Faerie Trees

 


Fairy Tree, the Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

Faerie Trees
United Kingdom and Ireland

Faerie trees are mythical hotspots of otherworldly and/or faerie activity. Faerie trees are seen as the haunts of Faeries. They are fiercely protected by the Fae. It is believed that any human foolish enough to pass by a host-tree late at night will find their arms bruised or pinched by small faerie fingers. Three thorn trees growing closely together are especially potent. Thorn trees hung with ribbons or rags are good gifts to faeries of the tree. Faerie trees are most associated with the Oak, Ash, and Thorn. Sometimes it is associated with the Rowan tree. Others claim its the Elder, Blackthorn, Hazel, and/or Alder. The trees most twisted together are the most notorious of faerie trees – and this is common amongst the Elder. If two thorns and an elder are found together it warns of great danger as do Oak, Ash, and Thorn. In the British Isles, the Rowan is believed to protect one from witchcraft and enchantment. Its berries opposite its stalk display tiny five pointed stars or pentagrams which are notable protective symbols. Color red, as in the flavor of the berry, is also seen as a protection against enchantment. The tree is believed to afford protection to the dwellings by which it grew and often people would take branches of the tree to be carried for personal protection from witchcraft. The belief in them go back to classical mythology, whereas legends tell us that ‘Hebe’, the Goddess of youth, once dispensed rejuvenating ambrosia to the Gods from her magical chalice. When she lost this cup to demons, the Gods sent an eagle to recover the cup. The feathers and drops of blood which the eagle bled in the fight, fell to the earth, whereas each one of them turned into a Rowan tree – the legendary Faerie Tree. It is because of this it is believed that the Rowan derived the shape of its leaves from eagle’s feathers and its berries look like the droplets of blood. The Rowan is also prominent in Norse mythology as being the tree from where the first woman was made. The Mountain Ash were also associated as Faerie Trees which are the most well-known of the Rowan. The wood of the Rowan is often used for staves, wands, divining rods, and walking sticks. Berries are often used to make alcoholic drinks.


The Curraugh, Kildare, Ireland

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Knocknashee

 
“Knocknashee”, legendary ” Hill of the Faeries”

County Sligo, Ireland
Knocknashee is known as the legendary “Hill of the Faeries” and is one of Ireland’s seven most sacred hills. The name comes from the Irish “knock” (cnoc) meaning “hill” and “shee” meaning “fairy”. Its older name is Mullinabreena or “Fairy Palace”. The hill fort is located near Lavagh, Ballymote, and rises 900 feet high with a flat top, green and lush, with a diameter of a square mile. Oddly, unlike any other hill in the area, it has absolutely no heather. At its base stands the ruins of Court Abbey and its 90 foot high tower that was built in the 15th century by the O’Haras for the Franciscans. This legendary “Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace” as “Mullinabreena” or “Knocknashee” is a sacred site for Faeries and those who worship or believe in them being the mythical headquarters or high court of the Fae. Geologically the hill is a 276 m Marilyn located in the Ox Mountains of County Sligo, Ireland with the River Moy at its foot. It consists of a limestone top with shales underlying the lower slopes. The hill is culturally rich with archaeology as it was discovered to be a hilltop fort in 1988 during a Office of Public Works aerial survey of the county with the observbation of the remains of limestone ramparts containing cairns, burial chambers, and hutsites on its top. The fort is 700 meters long and 320 meters wide, enclosed by two earth and stone ramparts covering an area of 53 acres. There are two cairns, the remains of over 30 circular house sites, and two earth/stone ramparts. The hill has a panoramic view of the Connacht plains. The lower exposures of the hill show irregularly bedded limestone with a diverse fauna of colonial and solitary corals, with very well preserved fossils in silica that were deposited some 340 million years ago. Hilltop is covered with a thin peat. A popular play was made in tribute of the hill called “Knocknashee” by the Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan in 2002. A traditional Irish song was also named after the hill called “The Hills of Knocknashee” with “The River Moy so gently flows from there unto the sea. Farewell to you, farewell to all from the hill of Knocknashee”.
Directions: Knocknashee is a table-top plateau 7 kilometres NEN of Tobercurry. From Tobercurry take the N17 north for 5 kilometres to Carrowclare then take a left to a T-Junction then a right about 1/2 kilometre on your left is a farm house ask here for permission to climb the hill. Portal Tombs around Knocknasee: http://www.irishmegaliths.org.uk/sligo.htm

 
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Gilligan’s World

 

 

Gillighans World
* Tel / Fax 00 353 (0)71 30286 / 00 353 (0)71 84100 * Mobile 087 6811690 / 087 6780831 * e-mail gillighans@eircom.net * Registered Office: Baroncourt, Kilmacowen, Ballysadare, County Sligo * Sligo, Ireland *

Gilligan’s World is a hidden little Faerie theme park, farm, and botanical gardens in the heart of Sligo County in the rolling countryside at the base of the famed Tuatha de Danaan battle mound, the “Knocknashee” the Legendary “Hill of the Faeries”, one of Irelands 7 sacred hills. Mainly centered around children, the park can be a bit of fun for adults and kids alike, especially for those in the faerie persuasion. This little magical kingdom was created by the Baronness of Leyny, the Lady Melody Urquhart (Ph.D) as a faerie habitat to capture the true spirit of Ireland and its mythological/archaeological past. In 1993, she left fame and fortune behind in England as a choreographer / producer / director/ and owner of a finishing school in order to build this sanctuary. Attracted to the Knocknashee, the Mullinabreena, the Hill of the Fairy Mansion or Palace. Complete with miniature model villages, enchanted glades, streams, botanical gardens, a petting zoo, snack shop, gift shop, library, restrooms, car park, picnic areas, and an inn. Streams, forests, wildlife ponds, an aquatic cave, play facilities, with games, quizzes, and puzzles to achieve. The staff is well educated about faerie lore and history. Great place for the kids, schools, coach tours, birthday parties, family groups, and overseas tourists. It has a stone tunnel entrance, with dolmen, an amphitheater, lush green lawns, and inspiration for the wild, wacky, kitch, artistic, imaginative, and fantasy. Its open 7 days a week, Easter through September from 12 to 6 pm on mondays thru fridays, 2 pm to 7 pm on saturdays and sundays. While very kitchy and centered around children, as an adult with a faerie fascination, I enjoyed the park very much – and hope to go back to actually explore the actual Knocknashee. Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5.

 

 

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Faerie Poop

 

 

Faerie Poop or Spittlebug mess

The legend has it that areas in the bushes and on plants where faeries take a leak, or take a poop, is left behind white foamy material. Of course these “Poop faeries” or “shit faeries” are not the urban “shit faerie” of modern urban legend. It actually is the defecation of the Spittlebug nymphs (though some say mealworms will cause it too). Spittlebugs love most plants, especially fruit bearers and fragrant herbs. What they leave behind doesn’t cause permanent damage to the plant unless in very high concentrations. The spittle is actually a protective covering that the nymph builds up around itself through its anus. It looks like white foam, a pile of bubbles, or a big gob of spit, or faerie shit. Spittlebugs look like leafhoppers that suck on plants by sucking out its sap. It produces a dollop of foam, a mix of slimy sugary insect excretions and air bubbles, enclosing a single spitlebug protecting it from dessication and predators like lacewings and ladybugs. Mealybug infestations can also appear on plants as tiny, soft-bodied insects surrounded by a fuzzy white mess around the stem and leaf nodes where the female mealy bugs hide their eggs that hatch in 10 days producing crawlers or nymphs where they relocate upon birth to another part of the plant and spend 4-8 weeks developing into adults.

Unless it’s a shit faerie that would oddly defecate on plants as their usual habit is to climb into human beds while they are asleep, shit in their mouths as a punishment for over endulging in alcohol – this explains why after heavy nights of drinking one awakes with a yucky taste in their mouths. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=shit%20fairy. Though one could also say its the “Poop Faerie”, but then again, this critter isn’t known for pooping on plants, but again, on humans. They are reputedly derived from the Greek “Poopides Poop-a-lot-alous Nymphicacides” as a petite indigenous creature who is thinly related to the Tooth Fairy. It legendarily enters human residences and permeates the bedroom with a repulsive stink that lingers what seems forever. She apparently appears after the victim passes out after a long night of excessive consumption and riotous sex. Unlike the Shit Faerie, she waves her magic Shit-Stick to disperse a pasty white substance that imbues the victim’s mouth with a corrosive pungence. One can read more of this faerie at http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=poop%20fairy.

 

 

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Mermaids/Mermen

Mermaids and Mermen

A rich realm of characters in Faerie lore, Mermaids and Mermen have consumed popular myth through the ages – fantasy, entertainment, and imagery. Mermaids (and the male form “Mermen”) are a race of Faerie that consist of human-like mythological aquatic creatures that are depicted with a human head and torso attached to the tail of a fish. They are related to sirens, selchies, and sea nymphs. Their names come from the Old English root “Mere” for “Sea”, and “maid” for “woman”. Caribbean tales of mermaids appear as the Aycayia – with attributes similar to the Goddess Jagua and the hibiscus flower of the majagua tree. Voodoo lore speaks of the Lwa La Sirene who is lwa of wealth and beauty and the Orisha Yemaya. Other names are “Mami Wata” (Africa), “Jengu” (Cameroon), “Merrow” (Ireland/Scotland), “Rusalkas” (Russia/Ukraine), “Iara” (Brazil), “Oceanids, Nereids, Naiads” (Greek), “Sirena or Siyokoy” (Phillipines). In folktales, mermaids were similar to sirens in that they often sang to enchant passerbys, distracting them, and causing them to walk off the deck of their ships and ground their ships. Some horror tales depict mermaids squeezing the life out of drowning men or carrying them down to their underwater realms thereby drowning the men by either not realizing humans can’t breathe water or to drown them out of spite. The first mention in lore of Mermaids appeared around 1,000 B.C.E. in Assyria with the story of the Goddess Atargatis who accidentally killed her shepherd lover. To bring him back she jumped into a lake and transformed into a fish, but the waters wouldn’t conceal her divine beauty, thereby forcing her into the form of a ‘mermaid’ – human above he waist, fish below the waist. Around 546 B.C.E. the Milesian philosopher Anaximander stated that mankind came from an aquatic species and thereby from mer-folk. Greek legend places Alexander the Great’s sister Thessalonike as a mermaid upon her death. 2nd century C.E. Lucian of Samosata wrote about mermaids in the Syrian temples – notably Derketo and Hera Atargatis. Many Arabian Nights tales talk of Sea People such as Djullanar the sea-Girl or Abdullah the Merman who can breathe water, interbreed with humans, and create aquatic half-breeds. In the British Isles and Ireland, there are many tales of Mermaids and Mermen in local lore and legend – mainly from Fishermen (1800’s). Seeing them were considered an unlucky omen – foretelling disaster or provoking it. Some were described as monsters as large as 2,000 feet in size. It is believed that Mermaids can swim up rivers to freshwater lakes, and that they often appear as drowned victims when presenting themselves to humans they are attracted to. Some lore portrays mer-folk as helpful, teaching humankind cures for diseases. Claims of sightings range from British Columbia to Ireland to Java. In the 19th century, P.T. Barnum displayed in his taxidermy exhibit the “Fiji Mermaid” which was proven to be a hoax. There is a rare congenital disorder called the “Mermaid Syndrome” where a child is born with his/her legs fused together combined with reduced genitalia that occurs as often as conjoined twins (1 out of 100,000 births and usually fatal due to kidney and bladder complications).

Related to Naiads and Undines.

More information:
Mermaids on the web: http://www.isidore-of-seville.com/mermaids/
Women of the Deep: A Light History of the Mermaid: http://members.cox.net/mermaid31/merhist.htm

Habitats: Mermaid Cove at Carrick-A-Rede in Antrim, Northern Ireland:

   

 

     

 

   

 

     


Mermaid Cove

 

   

Mermaid Cove 

     

 

Disney’s Animated Classic: The Little Mermaid
Throughout film and cartoons, the mythos of the mermaid has enchanted us all, including the popular character “Arial”, aka “The Little Mermaid”.

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

Family time at Disney’s California Adventure ( http://www.technogypsie.com/reviews/?p=30907), Los Angeles, California. “A California Adventure” – New Life in Colorado: Chronicle 26 – Chronicles of Sir Thomas Leaf and Prince Cian. Adventures in Colorado. Photos taken April 8, 2017. To read the adventures, visit http://www.technogypsie.com/chronicles/?p=21965. To read reviews, visit: www.technogypsie.com/reviews. All photos and articles (c) 2017 Technogypsie.com – by Leaf McGowan and Thomas Baurley. All rights reserved. www.technogypsie.com/photography

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Newgrange

 

 

Newgrange:
Brú na Bóinne, Ireland
One of Ireland’s most infamous monuments and archaeological sites, Newgrange is amongst the Bru na Boinne World Heritage sites next to Knowth and Dowth. It is popular like Stonehenge with its Solstice astronomical line-ups and viewing of the sun as it appears through its portal. The monument is a large mound complex shaped like a giant kidney covering an area of about an acre of land and is surrounded by 97 kerbstones most of which are decorated by megalithic rock art. Newgrange is one of the best examples in Ireland and Western Europe of a passage grave or tomb. Constructed around 3200 BCE, this site is older than the Egyptian pyramids and a 1,000 years older than Stonehenge. Located along a elongated ridge on the Boyne River, five miles west of Drogheda, and close to the location where the Battle of the Boyne took place in 1690. Built entirely wih stone tools the Faerie Sidhe (folklore) or Passage Grave (Archaeology) is an impressive monument: The purpose of the monument is disputed greatly as there is no evidence that Newgrange was used as a repository for bodies, bones, burial artifacts or ash. Mythology tells us that the Tuatha Dé Danann, legendary first rulers of Ireland, built Newgrange as a burial place for their chief – the Dagda Mór with his three sons. The site is also believed to be where the hero Cúchulainn was conceived by his mother Dechtine. Also listed in mythology as a Faerie Mound, it was believed to have been the home of Oenghus, the God of Love. Other theories are that it was a place of worship for a “cult of he dead” or for astronomically-based faiths. Visitors can only access Newgrange via bus shuttle from the visitor center at Brú na Bóinne and those wishing to see the Winter Solstice sunrise light-up has to be awarded via lottery for the experience with a select few other lottery winners. A 19 meter long inner passage leads to a cruciform chamber with a corbelled roof. At the end of the passage are three small chambers off the larger central chamber. Each of the smaller chambers has a large flat ‘basin stone’ which is where it is believed the bones of the dead were originally deposited. During the Winter Solstice, lights of the rising sun enters the roofbox – lighting up the passage, and shining onto the floor of the inner chamber – illuminating the room for 17 minutes. Megalithic Rock Art surrounds the monument with some world notable pieces such as the triskel carved on the entrance stone, Kerbstone 1 and 52. Other rock art carvings fit into one of ten categories, five of which are curvilinear (circles, spirals, arcs, serpentiniforms, and dot-in-circles), and the other five are rectilinear (chevrons, lozenges, radials, parallel lines and offsets). Intriguing archaeological finds were found throughout the site, including Roman coins, an iron wedge, and a stone phallus. It is believed to have taken 20 years to build with a work force dedicated all of those years full time of 300 individuals. Under the burial tomb theory, it is believed to have been sealed and closed for several millenia after which the local folklore and mythology of the faeries were believed to be assigned to the mound. The site was used for ritual purposes well into the Iron Age. The Passage tomb was re-discovered in 1699 when material for road building was being harvested from the mound. A large excavation of the mound took place in 1962 as well as the rebuilding of the original facade of sparkling white quartz stones found at the site. Newgrange has been compared to the Gavrinis passage tomb in Brittany for which it is very similar to. The Gavrinis cairn is 5,500 years old; 60 meters in diameter, and covers a passage and chamber that is lined with elaborately engraved stone. Newgrange is built of alternating layers of earth and stone with grass growing atop, and the front reconstructed facade is of flattish white quartz stone studded at intervals with large rounded cobbles covering the circumference.

 

 

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Brú na Bóinne

 

 

Brú na Bóinne
* aka “Palace of the Boyne” or “Bend of the Boyne” * Knowth/Newgrange, Donore, Co. Meath, Ireland * UNESCO World Heritage Site *
 

“Bru na Boinne” is the name of a Boyne River Valley section that is home to the World Heritage sites consisting of the Tumulus Sidhe known as “Knowth”, “Dowth”, and “Newgrange”. These monuments are the largest and one of the most important prehistoric megalithic sites in Europe that consist of a complex of neolithic chamber tombs, standing stones, henges, and other prehistoric enclosures dating as early as 35th century B.C.E. (predating the Egyptian pyramids) The Palace is centrally the name for the visitor center that is home to a museum, cafe, interpretive displays, information center, and central shuttle bus location for visitors to get to Knowth and Newgrange. It is located in County Meath near the village of Donore along the south bank of the Boyne River. The large oval stones in the water feature are 330 million year old naturally occuring concretions that make the site a geological attraction as well. The Sidhe/Tumulus of Newgrange and Knowth are to the north of the Boyne. The site covers over 780 hectare acres with over 40 passage graves, prehistoric sites, hengestones, circles, and features as well as substantial Megalithic rock art. Each of the monuments  are on a ridge within the river bend, with Knowth and Newgrange containing stones re-used from earlier monuments at the site. The sites were visited repeatedly and re-used during various ages such as the Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Medieval periods adding assortments of artifacts, features, and enclosures to the site throughout the years.   In addition to the famous tombs/tumulus of Knowth, Dowth, and Newgrange are also the ceremonial complexes known as Cloghalea Henge, Townleyhall passage grave, Monknewtown henge and ritual pond, and the Newgrange cursus.  Newgrange stands as the central mound of the Boyne Valley passage grave cemetery. Each of these three main tumulus sites have archaeo-astronomical significance and alignments. Newgrange and Dowth have Winter Solstice solar alignments, and Knowth has an Equinox solar alignment. The complex areas are surrounded on the south, west, and east by the Boyne river, and to the north by the Mattock river.
The River Boyne
The Goddess Boann

A grandiose River in Leinster, Ireland that runs a course of over 112 kilometers (70 miles) passing by the Brú na Bóinne complex and World Heritage site, by the ancient city of Trim, Trim Castle, the Hill of Tara, Navan, the Hill of Slane, Mellifont Abbey, and the medieval city of Drogheda. It starts at Trinity Well in Kildare and flows towards the Northeast through County Meath where it empties into the Irish Sea. The river is abundant with Salmon and trout that hosts much Irish mythology on the passage of knowledge down the river. The river is notorious for its historical, archaeological, and mythological connotations. Ptolemy drew out the river in his mapping of Ireland and he called it ????????? (Bououinda). According to Irish mythology, the river was created by the Goddess Boann and the river is named after her as well as representative of her. It is also the river where Fionn mac Cumhail captured Fiontan, the Salmon of Knowledge. It is also home to the infamous “Battle of the Boyne” which took place near Drogheda in 1690. The archaeological remains of a Viking ship was found in 2006 in the river bed near Drogheda.

 

 

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The Otherworld, The Underworld, The Sidhe


Otherworld Map

 

The Otherworld

From the dawn of religious thought there has been belief in an Underworld and/or an Otherworld. A place were we are trapped when we die disturbed or without resolution that sits upon our world, sometimes referred to as Limbo, Hades, The Waiting Place, and the Inbetween. Many believe in a Hell and a Heaven. Others believe in a Summerland. Others do not. Some believe in Reincarnation. But just about everyone has an opinion about where we go when we die. The Otherworld is one such place that many deduce is where human spirits reside after death. But its not just a place for ghosts and poltergeists, but is also often labelled as a place of residence for all of the undead and supernatural from zombies to vampires, from faeries to trolls, from Gods to Goddesses, and the elemental spirits of nature. Celtic mythology calls “The Otherworld” (Orbis Alia) as the “Realm of the Dead, the Home of the Deities, or the stronghold of other spirits, and the Mighty Sídhe.” Folklore depicts the Otherworld as existing over the western sea or underground such as in the Sídhe mounds of Ireland and the British Isles, or as a realm layered like a transparency over the world of the living but invisible to our physical sight. I’m more of an advocate to the belief that the Elemental and Faerie Realm, Realm of Deities, and the Land of the Dead are all ‘separate’ realms … layered on top of each other as transparency-like layers of an onion in the worlds within worlds that make up the cosmology of universes in which we live. The Irish described their Otherwold as being underground and sometimes on islands in the Western sea. I believe that they actually saw it as a separate realm from the land of Faeries and the Sidhe and scholars or folklorists not being very well versed in the different dimensions just lumped these worlds into one solitary world separate from the land of the living. There are many different references by the Irish to the these realms including Tír na mBeo (“the Land of the Living”), Mag Mell (“Delightful Plain”), and Tír na nÓg (“Land of the Young”), among other names. This is one of the reasons I believe the Irish truly believed them to be different places. Irish mythology talk of these places to be a country where the inhabitants never grew old, got sick, died, where they were eternally at peace and happiness, and one year of occupation in that realm would equate to 100 human years. The Greeks spoke of a similar place called the “Elysium” (Greek mythology). Of course the Greeks and the Irish may have a shared origin in ancient Proto-Indo-European religion, so that might make sense. There are many folktales in both of these cultures where a beautiful young woman often approaches the hero and sings to him of these happy lands often offering him an apple or the promise of her love in exchange for his assistance in battle. The myths have him following her for a journey over the sea and are never seen again. Mythological and folklore elements involve boats of glass, chariots, horses, food, drink, and lures of love. Sometimes the mortal man returns to the human realm to find his previous family and friends deceased for ages and while believing to have been gone for a few years were actually gone for hundreds of years. (ex: Tale of Oisin, Thomas the Rymer, Rip Van Winkle, Tale of Bran and Branwen, etc.) There are quests in the tales and a magical mist always seem to descend upon them. They are always changed and affected with their contact to the Otherworld. The means by which many of these individuals cross over from the human realm to the land of spirits or the dead are abundant in all of Indo-European folklore and stories. These seem to occur in liminal places, gateways, or on special days of the year. The Gaelic festival of Samhain (November 1st) as well as Beltane (May 1st) are believed to be dates when the boundaries between the worlds become even more permeable than usual, and visitors from both realms can travel inbetween the realms, sometimes on purpose other times accidentally. Folklore is obsessed with the concern about preventing the intrusion of spirits into the human world and the loss of humans to the Otherworlds. Many spells, charms, superstitions, and rituals exist through history to prevent the crossing over of humans and entities between these dimensions. Some believe that Irish folklore is a heaven of sorts. Interpreters of Irish poetry and story telling, claim the Otherworld is simply a land of paradise, happiness, and summer. I am of the opposite view that the realms those stories tell about is quite yet a completely different world than the land of the Dead. I believe that there is a land of Faeries (Sidhe, Faerieland or Faerieworld), a land of the Dead (Otherworld), a land of Demons (Underworld / Hades / Hell), a land of Deities (Summerland or Heaven). Land of the Dead is what I refer to when I discuss the Otherworld. Brittany sees this as an island someplace west of Great Britain. When the souls of the dead leave the human body, they go to the homes of fishermen and knock desperately on their doors for ferry to these islands. The fishermen would leave their homes and ferry the dead to these lands in ghostly ships called “Bag an Noz”. There are Christian beliefs on the British Isles that talk about a Galicia northern coastal village called ‘San Andrés de Teixido’ where a little hermitage consecrated to Saint Andrew houses his bones. According to Tacitus this is where the ‘heavens, seas, and earth end’. It is believed by many that if you don’t visit this place when you are living, you must visit after you die in the form of a serpent or lizard, in order to take your journey to the land of the dead, according to words from Jesus to Andres. Many Spanish authors also claim that this is the starting place for the souls of the dead on their trip to the Other World. The Irish God of Gateways and of the Sea, Manannon Mac Lir, is often seen as a gatekeeper between these Isles of the Dead and the Lands of the Living. In modern fantasy, such as in the tales of the television series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” the gateway to the realms of the dead or the world of demons are referred to as “The Hellmouth”. This serves as a magical portal between the worlds. Supposedly as a place of increased supernatural energy and is a gate that attracts as a hot spot demons and other supernatural creatures. While completely created by the filmmakers, the concept is based off the gateways to the realm of the dead found in mythologies. The “Otherworld” as the “Spirit World” or “Land of the Dead” is seen as a habitation realm of spirits. The belief in spirits come from the theory that the Earth itself and all living things on the Earth have spirit counterparts that existed before the physical creation, and a living soul consists of a spirit body united with a physical body. The spirit existence is composed of organized and refined spirit matter that extends to all life, including plants, animals, and humans. Even the Christian bible refers to plant spirits as being created as spirits before they were created with physical bodies (Moses 3:5, 9). Under these beliefs, there are premortal and postmortal spirit worlds. Premortal spirits exist originally in “heaven” where monotheistic faiths believe their God lives. There is belief by many that the spirit after leaving the body from death, yet before resurrection, is taken by an angel or a reaper, to the home of God who gave them life, they are then often judged and/or assigned to a place of paradise or a place of hell and ‘outer darkness’. Postmortal spirits inhabit a world where they reside and converse together the same as what occurs in the human world. There is belief that they conduct similar activities, labor, and life as they did when they were living; it is a place where they learn and prepare for the next life as an extension of mortality. Those at unrest or unfinished with their mortal existence, often haunt or are trapped inbetween the human realm and the Otherworld or the Underworld.
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Faeries

The Tree Leaves’ Oracle icon flower fairy

The Victorian Flower Fairy or Nature Sprite

Flower Fairies are believed to be the fairy spirit essence of various flowers; they are portrayed as tiny creatures that rarely are larger than 20 cm. tall. Most of these depictions come from Victorian art and is a common ‘model’ for what most people think of what is a fairy. They live in tree tops, marshes, forests, gardens, fields, and waysides. It is believed by many that when a seed sprouts a flower fairy is born. Each flower fairy lives upon its host plant and not found too far from it. They sleep within the flower. As the flower grows so does the fairy. The flower fairy exists to tend and watch over the flower. If the flower dies, so too does the fairy. Disembodied spirits, elves, fairies or daemons; often the term used for the Air elemental known as “sylphs,” or as the name of the elementals of Spirit. Flower fairies are often also referred to as nature sprites or spirits. Some define sprites as a being who are beginning a course of evolutionary growth and in the elemental states of their growth. In some ways, this is the concept, in the life of a flower, what makes a flower fairy a sprite. Examples: http://www.flowerfaeries.com/flowerfairies.shtml; http://www.flowerfairies.com/US_version/home.html.

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The National Leprechaun Museum in Dublin

National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin, Ireland

National Leprechaun Museum, Dublin, Ireland

National Leprechaun Museum – Dublin
Twilfit House, Jervis Street, Dublin 1, Ireland *leprechaunmuseum.ie
My very first time in Ireland and only a few hours in Dublin, I get off the bus, wander off O’Connell and lo’ and behold there is the National Leprechaun Museum. I was of course in awe since I’m a faerie fanatic and consumed with folklore about the little people. I’m aware that this museum has caused quite a stir in Ireland, especially since a good portion of the Irish population doesn’t like being tied with the imagery of this mythological creature. Legend be legend, and history be such of that – Leprechauns have chosen to root themselves in Ireland – and in my opinion, the Irish need to welcome the stingy little bugger with open arms – because as trouble-making as this fae can be, they have a fun history and iconography. Of course this is from the mouth of an American, and it was the Irish immigrants to America that really stirred this creature to life in the folk tales brought over to the American shore. Then you have lots of comical approaches to embrace the bugger in a humorous light especially with being branded on the General Mills cereal “Lucky Charms”. The Museum is not that old, as it was established just this year on March 10, 2010. The National Leprechaun Museum is dedicated to the history and lore about “Leprechauns”. It is located in a large building between Jervis Street and Middle Abbey Street in Dublin, Ireland. It is most likely the very first leprechaun museum in the world and was referred to by the Irish Times as “The Louvre of Leprechauns”. Directed by Tom O’Rahilly, the concept was started in 2003, as a “story telling” oral-tradition tourist attraction designed for the “leprechaun experience” rather than “a commercial venture”. The only real ‘museum’ part of the ‘museum’ is in the foyer, where you are given a brief synopsis of the history of leprechauns, its iconography, definition, and references in popular culture. The rest of the museum is an interactive guided tour involving several different mythological room with voiceovers exploring the myths and legends in the eyes of a leprechaun. After the introduction, you enter in through a secret door and go through a tunnel full of optical illusions shrinking you to the size of a leprechaun, then go through a wooden replica of the Giant’s Causeway in County Antrim, Northern Ireland and into a room where items such as furniture become unusually large to give you the effect you’ve shrunk in size. Onward into a room sheltered with umbrellas from falling rain onward through into a room with a rainbow that leads into a room with a crock of gold and a tree stump. You are enlightened and warned with the tale of one’s man attempt to catch a leprechaun. More rooms exist that talk about the Children of Lir, Fairy Forts, and Newgrange; also one with a well and gigantic tree trunks. Like any museum of its kind, it empties out into a giftshop. Now unfortunately I was called out of the museum in a rush to attend to and was only able to catch the introduction and foyer – which was well done. I’ll finish this review when I go back for the interactive part later this month.

6/23/10: I returned to finish my tour of the Museum. The interactive remaining part of the museum, as you walk through the hidden door from the only part of the place that is a Museum – the rest is meant to be an amusement area centered for kids. However, its severely lacking in entertainment value. You walk down a lighted tunnel to shrink to the size of a Leprechaun, hang out in what is meant to be a living room where you are diminished in size, go through the Giant’s causeway, through an umbrella field which I really didn’t get, on to the Pot of Gold chamber, the wishing well, rainbow chambers, and trails. There is interesting folklore – that was the value to the visit for me and anyone who adores Faerie history and lore – but for the uninterested tourist, the museum would be a waste of your Euros. The staff is however very knowledgable about the lore and Faerie fanatics would benefit from paying the 10 Euro fee just to pick the brains of the staff. The interactive map of the Otherworldly history of Ireland is fabulous and the only real attractive piece I found in the museum.

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