Yesterday, I noted that, when making your initial introductions with the Gentle Folk, naming is powerful, and this is one reason that so many euphemisms abound. According to Cassandra Eason in A Complete Guide to Faeries and Magical Creatures, “The word ‘fairy’ or ‘faerie’ comes from the ancient French faes, derived from the Latin fatae [fates]…
“‘Faerie,’ ‘fairy,’ or ‘fayerie’ originally meant a state of enchantment or glamour, the power of illusion, reflecting the power of beings who might bring blessings or curses, and an ambivalence towards such beings. It was fear of angering the fairy folk by speaking their name that led to their being given a variety of euphemisms that might, by a process of magic, attract only their benevolence.”
Diane Purkiss, in At the Bottom of the Garden: A Dark History Of Fairies, Hobgoblins, And Other Troublesome Things, states that even to say the word “fairy” would cost the speaker a year of life. It was believed that calling the faeries names such as the Good People in Ireland, Good Neighbors in Scotland, and the Fair Ones (Tylweth Teg) or Mother’s Blessing (Bendith Y Mamau) in Wales, reminded the Fae of their better nature and brought their blessings over their curses. Great care was taken never to offend the faery folk.
So if you believe you are being observed by the Good Neighbors, you might start with one of the traditional ways of establishing friendly contact by saying, “Good morrow to the Good Folk, if any be near.” In turn, you may find you are being addressed as “newcomer,” according to one of the most revered ambassadors to the starlit realms, Rev. Robert Kirk. They also often simply call us “Mortal.”
As I mentioned last week, when cultivating your relationship with your Faery allies, you will certainly want to be respectful, but never fawning. Though taking care in how we address them is important, you should not be prostrate with servility, either.
Similarly, while gifts are an enjoyable part of relations with the Folk, most lore agrees that, like any self-respecting human, the Folk do not enjoy being the center of over-the-top fuss, and are repulsed by anything that would seem like outright bribery or flattery.
So tomorrow, I’ll resume my discussion of the lore regarding offerings.