An Annotated & Illustrated Collection of Worldwide Links to Mythologies,
Fairy Tales & Folklore, Sacred Arts & Sacred Traditions
by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
Retired from Pacifica Graduate Institute in 2003
Common Themes, East & West:
OF THE WORLD
Search Engine Page
(Click on the above link to search for other Myth*ing Links pages with data on Nature Spirits.
Also check the Common Themes East & West menu at the bottom of this page for related links
-- for example, "Trees & Plant Lore," "Green Men," the "Four Elements,"
& "Rituals of Devic Weather-Working")
Oxnard Shores, California
26 September 1999
In creating a category called "Nature Spirits," it's fair to ask how these differ from my other categories of goddesses and gods of earth, sky, water, fire. Although the boundaries often blur, I tend to view deities as "generalists" and nature spirits as "specialists." For example, the Greek god Zeus may orchestrate huge storms, but individual storm spirits will be associated with each lightning bolt, each cluster of loud soundwaves, each moving rain-front.
To take another example: the goddess Artemis is associated with bees (her priestesses were even called the melissae, or "little bees"), yet each bee, tree, and flower also has its own nature spirit. The workings of all these interlaced beings, or layers, generally take place harmoniously despite all the spiraling complexity of their spheres of influence.
It's roughly analogous to matter itself: if I pick up a quartz crystal, on one level I'm holding a lovely rock, but on another level I'm also holding empty space locked in complex patterns by molecular structures. On yet another level, I'm holding a small universe of whizzing atoms, and at a still deeper level I may be holding an entire ballet of undulating, vibrating "strings." As an anonymous 5th or 6th grader wrote: "When they broke open molecules, they found they were only stuffed with atoms. But when they broke open atoms, they found them stuffed with explosions."
Beyond the "strings" are probably still other levels yet to be discovered. Who's in charge? Some would say no one. I would say that the whole *thing* shimmers with the sacred, the numinous, the holy. Thomas Berry expresses a similar insight when he writes:The primordial particles are already radiant with intelligibility and with unfathomable mystery as well as with the physical energy that is articulated within their structure. [The Dream of the Earth:99]To return to the non-subatomic world: in communicating with these varying levels, sometimes going straight to the top is more effective but at other times working locally is wiser. If I want a wonderful thunderstorm for my early January birthday, for example (and always assuming the region where I live needs the rainfall!), I'm not going to invoke Zeus, Odin, or Perun because I don't think they'd have much interest in such a project. Instead, I'm going to invoke the nature spirits who, in the days just prior to my birthday, are actively herding rain clouds (like wild goats) across the Pacific; those are the ones of whom I'll ask the favor of a splendid storm. To get their attention, I may chant, dance, and create a great storm of rich smoke from resinous copal incense. If my desires happen to coincide with their own plans, they might be willing to swerve a little to the south and bring me that storm along the California coast. If not, well, I'll try again next year.
Similarly, if I wish to ask that my area be protected from earthquakes, I'm probably not going to invoke sea-god Poseidon, the Earth-Shaker -- although I might, since I'm very fond of him. Whether I do or not, however, I'd definitely ask the nature spirits of the trees and plants around me to send their roots down deep, soothing earth's stresses, and creating a localized force-field around this region. (In this regard, see The Secret Life of Plants for a great story about Luther Burbank's glasshouses at the epicenter of the Great San Francisco quake.)
This is what I mean by saying that I view goddesses and gods as generalists, and nature spirits as specialists. It should be noted that some scholars argue that all gods and goddesses began as nature spirits -- and there is much truth in this. The Hebrew god, for example, was once a powerful mountain storm-spirit, El-Shaddai, who seems to have begun as a friend to local desert tribesmen; then he gradually took over the functions and powers of other nature spirits until he became the deity of an entire people. This is a familiar pattern in worldwide religions. Many Greek gods (e.g., Pan and Hermes) fit this same model -- as their power-base of devotees increased, so too did their own fame until they finally assumed the status of gods. If all deities began as nature spirits, however, then there's a serious flaw in the process because many nature spirits are exceedingly kind and patient whereas many deities are wrathful, vengeful, ambitious, and autocratic.
So it does not seem possible that all deities necessarily began as nature spirits. Nor can we reverse this and argue that all nature spirits were once powerful deities who got demoted when another religion took over (many were, of course -- and their defeat may have soured some, making them likely to take revenge when circumstances allowed). There does, however, seem to be a spiraling path running from nature spirit and/or deity to deity and/or nature spirit to nature spirit and/or deity, and like the chicken and the cosmic egg, we can't say which came first.
There also seem to be beings who are outside this looping process, who reside only in one realm or the other; some may be mean-tempered in their own right, wherever they are; others may be content to be where they are, serenely desiring neither to be more or less than what they are. Those we call tricksters might even be able to exist simultaneously in both realms, playing both sides of the street. How do we know which is which? Perhaps only they know the answer.
Meanwhile, let's move on and look at the nature spirits, elementals, devas, angels, gnomes, elves, dwarves, little people, daikinis, and so many more who are around us at all times . . . . .
"Spirit of Night"
John Atkinson Grimshaw 1826-1892
(Image brightened and oval-d by Paula Vaughan:
see her beautiful Anthropology of Mysticism site. [Link updated 7/6/01; Web Archive link added 11/6/10]
[6 November 2010: Old link is dead since geocities went under ages ago. Also on WebArchive:]
This is the Faery Bibliography, a real treasure trove -- 98% of the references are to books (here & there are a few online links). Here are the site's categories: Lore & Theory (excellent choices); collections of actual tales about fairies (as opposed to general "fairy tales"); Dissertations (these range from 1908 to 1982 and are a valuable resource for serious students); Novels & Short Story Collections; Poetry (links to online Shakespearan texts), Drama & Ballads; Children's Books, & Art Books; Movies, TV, Comics, etc; Short Stories; Music; and Web Pages (here is where you'll find most of the site's links -- they're annotated).http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/fairies.htm
The website comes from Niko Silvester, a young Canadian woman with a BA in archaeology and a recent MA in Folklore (her MA thesis is wonderfully titled: "'There's a Piece Wad Please a Brownie': A Comparative Study of Offerings to the Fairies in Traditional Cultures and Contemporary Earth-Centred Religions"). She brings a trained eye as well as passion to her Faery Bibliography.
From England's At the Edge, No. 10, 1998 comes "Fairies and their kin" by Bob Trubshaw. The lengthy essay is carefully researched, intelligent, incisive. The whole piece is beautifully crafted but I especially enjoyed the temporal lobe data in the section called "Elf-infested spaces."http://www.indigogroup.co.uk/edge/fairies1.htm
From the same issue of At the Edge as Trubshaw's paper (see directly above) comes Jeremy Harte's equally fine "Medieval fairies: Now you see them, now you don't." Harte looks at the medieval literary tradition of fairies, elves, and dwarves and makes an intriguing and troubling observation about what England did to the sidhe beliefs of conquered peoples:http://web.archive.org/web/20010722011041/http://www.wiseley.com/matt/files/sprites.html:In short, the origins of the fairy mythology lie not in the remote past, but at the court of Richard II. The creative synthesis which the poets made out of English and French traditions was developed in the Tudor period to include tricksters of the Robin Goodfellow type as well as the familiar spirits of cunning men, and domestic spirits like the brownie. As an English-language tradition, it was able to dominate and then change the native sidhe beliefs of Ireland and the Highlands, introducing alien notions such as small size into their narrative.
This is Matt Wiseley's "An Etymology of Sprites and Fantastic Creatures." Wiseley begins:http://www.open-sesame.com/gfairies.htmlHow many people could differentiate an elf from a gnome, or a ghoul from a goblin? This paper is an attempt to track the etymology of mythical beings and reclaim the rich diversity they represent. From numerous books and resources on monsters and mythical beasts, along with a handful of etymological dictionaries (all referenced in the bibliography), comes this alphabetical list of mystical beings and their histories.Wiseley covers etymology and lore for the banshee, bogeyman, brownies, dwarves, elves, fairies, genies, ghouls, giants, gnomes, goblins, gremlins, hags, and trolls. It's an engrossing exploration.
This is Eileen Holland's page on "Global Fairies," organized by country. I spot-checked a few entries and found that they came from the same unnamed source as Rebecca Lehmann's Faerie Encyclopedia (see below). The value of Eileen's is that you can go straight to a country you're interested in instead of winnowing through Rebecca's slow-loading pages; but Rebecca gives more data, so once you've located the names you want from this site, check out Rebecca's alphabetized listings for fuller information.http://web.archive.org/web/20000815055819/http://www.crosswinds.net/~rlehmann/:
This is the Faerie Encyclopedia by Rebecca Lehmann. Under Denizens of the Fey Folk [11/6/10: unfortunately, this page has vanished even from Web Archive, but I'm keeping my comments in case it ever turns up elsewhere], I was initially disappointed that the slow-loading page only offered the alphabet with instructions to click on the letter of what you sought. But when I clicked on "M" for "mermaid," I was unexpectedly treated to a great page covering K-L-M-N, from "Kachina" to "Nunnehi" (a Cherokee version of elves); unfortunately, references and sources aren't noted, but the comprehensive range is impressive. Maps & Faerie Trails is the name of her large collection of unannotated off-site links -- many are broken, but those still intact are good ones[11/6/10: 3 of the meta-links in her square of 6 boxes still work: an excellent, illustrated, very useful one on Pentagrams, also Trails for those of the Faerie Faith & Trails of Knowledge -- the other 3 do not]. She also has pages on Superstitions & Lore; Favorite Faerie Haunts; Faeries & Their Favorite Plants; Literature; a discussion list [11/6/10: board archives aren't yet available]; Guide to Gaelic Pronunciation; and Faerie Poetry [11/6/10: I don't think its links work but you can google authors and/or titles and probably find them elsewhere].http://www.open-sesame.com/fairy.html
This is Eileen Holland's "Fairy Page," a basic, general overview. She begins refreshingly:http://web.archive.org/web/20001210035400/http://www.darkcarnival.com/sites.html:Do you believe in fairies? Don't let my grouchy disbelief spoil your enjoyment of them.Her well designed and attractive page is full of lists of odd facts, lore, names, and much more. It reads fast and is worth a look. [Update, 6 July 2001: in checking links today, I discovered that the specific page I annotated above no longer exists; the author, however, has expanded her page into new areas -- e.g., personal reports from "believers"-- and made it even better. FYI: she no longer provides an email address so there's no way to reach her.]
[Added 6 July 2001]:From the Dark Carnival Bookstore comes "Brian Froud's Favorite Faerie Sites," a handful of briefly annotated, well chosen classic sites (including my Myth*ing Links <smile>, about which he writes: "A collection of worldwide links to mythologies, fairy tales and folklore, sacred arts and traditions." Chock-full of descriptive art and text).
Ognevushka, a Fire-spirit of the Ural Mountains
Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds
This dissertation abstract is for Russian legends about forest spirits in the context of northern European mythology by Torsten M. Lofstedt (University of California, Berkeley, 1993, 315 pp.). I found it intriguing and plan to order it (a UMI order # is provided).http://www.virginia.edu/~slavic/seefa/RUSALKA.HTM
"If It Dries Out, It's No Good: Women, Hair and Rusalki Beliefs" is an exciting and beautifully written academic paper by Philippa Rappoport at the University of Virginia; it comes from the SEEFA Journal, vol.4, no.1 Spring 1999 pp. 55-64 (see my Pan Slavic page for more on SEEFA and for Rappoport's 1997 dissertation abstract). She first looks at East Slavic brides and wedding customs and then turns to the nature spirits, the rusalka:...The loose hair of the bride at this point [prior to the wedding ceremony] may be a remnant of a former, pre-monogamous society and symbolic of the bride's sexual fertility, and of her freedom, which she is about to relinquish upon partaking in the church service....It is probably no coincidence that the bride, who is valued for her reproductive ability, is considered to be sold to her husband under the symbolism of selling her braid....The paper has detailed footnotes. The insight in one footnote in particular struck me:
In contrast to the bride, there is a female folk figure in traditional East Slavic lore whose hair is permanently loose and uncontrolled; she is the rusalka. The rusalka of traditional beliefs is a powerful and enticing figure. She is described as a pale, lithe, often beautiful female spirit who lives in the water, forests and fields. She sits with other water spirits on the shore, yelling and laughing, or dancing and singing in the moonlight of clear, summer nights. She is known to swing on tree branches, waiting to entice an unsuspecting male passer-by, whom she often attacks and (perhaps inadvertently) tickles to death. The rusalka's characteristic physical attributes are her long, light-brown, blond, or green, loose hair, her blazing eyes, and her magnificent breasts. She is noted for her beautiful voice and melodious laugh. On the rare occasions when the rusalka is dressed, she wears white. In addition, some sources report that if the rusalka, and especially her hair, ever dries out, she will perish....33. These grooming lines recall for me lines on clay figurines from the East Slavic areas, dating back to 6500-3500 BC. The figurines are generally considered to be female talismans, or fertility cult objects. Perhaps the combing lines in the hair and the incised lines on the figurines may be likened in some distant way to the gardener's grooming lines in Mat' syra zemlia (Mother Moist Earth), another numen, in addition to the rusalka, associated with dampness and fertility. In The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe... Marija Gimbutas writes that parallel lines symbolize streams and mythical creatures considered to be the source of water (112-151). Perhaps they are
very distant relatives of the rusalka, the East Slavic goddess who bring moisture to the fields.
The Stone Flower [Link updated 6 May 2000; on Myth*ing Links as of 2007 in a series of 3 illustrated pages -- I forgot I also had a link on this Nature Spirits page until today, 11/6/10.]
A Russian nature spirit known as the Malachite Lady plays a significant role in training a young artist who seeks her out, not for wealth, but for knowledge. This link at Russian Sunbirds is my own re-telling of the story; it is lengthy, illustrated, and therefore loads slowly, but I hope you'll enjoy it. (Note: I wrote it under a pseudonym in 1998.)http://web.archive.org/web/20001108235500/http://members.nbci.com/darsie/tales/:
[Annotation updated 7/8/01]: None of Richard Darsie's UC Davis links work anymore [see above -- now they work!] but I tracked down the above link -- it's the same excellent website, "Tales of Wonder," but it's no longer possible to extract individual entries. Instead, the page offers a tantalizing menu from many lands, each with the same "mega-URL" (just click on the appropriate bars). The ones I checked include four tales from Russia; five from Siberia; and two from Scandinavia ("The Princess and the Glass Mountain" and "The Enchanted Toad"). Other regions whose "Wonder Tales" are featured by Darsie are: Africa, Central Asia, Central Europe, China, England, India, Ireland, Japan, Middle East, Native America, and Scotland.http://www.feri.com/dawn/theboy.html
This is a Norwegian tale, "The Boy Who Went to the North Wind," adapted by Amy Friedman. It comes from a site with several fine Norwegian tales but the home page is so ugly and difficult to read that you go at your own risk. If you're determined, here's the URL: http://www.feri.com/dawn/storyindex.htmlhttp://www.feri.com/dawn/harvest.html
From the same site, this is another Norwegian tale about nature spirits known as tusse. The tale, "The Tusse Folk Help with the Harvest," was collected by Kjetil A. Flatin in Norway (1930).http://www.deoxy.org/h_mounds.htm
© by Brian Froud
Courtesy of Artists UK
This is "Celtic Folklore: The People of the Mounds -- Articles on the Sidhe" by L. MacDonald in Dalriada Magazine, 1993. It's a fine essay on the history and lore of the Sidhe. The author writes:http://www.irelandseye.com/animation/intro.html. . . Belief in this race of beings who have powers beyond those of men to move quickly through the air and change their shape at will once played a huge part in the lives of people living in rural Ireland and Scotland . . . . The sidhe of the subterranean mounds are also seen by the Irish as the descendants of the old agricultural gods of the Earth....These gods controlled the ripening of the crops and the milk yields of the cattle, therefore offerings had to be given to them regularly.The article also looks at rich lore concerning the fairy kings and queens of Ireland, and the fairy women of Scotland. I might point out, by the way, that the sweet, tiny beings we think of as "fairies" or the "Little People" are a much later development owing more to Victorian England and Walt Disney than anything else (but see my opening Reference Section, above, for Jeremy Harte's eye-opening comments on Richard II's time in At the Edge). As the author writes:. . . . It is interesting to note that many of the Irish refer to the sidhe as simply "the gentry", on account of their tall, noble appearance and silvery sweet speech.
© by Brian Froud
Courtesy of Artists UK
From "Hidden Ireland" comes a guide to seven different types of Irish fairies: dullahan, pooka, changelings, the grogoch, the banshee, leprechauns, and the merrows. This is a delightful site, well written, loads quickly, and is nicely illustrated. Its compiler, Tiernan, also offers sound clips of his own "take" on all these beings. Don't miss it.http://web.archive.org/web/20010123123800/http://www.due-north.net/due-north/about_ni.shtml:
This site from Northern Ireland's "Due North" is also excellent, well illustrated, and looks at more of Ireland's nature spirits. In addition to different data on the above seven, the site also looks at cave fairies, cluricaunes, Daoine Sidh, "demons" (i.e., the Fomorians), Far Darrigs, ghosts, and giants.http://web.archive.org/web/20000301211516/http://www.geocities.com/Area51/Vault/6990/faerie.html:
This illustrated page from Aaron Newman, "Tir Nan Og (The Land of the Young)," starts out with Celtic data but also offers brief descriptions of nature spirits from India, Africa, North & South America, Pacific Islands, Australia, and non-Celtic regions of Europe. The site won't win any awards for design and should only be visited by those of you patient enough to brave a plague of Geocities' pop-up ads everytime you click on another page (you may spend more time disarming the ads than reading the brief pages). However, if all you want is a smattering of data, the site is worthwhile.http://www.fabrisia.com/faery.htm: [11/6/10: the Faery page is no longer available but you'll find other working links here on many related matters. I'm keeping my original comments in case the Faery page is ever restored.]
This site (with music, if your browser supports it) by Fabrisia looks at a surprisingly differentiated group of Italy's nature spirits familiar to practitioners of Stregheria (Italian witchcraft). There are fairies, nymphs, elves, giants, and many others, each with its own name, mode of dress, and behavior. Here, for example, are the Gianes:They are solitary wood elves who will occasionally aid humans. They are master cloth weavers, but weave for fun rather than for anyone's benefit. Divination is another one of their talents. Their usual method of divining to to scry into their moving spinning wheels. Their associated element is Earth.[Added 11/6/10]: I love the concept of scrying by means of a moving spinning wheel!
Detail from "The Function of the Seraphim"
© by Pablo Amaringo
Courtesy of the Amazon Project
Angels aren't generally considered "nature spirits," yet the seraphim, one of the highest of the angelic orders, take their name from a Hebrew word for "serpent," which suggests an archaic, non-celestial origin. Even when viewed as celestial beings, the stage shifts but they may still be "nature spirits." This site is Bill Hollon's "Speculation about Archangels," a nicely researched paper in which the seven archangels are directly linked to the seven planets. Of particular interest is the connection he makes between Lucifer and the planet Venus; this fits closely with Jungian insights into the West's repression of the archetypes of Lucifer (Light-Bearer) as well as the "dark feminine." [Added 11/6/10]: Here is an excerpt:...The theme of a god, saint or hero fighting a dragon in the sky appears in mythology of peoples all around the world. According to Aztec legend, Quetzacoatl was called the Feathered Serpent (another term for dragon?) and was associated with the planet Venus. They believed Quetzalcoatl descended to hell. As the morning and evening star, Quetzalcoatl was the Aztec symbol of death and resurrection....(This site is double-listed under Star Lore.)
...Venus is characterized by different peoples either as a fallen angel, a planet or both. Lucifer is the Christian name for a being that meets each test. According to Webster:
Lu ci fer (l s f r) [[ME < OE < L, morning star (in ML, Satan), lit., light-bringing < lux (gen. lucis), LIGHT1 + ferre, to BEAR1]] 1 the planet Venus when it is the morning star 2 Theol. SATAN; specif., in Christian theology, Satan as leader of the fallen angels: he was an angel of light until he revolted against God and, with the others, was cast into hell. . .
Another clue comes from the Catholic Encyclopedia: "The name Lucifer originally denotes the planet Venus, emphasizing its brilliance."...
This is a rich collection of lore "about mermaids, water sprites, and forest nymphs who marry mortal men." This is from Professor D. L. Ashliman's extraordinary website.http://www.pitt.edu/~dash/water.html
Again from Ashliman come a dozen tales on "Water Spirit Legends." Most are Celtic and Teutonic but there's also one Russian tale.http://haldjas.folklore.ee/folklore/vol12/spirits.htm
[Added 6 July 2001]:This is "Waters & Water Spirits in Votian Folk Belief" by Ergo-Hart Västrik. It is a carefully researched, referenced, and footnoted paper that looks at the intriguing lore, rituals, and traditional sacrifices associated with water spirits in a remote part of the world:http://web.archive.org/web/19990203104736/http://www.wire.net.au/~melinda/define.htm:...Similar to the tradition of other Baltic-Finnish and more distant kin peoples, the Votian tradition includes the notion of water spirit as a patroness of fish and mistress of the underwater. An 18th entury account by the first investigator of Votians Friedrich Ludolph Trefurt,4 the Baltic-German pastor from Narva, states that the Votians had devoted one day in the year for the «goddess of the sea and rivers», the name of which Trefurt translated as Seemutter....Near the end are internal links to a map of the Votian region as well as three lovely photos taken there.
...Observing the tradition of water spirits in Estonian folk religion Ivar Paulson (1971) argues that according to the religious phenomenology the guardian spirits of fish, mother of waters and images of animate, personified bodies of water are relevant for the fishermen's ecotype. The demonic water spirits are but characteristic of the beliefs of agricultural and cattle-breeding people. In a way the Votian water spirit tradition supports this theory, as the emphasis on tradition is different in the coastal villages around the Bay of Lauga and along the river on the one hand, and in the Central Votian lake region on the other where the economy was different up to the recent decades....
These are basic definitions of "mermaid" from the Encyclopedia Britannica and Microsoft Encarta, and of "siren" from Microsoft Encarta.http://web.archive.org/web/19981203071134/http://www.newage.com.au/panthology/mermaid.html:
http://www.newage.com.au/panthology/mermaid.html:[Broken link as of spring 2001 -- one contact sent me the following address and phone for PanTheology Magazine: Panthology, LPO Box 300, ANU, ACT, 2601 / and phone: (02) 6278 7630 in Australia) -- I have no idea if these are still valid. If anyone finds out, please let me know <smile>.] http://www.whiterosesgarden.com/Enchanted_waters/merfolk.htm: [New link added 30 August 2001 --- amazingly, Heather Changeri at White Roses rescued this fine paper from her archives and now has posted it on her own site. She, like I, would like to get the author's permission, if anyone knows where she is. Update 11/6/10: Heather's link has now vanished but I just found the original version on Web Archive -- see live-link above. Meanwhile, it turns out that the original link, http://www.newage.com.au/panthology/mermaid.html, has now been commandeered & activated by a very different Australian group, "New Age of Ascension! -- they mention Nature Spirits, among other levels of guidance, and seem to have some interesting ideas on what "ascension" is all about -- I'm not taking the time to grok the site but you might wish to take a look.]From Australia's PanTheology Magazine comes "Shadows of the Goddess - The Mermaid" by Scarlett deMason. It is a long, finely researched (and illustrated) essay on the mermaids' origins and history from ancient times to the present day. The author notes:
http://www.vedamsbooks.com/no10713.htm: [11/6/10: the link no longer goes to this book, nor does it show up in their search function -- but the huge number of categories at this site is just amazing so I'm leaving the link for those who like to browse. See book's title below for amazon.com's current link.]. . . the mermaid archetype is so widespread among cultures that one may conclude it is very ancient, and fulfills a particular need in the human collective consciousness. The mermaid in our culture is the most persistent and pervasive symbol of the old Goddess energy that represents women, particularly the mysterious, life-generating element.
Among the water-spirits of India are the Nagas, who inhabit underwater jeweled palaces where they guard treasures of arcane knowledge as well as mineral wealth. I had hoped to find a great website on these beings but one has not yet turned up. In the meantime, this page from Vedams Books in India promotes a reprint of a book first published in 1926, Indian Serpent-Lore or The Nagas in Hindu Legend and Art by J. Ph. Vogel. Excellent excerpts from the Preface will give you a sense of the nagas.
For another link (somewhat off-topic since it focuses less on naga-lore than on actual cobras in India), see this interesting 16 May 1999 article by Richard Boyle, "Cobra: the most spiritual of animals" in Colombo's Sunday Times on the Web [link updated to Web Archive on 11/6/10].
COLLECTIONS OF TALES:
WORLDWIDE NATURE SPIRITS
From Tibet, China, Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Germany, and Italy come eight tales about "Fairy Gifts"; one common thread is the world of nature, music and dance in which humans find the spirits; another common thread is the humans' often ill-mannered or greedy reaction to their gifts. Each tale has been translated, and/or edited, and footnoted by Professor D. L. Ashliman of the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh (Note: if you'll follow his links, you'll find that his huge collection of folkloric themes is both comprehensive and superb).http://faerymists.tripod.com/: [URL updated 10/14/01]
This is The Faerie Realm: Nature Spirits of the World, an intelligent, handsomely designed site with a wonderful collection of worldwide tales, relevant poetry (e.g., Yeats, Robert Graves), music & art. The rich collection of stories is especially fine and makes this a must-see site.
Courtesy of Russian Sunbirds
This is a two-part page from SpiritWeb, a very interesting Swiss site: the opening section looks at fire elementals (salamanders), air elementals (sylphs), and water elementals (undines); then comes an engaging essay on the devas of India as well as those with whom Dorothy Maclean and the late Peter Caddy worked at Findhorn; a sad update on Findhorn is included but also a touching collection of deva quotes found in India's scriptures as well as channeled by Maclean in her remarkable book, To Hear the Angels Sing (this book is a personal favorite of mine, for many reasons).http://web.archive.org/web/20021216123217/www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/geopathic-stress-hummel.html:
As I read this SpiritWeb page, "Working with the Devas to Heal Geopathic Stress" by Christan Hummel (a woman connected with the Flower of Life group, which has an Egyptian Mystery School orientation), at first I thought that I needed to shift this truly fascinating link to my shamanic page. Then I kept reading about geopathic stress lines, its impact on illness, crime districts, children with ADD, and decided that the link should go to Landscape Lore instead. I kept reading, mildly irritated with an author who couldn't match her content with her title. Only when I was nearly finished did I realize that the meandering essay does, after all, belong right here among the nature devas. It finally all came together -- and is a great addition to my page.http://web.archive.org/web/20010124064600/http://www.earthtransitions.com/cyberspace.htm:
What links it all together is the extraordinary devic realm work of Machaelle Small Wright. This essay has given me valuable clues to several missing pieces that I've felt in a pre-verbal stage for years. I'm now going to explore further. You may find all this so odd that you'll simply dismiss it, which is understandable, but I hope you'll keep an open mind.
[Added 6 July 2001]: Christan Hummel sent me this a year or more ago and I was utterly charmed by it. I meant to add it to this page immediately, but got sidetracked, as I so often do, by the constant demands of other pages. Now, finally, I'm making the time to share it with you. From among the many hundreds I've annotated for Myth*ing Links, this is one of my favorites.....
"The Cyberspace Genie" by Christan Hummel and Ann Meril is a delicious essay about the devas who work with garage door openers, computers, printers, and the other seemingly "souless" machines of the modern era. Don't miss this page -- it's a real eye-opener and inspired me to hang little "gifts" above my computer, and on my printer and scanner. They work <smile>. Here's an excerpt from the essay:http://web.archive.org/web/20000301012526/http://www.spiritweb.org/Spirit/amaterasu-fol.html:...She [the deva of a computer printer] then started to show us how we had put a barrier between us and what we called "technology" in that we thought of the devas we worked with as being a part of nature, and thought of technology as alien to nature. She showed us that they are the same, and that our attitude that we held towards technology caused the devic life within those forms to respond to our alien and hostile manner in dysfunctional ways. That our own attitude towards these technology devas created many of the problems we were experiencing with their functions....Note: if you click on DEVAS from the menu along the page's top, you'll go to a small handful of other great pages on these nature-spirits. The first one you'll find has intriguing data on the "Buddhic Column" mentioned in the "Cyberspace Genie" essay (it's near the bottom of that page).
...Connecting with one deva of technology puts us into contact with the collective consciousness of all of cyberspace. Humanity has a responsibility of how we use cyberspace--email, the web, as we come into relationship with this interfacing kingdom called cyberspace. It is a bridging kingdom composed of silicon (crystal), with devic life, and with man-made technology. SILICON, DEVA, HUMAN. The three come together in cyberspace and computer technology. A meeting of the minds, so to speak....
Again from the Swiss site, SpiritWeb, comes this 1996 transcript of a talk given by Arizona scientist, physicist, inventor, healer and teacher, Drunvalo Melchizedek, concerning the Japanese goddess, Amaterasu. I initially hesitated before adding it to this page because it runs counter to what I know of Japanese mythology -- i.e., that Amaterasu was angry with her woman-hating brother, retired to a cave, and refused to emerge despite all the gods' pleas; finally, a crone-goddess performed an erotic dance that aroused everyone's laughter; curious, Amaterasu emerged to see what was happening; thus, a crisis was averted. In re-reading this transcript, however, I realized that perhaps the commonly known mythology is only a partial version, one in which it's simply assumed that the goddess remained outside. According to what Shinto priests told Drunvalo, she returned to her cave:http://web.archive.org/web/20021016224027/www.geocities.com/Area51/Cavern/5261/finvara.html:According to Shinto belief, about 500 years ago... the Goddess of Light, Amaterasu, was tricked into going inside the earth and was sealed in. Once she was in there and the darkness came onto the earth, she was afraid to come out. According to the legend, one time during the 500 years she came out, but she was tricked into coming out, so she stayed out for just a little while and then she went back in. Then I was led to this incredible place in the ground where they said she was, sealed in this place. . . .What happens next to Drunvalo Melchizedek (who knew nothing of her mythology at the time) is deeply stirring. I tend to be critical of a good deal of current visionary material, but this experience really resonates with me. It's important to note, by the way, that Drunvalo didn't go to Japan on his own in any misguided attempt to impose his visions on others -- he was invited by Shinto priests in fulfillment of a prophecy. Read it and see what you think.
SpiritWeb lists quite a few more pages -- I haven't had time to read any of the others and don't plan to annotate them separately at a later date, but I'm intrigued by what I've seen. You might wish to explore them on your own.
This is "The Faerie Grove" by Anita Harris -- it's an unfinished contemporary story?, guided meditation? told in strangely soothing prose. The author uses exquisitely sensate detail to create an eerie atmosphere of total otherness. Evocative art by the author combined with music by Bjorn Lynne (if your browser supports it) add to the effect. At the bottom is a link to a continuation of the experience, "The Faerie Lord's Bower." (Note: her menu offers more of these stories?, guided meditations? but I enjoyed this one so much that I didn't wish to push my luck and be disappointed. Maybe another time.)http://www.belinus.co.uk/doorsofpeace/FaeryHomeMain.htm:
[Added 8 July 2001]: "The Kingdoms of Faery" comes from Phillip in the UK. I found his cross-cultural essays interesting but also exasperating. I don't mind the fact that he mixes "channeled" data with some good quotes (and history) from more solid sources, but I do mind the fact that nothing is referenced in his text nor are sources and/or a bibliography provided at the end. Even some of the channeled data from, for example the "Landscape Deva," looks as if it comes straight from Dorothy Maclean's work (I don't have time to double-check) and yet no mention is made of this. Skip this one unless you simply love to read anything in print about these "little people."
Artist: Mary Baxter St. Clair
[11/6/10: this is another defunct Geocities page that's been rescued by Web Archive]
Finally, just for fun -- I'm adding a few links of "how to." This is from Cecilia Price's site on Fairies and is called "Attracting Faeries To Your Garden." They love colorful objects that reflect sparkling light and they favor certain plants (a short list is provided). Price suggests having birdhouses, birdbaths, feeders, and small pools or fountains; she also advises keeping some areas wild. This will attract life. Soon bees, birds, butterflies, hummingbirds -- and fairies -- will flock to you. Or as she expresses it:http://web.archive.org/web/20020209202142/http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Meadows/1322/favour.htm:
Whatever you do to bring life to your garden will bring faeries as well.(This makes me yearn to abandon my computer and get out into my tiny patio-garden!)
Also from Cecilia Price is this page called "A Ritual to Gain the Favour of a Faery." It's brief and lovely to read. (Note: the home page link works for those who wish to explore further -- it's broken on the above page.)http://web.archive.org/web/19990423194801/http://www.gothic.net/~malice/fairy.html:
Green Woman I
© by Brian Froud
Courtesy of Artists UK
From "Gothic Gardening" by Alice ("mAlice") Day comes this one: "Theme Gardens: Gardening for the Fey." After a sensible disclaimer on the caution needed around fairies (who are anything but cute), she lists all the plants that belong in a garden for the Fey; some include very nice lore (the Tulip, for example).http://www.open-sesame.com/fplants.html
This is "Fairies: Plant Lore" by Eileen Holland. It's a very attractive page listing many plants and trees with fairy-connections. Nearly a dozen of them are further linked to their own pages, which Holland fills with rich data and additional lore.http://www.feri.com/frand/Wicca5.html
This is "Ritual: How to Meet a Faerie" by Francesca De Grandis. It's under two pages, carefully structured, and with built-in safeguards, since, as she wisely points out: "The Fey Folk are wild..." (Yes, I tried it myself but under distracting circumstances so the experience wasn't quite what I had hoped for. Did I meet a faerie? -- no. But I did meet an elf, an old friend, actually. <smile> Try it, if you're so inclined. You might be surprised.)
Mything Links' General Reference Pages:
MythingLinks Search Engine
Cross-cultural, Multi-regional, Interdisciplinary Collections
General Reference Page (online libraries, reference help, literary texts, world languages, word-lover sites, help on writing research papers, copyright information, film plots, themes, and/or films representing various historical periods)
Special Interest Sites for Pacifica Faculty, Students & Colleagues(includes Jung, Campbell, Freud, Eliade, Otto, Hillman, other depth psychologists, mysticism, anthropology, religious studies, archetypal perspectives, foundations for mythology & psychology, relevant journals, books, videos, etc.)
Teachers' Reference Page for Primary & Secondary School Education
Menu of Common Themes, East & West:
Animal Deaths in Europe: Of Cows & Madness
Artists & Muses: The Creative Impulse
Creation Myths I
Creation Myths II
Creation Myths III
Crones & Sages
Dragons & Serpents
Food: Sacrality & Lore
THE FOUR ELEMENTSEARTH:Green Men
Land: Sacrality & Lore (mountains, caves, labyrinths, spiral mounds, crop & stone circles, FengShui)
Earth Day & Environmental Issues
Earth Goddesses & Gods
Air: Sacrality & Lore (air, wind, sky, storms, clouds, weather lore)
Sky Goddesses & Gods
Fire: Sacrality & Lore (fire, northern lights, green-flashes, Elmo's Fire)
Fire Goddesses & Gods
Water: Sacrality & Lore (water, wells, springs, pools, lakes)
Floods & Rainbows: Mythologies & Science
Water Goddesses & Gods
Nature Spirits of the World
Rituals of Birthing [forthcoming]
Rituals of Death & Dying [forthcoming]
Rituals of Puberty
Rituals of Devic Weather-Working: An experimental, on-going ritual in cyberspace
Sacred Theatre & Dance
Star Lore & Astrology
Symbols, Signs, & Runes
Time(calendars, clocks, natural cycles, attitudes toward time, & millennium issues)
Trees & Plant Lore
Tricksters, Clowns, Magicians, Jesters & Fools
Wars, Weapns & Lies: The Dehumanizing Impulse
Weaving Arts & Lore (cosmic webs, spinning, spindles, clothing)
Down to Geographical Regions: Africa
This page created with Netscape Gold 3.01
Technical assistance: William Weeks
Text and Design:
Copyright © 1999 - 2010 by Kathleen Jenks, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
Page designed & begun 26 September 1999;
worked on until published 4 October, 1999 (the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi,
who perhaps knew more about Nature Spirits than he ever dared say).
19 October 1999; 27 November 1999;
21 January 2000; 6 May 2000; 26 May 2000; 18 November 2000;
6 July 2001 (Ned.3.0, checked all links, reorganized sections;
added 3 new links; deleted 4 images as site takes so long to load
and the images weren't directly relevant anyway); 7 July 2001 (added 3 Froud images);
8 July 2001(finishing a few loose ends); 9 July 2001;
30 August 2001 (updated rescued URL on Mermaid paper); 14 October 2001 (updated a link).
6 November 2010: updated opening link for Faery Bibliography, thanks to a reader in Australia who tracked it down;
did links check for "General Reference" section; updated all Geocities links;
also a few others that had problems a few years ago and are now on Web Archive.
No time to check rest of links -- no, couldn't resist: page has now been updated in full.
Art credits for this page:
1. I cropped the wooden bars from a medieval Tibetan artifact.
2. The elfin creature flanking my search engine page was sent to me by a friend who doesn't know where he found it. I've searched the web myself, but can't find it either. It's obviously by Brian Froud, however, and if you click on his name, you'll go to a page for the book from which the image probably comes; Froud's site also shows the work of his wife, Wendy, who designed Yoda for Star Wars. Terri Windling also features the work of Brian and Wendy Froud on her elegant site.
3. The animated Tibetan Dakini is a detail from the Fire Prinesss Dakini taken from Red (Mary) Dakini's site, Welcome to the Realm of the Dakini. (The unanimated version I made by making the background transparent.)