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

Pond Pixie Slime: Making Loyalty, Generosity & Laughter “Stick”

Dear Fairy Friends,

It has rained on and off here, as it does during this time of year. With the rain comes very sticky mud on the grounds of our home, Dragon Dell Cottage. We have often lifted a foot only to realize that our boot was still in the mud!

The puddles and mud were on my mind as I thought about some of the fairy bogs across The Veil, in the land of the Fey. They are not all dark and gloomy. Some of them have vibrantly coloured slime and the Pond Pixes, a special type of Water Fey that make this slime, enjoy playing with it. They marvel at the stickiness, make batches just to improve elasticity and, in a pinch, have made some for spiders out of thread for their webs. 

At the cottage, I have been struggling with some sibling discord amongst my children. I know that this is very normal, yet I remain a little perplexed regardless having been a fairy most of my life! 

We have been working on Loyalty, as opportunity often sways my eldest, and she ends up regretting her decisions afterwards. When we know we have not been Loyal, it can pain the heart, yet loyalty is a subject of depth as there are such a things as blind loyalty and betraying yourself for others. With my middle child, we have been discussing Generosity. The Fey do not like stinginess and I am trying to show her how sharing and giving can be a joy.  Lastly, I am on working on myself! Trying to diffuse situations acting as cranky as a badger just adds fuel to the fire. I am learning to replace being cross with Laughter. My youngest is my greatest teacher in this art!

I decided to use Pixie Pond Slime to make these ideas “stick” rather than a stern lecture to discuss Loyalty, Generosity and Laughter.

To make your own Pixie Pond Slime, you will need:

  1. One 5 oz bottle of clear Elmer’s Clear Glue 
  2. Glitter
  3. 1 1/2 tablespoon of contact lens solution
  4. 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  5. A spatula
  6. A mixing bowl 

Pond Pixie Slime ingredients

To make the slime, empty the entire bottle of glue into your mixing bowl. Mix in some glitter! It is the best part! We don’t measure, but I would venture to say a couple of teaspoons at least! We put quite a lot to make the slime very sparkly. Next, add your contact lens solution and baking soda.

It will be very, very gloopy at first. If you knead it, it becomes less stringy and as you work with it in the open air, it dries a little and becomes more glob-like. 

I prepared 3 batches in 3 different colours and scooped every last sticky string in mason jars with lids. If left out, the slime will dry. I labelled them, one for each of us: Loyalty was blue, Generosity was purple and Laughter was pink.

Lesson made to stick in a jar!

I picked up my eldest daughter from school and she was delighted by the sparkly jars I had prepared with her sister and brother.

Purple for Generosity
Blue for Loyalty

The children and I talked as we played and they even shared without any prompting. They took out ice cube trays and made fairy cakes for the Pond Pixies. They twirled, rolled, stretched and squished the Pond Pixie Slime for over an hour!

Pond Pixie Slime!

I recommend using plastic mats to play on. The slime is easiest to pick up using more slime, as it sticks together. It can be peeled off of mixing bowls and spatulas too, if you clean it up before it dries. If it does happened to dry, the glue is washable and a good soak will do the trick. I hope you have enjoyed this post and would love to know what names you gave your slime! What did you learn?

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

Bent Wings and Pigeon-Toes: A Clumsy Tale of True Beauty 

Dear Fairy Friends,

Growing up Fey, I was surrounded by beauty. I however did not see any of that beauty in myself when I looked at my reflection in the Stargazer’s Pond. You can only look into it on a night full of starlight, which will show you truth in the waters. It is used to look into your world, to see ourselves as we are and to envision ourselves as we will be in the future. The waters of this pond are perfectly still, even the frogs dare not splash in it. When I looked into the pond, I never saw beauty.  In fact, I saw nothing at all, not even the stars reflected. Just the dark, glassy, breathless waters. There was something about the pond that I didn’t know, but I will come to that a little later in this tale. 

There was something about me that made me stand apart when all I wished for was to blend in. I was born rather pigeon-toed, which was already unusual for one of my kind. To add insult to injury, my wings had an odd arc to them, they were bent forward at the tips. 

Pigeon-toe woes

Therefore, I was clumsy on my feet, as well as in the air. No one invited me to chase shooting stars with them, nor did they ask for my help painting rainbows because my flying made me paint crazed, crooked stripes through the sky. Only the naive dared to partner with me during the celebratory dances in the Fairy Rings. It only took one turn around for them to realize that I would trip them, sending us careening into the mushrooms that formed the circle more often than not. Let me tell you, flinging others into mushrooms is not the best way to make friends!

I walked carefully, doing my best to keep my feet straight. It was agonizing. I tried to keep my wing tips pointed up only to feel them ache as well. If I managed one, I neglected the other because the effort and pain were too great. The looks that I got from the other Fey stung me deeply and made my heart ache, just as my body ached trying to look less…like myself. 

Velocity seemed to aggravate my clumsiness so I went gently, slowly and tried to help my wayward feet. As I walked, I began to notice things I never had before and I was drawn to the incredible plants that surrounded me. I was fascinated and stopped often to ask creatures, great and small, what they knew about the plants they drank from, took shelter in or ate for nourishment. 

I learned from the bees and hummingbirds which flowers were the sweetest. The bears explained which berries they would eat and which were poison for them. The caterpillars demonstrated how they would blend into foliage to camouflage themselves. Being so still, I demonstrated enough patience that elves and dwarves approached me and I was able to learn from them as well. It isn’t easy and their lessons are lengthy. Elves, being immortal, really have no regard for time. Dwarves, having been born from the oldest stones on the earth, share knowledge about as speedily as the mountains shift.  I even came upon a dragon with gems wedged between her scales that had begun to cut into her skin. I healed her and altered her lair so that the sharpest treasures would not dig into her hide again. To thank me, she showed me how the different phases of the moon could enchant and enhance the healing or harming properties of plants. This is highly guarded knowledge because of its duality – it can lengthen lives or end them – and is not to be taken lightly. 

I had been so absorbed in plant lore that I had walked with my crooked feet in front of all of these beings: the most enlightened, the eldest, the most magical. Not the birds, nor the elves, dwarves, or the dragon seemed repelled by my inherent clumsiness of foot or wing. It was when I forgot to care and worry about my feet and wings that I found great purpose in healing and protecting. It was then that I was gifted with my true name, Angelica, after the plant I had the greatest affinity with. 

My feet hardly straightened by the time I reached maturity at 100 years old. Now well past my early adulthood, my feet are as crooked as ever, the bend in my wings still prominent. 

The same feet that once made me painfully aware that I was different were quite clever in the end, slowing me down enough to find my calling. The wings that keep me grounded could easily shield plants and animals and were ideal for collecting herbs. Being made differently, from a slightly askew magic perhaps, had given me great gifts. 

With age and perspective, I have come to appreciate that there is no such thing as perfection within my kind, my world nor yours. Instead of striving to fit in, for this elusive notion of how we ought to be, let us just be, as we were intended to be from the moment when we were created. 

Every child has a place in the fantastic

I see children made from all kinds of wonderful, who feel they are never represented in the realm of the fantastic. I am so grateful that I found artist Carolyn Gerk of Velvet Hand Designs who has helped me bring to life some of the different types of Fey, just as they are. All children should have access to the realms of wonder and magic, I hope to add more diversity in the future to the collection. It is important to me because only by believing that I had a place, that I was special, was I able to finally see beauty in myself when I looked into the pond. That is the great secret: you must believe in yourself first to see who you are and decide who you want to become. 

Love every quirk!

May we celebrate crooked feet, bent wings and everything in between. I already believe in you. Believe and look at yourself as you truly are for the first time. You are breathtaking. 

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

.

The Moon Fairy

 

Come close and let Lady Star share a fairy story with you:

Ever wake up at night and think “I’m not alone”? If you have, guess what? You are right; every night you are not alone. Now, there is no reason to be spooked by this news – since most monsters are more afraid of you than you are of them – and your most frequent visitor is a fairy. She is the Moon Fairy.

She has a name, a beautiful name! One that reminds you of dragonflies and the smell of the ocean at night, maybe with a hint of cinnamon and cricket song. I know this because I recall the feel of her name, but not her name itself. This is part of my sad condition, I’ve lost her name because she must have taken it back from me over the years as I become more and more human. You see, it is a secret name, hers to give and hers to take. She gives it out very selectively to special children and I have heard that it sounds different to each child. To you, for instance, her name might feel like the smell of the lilac bush outside your window, the earthy smell of a giant oak snoring in his sleep and possibly a handful of jellybeans. No matter what, it is always her name.

Her hair gathers and twists into a luminous spiral, much like a candle flickering as you walk by. Her eyes are shiny and deep on her lovely blue face. She flits in such a way as to be able to imitate both shadow and light, allowing her to blend into the corners of the night. She laughs a bit like little bird warbling. She wears a dress made of Evening Primrose and carries a wand made of a Moon Flower. She snacks on dragon fruit as she makes her nightly rounds.

Rounds? What rounds, you ask. Ah, I haven’t explained to you what the Moon Fairy does! There is a lot of commotion surrounding the Sandman and dreams, but seldom is the Moon Fairy credited with her role in dreams. Someone must first open your sight inside your sleep for you to be able to witness the magic of dreams. The Moon Fairy turns her key tucked into the petals of her wand just inside your earlobe, unlocking your mind for the dream sands. You can understand now why it is a very important job.

It is very frustrating for the Moon Fairy when children lock her out of their minds and earlobes! How do they do this? Well, let me ask you this: when was the last time you refused to go to sleep? Your answer is also the last time you locked her out!

She takes great pains to fold and wrinkle and crinkle herself ever so small so that she can travel through the tiniest crack into your bedroom. Sometimes, tucked up into a minuscule speck, she gets stuck, unable to cross over because the child or children in question are not asleep! This worries the poor fairy, who wants nothing more than to be sure all children get to dream through the night.

When children go straight to sleep, then the Moon Fairy can do her job well an quickly. To these children, she hands out her name as a gift. If you know it, hold on to it tightly and try never to give her a reason to take it back! If you whisper it at night when you are scared or lonely or sad, it has the power to cast a little light in the dark and chase nightmares away. Treasure it, for it is a reminder of all the good in the world and that dreams do come true.