Spells and Charms * Practical Sorcery * Magical Cures
I am currently in the process of migrating the content shared here to a series of new websites hosted at shirleytwofeathers.com.
As you explore this site, you may find links to a "page not found" instead of something cool and magickal. For this I apologize. I am very working hard behind the scenes to restore those pages along with a link to their homes on my new website where they can be viewed in full.
Fritters are a nice variation on pancakes, and the bonus for this particular recipe is that they are sweet without any additions, requiring no syrup, sugar or jam. Many people have had fritters of various types, especially the popular apple variety. But . . . "elder flower" fritters? Yes, these actually contain elder flowers!
Flowers were a common ingredient in cooking during medieval times, which is where this recipe comes from (England, specifically). In this recipe's case, the flowers mixed into the batter help add a kick and a minty taste.
Because of the elder flowers, these sweeties have been associated with faeries in folk myths. Because of that, they have been used at Pagan celebrations of Beltane, Litha, and Lughnasadh to help as a protection against the malevolent and mischievous fair folk,...
Oats and oat cakes are still used today in Beltane celebrations, especially in Scotland where the tradition originated. Therefore, oats have been widely accepted as a very appropriate Beltane food, good for fertility and luck. This recipe, Farls, was popular in northern Ireland and Scotland, incorporating the ever-popular potatoes as well (with the oats!).
The serpent or snake is a symbol of May because of its ancient association with fertility. This association dates back to the earliest Pagan religions, and though later religions cropped up casting the serpent in a deceitful role, the Earth religions still honor the snake as a blessed creature this time of year. Its way of slithering along the body of the Earth made it an obvious phallic symbol, and May Day is full of such symbols (the maypole being the most well-known one).
The holiday of Beltane comes on the first of May and encourages those who celebrate life to greet spring's bounty with festivities, and that of course always involves food. This snake-shaped cake, incorporating appropriate seasonal ingredients, is a wonderful addition to a party table....
Here's how they celebrate Beltane in Edinburgh!
First organized in the 1980's, the Beltane Fire Festival has become a popular summer festival in Edinburgh. Here we have photos of the Beltane Fire Society celebrating the coming of summer. This lively procession celebrates the ending of winter and is a revival of the ancient Celtic festival of Beltane which is the Gaelic name for the month of May.... ... I am so sorry to do this to you, but this post has been moved to my new website, The Pagan Calendar, and can be found in its entirety here: Beltane Fire Festival
Once upon a time, I thought faeries lived only in books, old folktales, and the past. That was before they burst upon my life as vibrant, luminous beings, permeating my art and my everyday existence, causing glorious havoc.
Faeries, come take me out of this dull world,
For I would ride with you upon the wind,
Run on the top of the dishevelled tide,
And dance upon the mountains like a flame.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Land of Heart's Desire," 1894
There may be fairies at the bottom of the garden. There is no evidence for it, but you can't prove that there aren't any, so shouldn't we be agnostic with respect to fairies.
Of moonbeam, silver white;
His ink is dew from daisies sweet,
His pen a point of light.
Fairies are invisible and inaudible like angels. But their magic sparkles in nature.
They hold their great balls in the open air, in what is called a fairy-ring. For weeks afterward you can see the ring on the grass. It is not there when they begin, but they make it by waltzing round and round. Sometimes you will find mushrooms inside the ring, and these are fairy chairs that the servants have forgotten to clear away. The chairs and the rings are the only tell-tale marks these little people leave behind them, and they would remove even these were they not so fond of dancing that they toe it till the very moment of the opening of the gates.
~James Matthew Barrie
The fairy poet takes a sheet
Of moonbeam, silver white;
His ink is dew from daisies sweet,
His pen a point of light.
And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around - in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing.
~ Author Unknown
If we open our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower.
~ Samuel Smiles
Spread your wings and let the fairy in you fly!
If you choose to provide shelter for the fae, you will be amply rewarded for your kindness to them, for the world today does not often honor their olde world way and quite often they are shunned as mere pretend. The faeries will never forget your kind thoughts and gestures. They will stay and stay and grow strong from it.
Through the years I have grown very fond of the subject matter that I paint., It is as real to me as life itself. Even now, as I sit here and write, the studio elves and faeries are cleaning my brushes and leaving fairy footprints all over my palette. Yes, faeries are as real as you and me, you only have to open your mind and use your imagination.
~James Browne, Artist
To open your heart to the fairies, you must nurture these feelings of wonder, reverence and love for every detail of your garden, for the airs which blow about it, the musical rain which falls gently upon it, the moon and the stars which silently look down on it, the great sun which is the source of its being and for the clouds and changing skies which provide it with a canopy. When you truly feel the sweetness of this magic, you will begin to discover the fairies, for they will make themselves know to you.
~ Claire Nahmad
Nothing can be truer than fairy wisdom. It is as true as sunbeams.
Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us the dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.
~F. K. Chesterton
If you want your children to be brilliant, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be geniuses, read them more fairy tales.
The way to read a fairy tale is to throw yourself in.
~W. H. Auden
"Just living is not enough" said the butterfly fairy, "one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower."
~ Hans Christian Anderson
Where there is Joy, Laughter and Color, Fairies will be found!
The longing of my heart is a fairy portrait of myself: I want to be pretty; I want to eliminate facts and fill up the gap with charms.
The fairies break their dances
And leave the printed lawn.
Faerie is a perilous land, and in it are pitfalls for the unwary, and dungeons for the overbold.
The myths and legends about Faerie are many and diverse, and often contradictory. Only one thing is certain - that nothing is certain. All things are possible in the land of Faerie.
When the winds of March are wakening the crocuses and crickets,
Did you ever find a fairy near some budding little thickets,...
And when she sees you creeping up to get a closer peek
She tumbles through the daffodils, a playing hide and seek.
Know you what it is to be a child?...It is to believe in love, to believe in loveliness, to believe in belief; it is to be so little that the elves can reach to whisper in your ear, it is to turn pumpkins into coaches, and mice into horses, lowness into loftiness, and nothing into everything, for each child has its fairy godmother in its soul.
Every time a child says, "I don't believe in fairies," there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.
~James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan
There are fairies at the bottom of our garden.
Fairy roses, fairy rings, turn out sometimes troublesome things.
This is a work of fiction. All the characters in it, human and otherwise, are imaginary, excepting only certain of the fairy folk, whom it might be unwise to offend by casting doubts on their existence. Or lack thereof.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.
~William Butler Yeats, "The Stolen Child"
A lady, with whom I was riding in the forest, said to me, that the woods always seemed to her to wait, as if the genii who inhabit them suspended their deeds until the wayfarer has passed onward: a thought which poetry has celebrated in the dance of the fairies, which breaks off on the approach of human feet.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, "
We the Fairies, blithe and antic,
Of dimensions not gigantic,
Though the moonshine mostly keep us,
Oft in orchards frisk and peep us.
Each fairy breath of summer, as it blows with loveliness, inspires the blushing rose.
No child but must remember laying his head in the grass, staring into the infinitesimal forest and seeing it grow populous with fairy armies.
~Robert Louis Stevenson, Essays in The Art of Writing
The wall is silence, the grass is sleep,
Tall trees of peace their vigil keep,
And the Fairy of Dreams with moth-wings furled
Plays soft on her flute to the drowsy world.
~Ida Rentoul Outhwaite
We call them faerie. We don't believe in them. Our loss. ~Charles de Lint
And as the seasons come and go, here's something you might like to know. There are fairies everywhere: under bushes, in the air, playing games just like you play, singing through their busy day. So listen, touch, and look around - in the air and on the ground. And if you watch all nature's things, you might just see a fairy's wing. ~Author Unknown
The Realm of Fairy is a strange shadow land, lying just beyond the fields we know. ~Author Unknown
Blind folk see the fairies. Oh, better far than we, Who miss the shining of their wings Because our eyes are filled with things We do not wish to see. ~Rose Fyleman
A rustle in the wind reminds us a fairy is near. ~Author Unknown
I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?
Soft moss a downy pillow makes, and green leaves spread a tent, Where Faerie fold may rest and sleep until their night is spent. The bluebird sings a lullaby, the firefly gives a light, The twinkling stars are candles bright, Sleep, Faeries all, Good Night. ~Elizabeth T. Dillingham, "A Faery Song"
Wind chimes in your yard will serenade garden creatures - squirrels, fairies and angels. ~Author Unknown
There never was a merry world since the fairies left off dancing, and the Parson left conjuring. ~John Selden, "Parson," Table Talk, 1689
Any man can lose his hat in a fairy-wind. ~Irish Saying
Garden fairies come at dawn, Bless the flowers then they're gone. ~Author Unknown
If we opened our minds to enjoyment, we might find tranquil pleasures spread about us on every side. We might live with the angels that visit us on every sunbeam, and sit with the fairies who wait on every flower. ~Samuel Smiles
When I sound the fairy call, Gather here in silent meeting, Chin to knee on the orchard wall, Cooled with dew and cherries eating. Merry, merry, Take a cherry Mine are sounder, Mine are rounder Mine are sweeter, For the eater When the dews fall. And you'll be fairies all. ~Robert Graves, "Cherry-Time," Fairies and Fusiliers, 1918
Oh! where do fairies hide their heads, When snow lies on the hills, When frost has spoiled their mossy beds, And crystallized their rills? ~Thomas Haynes Bayly
I think that people who can't believe in fairies aren't worth knowing. ~Tori Amos
And though you should live in a palace of gold, or sleep in a dried up ditch, You could never be as poor as the fairies are, and never as rich. ~Rose Fyleman
Angels, pixies, faerie dust Treading love and living lust. ~Jaesse Tyler
Buttercups in the sunshine look like little cups of gold.
Perhaps the Faeries come to drink the raindrops that they hold. ~Elizabeth T. Dillingham, "A Faery Song"
Raindrops are like fairy whispers. ~Author Unknown
The little Plumpuppets are fairies of beds; They have nothing to do but watch sleepyheads; They turn down the sheets and they tuck you in tight, And dance on your pillow to wish you good night! ~Christopher Morley
The iron tongue of midnight hath told twelve; lovers to bed; 'tis almost fairy time. ~William Shakespeare
Deaf folk hear the fairies However soft their song; 'Tis we who lose the honey sound Amid the clamor all around That beats the whole day long. ~Rose Fyleman
I'll seek a four-leaved shamrock in all thy fairy dells, And if I find the charmed leaves, oh, how I'll weave my spells! ~Samuel Lover
Come cuddle close in daddy's coat
Beside the fire so bright,
And hear about the fairy folk
That wander in the night.
Are those the magic fairy wands
glistening on the tree
or only winter icicles that I see?
When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl. ~James Matthew Barrie, Peter Pan
Hand in hand, with fairy grace,
Will we sing, and bless this place.
~William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream
Deep within the winter forest among the snowdrift wide
You can find a magic place where all the fairies hide....
It's easy to believe in magic when you're young. Anything you couldn't explain was magic then. It didn't matter if it was science or a fairy tale. Electricity and elves were both infinitely mysterious and equally possible - elves probably more so.
~Charles de Lint
The fairies went from the world, dear,
Because men's hearts grew cold:
And only the eyes of children see
What is hidden from the old...
Here's a great spell for May Eve, Beltane, or anytime you wish to summon faery folk.
~You will need powdered ginger and a small spoon. Set out candles at the compass directions: yellow in the east, red in the south, blue in the west, green in the north. Place a crystal or other stone beside each candle. Stand in the center of the room and send out thoughts of welcome. Chant the following:
"O spirits of plants and earth and trees, O little ones of every form, show yourselves to me, I ask, if you please. I mean no harm. Gaurdian spirits, watchers fair, our lives...
... I am so sorry to do this to you, but this post has been moved to my new website, Book of Shadows, and can be found in its entirety here: Faery Summoning Spell
"Do you believe in fairies?
Say quick that you believe. If you believe, clap your hands!"
- James M. Barrie
There is a book called Fairy Houses, written and illustrated by Tracy Kane about the Fairy Houses of Monhegan Island. I thought it might be fun to go out into the woods and build small houses for wild fairies out of natural materials....
Whatever you do to bring life to your garden will bring faeries as well. First of all, plant plants that attract bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. This will also attract the fae. So put up hummingbird feeders, bird feeders, bird baths, bird houses, even bat houses. Small fountains, ponds, faery statues, or waterfalls are all good.
Here's a short list of plants that attract faeries to your garden:
The Easter Fire is a custom of pagan origin spread all over Europe. It is a symbol of victory, the victory of beautiful and sunny spring over the cold days of winter. The fire is lit usually on the top of the mountains – Easter mountain, Osterberg – and it is obtained from wood by friction....
... I am so sorry to do this to you, but this post has been moved to my new website, The Pagan Calendar, and can be found in its entirety here: Easter Fire