Worldwide Traditions of Fairies
The traditions and lore of fairies has existed in highlydiverse cultures around the world for centuries or even millennia. In somecultures, fairies have been viewed as mischievous little sprites, whereas inother cultures they have been given god-like stature. Fairies are said toappear to humans in ways that meet their own cultural expectations. Fairies andfairy-like beings are also known as nature spirits, house spirits, dwarves,elves, gnomes, mermaids and leprechauns.
Fairies can be divided into four basic types based ontheir primary association with the four aspects of the four esoteric elements:earth, fire, air and water. Earth fairies include gnomes and trolls. The symbolof the earth element and earth fairies is the stone. Fire fairies are known assalamanders or dragons. The symbol of the fire fairies is the spear. Airfairies are known as sylphs. The symbol of air fairies is the sword. Finally,water fairies are known as undines or mermaids. The symbol of the water fairiesis the cup or cauldron.
Some traditions claim that certain types of fairies havea group consciousness while other types of fairies are individual, exaltedbeings very close to the angelic kingdom. The fairies with a groupconsciousness, or trooping fairies, have a fairy queen that serves as theirspokesperson.
Other traditions emphasize the immortality of fairies.Due to this immortality, the fairies have a different perception of time thanhumans. The story of Rip Van Winkle is a demonstration of this myth. When RipVan Winkle went to the fairy realm, he thought he had been gone only a shorttime. However, when he returned to the realm of mortals, nearly one hundredyears had passed in his absence.
Another common fairy tradition is that the fairies arerarely seen in modern times because they have left the earth due to thenegative consciousness and wars among men. This tradition is portrayed veryclearly in J.R.R. Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring. When war breaks our inMiddle Earth, the elves depart for a place of immortal safety. Fortunately, thetradition continues that fairies and nature spirits will later return to theearth to aid mankind in times of cataclysm and spiritual crisis.
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