Whispering Woods Faery Lore Course
There are of course far too many faery related fauna to list in this lesson. However we hope to give enough examples to help you familiarize yourself with the more common plants.
The planting of Ash trees is said to protect ones home and livestock from mischievous faeries. It is said that placing ash buds on the cradle will prevent faeries from taking a child and leaving a changeling in its place. In Scandinavian lore, the first man “Askr” was made from Ash. And in some beliefs the Ash is the “axis mundi” or “World Tree”. In yet other belief systems it was from the Ash that “Yggdrasil” was created by Odin. Ash trees are believed to provide protection from fairies, which are said to be unable to harm anyone standing in the shadow of an ash tree.
It is said that if the spirit of the Birch tree (called the One with the White Hand) touches someone on the head, and it leaves a white mark, then that person will go insane. If this spirit touches the heart, then that person will die.
Fairies are summoned to their midnight gatherings by the ringing of these tiny flowers, which are reputed to be the most potent of all fairy floras. Legend has it that children who venture into bluebell glades will be held captive, while adults will be enchanted, until met by another mortal and guided out. It is said that wearing a ring of Blue Bells around the ankle at Beltain will attract the attention of faeries to you.
Plant some bluebells in your garden in order to attract fairies.
A four-leafed clover is famous for bringing luck and it gives a person the power to break fairy spells and see through their magic. Shamrock is known as Leprechaun clover. The ancient Druids honored Clover as a sacred plant. They believed that the shamrock had the power to avert evil spirits.
Grace and Pensiveness Cowslips are an invaluable fairy flower, for their blossoms provide shelter from the rain. In England they are known as the Culver’s Keys, for their heads resemble a bunch of keys and these are said to hold the power to unlock the way to fairy treasure. To invite the fairy folk to visit your home, hang a spray of Cowslip on your door. Cowslips help to find hidden faery gold. They are loved and protected by the faeries. Dried cowslip flowers are considered to be a favorite hiding place of certain fairies that are known to ride bats. On Beltane, Irish farmers would crush cowslip leaves and put the juice on their cow’s udders to protect them throughout the year and to ensure that the cows’ milk would not be stolen by faeries.
Putting a daisy chain on a child is said to prevent fairies from beguiling the child and carrying them away. It is thought that the daisy is the favorite flower of woodland nymphs.
Elder trees and bushes are said to offer protection to fairies. It was a British belief that placing a child in an elder wood cradle could cause it to be pinched black and blue by the fairies within the Elm. Elderberry wine is considered fairy wine. Drinking it is said to enable you to see fairies. Add dried elderberries to an incense mixture that you burn to attract fairies to a gathering. The Elder is sometimes called the “death tree”, it represents the Thirteenth month on the Celtic Tree Calendar. This is the time of Samhain. It is said that cutting down an Elder will antagonize the Dryad residing within.
The flower derives its name from little Folks-glove, since it is believed that the florets are worn by fairies, sometimes as bonnets, sometimes as gloves. The flower has many folk names, such as Fairy Weed, Dead Men’s Bellows, Bloody Man’s Fingers and Witch’s Thimble. According to Irish lore, the juice of ten foxglove leaves will cure a fairy-struck child. The juice is also an ingredient used by witches in the potion that helps one to fly. The little flecks on the flowers are said to be the faeries fingerprints. In Gaelic Foxglove is called “miaran nan cailleacha sith” (Thimble of the old faery women)
Hawthorn is well known as the “witch’s tree” for it is thought that Hawthorn is actually witches who have shape-shifted. It is also known as the Faery tree, as it is very sacred to the fae folk. In Ireland, it is referred to as “gentle bushes” after the custom of not naming faeries directly out of respect. Solitary thorns were known as the faeries’ Trysting Trees. The hawthorn is considered a sacred meeting place for fairies. Hawthorn is the Thorn, in the phrase “Oak, Ash and Thorn”.
Faerie Folks are said to live in old oaks. Most notable are the “Wood Wives” of Germany, the “Oak Men in England, and of course many others, such as the Dryads and the Devas. This is why the druids have such a high respect for the oaks. They are known to contain faerie magic! Such trees are called “bull oaks” in England, and “bell oak” in Scotland and Ireland. One is supposed to turn one’s coat or cloak inside out to neutralize their magic. The fruit of the oak tree, acorns, can be made into faerie talismans if found and gathered by the light of the full moon.
This flower was thought to have been used by the faery king, Oberon, to make a love potion. It is said that humans should never pick a pansy with dew on it as it is said to cause the death of a loved one. And if you pick one on a fine day you will invite it to storm.
The peach tree, also called the Tree of the Fairy Fruit. Branches of the peach tree are used to drive off evil spirits in China, and also to root out illnesses. Children in China wear a peach pit suspended about the neck to keep demons away. The peach often plays an important part in Chinese tradition and is symbolic of long life. The Japanese use the peach to increase fertility, and branches of the tree are utilized as divining and magickal wands.
The flowering herb primrose is thought to be the source of the faeries’ invisibility (when this herb was brewed and drunk as a tea, it was found to open human eyes to the astral plane). If you lay a little posy upon your doorstep, fairies will cross your threshold as you sleep, to bless your home. In Ireland, primroses are scattered before the house door to ward off the fairies, who are not supposed to be able to pass them.
Thyme is associated with fairies. Wearing a sprig of wild thyme, or essential oil of thyme, is said to help one to see fairies. If you place springs of thyme on your closed eyes and sleep upon a fairy mound, this will aid you in seeing fairies. Dried, powdered thyme, sprinkled on doorsteps and windowsills, is an invitation to faeries to enter your home. Wild thyme, gathered from the side of a fairy mound, is especially potent for use in fairy magic.
The Fairy Ring Mushroom is the one which grows in a circular formation, marking the boundary of the fairies favorite dancing places. The enchanting timbre of the fairies’ music and revelry can lure mortal passers-by inexorably into the ring for what may seem like minutes but is actually years. The most familiar cause of a fairy ring is the toadstool (Marasmius oreades). Some names of Toadstools are; Slender Elf cap, Dryad’s Saddle, Yellow Fairy club and Dune Pixie Hood. In English folklore, fairy rings were said to be caused by fairies dancing in a ring while wearing down the grass beneath their feet. Toads would afterwards sit on the mushrooms poisoning them and thus the name “Toadstool”. In some parts of England it was thought that fairies would steal and then ride horses into the rings.
1. The spirit of the Birch tree is called ___ ___ ____ ___ _____ ______.
2. In England Cowslip is known as _______ _____.
3. The juice of ten _________ leaves will cure a fairy-struck child.
4. _______ was thought to have been used by the faery king, Oberon.
5. The ancient Druids believed that the _________ had the power to avert evil spirits.
6. Ash trees is said to protect ones home and _________.
7. The little flecks on the flowers of Foxglove are said to be the faeries ___________.