Looking at the folklore of the British Isle's it is full of accounts of Faeries, Boggarts, Brownies and other such supernatural beings. This has many
parallels with the indigenous folklore of other countries which all have a common theme of interaction with non human entities. Focusing specifically
on British folklore I would like to invite speculation on the possible origins of these once widely held beliefs.
There are several oft repeated explanations for the belief in Faery beings:
The classical Christian explanation equates all Faery beings with 'Fallen Angels' who where condemned to exist on Earth.
A more modern view is that these beings are Christianised depictions of the older Pagan Gods or deities reduced to 'good luck' spirits associated with
superstition and certain geographical areas associated with 'bad luck' (e.g. fairy rings and mounds) or 'mischievous spirits' belaying a far greater
significance they once had in pre Christian times.
Another explanation that they may be ancestral memories of a race of proto humans or an earlier civilisation lost to antiquity. The mythical Irish
civilisation of the 'Tuatha De Danann' could be an example of this who where said to be a magical race of beings who retreated to the hollow mounds
after the oncoming of other people's and who subsequently became the 'Sídhe' of Irish folklore.
Another belief was that fairies where the souls of the dead.
Something that always interested me was the dependency the faery people seemed to have on human beings for instance in the case of fairy midwives and
replacing human offspring with changelings. Also stories of people entering the fairy realm and upon leaving discover that years have elapsed or being
warned by a mysterious figure known as the 'Far Darrig' not to eat faery food.
There seem to be two distinct class of Faeries 'trooping fairies' who existed in a society presided over by the fairy Queen and 'solitary fairies'
which would include 'leprechauns', 'boggarts' and 'brownies'.
It seemed that the fairy people could be capable of helping certain humans but also of malice (afflictions such as 'elf-shot') and one story is that
the Scottish folklorist Robert Kirk was abducted by the Faeries for revealing their secrets in his book 'The Secret Commonwealth'. His body was found
on a hill in a well known fairy locality.
I also remember that the great Irish poet W.B Yeats was said to have a met a congregation of trooping faeries in Ireland and was warned 'be careful
not to know to much about us'.
For myself I've often wondered if there could be a metaphysical origin of faery beliefs could it be that our ancestors more attuned with the natural
world had some insight which permitted them to see these elemental spirits or beings whose existence is now hidden from us. Could it be that at one
time the pineal gland was much more active which allowed these beings to be seen?
edit on 13-5-2013 by fadedface because: spelling