Living in Ireland I heard many stories about the fae.About they’re kind nature, the peaceful woodland spirits, playful tricksters, or even malicious beings.
Here I will give some ways to appease them, and ward them. I will also tell about dangerous fae and how to ward them.
In Ireland children were told to keep away from fairy mounds, fairy circles, certain places in the woods, certain trees, and some strange places. Fairy mounds can be identified as strange lone hills, often found in odd place. Fairy circles are mushroom circles. They are a naturally occurring pattern, however they are believed to be portals the their realm. And stepping in one may be dangerous. Steer clear of certain trees. It is believed that fae live in them, and if disturbed they would not be happy. Notable trees to stay away from include hazel, thorn, alder, and oak. An example of a strange place would be strange rock formations in a field, and that if disturbed or moved would upset the fae who made them.
Farmers didn’t go to their mill or barns at night. It was believed that the fae used the cover of darkness to grind their grain. Disturbing them while they worked could result in you having a failed crop or other curses.
Certain bodies of water were said to be the homes of kelpies, Corrigans, and other water fae. If you came to these waters alone, you could be pulled in, or lured to your deaths (corrigans are said to beautiful creatures that lure you to your death, were they drown you.) They would drown their victims, forcing their spirits to live in the fae realm forever.
Certain flowers such as primroses, were layed on the windowsills and hung over doors. This ensured that he house was kept safe from the fae.
Garlands were made from marsh marigolds. These were placed over the barn doors. This protected the horses from being ridden to death by the fae.
However, the most notable flower to protect yourself against the fae is St. John’s Wort. Wearing this flower provided the wearer protection from fairy magic and tricks. Sometimes my grandmother would scatter petals around the outside of the house, to try to provide protection.
Some said holly berries would repel them. (Unknown why. Unlike the others I was never told this. Maybe someone could clarify.)
A four-leafed clover would allow you to see the fae, even through their glamours, or invisibility. However, this would only work once. An old tradition was to sew them into clothing, or even a little bag (this is to be worn round the neck, though some say it just has to be held) this allowed the user to see them for every clover they had sewn.
Though these are quite nice forms of protection, iron is always the best form of protection. Many believe that iron burns the fairy. Some legends say that the crafted their weapons out of silver and gold because they couldn’t use the iron. If you kept an iron nail in your pocket the fae would be unable to take you to their realm. Often iron knives, sheers, and other sharp object were hung over or near the crib of a baby. This was to prevent the baby from being stolen and swapped with a changling child. ( I don’t recommend doing this as it could be dangerous to the baby.) Sometimes horseshoes, nails, or arrowheads would be placed over doors to stop fae from entering the house or room. An iron ring was worn to protect people, it was told that the fae could not go near the person who wears it.
To be protected from them, and to even form a relationship with the fae; one must respect them, trust them, and leave offerings for them.
Leaving bread and milk out for them was said to protect the household that did it. It was also believed that one may gain their favour by doing this. This is also a notable way of appeasing the cat síth. Not only do they like bread and milk, they also like butter, cream, sugar, ale, honey, whiskey, and I find that they like dark chocolate.
If you’re crossing a body of water, or passing by a well you may drop a piece of silver in, or a coin in for the fae that lives in it.
Ever here the saying that if you spill salt you should throw some over your right shoulder? Well that applies to the fae. If salt is spilled one may throw some over their right shoulder so that the fae can have their share.
Many of the nicer variety were insulted when they saw human mortals lacking in hospitality to one another and treating each other badly. It’s was said that they would punish people like this very harshly. However, if you were kind and honest to people they were said to treat you nicely, or leave you be.
corrigans- A form of water sprite. They appear as beautiful beings who sing melodies like sirens. They mostly appear at night on a full moon. In sunlight they’re glamour goes away and their true ugly form is revealed. stay clear of bodies of water and the woods
Dullahan- The headless horseman. He is seen often in the country riding a dead horse with eyes like fire. He often has a whip made out of a spine. He roams the countryside looking for the dead. If you see him he is said to slash your eyes with his whip. Gold is said to ward them for a while.
Amadan Dubh- VERY DANGEROUS. The trickster fae. He’s a madman. Often seen dancing on lone hills to ghostly music. Cannot be reasoned with. He can place powerful, harmful curses on people. I do not know of any ways to ward him. (Maybe someone can clarify?)
Alp-luarcha- If you think it has crawled in your throats after falling asleep at a stream or other body of water, eat salted food. This will make it thirsty, and make it leave.
Bean sídhe or banshee- The only thing I know of is an iron ring, though when a person is dying nothing can keep her away as she wails.
Cat síth- it loiters around graveyards and open graves to steal the souls of those who have recently died. To try to distract it one may try dancing, singing, or telling riddles. This gives time for the souls of the deceased to pass on so that it cannot get them. I was also told that on Halloween (Samhain) a saucer of milk should be left out, this will provide good luck and protection, while those that didn’t would be cursed. If you are ever filled with a sense of dread and see a black cat with a tuff of white fur walk away slowly and then place a saucer of milk outside, then pray that this will be enough to appease it.
Boggart- It’s a malicious form of fae that takes over houses. Somewhat like a poltergeist. They cannot be reasoned with, and any attempts to appease them will annoy them. They don’t like holy water, crosses, iron, or agrimony. However, sometimes an exorcism is necessary. A family friend had to get this once.
Changling- To stop a child from being swapped keep a close eye on them, put them in a warm well lit room, stitching red thread in baby clothes and blankets was said to prevent them from being swapped, as well as hanging iron sheers or knives over the crib, or having them close by.
I hope this helps. If you have any questions or any clarifications feel free to message me.
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