Friday, 30 November 2012

 A faerie dwelling on Selena Moor near Lands End was first stumbled upon about 
two hundred years ago by a William Nay of Buryan. One night on his way home to 
Baranhaul Farm he became lost in the dark so decided to take a short cut he knew 
quite well across the moor. A mist rose and grew thicker and thicker as he struggled 
on across the marshy ground. Just for a second the bank of mist parted and William 
could see in the distance some faint lights. By now he was totally lost and in 
desperation decided to make for these lights so rode on until he came to a forest 
that he had never seen before. Hundreds of candles hung from the branches and 
music drifted about him. The trees grew thicker the farther he rode into the wood 
until at last he came across a small cottage nestled at the base of an enormous oak tree.
Dancing about a young girl playing a violin were dozens of small green figures. 
The sound of the music was so inviting that William felt moved to join in until a 
warning glance from the young girl made him hesitate. She set down the violin and 
drew him away under a tree where in the light from  an overhanging candle he 
recognised his dead sweetheart Grace Hutchens who used to live in the village of Selena. 
She had mysteriously died three years previously leaving William broken hearted. 
Grace explained to William that she had become pixyled on the moor and that she 
had also been drawn to the cottage by the sound of the music. 
Once here she had eaten an apple and from then on Grace was a captive in Faerieland;
 the body in her grave was nothing but a block of wood woven about with magic 
to make it resemble her.
William was determined to escape from the faerie glade and to take Grace with him 
so he took off one of his gloves, turned it inside out to break the spell and threw it into 
the middle of the throng. Everything went black, the faeries disappeared along with 
Grace and William fell to the ground in despair. His friends found him still unconscious 
three days later. He never recovered and shortly died. 
His body lies next to Grace's grave in the Buryan graveyard, or does it?

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

Thursday, 29 November 2012

last chance for a wedding...

This is your last chance for a wedding before Advent, during which season
 they were frowned upon, and be careful to choose an auspicious 
colour  for your wedding dress.

Marry in green, ashamed to be seen
Marry in grey, you'll go far away
Marry in brown, never live in a town
Marry in red, wish yourself dead
Marry in yellow, ashamed of your fellow
Marry in black, wish yourself back
Marry in pink, of you he'll aye think
Marry in blue, love ever true
Marry in  white, you have chosen right.

I have never heard the full doggerel before, I thought white was supposed to 
show that you were virtuous!

Anyway this is a cracker as well!!

When a man designs to marry a woman who is in debt, if he takes her from the hands of the priest clothed only in her shift, it is supposed that he will not then be liable for her obligations.
The Gentleman's Magazine 1784

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Faerie Glamour, used to deceive

The faerie art of concealing their true appearance is called glamour and is used 
to deceive mortals, they can alter their shape and the appearance of food, money 
and surroundings. So a splendid feast spread out on a beautiful gold table could 
be nothing more than nuts and berries laid on a log.
The use of faerie ointment on your eyes will allow you to see them in their true
 state but be careful that the faeries do not find out as their wrath can be terrible.
The term glamour comes from the Scottish word glaumerie which means magic, 
they use this power to capture mortals for breeding. The faeries are always trying
 to improve their own race by mingling it with human blood. Over the centuries 
the faerie bloodstock has declined and is now in desperate need of replenishing, 
so they are always on the look out for new mortal partners. They prefer young 
blonde blue eyed people. To guard against being snatched away from the church 
on their wedding day brides are surrounded by bridesmaids who are similarly 
dressed so the faeries would be confused when trying to seize the bride. 
This also applies to the groom as the wedding night is considered to be the 
most powerful time for mating with faeries. The bride or groom might be returned
 later but due to the difference in time in faerieland and the mortal world their
 family and friends could all be long dead by the time they return.

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

More on mermaids and selkies

I had to cut my ramble short yesterday as I had to take my persian cat to the grooming parlour! If any of you have a persian you will know that this is not a luxury, it is a necessity! she is the grubbiest thing.. all weekend in the foulest weather she was sat outside. For such a glamorous puss she is the hardiest thing!
Any way mermaids...

The MacCodrum clan from North Uist in Scotland are descended from a marriage 
between a selkie and a mortal. They are known as Sliochd Nan Ron, 
the offspring of the seals.
 The mortal  took her skin while she danced in the moonlight on the seashore and
 kept it hidden for many years and while he had the skin she could not leave, over the years
together they had many children. 
The offspring of these marriages would have 
webbing between their fingers and toes, this would be clipped off by their 
mothers but the more it was removed the scalier the skin would become. Anybody 
seen in the islands of Scotland who had hard scaly skin on their hands would  be 
 a descendant from a selkie. 
The selkies make good wives but are always pining for their home under the sea.

There are many differing opinions about the origins of the selkies, some say that like
 faeries they are fallen angels and are condemned to stay as seals until the day of 
judgement or that they are the souls of drowned sailors who are only allowed 
to return to land one night of the year to visit their families.

A Scottish mermaid fell in love with a local fisherman and to win his love 
showered him with  gifts of gold and jewels, he did not return her love and
 gave her gifts to a local girl he had been courting. The mermaid was determined 
that she was not going to share him with anybody and so led him to a cave under 
Darwick Head near Castletown It was here that she kept all the treasure that 
she had collected from the many shipwrecks in the Pentland Firth. 
He stood there astounded looking at all the wealth that she had collected, 
while he stood there mesmerised she began to sing a low soft melody.
His eyelids grew heavy and he fell into a deep sleep and when he awoke he found
 himself bound to the walls with golden chains. If all accounts are true he is 
still there keeping his jealous sweetheart company.

Monday, 26 November 2012


A mermaid was spotted off the coast of Wales near Aberystwyth in 1826 by a
farmer who lived close to the shore. According to his report the mermaid looked 
as though she was washing herself in one of the rock pools, at first he thought 
it was just a mortal woman until he saw her beautiful tail  spread out on the
 rocks beside her. His children joined him and watched the mermaid  for a time from their 
vantage point on the cliffs, as they were there for so long his wife becoming alarmed
 by their absence and came to find them. Her approach scared the mermaid and she slipped 
quickly back into the sea. The family continued watching the mermaid as she  swam slowly 
down the coast towards Dyfed.

It used to be thought that mermaids were heavenly fish spirits that fell to earth every now 
and then to perform ritual dances. They remove parts of their clothing to enable 
them to dance like the selkies of Scotland, if these fell into the hands of a mortal 
then the mermaids and the selkies would have to stay with the mortals until 
their garments were returned or found. 

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

In Celtic mythology mermaids were considered as monsters hungry for the lives of men and although they are described as half human half fish a better description would be half faerie  half fish as one of the better known attributes is the granting of wishes in return for her freedom if caught in a 
fishermans net.
Mermaids are more malignant in some places than others and the Mermen are more dangerous than their female counterparts but that story is for the next blog...

card available from

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The sun enters the house of sagittarius

The man born under Sagittarius shall have mercy on every man he sees. 
He shall go far to desert places unknown and dangerous, and shall return 
with great gains; he shall see his fortune increase from day to day. 
At twenty two years he shall have some peril, but he shall live 
seventy two years and eight months after nature.
The woman shall love to labour, she may not see one weep without pity.
 She shall spend much silver by evil company. 
She ought to be married at thirteen and shall have pains in her eyes at fourteen; 
she shall be called the mother of sons and shall live seventy two years after nature.
Both man and woman shall be inconstant in deeds but of 
good conscience, merciful and better to others than themselves.

Kalender of Shepheardes 1604

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Hannah and the tulips

This is a well known tale from the west country about an old woman called Hannah who lived deep in the woods in a cottage. Running alongside the cottage was a small garden where she grew a few vegetables but most of it was given over to a huge bed of the most beautiful scented tulips. These blooms were her pride and joy and she gave them more care and attention than her poor straggling vegetable plants. After a days work in the garden she would sit at the cottage door just admiring the beautiful blooms until the light faded. 
One clear night Hannah was woken from her sleep by the sound of singing and of babies laughing, she crept out of her bed and nervously peered through the window into the garden but there was nothing to be seen. The sounds were coming from the tulip bed, worried about her lovely plants she threw a shawl around her thin shoulders and hurried out into the garden but as the latch clicked on the cottage door the singing stopped, all was quiet in the garden and nothing could be seen stirring amongst the plants.
By first light Hannah was already out in the garden checking her flowers for damage but she found they were untouched and there was no sign of anybody ever being there.
The next night was fine and clear and again Hannah was woken by the sound of singing and children laughing but caught no sign of her nighttime visitors. In the morning she again checked the tulip bed but this time she had taken her glasses with her and she could plainly see the little footprints in the soil.
Hannah was delighted to think that she had faeries in the garden and spent the whole day carefully weeding and tending the tulip bed even though her vegetable patch sorely needed tending.
That evening Hannah left the front door open so that she could slip out quietly if she heard her little faerie visitors again and then settled down into bed. Her eyelids grew heavier, Hannah could stay awake no longer and fell asleep.
The old woman suddenly woke, the moon was shining in at the window and she could hear the sound of singing quite plainly through the open window. She slipped out into the garden and walked down the path to the tulip bed. There in the moonlight Hannah could see the tiny faerie mothers standing next to a tulip bloom, gently rocking them backwards and forwards like a cradle while inside lay a little faerie baby.
From then on Hannah tended her tulips carefully every day and as a thank you the faeries used their magic to make the vegetable thrive and they grew so well that soon Hannah had more vegetables than she knew what to do with.
The came the day that the little old woman died and her cottage was sold. The family that moved in did not like tulips so they dug up all the bulbs and planted parsley in their place. This so enraged the faeries  that at night they pulled up the parsley plants and shredded them. Each time the new family tried to plant something it would be  pulled up and destroyed until finally nothing would grow in the garden at all.
It was only on Hannah's grave that the tulips still grew big and beautiful, carefully tended by the faeries.

Faerie Flora- Elizabeth Andrews

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

A Faerie Fetch

In the 18th and 19th century was a rather strange custom of waiting in the local church porch on New Years Eve to see the souls of the dead entering the church. As midnight approached the shades of the people of the parish who were to die in the following months would appear walking up the church path and disappear inside.
It was all too common for the onlookers to see themselves as the last 'fetch'
A young lad called Robin accompanied  the local vet to a lonely farmhouse near the village, after dealing with the sick animal they started on their way home past the ruins of the old priory. The church bell started to toll as they approached.
'It's the passing bell' said Robin after two strokes 'and it's for a man' for it was the custom in those days to ring single strokes for a man and double for a woman, three for a child. After a pause the strokes continued, counting out the age of the dead person. Twenty six strokes, the age of Robin himself. The building was dark and quiet and as they waited wondering who had been pealing the bells, the gate silently swung open and a strange procession entered the church yard.
A tiny figure led, dressed in black with just a red skull cap, chanting a dirge as he slowly paced up the path, past the two men the tiny figures carried a coffin and as was the custom the lid was open.
Robin and his friend although terrified couldn't help themselves but to lean forward and gaze  at the figure.
The figure was Robin himself
The young man leapt forward demanding of the faeries his fate but as soon as he uttered his words they vanished leaving the two men alone in the churchyard.
From then on Robin was a changed man, moody and depressed. One month to the day he had seen the procession he died. His funeral procession took the same route as that of the faerie procession

In about 1826 a man called Ben Barr of Helpston Northamptonshire, who watched every year and professed to know the fate of everybody in the village, was reported quite ready to find a favourable verdict for the timid for the inducement of a few pence.
Watching is supposed to observed for three years before results would be obtained but once begun must be continued for life.

Examine your fingernails..

The nails very short, signify a person to be wicked;
small and cracked, to be greedy catcher;
very little to be a crafty beguiler.
White flecks in the nail signifies very wealthy and to have many friends; 
black flecks, to be hated.
The nails long smooth  reddish and clear withal, to be witty and of good capacity; 
narrow and long, to be cruel and fierce; 
the nails rough and round, to be prone to the venereal act.

The Shepherds Prognostication 1729

Saturday, 10 November 2012

The Faerie Helper

The Bean Tighe of Ireland is the Irish form of the Faerie Godmother, 
she will attach herself to certain families for many generations. 
Looking after the children and pets, even finishing the chores around the house.

Faeries and Folklore of the British Isles

These domestic faeries piskies, hobs, boggarts perform many useful tasks 
around the home. Generally regarded as a good thing the house holder had to 
be careful not to offend  them. If vexed cream jugs were smashed, butter would not 
come, horses would be unmanagable, all manner of things would go wrong while 
the small creatures would watch in delight from some secret place!
The faeries also disliked lazy wives and servants.

If ye will with Mab find grace
Set each platter in his place
Rake the fire up and get
Water in, ere sun be set
Wash your pailes, and cleanse your dairies
Sluts are loathsome to the Faeries
Sweep your house. Who doth not so
Mab will pinch her by the toe

So with that I am off to sweep my floors before I get pinched by Mab!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

The Faerie Shoemaker

The Faerie Shoemaker otherwise known as Leprechaun spends his time 
around clear pure streams, also has a liking for cool dark cellars. 
Easily recognisable from the red cap he wears, he also wears two leather
 purses on his belt. In one a silver coin and in the other a gold coin. 
The silver coin always returns to his purse even after being given away. 
He only hands out the gold if he needs to buy his freedom from a captor. 
But keep your eye on him, one blink and he will vanish and the coin will turn to dust.
When he is not drinking and smoking ( which he is very partial to!) he is busy 
making shoes for the faerie folk. The Leprechaun is well paid for his services and 
has amassed quite a store of gold which he keeps in a large crock. 
He hides it well but usually it can located buried at the end of the 
rainbow where it touches the earth.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Ivy brings good luck

The Ivy Faerie available as card from www.

Ivy brings good luck, fun and happiness and growing some over the outside wall of your house will deter misfortune. If you have a houseplant of ivy and it dies this might signify that financial problems are looming. The ivy was sacred to Bacchus God of wine and to show that good wine could be found within innkeepers would hang garlands of ivy around their doors. Ivy is the emblem of fidelity and it used to be customary to hand a wreath of ivy to newly weds. The bridesmaids would also carry some as well as it was believed to aid fertility and bring good luck.
For a man to dream of his future bride he must pick a leaf on the 31st Oct and place it under his pillow. For a woman to dream of her future husband she must collect some leaves and recite the following:

'Ivy, ivy I love you
In my bosom I put you
The first young man  who speaks to me
My future husband he shall be'

'Faerie Flora'

Monday, 5 November 2012

All Hallows

Well Halloween is over for another year.. we had a steady stream of little elves, 
goblins and monsters coming to our door. The sizes got progressively larger 
as the night wore on! We just had a few sweets left for our last caller, 
all got soaked of course as it was such a foul night but it didn't seem to 
dampen their spirits!
Although of course I should have been handing out soul-cakes but I 
think they preferred the sweets!

The Feast of All Saints or All Hallows which is also Samhain the pagan 
Celtic New Year festival when stored fruits and crops were blessed and 
the dead remembered.
On this night  soul-cakes are made and given out usually to the poor 
who in return would pray for the souls of the departed: and the returning dead 
were supposed to share in the cakes.
A child born at this time is supposed to have second sight and all of 
November's children will fortunate and beloved.

November's child is born to bless
He's like a song of thankefulness.

On all Souls Day Tindle bonfires should be lit to guide the souls out of purgatory.

There is an old custom in Herefordshire to hire the poor to attend funerals. 
They would be paid to take upon themselves the sins of the deceased. 
The corpse would be brought out of the house and laid upon the bier then a loaf of 
bread would be handed to the sin eater over the corpse. He would eat this 
along with a bowl of beer. Once he had done this and received his payment
 he would take upon himself all the sins of the deceased and 
free him or her from walking after they were dead.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Ghillie Dhu in Edinburgh

Just returned from a long weekend in the city of Edinburgh, lovely old buildings! 
We were enjoying walking through the streets to get to the castle when we came across the Ghillie Dhu, I think it was a pub or club. Beautiful old carved door, it invited visitors in but we were not swayed by the pull of ale! We were off to scale the slopes of the castle. 
The Ghillie Dhu are tree spirits that live mainly in birch thickets and I didn't see 
any thickets nearby but then again the park was just over the road so 
perhaps they were city dwelling Ghillie Dhu's.
They are known to hide among the moss and leaves to avoid the sight of 
mortals and tourists in this case!
They are best avoided as they can be unfriendly and have been known to 
capture people, tie them up with ropes of ivy and carry them off to faerieland.

I'm not sure if this is one, he was carved on an old fountain near the castle.
 But I think we did find their front door! It is about a foot high and set in to a wall. 
We didn't knock!

It is so cute!!