In times of Brexit, there is a risk that the name of this blog can sound rather chauvinistic, I know. I deliberately chose to limit myself in my postings to material relating to the fairy beliefs of the island of Britain, for the simple reason that I am reluctant to accept that the beliefs of Ireland or the Isle of Man will have had any persistent or direct influence upon developments over centuries in England, Wales or Scotland. There are very clear parallels and resemblances, it is undeniable, but this is a matter of common lineage more than regular interchange of ideas.
My interest in ‘pure’ native belief also relates to an area to which I will give more attention in forthcoming posts. Many modern conceptions of faery are not based upon British tradition, but upon ideas drawn from very different beliefs and cultures. This leads, I believe, to the contradictions and confusions that I sometimes encounter in contemporary writings on fairy lore.
Despite what I just said, it would be wrong to suppose that British belief is homogenous or consistent. A body of tradition developed orally in separated communities should not be expected to be entirely uniform or harmonious. There are many different fairy types and behaviours, but one central aspect of British fairy lore is the sense that the supernatural beings under discussion are as real as the human witnesses. They may live in a parallel and sometimes invisible dimension, but they can enter this world and interact with people with as much corporeal reality as the people themselves. This aspect is what has increasingly been lost from recent accounts.
I have just released a new book, British fairies, published by Green Magic Publishing, in which all the discussions of my blog posts are brought together and expanded upon in greater detail. It examines literature, folk lore and art to arrive at a thorough understanding of the nature of British fairies. I hope some of you will add it to your fairy bookshelf and that you will find it a useful and enjoyable read!