Pagan Blog Project - Week Twelve- F #2 – Fairies
Even though the lineage of my family isn’t the most formal (like, no one is passing down heirlooms or great heroic stories or anything like that) my mom was great about fostering new traditions with me and my sisters. She kind of hates holidays, but she always went all out for us kids. That always meant a lot, especially now that I’m an adult and I feel similar now to how she has always felt about holidays. I can look back and see how hard it must have been for her. But, I’d like to think that St. Patrick’s Day is one holiday that she actually enjoyed.
From very early on she encouraged a sense of magic for this holiday. I remember being in kindergarten and she made a point to make me wear green to bed or the leprechauns would get me. I tried to argue with her, of course, insisting that I was going to wake up that night and get them and their gold. She laughed, tucked me in, and let’s just say that night I had a dream that, to this day, I still remember quite vividly. In all honesty, it shaped my world view concerning magic, St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns, and fairies.
So, a tradition was born and I went to bed every March 17 wearing as much green as I could. And when my sisters came along, sharing this blooming family mythos with them was quite easy. When they were old enough I started telling them leprechaun and fairy stories, too.
One of my favorite things to do with my kid sisters was to take them on leprechaun hunts. They’d be different every time, continuously evolving and changing, each year more exciting and detailed than the last. I’d take them through creek beds, following scavenger hunts, cryptic letters, chalk drawings, maps made from notebook paper stained with coffee and teabags, making traps out of glitter and shoe boxes, following clues and trails left by my friends. It didn’t matter, because it was something magical we could share together.
And after taking them on a chase around town or in the desert, the trail would always lead to home, because maybe even then I was trying to teach them that true magic was in the most mundane of places, even if that place was in low income housing or a trailer park or in the poor part of town.
|Darling Niece and Spoiled Sister, 2013|
One of the best moments of my life was when I was away at college and my mom called me up to tell me that my sisters were taking my step-siblings on a leprechaun hunt. My heart could never be any bigger than it was at that moment, knowing that our fairy tradition was being passed down to a new generation. And now that my sisters have started reproducing, I hope that my nieces and nephews get to go on leprechaun hunts, too, that the fairy magic of my family is passed down to them.
And of course, my sisters and I now have a healthy respect and fear of fairies. Like the year that they heard the banshee wailing at the high school bleachers, or the time that the banshee caught my friend Patty behind the house, or the time that my little sister swore to me that she saw a leprechaun in her bedroom and to this day I can’t tell if she’s trying to pull my leg or she’s telling the truth. (both are equally likely)
So this is my experience with fairy magic. It’s family traditions and fun. It’s a healthy experience of blurring fantasy with reality. It’s about finding something to laugh and shriek about, of reclaiming a time and tradition for you and your loved ones. It’s making magic in the mundane, which is as real and genuine as this stuff can get, anyway.
Éirinn go Brách!