the nixie include: The Knucker, a dragon-like “water monster” that lived in a pool near the village of Lyminster and was known to kill both livestock and people; Jenny Greenteeth, a green-skinned, sharp-toothed, long-haired river hag that pulls in and drowns children and the elderly; Peg…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    poetry and the Fae poetry and the fae have a long association, with the best known being that of True Thomas, or Thomas the Rhymer. Born Thomas Learmonth around 1220, he is the author of many prophetic verses, although some were most certainly fabricated after his death around 1298 in order to further the cause of Scottish independence. Thomas’ gift of prophecy is linked to his poetic ability, a gift granted him after he spent seven years in Fairyland with the Queen of Elfland. While I am no True Thomas and have never spent but more than a few hours at a time inside the magical realm of faerie, I’d…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    Midsummer Eve:  Second Faerie Festival of the Year By Kat Cranston Midsummer Eve, also known as Litha, Samradh, Alban Hefin, Aerra Litha, Mother Night, and St. John’s Eve, is the second of the three yearly Faerie Realm festivals.  This sabbat is tied to the Summer Solstice, which occurs on 21 June in the Northern Hemisphere this year.  The other two faerie festivals occur on May Eve and November Eve (Samhain). Midsummer Eve is a sabbat that has a lot of faerie lore attached to it.  This is the time when entrance to the faerie realm is easiest and faerie mounds are practically “open to the public!”  Faerie powers are at…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    May Eve:  First Faerie Festival of the Year To ancient Celts, the first day of May was the first day of summer.  In Irish Gaelic, “Mí Bhealtaine” means “month of May.”  Thus it is that many neo-pagans celebrate Beltane, also known as May Day (among many other names), on May 1st.  However, Beltane may be celebrated on May 11th (“Old May” in Ireland), May 15th (Scotland after the change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar) or on the full moon nearest the midpoint between the Spring Equinox and the Summer Solstice (which is April 28th in 2010). May Eve (Beltane) is the first of the three yearly Faerie Realm…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    The Faerie Cross By Kat Cranston There are two gemstones claiming the name of the Faerie (or Fairy) Cross or Stone.  How do they differ and how do you choose which one you want to use?  Let’s investigate the candidates. Staurolite Known in the greater part of the literature available as the “Faerie Stone” or “Faerie Cross,” legend says the tears of faeries formed the crosses when they heard about the death of Jesus.  Many believe the stones protect the wearer against witchcraft, sickness, accidents and disaster. We derive the name Staurolite from the Greek words stauros (cross) and lithos (stone).  Crystal twinning occurs when two separate crystals share some…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    Other Kin:  The Banshee The banshee, from the Irish bean sídhe meaning “faerie woman” or “woman of the faerie mounds,” is a troublesome being when it comes to classification.  Although it would seem the banshee should clearly be classified as a faerie based on the meaning of the name alone, it isn’t that simple, although the banshee is clearly of the same “Other World” to which the faeries belong. The origin of the banshee may be the Morrigan herself, a triple Goddess and one of the Tuatha Dé Danann.  Banshees have been called a “Badbh,” the death and battle aspect of the Morrigan, and legends say if a warrior heard…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    Imbolc and Honoring the Fae We of the pagan persuasion will be celebrating the sabbat of Imbolc (“in the belly) on 2 February here in the Northern hemisphere.  This sabbat is also known as Oimelc (“milk of ewes”), Candlemas, St. Brigid’s Day (or Brigit, Brighid, Bride, or Brìd), Là Fhèill Brìghde (Scotland), Lá Fhéile Bríde (Ireland), G?yl Fair (Wales), Brigantia, and Lupercalia, and may be spelled Imbollgc. For those who were unable or preferred not to perform the Twelfth Night ritual of removing their Yuletide foliage from the home to release any fae or nature spirits residing therein, as one of the four fire festivals Imbolc is an excellent time…

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    Faeries, Elves, and Other Kin

    Twelfth Night and the Fae by Kathryn Cranston It has long been acknowledged that the Christian church, not knowing the date of the birth of Jesus, chose December 25th in order to combat “infernal” pagan celebrations by subsuming those celebrations into their own.  Thus, “Yuletide” and “Saturnalia” turned into “Christmas” wherever Christianity held dominion.  Although the converted people retained many of their ancient customs, these customs often survived only by being renamed or disguised. Along with Christmas came a whole plethora of activities, including the Twelve Days of Christmas.  During the Middle Ages, people were free to make merry and feast throughout these twelve days, with the Twelfth Night marking…

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    Faeries, Elves, & Other Kin

    The Faeries of Winter For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the month of December is chilly and cold, if not downright frozen and filled with ice and snow.  Yuletide and the Winter Solstice is usually not a time when most people are thinking of the fae, yet even on the longest night of the year, they are still all around us, carrying out their ancient duties. It is easy to see Jack Frost hard at work, creating delicate crystalline patterns on windows and biting exposed noses and fingertips.  A true winter faerie seen at no other time, he travels between the hemispheres on the back of the chilliest…

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    Faeries, Elves, & Other Kin

    Do You Take Your Faeries With or Without Wings? Not very long ago, a new reader of my blog wrote me the following: I have to say that whenever I come across a word that is new to me, such as “Faerie”, I immediately “iconoclast” the current definition I have for it out of respect (which would be in my mind a faerie is “a feminine sprite of metaphysical quality, mischievious [sic] and clad somewhat in pink” with alternate spelling)… “Clad somewhat in pink.”  That description gave me a good giggle, but he left out wings.  What do you think about faeries with wings?  Are faeries with wings a valid…