Wednesday 21 June 2023

Book Extract: Pagan Portals - Where Fairies Meet

Midsummer is a time to think about fairy lore, so here's an extract from a new book, Where Fairies Meet: Parallels Between Irish and Romanian Fairy Traditions, by Daniela Simina: 

Fairies guarding forests demand respect. Treating the woods with disrespect may prove fatal. In 'The Forest' tale, a group of woodcutters gather around the fire to decide how much more they should cut considering that they had already reached their quota for the season. Before officially beginning their council, the elder among woodcutters first makes an offering to the zâne  [* Romanian fairies] guardians of the forest. “First the old man poured a few drops of brandy on the ground. “Here, this is for you.... Please don’t harm us.” (…). The man then reminds his crew that throughout the entire season they enjoyed good health and no accidents had befallen any of them. He reminds them about the danger of angering the local zâne if they keep cutting. While the older men agree with him, the younger ones would have none of it. One woodcutter and his two sons split from the group and return to work. The older son gets injured and dies from bleeding shortly after. The elder again asks the wood fairies to be content with one man, and allow them to go unharmed. But the boy’s father, blinded with grief, wants revenge. He challenges the fairy of the place, and spitefully sets fire to one old and large tree. The tree burns out in a very strange manner: not one single ember rolled away, not one leaf on the ground caught fire. The father and the remaining son rush toward the woods and begin hacking with their axes. The rest of the men run to stop them, but are unable to move or speak, held in place by an invisible hand. They all see a tall and slender figure walking behind the son and touching his shoulder. At this point the axe rotates into the youngster’s hands and his arms flex pulling the axe’s edge toward his own face. The boy drops dead with the axe stuck in his forehead. The father then chases after someone visible only to himself, and waving the axe rushes into the nearby river. A raft appears out of nowhere with a tall and slender figure standing on it. Logs, stacked up near the water, come loose and roll into the stream, crushing the man as he tries to climb onto the raft. All the while, the tall figure remains impassible, and once the man is torn to pieces and his blood dyes the waters red, it vanishes leaving the empty raft floating away. (Spariosu, Benedek, 1994)   (…)

In the Irish lore, fairy queen Aoibheall is described as holding multiple roles, among which is wielding powers over elements. She is known as “...Aoibheann the Lovely One, a queen and protective spirit of the land...”, a description that illustrates her connection to the land itself. Also Aoibheal can command rains and storms. In the lore, the place where she made her abode is identifiable, “...up the top of Crag Hill, surrounded by forest, where Aoibheall used to sit...From there she could command the weather, brewing up storms and high wind when needed to protect her people...” (Marshall, 2013) 

An Dagda, king of the Tuatha Dé, and king of fairies in Ireland, owns a magical harp named Daur da Bláo, The Oak of Two Blossoms, and Coir Cethar Chuir, The Four Angle’s Music. Through playing his harp An Dagda turns the seasons. He is also connected with shaping the land in various ways, and can control the passing of time, all of which will be detailed in the next section. 

Fairy queen Áine has close associations to Lough Gur. Her castle is said to be in that lake, and she still appears sitting nearby and combing her beautiful hair. The story “Áine and the Fer Fí” describes a healing ritual involving the “Áine the bean- sidhe and spirit of Lough Gur.” (duchas.ie ) 

Daniela Simina is an author and teacher. She researches, writes, and teaches various classes on esoteric subjects related to energetic balance, and to fairies, who are at the heart of both her personal and professional paths. You can read more about her at her Moon Books author page and also follower ber blog - Whispers in the Twilight.

You can view Where Fairies Meet on Amazon and at publisher Moon Books.

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