Welcome back to part two of this three part series (of a longer running series of me rambling about things I like). If you have not already read part 1, read it. Otherwise, we are on to part 2: High Fae.
High Fae? You ask.
I’m not talking about the little ones. I’m not talking about the lesser ones. I’m not talking about the sweet little Tinkerbells and the fairy godmothers. I’m talking High Fae.
What are High Fae?
Time for a history lesson.
Fae and High Fae, are an ancient Celtic myth in origin. Back when things were unable to be explained, the Fae were typically at fault. There were two types, Lesser and High. Lesser Fae are tied to things. Brownies like to clean. Pixies like to prank. High Fae are tied to concepts or ideas and are the leaders of the Fae courts that tie all (or most) Fae.
Now there are many legends and many different lore types for the Fae. Different cultures have them and they are told in different ways. For the purpose of this, I will use the lore that I am most familiar with. Can I cite it? Not really, but I will provide you with links to other lore pages
There were three major Fae figures and two major courts. The figures: Oberon, Titania, and Mav. The two courts: Winter/Unseelie and Summer/Seelie. Titania ruled Summer and Mav ruled Winter. The two were tied to the concepts of those seasons. Summer as warm, cheery, passionate but also brutal and cruel for heat can be too hot. Winter as calloused, cruel, difficult, but also beautiful for winter can be. Being tied to such higher concepts, means that their actions and thoughts are far more humans.
So when I say High Fae, I mean the Fae who are basically human, but are still tied to a court or idea. In most cases, however, I accept Fae who are simply more human (Although I do still prefer an otherness to them). Essentially, books were we get Fae as the outworldly creature of conflict are the ones I love to read.
What do they represent?
This is highly dependent on the court. In general however, High Fae are a sort of human element and represent power. Power and control over something, while also being controlled by that something. What is important to understand about Fae is while they can represent almost anything they have key characteristics and traits.
Symbols of power
Symbol of control or being controlled (promises, food, etc.)
Lies and Truth
Mayhem and Whimsy (MIMSY)
Fear and Wonder – The Unknown
Power is pretty explanatory, because High Fae have all the power. Control or being controlled. Just like the High Fae are tied to their court and the concept of that court, they also can control others. This is what is most often shown in stories. You know the rules. You do no eat or drink anything in fairy land. Salt and salt circles are a must. You do not dance at a revel, or else you will never stop. Fae can twist the mind and make you do anything, so long as you let them in, so you can never do that. Making a promise with a Fae is as good as forever.
Lies and Truth. Fae can’t lie. Or in most myths they can not. So instead they leave out what they must to make the truth suit their purpose. Fae are master crafters in words. It is the whole “Give me your name” scenario. (Which is where the Fae asks for your name but uses “give” this means you give them your identity and your name completely, instead of allowing them to know your name.) Fae use glamours to hide truths from mortals, and clever lines to confuse. They are master crafters and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Mayhem and Whimsy. This should be self explanatory. I would hope, at least. They can make you do things and can change the truth as they need. Anything that can do that is chaotic, however they are whimsical creatures who abide by laws and magic. They are the creatures that created this pairing. They are pure magic and possibility, because within their rules anything can happen. They are also the reason for happenings in mythos. It is why they also represent fear and wonder or the unknown. They were used to explain life happenings, both amazing and scary.
Complexity. Notice how many of the contradictions there are with Fae. If that can’t explain it. I don’t know how I will.
Fae in History and Culture
I have explained that Fae history is very Celtic in influence. Fae have shown up in other cultures and globally today, but what I consider High Fae is Celtic in origin. I do recommend looking up how Fae were used to explain phenomenon. The one link I provided above does that, actually.
In general, just know that like Gods, they were used to explain things that did not generally make sense. As such, they are very powerful creatures. Also, Fairyland was used to explain disappearances.
Why do I like High Fae and how do I like to read them?
This is a loaded question for myself. I like High Fae because of the power they hold, the rules they follow, and the magic they represent. Anyone who follows my blog knows that Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is my favorite book. Mimsy is a word in my vocabulary that I use more often than I probably should. How can I not love the mythical creature that inspired that?
Would that not be tragic?
I love them for their complexity and for the fear and wonder that they bring. However if I had to pick one thing, outside of Mimsy, it would be their ability to control a narrative, words, and people through them.
I have a lot of respect for any creature that is able to so perfectly spin words and the world that it can control the world the way it wants. Its why I like Griffins and Sphinx. Its why I like Dragons. Riddles are such an interesting way of control, that I love reading how they are used and how humans have to circumvent it.
In my High Fae I like this complexity. I like a bit of chaos as well as rules. I like them to be filled with mimsy and the world to be. I like them to manipulate the rules imposed against them, either by their courts or by fairy laws, and use it to their advantage.
But above all else, I like my High Fae and Fae in general to feel other, foreign, odd, and maybe even a bit creepy. If I can’t fill a sort of chill about the Fae when it is acting in its true nature, I won’t be satisfied. There is this part in The Darkest Part of the Forest where one character snaps from their human persona and it is the creepiest thing ever. I loved it.
Fae are not human. They may act and pretend and seem to operate as humans, but they are not. They do not have the same moral code, standards, or rules. Often in literature we use Fairies like a sort of catch all, and I’ve read many a fairy book that was good but did not have the otherness to it. Fae that act too human are not bad for me, I can’t say that with complete certainty, but the stories I love the most are the ones where they are other.
I like my Fae spinning words and trying to entice me. Let my heart fall for them, even if I know it’s the worst idea in the world.
There we go, that is my (scarcely edited) story about Fae. We have one more creature. My favorite mythological creature. You all already know what it is, but it is coming to you soon! Maybe next week, maybe next month? (It’ll be this month. Don’t worry.) For now that is all!
Until Next Time,