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Author Topic: Curious about real faeries  (Read 2039 times)

nadkins733

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Curious about real faeries
« on: August 02, 2012, 06:39:29 pm »
(not sure if this is in right spot)..
i was just curious about faeries. I was reading other posts about them and was getting mixed results. Some claimed they were nice creatures and easy to communicate with, others said they were more reclusive and not so nice. So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!Thanks,nadkins733

Annie Roonie

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2012, 09:44:48 pm »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126
So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!Thanks,nadkins733


I was curious too so I read about the web and came up with much the same as you have. If you Google, there are plenty of sites about them, but as for which ones are reliable, I have no idea! Which is why I have not included any. Sorry!

So far in culling the little I have, they are like people in that the nice ones can be impish at times and the not so nice ones can sometimes be helpful. Which would explain why there are mixed results in how people react to them. But I am just guessing.

Annie Roonie

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2012, 10:40:39 pm »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126
(not sure if this is in right spot)..
i was just curious about faeries. I was reading other posts about them and was getting mixed results. Some claimed they were nice creatures and easy to communicate with, others said they were more reclusive and not so nice. So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!Thanks,nadkins733


Thanks to Nyktipolos, I found this thread on the old board. Not only are there good books mentioned for research, but there are four other threads linked for further reading. And some advice too.

I hope that helps!

wadjet

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2012, 08:14:14 am »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126



 

I don't have any sites, but I would suggest looking for faerie information under different names for them - wights, aes sídhe, brownies - as well as specifically looking for "folklore", perhaps from a particular area where you have interest. It should help weed out a lot of the stuff like people trying to sell you mishmash. Hopefully.

Jabberwocky

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2012, 09:04:30 am »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126
(not sure if this is in right spot)... Some claimed they were nice creatures and easy to communicate with, others said they were more reclusive and not so nice.


From my (very limited) UPG experience, I'd say that both of those claims are correct.  They can be either.  You can't really look at the wee folk in the nice/nasty dichotomy, or good/bad for that matter.  They're complex and variable.  

Quote
So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!


I'd second wadjet's recommendation to choose an area (or culture) and go with the folklore.  Having done a quick Google, I'd be wary of most of most of the non-academic sites that seem to be out there.  Also, if you do go the folklore/historical route, avoid anything from the Victorian era.  As a general rule of thumb, the Victorians aren't a good starting point for research.
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Jenett

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2012, 05:01:37 pm »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126
(not sure if this is in right spot)..
i was just curious about faeries. I was reading other posts about them and was getting mixed results. Some claimed they were nice creatures and easy to communicate with, others said they were more reclusive and not so nice. So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!Thanks,nadkins733

 
My favourite quote about that comes from a Pamela Dean novel, _Tam Lin_ (yes, based on the ballad of that name), where someone basically says of the Fae: "They're like Linear A: they look like they ought to mean something, but you don't know what it is."

They're entirely not-human. Sometimes that works out well for people. Sometimes it doesn't. Poking to find out which it might be for you, with the particular Fae in question at this time is a tricky proposition, and not generally recommended unless you have compelling reason or a high tolerance for chaos in your life.
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Nyktipolos

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2012, 07:22:26 pm »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;67254
Also, if you do go the folklore/historical route, avoid anything from the Victorian era.  As a general rule of thumb, the Victorians aren't a good starting point for research.

 
That seems a bit weird, considering that it was the Victorian Era (and the Romantic Era, I believe?) that really spawned the Very Serious Research for fairy folk, as well as local British folklore. Then again, I think I get where you are coming from, because fairy folklore research then was coloured by the motivations behind it. But, it should not be discarded or ignored, simply because it is/was an active force in what we know today about British folklore, as well as fairy folk lore.

Actually, a really great book that discusses fairytales, folklore, and the Victorian Age is "Strange and Secret Peoples: Fairies and Victorian Consciousness" by Carole G. Silver. Definitely a must to read if you want to use Victorian age fairytales/folklore in your research. Even though I only made it part-way through the book before I had to return it to the library, it's definitely made me look at British fairytales and folklore A LOT differently (also, Scottish and Irish).

Of course, that's only if you're looking at fairy folk from the British Isles. Fairies in other cultures require different research. :)
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Aisling

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #7 on: August 04, 2012, 08:32:57 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;67274
They're entirely not-human. Sometimes that works out well for people. Sometimes it doesn't. Poking to find out which it might be for you, with the particular Fae in question at this time is a tricky proposition, and not generally recommended unless you have compelling reason or a high tolerance for chaos in your life.

 
Seconding what Jenett has said here. The Fae have their own motivations and expectations that can be completely foreign to humans and they really don't care about what humans want, need, or desire.
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Annie Roonie

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #8 on: August 04, 2012, 09:42:28 pm »
Quote from: Aisling;67293
Seconding what Jenett has said here. The Fae have their own motivations and expectations that can be completely foreign to humans and they really don't care about what humans want, need, or desire.

 
I stopped by the library today and got a couple of the books mentioned in those threads and another one. And what you and Jenett say has been common among them all so far with just a cursory flip and read. Sitting down to read more of each tonight.

Faemon

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #9 on: August 04, 2012, 10:22:33 pm »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;67254
Also, if you do go the folklore/historical route, avoid anything from the Victorian era.  As a general rule of thumb, the Victorians aren't a good starting point for research.

Thomas Keightley's The World Guide to Gnomes, Fairies, Elves & Other Little People (1880) is my all-time favorite resource on this. :whis:

One interesting thing I read, was that faerie refers to a place for the fae (in English construction, it's like "nunnery") So, Fairyland becomes rather redundant, like "Fae-place-place".

I can't recall if this is from Keightley, but: the fae stems from the Latin for Fates (right? Or popular misconception,) and so would refer to the occult forces that influence mundane life. Then "fairy" could refer to ghosts (and other inhabitants of the afterlife realm) as well as nature spirits, old gods "made smaller by lack of worship" as well as demons. A bit of syncretism, that some folks in 1880 seemed to consider the fae as Judeo-Christian fallen angels who weren't good enough for heaven but not bad enough for hell so they fell as far as here, in between.

It doesn't seem to me that any otherworldly "race" self-identifies as Fae, but that it is effectively a catch-all term that people use for all otherworldly entities?
« Last Edit: August 04, 2012, 10:24:01 pm by Faemon »
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Jabberwocky

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 05:38:24 am »
Quote from: Nyktipolos;67284
That seems a bit weird, considering that it was the Victorian Era (and the Romantic Era, I believe?) that really spawned the Very Serious Research for fairy folk, as well as local British folklore. Then again, I think I get where you are coming from, because fairy folklore research then was coloured by the motivations behind it. But, it should not be discarded or ignored, simply because it is/was an active force in what we know today about British folklore, as well as fairy folk lore.


It's not that I think it should be discarded or ignored in the long term.  More that I don't recommend it should be where people start.  It's the colouring you mention that's the issue for me.  Especially if someone is looking at the possibility of using historical research as a prelude to working with the wee folk, I think the Victorian era research is so sanitised that it shouldn't be what people are basing their work on.  Once you've read some of the more modern works on the topic, then yes, there's a lot of really useful Victorian era research to look at.  (This is roughly the same as why I recommend people interested in the English Civil War don't start with the Marxist historians.  There's some amazing stuff in that category.  But it's worth getting a broader perspective before you move into it).

One often overlooked resource for this is local history groups.  If you're wanting a specifically regional perspective, they're great.  And, at least in my experience, they're generally really happy to help.  Compared to mainstream academia, they don't get approached that often so have more time to answer questions.
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nadkins733

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2012, 01:22:52 pm »
Quote from: Jabberwocky;67333
It's not that I think it should be discarded or ignored in the long term.  More that I don't recommend it should be where people start.  It's the colouring you mention that's the issue for me.  Especially if someone is looking at the possibility of using historical research as a prelude to working with the wee folk, I think the Victorian era research is so sanitised that it shouldn't be what people are basing their work on.  Once you've read some of the more modern works on the topic, then yes, there's a lot of really useful Victorian era research to look at.  (This is roughly the same as why I recommend people interested in the English Civil War don't start with the Marxist historians.  There's some amazing stuff in that category.  But it's worth getting a broader perspective before you move into it).



One often overlooked resource for this is local history groups.  If you're wanting a specifically regional perspective, they're great.  And, at least in my experience, they're generally really happy to help.  Compared to mainstream academia, they don't get approached that often so have more time to answer questions.




Thanks guys for the info! This certainly will help me alot and I might even look into all the victorian stuff just for entertainment purposes. If I find anything worthwhile about the real fae though I'll let you know.

catja6

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2012, 05:00:26 pm »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126

i was just curious about faeries.

 
99% of what's available on the web is crap.  The best thing to do is go to a university library and grab Katharine Briggs' Encyclopedia, the Carole Silver book Nyktopolis mentioned, and Diane Purkiss's At the Bottom of the Garden.  After you've read those, then it's okay to go on to Sacred Texts and look through the 19th c. collections -- as Jabberwocky said, they aren't good as a place to start, because of the outdated and problematic theoretical models, but if you've read and absorbed the Silver you'll be fine.  After that, try poking around in the scholarly databases JSTOR and Project Muse, where a lot of folklore journals are archived.

Incidentally, if you're looking for scholarly, well-researched sources, it's "fairies." Not "faeries" or "fae."  The latter two used to be legit dialect terms, but if you find them in a published book today it's either a) a fantasy novel or b) might as well be a fantasy novel.  There are only two exceptions that I know of: Tolkien's concept of "faerie" (which isn't really about the fairy folk per se), and Maureen Duffy's The Erotic World of Faery (which is a heavily Freudian analysis of fairy lore--it's an entertaining read, but do the Briggs, Silver, and Purkiss first).

monsnoleedra

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Re: Curious about real faeries
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2012, 07:06:07 pm »
Quote from: nadkins733;67126
(not sure if this is in right spot)..
i was just curious about faeries. I was reading other posts about them and was getting mixed results. Some claimed they were nice creatures and easy to communicate with, others said they were more reclusive and not so nice. So if someone could give me a little info or a good site to visit that would be awesome!Thanks,nadkins733


Don't know how they are seen in today's light but a few years ago (1980's) Time Life books did a series called the Enchanted World series.  There was 20 books in the series with them covering different things with Fairies being one of the books.

They were praised for their research and stuff back in the day.  IF nothing else they had some fantastic art work in each volume and many times crossed over between the various books.

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