I was invited to visit the annual World of Faeries festival by a friend. I like faeries so I was happy to join Jamie and his family. I’ve never been to this annual festival before which was held in South Elgin, IL. The weather was overcast and windy, with the threat of rain at any minute. Somehow it seemed appropriate for a fairy festival, since fairies very much symbolize the captiousness of the natural world. The faeries of legend can be friendly one day and hostile the next, and as nature spirits they reflect nature.
Many of the attendants were dressed up in fairy and medieval costumes. A lot of the costumes were really elaborate. It did feel like we had entered fairyland. There were tents selling all types of fairy related crafts, a lot of cool stuff. They had performers. Above is a picture of a crowd pleaser, a performer who created huge bubbles that floated through the air as the children chased after them. The music included the Elven Drummers. My favorite was a lady who would freeze and appear to be a statue (pictured left below).
Jamie joked that maybe some of the people here were real fairies. That jest might not be purely a jest. It was held in a park by a river at a natural area. A gathering of fairy friendly humans might actually attract the attention of the invisible fairy folk. The idea of wearing masks and pretending to be fairies is a method to summon the wee people. Did anybody possess the second sight to actually spot one?
Jamie is a pagan and he ran into number of fellow pagans he knew at this event. I thought about the significance of the faerie in paganism. Christianity has its angels and paganism has faeries. Bird’s wings symbolize angels while butterfly wings symbolize faeries. Angelic folklore and faerie folklore seem to express the same desire to touch the “other”, to contact benevolent spiritual entitles who sometimes interact with humanity.
To what extent does the faerie of popular imagination reflect the faerie of folklore and reality? I think the fairy of popular culture does not represent the real thing. The fairy of folklore was not a sugarplum, Victorian style fairy that rode on caterpillars. They don’t have butterfly wings. Unless we imagine them that way. With their glamour they would appear to us anyway we visualize them.
The faerie of folklore were dangerous beings. Long ago people would use pleasant names to refer to them, such as the “People Of Peace”. Why? So as not to offend them. To offend the faeries was to bring peril into your home. The People Of Peace did not suffer fools gladly. Encounters with the faerie folk were an exercise in diplomacy. The faerie did not think the same way human beings did. They essentially had an alien mentality. They shared some common elements with humanity, but most of their thinking could be considered…non-human.
The UFO abduction phenomena seem to be the faerie folk at work in the modern world. They still interact with humanity, at the time and place of their own choosing. And it is not a pleasant experience for those who make “contact”. Based on these modern true real life encounters with the Wee People (Grays), our image of fairies as cute things is the result of popular culture and not reality. Try to imagine butterfly wings on Grays as they abduct your astral body.
As for the festival, I liked a vendor who crafted some nice leather facemasks (below). I like to dress up for Halloween parties, but finding a classy mask that allows me to breath is not easy. His masks were great, and he can customize a mask if you wish. When Halloween comes around I might be giving him a call. His booth and his business card are below.