Also known as: Faerie; Fee; Fay; Fae; Fada; Fata; Hada; Draga; Encantada; Damizelos

The word Fairy has become a catch-all for all kinds of tenuously related spirits. In general, what they share in common are associations with wild nature and an interest in human life cycles, especially birth. Fairy is also the standard word used to translate amorphous, volatile, sexy nature spirits from around the world, especially if they’re female. Thus Vila, Rusalka, Keshalyi, and Tündér are all referred to as Fairies although they are all distinct types of spirits.

The word Fairy is related to fate. Birth Fairies—those spirits who arrive shortly after a birth to announce a baby’s future and fortune—may be the “true” Fairies. This is more obvious in Italian than in English: the word for Fairy in Italian is

fata or fada. Fata Morgana is literally Fairy Morgana. (See also: Fairy, Birth; Fata Morgana.)

For many people, Fairy means the Sidhe of Ireland and the Scottish Highlands. The word is commonly used in Ireland as the English translation for Sidhe. When people describe green as a Fairy color, for instance, they are referring to the preferences of the Sidhe. (Balkan and Slavic “Fairies” tend to prefer white.)

* Shamanic healers and herbalists who work with Sidhe are known as Fairy doctors.

* The old shamanic tradition of venerating and working with Sidhe is the Fairy Faith.

Animals: Frogs, toads, dragonflies, butterflies, horses, cattle, deer, and foxes are among the creatures most identified with Fairies.

Plants: Wildflowers in general

Plants Traditionally Associated with Fairies

* Blackthorn (sloe)

* Bluebells

* Brambles

* Briar roses and dog roses

* Crocuses, especially saffron

* Ferns

* Foxglove

* Hawthorn

* Heartsease

* Hollyhocks

* Lavender

* Morning glories

* Mushrooms, especially amanita muscaria

* Pansies

* Poppies

* Primrose (Allegedly primroses serve as keys to Fairy Land.)

* Ragweed (a.k.a., Fairy’s Horse)

* Rosemary

Time: Fairies favor nocturnal hours and threshold times, for instance, twilight and dawn.

Sacred dates: Fairies are particularly active from May Eve (Beltane, Walpurgis) until a last annual fling at Halloween.

See also: Fairy, Birth; Fairy, Flower; Fairy, Green; Fairy Queens; Fates; Gwillion; Ho Hsien-Ko; Hulden; Huli Jing; Ielle; Keshalyi; Ma Gu; Ma Zu; Nymph; Rusalka; Sidhe; Tündér; Vila

Allegedly, if you stand beneath an elder tree on Midsummer’s Eve, you will be granted a vision of reveling Fairies.