Quotes from favorite book…

Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from Emma Wilby’s ‘cunning-folk and familiar spirits’ Sussex Academic Press 2010. p.18 The most consistent association to be found, however, is the link between fairies and the dead. p.18 They were often portrayed as possessing a human-like appearance and living an uncanny simulacrum of human life. They wore clothes (often quaintly out of date); they rode horses and hunted game; they grew crops and held markets; they worked at domestic tasks such as spinning and washing clothes; and they spent their leisure time playing games, dancing and making music. p.19 Fairies were also capable of …emotions: they could feel anger, hatred, jealousy, sympathy or joy-and they could fall in love. … Although often associated with the natural landscape,…IN PRINCIPLE THE FAIRIES COULD BE FOUND ALMOST ANYWHERE. (emphasis added by myself). One early modern writer claimed that ‘They occupy various places of this world; as Woods, Mountains, Waters, Air, fiery Flames, Clouds, Starrs, Mines, and hid Treasure: also antient Buildings, AND PLACES OF THE SLAIN (emphasis added)…and do frequently converse with, and APPEAR UNTO MORTALS (emphasis added). …fairies could, for example, live long beyond the allotted human span; they could become visible or invisible at will; they could shapeshift between animal and human form and they could fly, sometimes traveling vast distances at great speed. They could divine the future, heal the sick and possess knowledge of objects and events in far off places. p. 20 …fairies possessed an ambiguous moral nature which was often all too human in its superficiality and ambivalence. …capable of both virtue and malevolence in varying proportions. p. 21 …beings of terrifying numinosity who possessed powers over time, space, life and death.

needless to say they no where had wings (unless in animal form as birds). drc


About drcarlsonalbion

Musician in band earth. Folklore/History/Occult enthusiast, especially about British Isles.
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13 Responses to Quotes from favorite book…

  1. Gary Bell says:

    Hey, great blog. Reminds me of ploughing through Keith Thomas’s ‘Religion & the Decline of Magic’. Good interview in The Wire also – very enjoyable. Good luck for the tour and the other work.

  2. Gary Bell says:

    No worries.

  3. Harry says:

    Your quote is very similar to material found in Robert Kirk’s ‘The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns, and Fairies’. If you haven’t come across it I think you might really enjoy it – see if you can find the edition with commentary by RJ Stewart. You might also like ‘Earthlight’ and ‘The Living World of Faery’ by RJ Stewart. These aren’t academic studies but are more focused on building relationship with the faery and underworld realms. See you at your show tonight at Highline!

  4. Gary says:

    See you’re playing at the Union Chapel on 11 March. I’ll drop off the Thomas book there if you still want it.

    • That would be most generous, and it will allow me to gift you in return. I am usually at the merch table for part of the evening, so please introduce yourself, and if I am not there I will have the merch person gift you on my behalf. DRC

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