Friday, September 28, 2012

Fairy (Faery) Lore

by Sibelle Stone

My new Mystic Moon series features four sisters who are Elemental Witches. In building my world I used Restoration England as the setting, but I decided that if witches were being tortured, prosecuted and executed,  I’d give some the women a fighting chance. The story question is: what if a woman is accused of using witchcraft, and she actually has magical abilities?

I gave each sister a specific elemental spirit connected with their magic. Each witch controls, well actually works with an element, air (the wind), fire, water and earth. The spirits connected to each element are very specific - Air -sylphs, Fire - salamander, Water -undines and Earth -gnomes.

I based the elemental beings on fairies (faeries) -- supernatural spirits who are thought to exist in a realm between heaven and earth. There are fairy legends throughout the world. They are said to be of various sizes, sometimes described as tiny, butterfly like creatures, but there are stories of human size fairies too. All of the legends assign magical powers to these creatures.

Because I wanted my story to begin in the British Isles, I researched various magical belief systems. Celtic supernatural legends, stories and folktales appealed to me the most. This narrowed down my choices for fairy characteristics. I decided my fairies would be nature spirits, that they would work with my witches in order to gain something for themselves. They love to bargain, but eventually as a Glyndwr witch comes into her power, (because it made sense to me that if you possessed these powers, you wouldn’t’ t know how to use them all at once) the elemental works with her to increase their own magical abilities. It’s a symbiotic relationship, with each party getting something from the arrangement.

Because fairies can be good or bad, (or in-between) and ugly or beautiful -- I ascribed the various characteristics based on the type of element the witch controlled. Catlin, the heroine of the first book in the series ,Whistle Down the Wind,  is an air mage, so she can control the wind and storms. I perceive her elemental creatures, sylphs, to be tiny winged creatures, they appear to humans as silver motes floating in the air. In the blink of a human eye, they can disappear. Catlin can hear them speak, but should they ever decide they no longer wish to work with her, they can drive her mad with their voices.
Because there are so many legends about fairies seducing human women, I decided that my sylphs would be seductive, sensuous creatures. In one of the earlier chapters of the book, they urge the heroine to kiss the hero. Fortunately for them, it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement to get the couple to share their first kiss.

I look forward to writing the next book about Catlin’s eldest sister, Aelwyd, who is a fire adept. She has extensive magical powers, and her tiny elemental creatures are usually referred to as salamanders. I decided that I preferred the name, fire dragon. While Aelwyd tries to be composed, controlled and self-possessed, her elemental beings can influence her to be as fiery, emotional and passionate as they are.

If you truly love learning about faerie lore, I encourage you to visit

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