Fairy Spotting: A Guide

Dear Fairy Friends,

The weather has been gorgeous at Dragon Dell. The leaves are turning lovely golden tones, glinting in the Fall sunlight. It is a time for harvests, for enjoying the world before winter settles in. It is my favourite time of the year, leading up to Samhain – many humans call it Halloween.

Fairies are out in full force, more and more as October 31st approaches. It is a very busy time of the year and the peak for fairy activity!

I’ve had a few children very sadly write to me that they have not seen a fairy. I believe this may be because many people expect a full-bodied, glittery, clear apparition. In reality, you probably have seen a fairy and didn’t realize it!

For example, do you have a cat or dog? We have both, as well as ferrets. Have you ever noticed them paying attention to something that did not make sense? Cats will often stare at or chase invisible things, dogs will suddenly go sit and stare at a wall, ferrets will run off after something (they are a poor example because they are always doing this anyway!). Often, this is a sign that there is fairy activity in the house!

For instance, I will be doing dishes in the kitchen and notice something flit outside, only to take a better look and see nothing at all. Things moving out of the corner of your eye or subtle shifts you can’t be sure you saw are often fairies.

If you would like to be more attuned to fairy sightings in your home, garden and in the wild, the book Fairies, A Spotter’s Handbook by Alison Maloney, illustrated by Patricia Moffet, is an excellent guide for children and adults interested in starting to build  up their fairy lore.

Unlike some other fairy books for children and youth, this handbook is not too sugary-sweet that you develop a toothache while reading it. Having once been Fey myself, I appreciate that it points out that there are both good and bad fairies. These terms are very stiff and often, a benevolent fairy might behave in a manner we might classify as bad or evil. However, we often forget that our concepts of good and bad have no meaning to the Good Neighbours. I am fond of this book because it touches on this lightly, but does not paint all Fey in a shiny, squeaky clean light.

Having read the majority of the book that discusses Queen Titania, the ruler of Faerie, her court, the different types of fairies, my daughters were eager to test the handbook in the great outdoors.

Taking the handbook out with us for some spotting!

We had with us mason jars for collecting and the guide. I need to be very clear about one thing when venturing out to look for fairies: please, never, ever try to jar them! I am pretty sure most of us would not like to be contained in a sealed jar, even with holes poked in the lid. I can assure you, neither do fairies. There are dire consequences for all who try to trap fairies and Fairy Hunters are one of our greatest fears at Dragon Dell. This is strictly a guide too spotting, not hunting! Great things to have with you would be a container to collect things in, a magnifying glass, a little cup and some milk, honey or cake. Keep an open mind and an open heart!

Collecting

If you have a garden, look under shrubs or bushes, you may find some fairy clues there. A tidy pile of leaves, for example, may have been a fairy bed.

Other signs of fairy visits include toadstool rings or a circular area of flattened grass. Rings of toadstools are Fairy Rings and these are sacred ritual and celebratory spaces for The Gentry. They must not be destroyed or you will have bad luck! Flattened grass in an open area where there are no tracks and the grass surrounding it is upright is another sign that there has been a fairy celebration!

You will also want to examine trees in your yard. All trees have fairy spirits inhabiting them and you just need to look for signs! We have a crab apple tree that we often find little piles of twigs under. This is a sign of a fairy dwelling.

Looking under our special crab tree

If you are in the woods and spot bluebells, foxglove, lavender, snowdrops or forget-me-nots, these plants are irresistible to the Fair Folk and you can wager that they are around.

We collect things we find such as feathers, acorns, fallen leaves. These we keep and make little beds out of in the garden before we go in, to let the fairies know they are welcome and will be during the cold months. Our hearth is fairy-friendly! I appreciate very much that Fairies, A Spotter’s Handbook offers the reader protection against the wrong sort of fairy making themselves feeling welcome. The book recommends putting springs of either rosemary of thyme near the front door and offers this spell to bless the home:

We’ve rosemary, thyme and sweet-smelling flowers,

Good fairies can enjoy,

To this clear house we call ours,

Bring love, peace and joy. 

It is very important when forming friendships with fairies to do something like this, to make your invitation very clear. This is where I want to note that just as we wish to come to no harm in our household, when you are out in theirs, do not harm or destroy things. When collecting items in your jar, please do not break off branches, petals, trap bugs nor harm any animals. These are very serious offences and the equivalent of someone entering your home and smashing your furniture and throwing everything around. Littering is also a great offence so if you bring snacks, please remember to tidy up after.


Lastly,  if you wish to show good faith to the Fey, leave them a small offering of milk, honey or cake. This can also be placed in the kitchen window, it is a great treat for the Fey and they will be very pleased.  We may have experienced some Fey tampering with our picture above, no matter what angle we took the picture from, the little friendship bowl we filled with milk would not photograph clearly!

I hope that this helps give you hope going forward, looking for signs of magic and open your eyes to fairy sightings you might already have encountered!

With love,

Your Lady Star

Stardust Script 

Mom, where does Stardust come from?”

“When a star shifts a little, the glowing dust of the ages may be shaken lose from her skirts. If you are lucky enough to catch some of this Stardust, keep it close to your heart on cold nights to stay warm, practicing your letters in it will always help you find the right words to comfort an aching heart, and just before the glow dims, carry it to a field and set it free with a true wish. Wishes on Stardust are precious things, because if the wish is kind and pure enough, it may spark the birth of a new star.”

-Conversations with my daughter, Garnet


Stars are so beautiful and Stardust from them is a true gift. If you make this recipe, it may not be as potent as celestial Stardust, but leave it on a table in the moonlight, and the stars will smile on it. It will be imbued with wonderful magic to practice letters and words in and can make wishes of the heart comes true. Dress warmly however because you cannot trust this variation to keep you warm! 

To make your own Stardust, you will need:

  • A box of table salt 
  • Food colouring of your preferred colour
  • Glitter
  • An alphabet book or cards with words you would like to practice
  • Wands, feathers or something to write in the sand
  • A mixing bowl
  • A spatula
  • Crowns and wings optional but highly recommended!

 
I made Stardust for 2 children and used half a box of salt. You can always make more or less, if you make a lot you can simply store it! We emptied the salt into a bowl and added 3 drops of neon pink food colouring, and 3 drops of magenta. The food colouring will stick to the salt, it requires a little firm pressing and stirring with a spatula to spread it evenly throughout. Next, we mixed in some pink glitter given to us by Fairy Friend, Susan. To add a little more sparkle, we tossed in some pink glitter hearts. Really, I am not sure there is such a thing as too much glitter! 

I then poured some into baking pans. You will want to be a little sparse, if there is a lot of sand, the letters traced will be harder to see. This mixture did not stain the pans, but you can always line them first with pretty wrapping paper or foil to make the letters stand out even more. 

We attached our wings securely and adjusted our best crowns, mixed the Stardust by hand to enjoy how silky soft it was, and then sifted the pans to even it out. We took up our wands, ready to practice our letters. 

I gave each of my daughters an alphabet book beside their pan of Stardust. I gave my youngest daughter Canada ABC by Paul Covello, and my eldest daughter The ABCs of RPGS by Ivan Van Norman and Caleb Cleveland. They are both wonderful books with large, clear letters for the children to copy with ease. 


We worked on letters for about half an hour and then I added My Little Ponies and Thomas mini trains for the girls to play with while I worked on dinner. Just before we put the trays away, I gave the girls tea cups. They scooped some of the Stardust into the teacups, saving it for wish-making.


After baths, we put on our rain boots and walked on to the damp grass, tea cups cradled in our palms against the wind. It was a perfect wind, gentle yet with enough force to carry our dust up high and have our wishes whispered to the stars. 


What we wished for, I cannot share with you. That is one of the cardinal wish-rules: they are a secret kept between your heart and the stars. 

May you wish wisely and enjoy this activity!

With love,

Your Lady Star

Indoor Fairy Gardens: Honouring The Earth Fey in Cold Weather

Dear Fairy Friends,

In the last post with the short story of The Root Vegetable Babes, Children of the Earth, I started to touch on something greater. Earth Fey are around us all the time.They care for the grass, the soil, the very earth we walk on. I know that at this time of the year, when the bright greenery of the spring and summer start to turn golden and then are covered by the snow, we may get the false impression that the earth is sleeping and not paying attention to us. Yet the earth and the Fair Folk that tend to everything, from changing leaves to tucking hibernating animals into their winter beds, are always about and not at all turning a blind eye to us.

While it was much easier to let them know they were welcome in the summer by planting and tending to garden beds, putting fresh water in bird baths, admiring the beauty of the butterfly, it gets decidedly more difficult in cold weather. However, we tend to let a little bit of the wild into our home at Dragon Dell for all our Earth spirit visitors.

One of the things we do at this time of the year is to start an indoor Fairy Garden. In past years, these have been in large pots, so big the children could sit in them. This year, we have a crawling baby about to walk and I don’t believe that the Fey consider eating the garden we plant for them quite the compliment my son would think it is! In order to keep him and the garden safe, we have made a smaller one this year. It makes a lovely centrepiece on our kitchen table!

We found the perfect size of garden when we spotted the Wee Enchanted Fairy Garden Kit by Faber-Castell Creativity for Kids.  My daughters just celebrated birthdays and they chose this to spend some of their birthday treasure on, the retail cost was $39.99. Naturally, I agreed!


It is a lovely kit that comes with everything needed: decorations, paints, soil, pebbles for the pathway, stepping stones, seeds and my favourite: glitter! This glitter even had little stars in it.

The kit states that it is intedended for ages 7-97. This did make me laugh because I am well past 97 years old, having lived as a fairy most of my life! My children are aged 6 and 3, and they did an incredible job with my help.

I am very fond of mushrooms and I was delighted that they were in the kit. These are excellent additions to any Fairy Garden, whether you buy a kit or make one yourself. If you are ever walking in the woods and see a ring of mushrooms, you are actually looking at a Fairy Ring. It is best not to disturb these by picking the mushrooms or stepping into it. The Good Neighbours treat these spaces as scared and will often dance around the rings during festivals. Great misfortune may follow anyone who destroys or damages them! Please, I ask you to admire them from afar! That said, adding mushrooms to a Fairy Garden is a nod to their customs and one way in which to let them know that this space has been specially created for them.


This particular kit came with a charming house that appears to be made out of a flower. You can pick anything for a little home, it can be a painted milk carton, box you decorate, or of course, a store bought house. As long as you pick it with care for the Fey, they will appreciate it! Earth Fairies are partial to browns, greens, and they love flowers. You can use their favourite shades to inspire you and you can never go wrong with flowers.

We painted all of our pieces, making an afternoon of the activity on a rainy day.  We also painted the planter. You can absolutely do the same if you are using a clay pot, plastic container – really, almost anything! We dedicated our Fairy Garden to Earth Spirits on the grounds, so that even when we must be inside, so are they and they know we have not forgotten them.


We let the pieces dry while we took out Dragon Dell’s helpers (it is a VERY lose term in this case), Rosie and Ludo. They kept us quite busy and we let the pieces dry for a little over one hour.


With Rosie and Ludo fast asleep, we got to move on to adding the potting soil. We took out an antique tea pot to add a sense of ceremony to the occasion and moistened the soil. Once this was done, we planed the garden layout and put the house at the forefront. You may wish to create a little walkway to the home with pebbles, found stones, vibrant aquarium stones (that can be found at pet stores and places with pet supplies – ours came from Walmart in the past). Our kit supplied a very pretty shade of purple pebbles we used to create a walkway going two ways because, as my eldest daughter pointed out, in a fairy emergency there should be an alternate route.

Once the pieces of the garden were in place, we got to plant the seeds. The kit comes with so many seeds and recommended reserving some for future planting. I thought this was brilliant because you can stretch the life of your Fairy Garden out so that you have new growth all throughout the winter. We put aside both bean and wheatgrass seeds for future planting, buried some for now and then watered the seeds with the tea pot. Both bean and wheatgrass seeds are easy to find at local stores, we have even spotted them at our local Peavey Mart and Walmart. Garden centres will also have them as well as great advice on what kind of plants do well indoors. During past years, we went to Fern’s Greenhouse and have used gorgeous little succulents.

Lastly,  so as not to get them wet, we added the artificial flowers, the glittery butterflies and the fairy. We have found many pretty things to add over the years at the Dollar Store, The Dollar Tree, Michael’s and Walmart. Once you set your mind to making one of these gardens, I find you tend to see things you might like to add everywhere. I have also raided the basement and found bits of toys that we used, giving the toy a purpose and life once more and adding something unique to our arrangement. We were all holding our breath for the last thing we had to do: add some pixie dust! We opened the little vial, we each put some in our palms and made a wish with our eyes closed, our hands over our heart’s. I know many people think this is silly and will skip this step, but the Fey know which gardens grow wishes and which do not. It is also what turns any glitter into pixie dust; the wishes add the magic. This is why I always added wishes to our Fairy Gardens and pull these wishes up from the very depths of my heart.

In the end, we had a shimmery garden for our GoodNeighbours.

We enjoyed this birthday gift so much and watering the garden draws our attention daily to the earth, to caring for it, fostering its growth and nurturing it. I cannot wait to see the beginnings of new life when the sprouts start to push through the soil! I know the children will be so excited.

I would very much love to see any Fairy Gardens you have made, indoor or out, and any stories you might have that go with them!

Love,

Your Lady Star

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Fairy Predators and How to Keep them Away

 

Dearest Fairy Friends,

Due to recent Disney films regarding fairies, there seems to be great concern that hawks eat fairies.

I am a fan of the Disney fairy films and I believe the lessons they impart demonstrate many of the valued virtues of The Gentry.

With that said, please do not hold any ill-will towards hawks. They do not eat fairies. Reactions to the notion that hawks fancy fairy feasts among the Fey that visit Dragon Dell have ranged between laughter and outright insult. I’ll explain.

While the Fair Folk are not immortal, they do live an exceptionally long lifespan and have many powers. There are different types of these beings and their abilities vary from type to type, yet they all possess strong magical abilities. For example, do you think an air fairy that can help the snows move across the globe would be afraid of a hawk? Not likely. I can guarantee you that birds of prey know very well that fairies are not appetizers.

This does however bring about the question whether or not other beings are a threat to the Good Neighbours. Yes. Sadly, we created them.

Beyond the Veil there exists a dark creature that can never be full. These creatures hunt the Fey because they are in constant agony, their hunger twisting their bellies. They may be cruel and bloodthirsty, but they do deserve our pity for their pain can never be alleviated. They were never given an official name by their creator, but among many of the Fey, they are called the Iron Hounds.

Their origin goes back many hundreds of years ago. There had been a wealthy man who had a fairy wife. He was unkind to her and when she became ill and lost the slightest bit of her youthful fairy beauty, he turned her out of his house and sought a new bride. The wealth had been a wedding gift and the moment the heartless man took a new wife, the fairy gold disappeared.  Vengeance filled the man’s heart even though he had brought his plight upon himself. He spent years cultivating knowledge on fairy lore and magic until he fancied himself a wizard. There was some truth to his claim and success in his dark sorcery. He poisoned every tree, one by one, in a small glade by nailing their roots with iron nails. Iron is one of the few metals that may harm the Gentry (and other magical creatures). The nails drove the woodland spirits out and in their place, the twisted wizard grew the essence of the Iron Hounds out of the sick and dying trees. The rotting, knotted and twisted trunks of these trees formed the bodies of the hounds. The sole purpose of these poor, sick and hungry beasts is to hunt and feast off the Fey. With every bite, their hunger deepens so that they can never ignore it, nor can they ever sate it.

Iron Hounds are much larger than worldly hounds, running on legs of twisted tree roots. Their eyes are empty except for dark pools. They are imbued with some very ugly magic and have the speed to hunt the nimble Fey. Their bodies often remain beyond the Veil while their essence takes on a ghostly hound form in our world. The body and essence must be one for the beings to be destroyed completely, putting the poor creatures out of the misery that they are cursed with.

Luckily, there are things that ward off the Iron Hounds. They are not rare nor enchanted objects, some of them can even be found at the grocery store!

Onions may look humble and we are used to chopping them up for soups, salads or fried in batter for a treat. However, the onion has a long history as a protective plant, dating back to ancient Egypt.

There are a few ways to use the onion. To guard against anything wicked entering your home, an onion with pins in it on the windowsill will do the trick. Alternately, you can place a cut onion in a room as a ward against malevolent beings. If you have onions in your garden, they will protect your house and property.

lilac

There are also certain flowers that the Iron Hounds will avoid at all costs. Flowers are healthy, happy flora and these creatures were breed out of sickness. They cannot stand certain flowers with protective properties. Lilac is such a plant. Dragon Dell is always bursting with lilac blooms when the weather is warm! If you have some lilac bushes around your home, Iron Hounds will not dare attempt to enter.

MMS

Another major deterrent for the hounds is lavender. Dragon Dell does not have access to wild lavender year-long, instead we have begun trying to grow some indoors. We also found Magic Monster Spray made by  The Green Goddess. Would you care to guess what one of the ingredients might be? The lavender floral water in the Magic Monster Spray is indeed magic! This spray is safe to use on pillows, stuffed animals that you might tuck into your bed with you, sheets and it also helps encourage our dreams to be soft and peaceful. We use it often since our discovery and since we are rather slow to grow our lavender (the cats of Dragon Dell take great delight in upsetting plants).

There is no way to undo the great evil that created the Iron Hounds. As much as I prefer to keep them away from Dragon Dell, since it would be like a fairy buffet for them, I do pity the poor things. In my search for ways to guard the Gentry from them, I have not come across a way to heal them nor to feed them so that they may rest. I hope to one day.

You can keep your fairies safe by placing an onion on your window sill, in your room overnight,  lilac bushes, dried lavender or Magic Monster Spray! Use whatever you may have at hand and rest assured, you can protect your friends. The power to do so is in your hands and maybe even your kitchen.

Love,

Your Lady Star