Working with the fae involves having a connection with nature. Something many in today’s society have lost. We lock ourselves up within mental and physical walls.
Who Are The Fae?
Many people think the fae are tiny Tinkerbell fairies. That, however, is not accurate.
Fae includes a variety of magical spirits and creatures. Like the old adage thumbs are fingers but not all fingers are thumbs.
Fairies are fae folk but not all fae are fairies!
Fae includes fairies, gnomes, elves, goblins, and sprites. Many consider dragons to be part of the Fae world.
They are typically described as magical creatures with human-like appearances. The fae often has the ability to shapeshift.
They represent the earth element and are closely aligned with nature. Green witches often meet them on their forays into the countryside.
Approach the fae as you would other distrustful woodland creatures. Be quiet, calm, and respectful.
As witches, we have an intimate connection with the land. So do the Fae. We have common ground.
Read more about Green Witchcraft in our blog.
Friend or Foe?
There are two sides to every story!
The fae is often depicted as very good as in Disney films where they are cute and helpful. Victorian artwork depicts them as darling and dainty creatures in the garden.
They are also depicted as malicious killers. The fae has an inclination toward trickery and deceit. They are often accused of leading people astray or causing harm. Even pretty Tinkerbell had a mean streak.
I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle. As a witch, it’s always good to approach magical spirits with caution. Use protection magic but be open to communication.
Fear Used To Control Woman
During the conquering by Christians, numerous sayings and folklore were established that manipulated fear of the fae. For instance, one Germanic belief was that a married couple must retire at the same time at night or else the wife might be kidnapped by fairies. This was obviously a way to control women with fear as well as to reduce any women’s group from meeting at night.
During the “Burning Days” of witch persecutions witches were found “guilty” if they visited places where fairies were said to live.
Signs there Are Fae Near By
Unexplained music, laughter, voices
Irritation of pets - cats, in particular, will sense and hiss at the fae
History of Working With Fae
Our collective history has given us examples of many witches who successfully worked with the Fae. It is believed our pagan ancestors communicated much more freely with them. Living more of a rural life they interacted more often and had greater appreciation and acceptance of life in astral plans.
Children often interact with the fae - until adults convince them “there is no such thing”.
The fae are present in cultures from around the world.
The Germanic peoples spoke of Kolbalds a household elf spirit as well as water spirits like the shape-shifting Nixie.
Scottland is rich in legends and encounters with the fae including Brownies, Gnomes, Heather Pixies, and Seelie Courts.
Nordic myths tell us about the Alfar (elves) which are divided into light and dark. Dökkálfar ("Dark Elves") who lived below the ground and the Ljósálfar ("Light Elves")who live in the Álfheimr.
Polynesian culture has many stories of fae including elves and water sprites.
We have written documentation going back to the 1600s that dealt with the lore of fairies and other magical creatures.
We can also see a great deal of fae legend in more modern tellings. For example, the Arthurian Legends.
The classic, The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries, was written in 1911, by Dr. Evans-Wentz,an anthropologist who wrote down Celtic beliefs about Fairy Folk.
Proceed With Caution
Working with the fae takes skill and caution because they can cause harm.
Here are some of the “rules” in handling the dangerous nature of fairies. You may want to consider them. I personally have not used any of these.
Lead protects you from fairies
Don’t eat food given to you by fairies
Don’t tell any of the Fae your name
Don’t stand in a fairy ring
If you wish to disperse fae from an area put up wind chimes or bells. You can also do a cleansing ritual.
Working With The Fae
There are several things you can do to work with the fae positively. Remember that they appreciate gratitude so leaving them a gift is critical.
Seek positive interactions:
Refer to them as good neighbors and forest helpers
They are sensitive. Use kind friendly words
Respect their spaces. Fae can be territorial
Do not enter into an oath or promise with the Fae
They have a unique society. Respect their culture and values
If you live near a group of Fae you may wish to leave them offerings. It is recommended you do this on a regular schedule because it is said that they become upset if a gift is not delivered.
The Sabot makes a good time to leave offerings. Wednesday is supposed to be their day of rest.
An offering is a gift given freely, not a request for something.
Offerings they appreciate:
Shiny objects like coins, keys, and thimbles
Ribbons, shells, crystals
Scrying is considered one of the best ways to locate and connect with the fae.
Scrying is a method of divination meant to locate something, prophecies, or seek guidance. Scrying is simply gazing into a reflective object such as a mirror, ball, pool of water, or candle flame.
Start by closing your eyes and visualizing what you want to see. In this case, it might be fairy folk.
Don’t force scrying. Take your time and gaze into your object. Focus on your visualization.
If your thoughts wander, it’s ok. Just refocus yourself. Scrying is an art and takes practice.
Astral projection or astral travel happens when your consciousness leaves your body and enters another dimension. We often think of this as neo-pagan but it has its roots in ancient cultures.
Basically your deep mind journeys into other astral planes. Many compare it to lucid dreaming.
This is considered a more advanced skill and does take practice. Learning to meditate well would be the first step.
In her book, A Witch's Guide to Faery Folk: How to Work with the Elemental World, Edain McCoy, gives these steps for reaching Astral Travel.
Enter a meditative stage while having a still physical body.
With eyes closed concentrate on one object or word.
After about 20 minutes, your mind will tire and your body will go numb.
At that point, your mind will send “itself outward in self-defense”. Concentrate on where you wish to go.
Creating a Fae Garden
Fairy gardens are all the rage among muggles (wink) but as pagans, we understand the true dynamics of creating a happy place for fairies.
Giving the fae a home or quiet place to visit will encourage a good relationship as well as show them you are respectful of their needs.
They love flowers, herbs, ferns, moss, and fungi. Favorite flowers include daisies, poppy, rose, and bluebells. Herbs such as thyme and mugwort.
Trees that fae appreciate include ash, oak, and hawthorn. They often have homes at the base of these trees.
Things to Place in Your Fairy Garden
Take a 8-12 inch terra cotta pot and carefully knock out a small entryway in the rim of the pot. Turn this upside down in your garden area.
Carving out a stump or log also makes an acceptable residence. A birdhouse set among the ferns.
My friend’s son built a house out of lincoln logs and left it in the woods for the tree spirits.
You can also purchase a fairy house. Look for one that’s at least 8 inches tall and actually has a door that opens.
Author, Imani Williams is a college student studying social work. She has been a kitchen/cosmos witch for four years. Imani is very interested in divination and spell casting.