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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in elves

Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Elf Shot in Scotland

In the collection Scottish Charms and Amulets George Black recounts a variety of folk practices, many of which linger on not only in word but in material form. Amulets always draw interested audiences in museums where they are on display and bring together the traditions captured in words as charms with a tangible force. Arrowheads are one popular example.

As in many places, Black notes that 'the prehistoric flint arrowheads so numerous in Scotland were long considered by the peasantry to have fallen from the clouds, and to have been used as weapons by the fairies to shoot at human beings' and also especially cattle. Like the well-known Anglo-Saxon charm Wið færstice for elf-shot cattle, there were a variety of ways to battle the illnesses presumed to be caused by the folk too small to be seen. 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
That Blood

It's a credo of the Fairy Faith.

If ever you should happen into That Land, Don't eat the food.

To eat it would be to bind yourself irrevocably to that world, from which you can “never return to your ain countree.”

Witches excepted.

All the stories agree that the Tribe of Witches are exempt from this taboo.

We have, shall we say, a special relationship with the Secret Commonwealth. As people of the betwixt-and-between, it is given to us to pass from world to world with something (dare I say it) akin to impunity.

Scottish witch Isobel Gowdie said of her visit to Elfhame: There I got meat, more than I could eat, nor did this hinder her comings and goings in the least.

Old Craft would have it that this right of free passage derives from being ourselves of That Blood, half-elven, from whence we draw our Otherness.

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Who or What are the Fairies? (The Soundbite Edition)

"The Kingdom of Faerie lies within."

(Tony Kelly, 1949-1997)
 

We are the outside looking in.

They are the inside looking out.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
American Faerie Story

According to Cal State folklorist Sabina Magliocco, author of Witching Culture, fairy belief is alive and well among American pagans.

In a recent talk at the University of Minnesota, she told numerous tales of first-hand 21st-century encounters between modern pagans and the inhabitants of what Robert Kirk called the “Secret Commonwealth.”

Of them all, the following was my favorite. It bears all the hallmarks of classic fairy narrative.

Including the ambivalence.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
The Twilight People

Who are They, the Twilight Kindreds, the Neighbors, those other peoples in the land?

Called by many names, more felt than seen, once known by everyone everywhere: who are they?

They are the Interiority, the Inwardness of things, the Inside looking Out.

Environmental? Yes. In them, environment looks back at us.

Truly, the kingdom of Faerie lies within.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Thanks for the balancing voice, Chloe. Myself, I was always more of a Jenny Greenteeth kid than a Tinkerbelle one, but maybe that'
  • Chloe
    Chloe says #
    On the other hand, the Victorian depiction of faeries as children with butterfly wings (ala Cicely Mary Barker) appeals more to ch
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    Yes, part of the practicum is exactly what you have described. My only caveat at the moment is to distinguish the spiritual and
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    The boustiers and butterfly wings of so much contemporary "fairy" "culture" are indeed symptomatic of our problematic relationship
  • Paul B. Rucker
    Paul B. Rucker says #
    Quite apt. And if the fae are in the inwardness of environment, place, Nature looking back out at us again, then the manner in w
The Bride-Crown of the Elves: A Tale of the Driftless Country

The hills hereabouts are full of the Hidden Folk, just like back in Norway.

They're fine-looking folk, the elves, with an eye to beauty themselves, and sometimes it so happens that one of them casts an eye on a fair young maid and marries her. And then she's never to be seen again, for she becomes a Woman of the Hills.

Well, there was a fine young girl, and didn't she just disappear one day, and weeks and weeks go by and everyone agrees that she must have been Taken.

Well, and so she was. And on her wedding day she says to the Blue Man that's to be her husband—they call them the Blue Men for their clothing, you know—“Let me just step outside to take one last look at the beautiful red Sun.” And she does that.

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Posted by on in Studies Blogs
Disreputable English Magic

To assuage the sadness of knowing there is no more Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell to come (or perhaps there is a but a long way off), I have been thinking about how English magic did fall into disrepute so that a man of Norrell's character found it necessary to make it respectable once more. One of the first examples to occur to me is Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale (hereafter CYT because I will tire of spelling it out).

CYT features one of the belated arrivals to pilgrimage in The Canterbury Tales. The canon and his yeoman catch up to the pilgrims and the yeoman launches into a recital of the canon's alchemical life that soon makes his boss leave in a huff. The yeoman takes this opportunity to show that the canon is a scoundrel in this 'elvysshe craft' known as alchemy

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Byron Ballard
    Byron Ballard says #
    May be it that craft is so easy to learn? I'm sorry you're sad about your show but so glad to read this!
  • Kate Laity
    Kate Laity says #
    I think it's easier to learn the form of it -- appearance of it? -- and then feel frustrated that one doesn't know more. I'm think

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