Fairies

Did you know that there are hundreds of different types of fairies?  And most of them are not the cute, sassy Tinkerbell variety, though most are considered magical (rest assured, I’ll be featuring many of them in future posts)!  Fairies throughout history have been so feared that at one time, people wouldn’t even mention their names, referring to them only as The Little People, Hidden People, or sometimes The Gentry (https://www.historic-uk.com/CultureUK/The-Origins-of-Fairies/, https://fiveminutehistory.com/the-history-of-fairies/).  All that aside, I’d still sign myself up for a Fairy Godmother given the chance.

Because fairies encompass so many different forms, there seems to be a fairy for literally every shape, size, occasion, and country (Tinkerbell, Lucky Charms, Cupid, jinnis/genies, anyone?).  And fairies are a lot older than you might expect—the earliest fairies are featured in Greek mythology (https://www.timelessmyths.com/celtic/faeries.html)!  While not on par with the gods and goddesses, think of fairies as spiritual beings one rung down the ladder—more like a demi-god.

Original artwork by local artist, Julia Ruprecht
Follow her on Instagram @julruprect

Most dismiss any Fae creature (anything belonging to the realm of the fairies) as purely imagination, though there are many (and several current) accounts of run-ins with the Wee People.  Do please share your story in the comments if you’ve had such an experience!  I’ve not yet been so lucky myself (although I do have friends who have found fairy rings—places fairies are said to dance).  Historically, these tiny creatures transcend the corporeal realm into the spiritual one.  Many stories associate the Fae with angels, or their equivalents in other religions (https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Fairy).   

A Fairy Ring
Discovered and photographed by Jenny Johnson

Fairy lore seems especially prevalent in Britain and Ireland (which probably accounts for most of my fascination).  In Ireland, some buildings had their corners cut off so they wouldn’t be in the middle of fairy paths.  And in some houses, front and back doors were built perfectly aligned and left open certain times of the year so the fairies could traipse through undisturbed (https://fiveminutehistory.com/the-history-of-fairies/). All legends aside, the word fairy didn’t appear until the middle ages in Europe.  The word probably comes from the Latin word fata—The Fates (https://www.etymonline.com/word/fairy).  Regardless of the origin, fairies continue to fascinate people on a global level.  Why are we so preoccupied with these tiny magical beings?

Do we long for a simpler time of childhood when all fairy tales were real?  Do we catch glimpses of them from time to time that give us that strange feeling in the pit of our stomachs?  Are they simply figments of human imagination created to explain the misunderstood?  Or are they perhaps real, waiting just beyond our realm?

Do you believe in fairies?

 

Creative Writing Prompts:

If you were a fairy, what’s the first thing you’d do with your magic?

The wind whispered through the grass, ruffling my wings like shimmering gossamer.  Spring was coming, the time we fairies danced on the lawn, sprinkled the grass with dew, and opened the flowers each morning.  But this year, there was a problem.

I am the reason humans fear the Fae folk.  It all started as an accident…

Book Recommendations

(Ya’ll, I LOVE a good Fae read, please leave any other book suggestions in the comments! Go to the top of the post, in the grey text above the title, click “Comments” and you’re good to go!)

The Creepy Hollow Series, by Rachel Morgan

The Goblin Wars Series, by Kersten Hamilton

Pippa of Lauramore, by Shari L. Tapscott

No post on fairies would be complete without these two classic scenes from Peter Pan–apologies, the first is really grainy.

I do believe in fairies!

Beautiful dance of the fairies 

www.fairies.zeluna.net 

www.disnerdadventures.blogspot.com 

Centaurs

I’m pretty sure that centaurs were the original poster children for naughty drunken Greeks.  These half human—half horse creatures were known for being wild, barbarian, lustful lushes.  However, when sober, some were upheld for their wisdom, self-sacrifice, and strength (https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/myths/centaurs/).

Even their origins suggest their baser natures—Centaurus (the first centaur) was born when a fiendishly wicked king had an affair with (who he assumed was) Hera—the queen of the Greek Pantheon.  Hera actually turned out to be a cloud Zeus had formed to look like his wife (https://www.ancient.eu/Ixion/).  Anyone else get totally lost trying to follow the convoluted love triangles (quadrangles?!) of the Greek gods?  One possible origin for the centaur is from cultures that did not have horses seeing riders fluidly moving on the backs of their mounts for the first time.  It could also be a reference to traditional ancient bull-hunting.  (https://greekgodsandgoddesses.net/myths/centaurs/).    

Centaur from Greek Pottery

Centaurs perpetuate Greek mythology and seem to represent the two sides of man.  Chiron, arguably the most famous centaur (and Percy Jackson’s instructor for my book-loving friends), was wise and brave.  He tutored famous Greeks such as Hercules and Achilles (keep that heel covered!), and he embodied the classically tragic noble death.  Though he was immortal, when Chiron was accidentally wounded by an arrow dipped in the blood of the Hydra (um, gross), he suffered great pain.  When Zeus demanded a sacrifice to free Prometheus, Chiron volunteered—both to be finished with his pain, and to heroically liberate Prometheus (https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Centaur/centaur.html).  

The Hydra…poor Chiron!

On the other side of the metaphorical coin, centaurs were often known to pull the chariot of the god Eros (I’m pretty sure they picked up their relationship advice from him).  For those of you who aren’t into root words, the word erotica comes from the same root as Eros.  I’ll just leave that there.  Frequently drunk and slaves to their animalistic lusts, I’m sure the race of centaurs was procreated with great fervor.  For this reason, the Greeks seemed to look down on the mythical race of centaurs in general (https://www.britannica.com/topic/Centaur-Greek-mythology).

Mosaic of centaurs pulling a chariot

Many conflicts surrounding centaurs seem to feature the human struggle between civilization and complete savagery.  It poses an interesting question about the internal struggles of humanity.   

On which side of the centaur coin do you think man most frequently falls?  Why?  Leave your comments below! 🙂 

 

Writing Prompts:

You are a centaur.  Are you the wizened sage, or the lascivious lush?  Why that one?

 

The wind whipped my tail against my chestnut-colored flank.  I crossed my arms over my chest as the wind teased the hair on my nape from its warrior’s knot.  The decision before me would change the fate of man forever.  Using all in my wisdom, I must choose to…

 

Book Recommendations:

The Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by: Rick Riordon

Ella Enchanted by:  Gail Carson Levine (okay, so there’s only a few brief mentions of centaurs in the book, but it’s one of my all-time favorites)

The Chronicles of Narnia by:  C. S. Lewis (Glenstorm is my favorite centaur!)

 

Who remembers this gem from the 1940’s?

 

Sources:

https://www.cgtrader.com/3d-print-models/miniatures/figurines/centaur
https://www.greekmythology.com/Myths/Creatures/Centaur/centaur.html
https://forgottenrealms.fandom.com/wiki/Hydra
https://www.globalgayz.com/tunisia-bardo-museum/