Living on Salt Spring Island I’ve come to see how fairies and elves have such a strong presence in this place, with little fairy doors and elf villages hidden around the island, from busy town streets to mountain tops. (The photos of the fairy doors and fairy homes seen throughout this post have been taken by me here on Salt Spring.) Why is that? Where did these stories and traces of magic come from? As someone who grew up in a home that viewed magical beings as ridiculous pretend notions, or representations of evil, I’ve always questioned how I would broach the subject of magic that’s woven all around us with my daughter. I’ve always wanted to cultivate a relationship with my daughter based on openness and honesty, and for that reason, and in light of my own childhood, I’ve had a hard time deciding what to do about how I engage with her on the concepts of Santa, the Easter Bunny, Fairies and other beings based in magic.
When I was approached by Jennifer Bogart, author of the Liminal Lights young adult series (along with author written works), to be part of the blog tour to share her newest book, Shadow Shifts, I accepted. Besides being an advocate for encouraging literacy, I wanted a chance to be part of the magic and to delve deeper into a world I wasn’t allowed to believe in as a child. Following along with the other articles that have been posted in this tour, I have enjoyed witnessing perspectives on the human relationship with magic and folklore. This article on mADDworld.ca, in particular, I found especially interesting, setting things in a light that I had not considered before.
For the blog tour stop here, on my own blog, I asked that Jennifer write a guest piece on different fairy and magical beings around the world, interested in what she might dig up and curious how the folklore differs from place to place. I hope that what she has discovered and has shared with us below, will be interesting to you, regardless of your beliefs and how you choose to respond to the concept of “magic” with your own families. So without further ado…
Fairies Around The World
A guest post by Jennifer Bogart
“Sure… I’ll write a guest post about fairies around the world,” said the writer who did no research whatsoever for her Liminals Series. “That’s a fantastic topic!”
Days later, I’m sorting through website after website, trying to get a handle on how many different Liminal creatures we humans have created. Aside from traditional winged fairies, we have gnomes and elves and ogres and dragons and so many alternative magical creatures that could fall under the heading of “fairy”. For the purposes of this blog, I’m going to stick to the ones who most closely resemble Liminals—if I can find any…
There’s something to be said about the similarities of the fairies I came across. So many are protectors of nature, all have magic, and most are—or were—quite powerful. With so many parallels, I wonder if there might be something more to their airy existence.
I think most of us are familiar with the Tinker Bell version of delicate sprites sprinkling pixie dust and causing mischief. We see this version in fairy tales, Disney movies, and children’s stories, but not all fairies are tiny, winged-beings. Even though most cultures have some form of fairy folklore, the Tinker Bell version seems to be a more modern twist on older tales, especially where size and whimsy come into play.
As I’ve sifted through articles and blog posts, I’ve discovered that many of the fey-like creatures are tall and majestic, and their magic comes from their original manifestations as gods and goddesses. For instance, the Tuatha de Danaan, who come from Irish mythology, aren’t petite and skittish; they’re powerful and regal. Once considered to be akin to gods, they were worshipped and held in esteem until their power diminished, and they were forced into hiding. Not necessarily protectors of the earth, they are protective of each other and their history.
Moving away from Caucasian beliefs, I toured south to Africa and discovered the Aziza, a West African version of the fairy that evolved from Dahomey mythology. They’re known to give hunters special powers and provide them with knowledge, like how to make fire. Unlike the Disney version of fairies, these creatures are considered to be small and hairy, and they live in anthills—not terribly glamourous, but I suppose it gets the job done. They might be small in stature, but they’re powerful protectors of the rain forest.
Next, I sidled over to Brazil where I met up with the Curupira. Rather than helping hunters, their goal is to lead them out of the forest and away from their prey. They are described as being dwarf-like in size with red hair and backwards feet. Their feet are designed to confuse hunters and poachers who take too much. Their physical description brought to mind the troll dolls from the 1980s, but their fearsome whistles and trickster methods are said to be able to drive a person insane.
In my travels, I did come across a version of fairy who closely resemble the creatures in the Liminals Series. I’m not surprised, given the number of similarities that exist between regions when it comes to fairy-tales and folklore. Also protectors, the Yaksha, found in Hindu and Buddhist mythology, are magical creatures with dual personalities. The more benevolent creatures are guardians associated with mountains and woods. Their darker counterparts are ghost-like who haunt and devour travellers who pass through the wilderness. Like Liminals and Shadow-monsters, they are two halves of a whole, and both are needed for balance.
Researching fairies around the world brought me to Ireland, Africa, and Asia, but that barely touches the surface of the creatures who harbour magic. I could have spent pages and pages on all the different creatures to be found, but I wanted to focus on a few of the lesser-known beings to encourage people to look beyond the traditional images we’re familiar with from movies and fairy-tales. After reading through an endless supply of fairy folklore, I’ve come to the conclusion that there must be some truth to the existence of fairies, especially when they share so many characteristics.
However, one thing is certain: Liminals are the only ones without magic of their own who must harvest that unique energy from humans. They might also be protectors who are mischievous and powerful, but without the symbiotic relationship with humans, they would cease to exist.
A quick note on Shadow Shifts, young adult fiction by Jennifer Bogart
When Bean fails to secure Nadia’s human magic, she puts her entire race at risk. Liminals fade as fast as Shadow-monsters emerge, creating a disturbing imbalance between light and dark. Liminals aren’t the only creatures affected by things that go bump in the night…
Knowing the ravenous appetites of the Shadow-monsters will grow out of control, Bean, Tissa, Pritt, and Ping are forced to deal directly with the dire situation. Armed with the ancient secrets of their people, they band together to destroy their enemies and return balance to their magical realm.
The existence of all things Liminal depends on their success.
Who Is Jennifer Bogart?
Reader, writer, editor, explorer, dreamer… Jennifer Bogart is having a love affair with words.
Author of three women’s fiction novels (Newvember, Reflections, and Money, Masks & Madness), two romantic short stories (Under the Stars and Seven Seconds), one serialized novel (Sunny with a Twist of Olive), and one YA fantasy (Liminal Lights published by Morning Rain Publishing), she can’t stop writing any more than she can stop breathing. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her blog.
Enter to Win a Copy of Shadow Shifts
Head to the Rafflecopter entry form here to win a copy of Liminal Lights, a copy of Shadow Shifts, and a Morning Rain Publishing Book Bag. You can also check out or purchase the Liminal Lights and Shadow Shifts books using the links below (those are affiliate links, FYI).
Disclosure: This is not a sponsored post, however I did include the Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you should know that I will make a small commission (which you do not pay for) from Amazon.