Inspired by the always awesome Seo Helrune blog and today's 'Eight Sarcastic But Serious Tips for Necromancy'. I give you 7 snarky but Serious Tips for Dealing with Fairies
Since fairies are pretty trendy right now and people are paying mad money to become a certified Fairyologist - or Fairy Doctor, or Fairyist, or whatever today's popular term is - I thought I'd save everyone some money and offer this free down and dirty guide to fairy work. Think of it like the Cliff Notes version to years of actual experience, study, and effort.
Why Work with Fairies? - You like to live dangerously, right? Not afraid to risk some maiming or madness or inconvenient death? Good. There are advantages to trucking with uncanny things of course or no one would do it, but I just wanted to get that bit out of the way right out of the gate. Now that we've established that you have a healthy disregard for your own sanity and safety I'll point out that those who successfully navigate dealing with the Fair Folk are usually rewarded with knowledge, luck and health. And rumor has it wealth. So there are benefits to establishing a good relationship with Otherworldly beings, and those benefits can be very valuable and even tangible. Of course you aren't allowed to talk about any of that, so should you manage to score some super secret fairy bennies just remember to keep your mouth shut about it, or, well I already mentioned the maiming and madness part right? Another benefit of working with fairies is that odds are good you'll either be given or learn to make elfshot, and who doesn't want to have an invisible means of getting even with your enemies? None of this is free, of course, but don't let little details like that bother you.
Convenience - The great thing about fairy work is that pretty much every culture has fairies, by one name or another, and so no matter where you are you'll be able to find Otherworldly spirits. A smart person would do some research and look into local folklore and stories, but if you really do like to live dangerously just jump right in and see what happens. Best case scenario it'll be fine. Worst case scenario, well, reincarnation is a thing right? Or you could do the research. Dealer's choice.
So, let's get to it then. Here's some tips.
1. Start Small - no pun intended on this one, but if you want to deal with the Fey going right to the ones most likely to eat you for dinner or to turn you into something unnatural probably isn't the best idea. Start small. Like really small. I mean, sure, in stories people like the Brahan Seer or Turlough O'Carolan slept on a fairy mound and were rewarded with amazing abilities, but there's also all those jerks who tried the same thing and went mad for the effort. The thing about fairies is that some can and will help you and bless you in awesome ways - and some can and will torment you and laugh while they do it. Also some think you are a mighty yummy appetizer. So if you begin with something like your house spirit who is already inclined to like you and build a relationship there, you can get the practice in before you move on to bigger things. Although keep in mind your house spirit can also seriously jack you up, so don't slack off just because I said it was a good place to start. Also keep in mind I'm saying 'start' not end - the idea is to slowly build up a network of friends and allies in the Otherworld. Just don't aim above your means right out of the gate.
2. Bribe Them - some people are really against the whole concept of bribing spirits. I suspect these people don't deal with many spirits. Remember how I mentioned that nothing is free? Yeah, funny thing about that is if you don't offer something in payment up front sometimes they'll decide to set the price themselves later on. You do not want this. No one wants this. Being in unspecified debt to a member of fairy is kind of like owing a favor to the mob so you are much better off to go into any dealings with Them paying upfront. I recommend butter or cream, but I'm a bit of a traditionalist. I'd avoid offering blood - your own anyway - or anything else with heavy metaphysical implications for you.
3. Negotiate - Speaking of payments you may find yourself in a situation where you are being offered something you really, really need in exchange for something else. Like your firstborn - what you thought Rumplestilskin invented that idea? Fairies taking babies is an old practice and its a lot easier if one of the parents gives them up willingly. Not all changelings were stolen, some were bargained away, and if you think I'm kidding then please, please, don't try to deal with fairies. No, really. Don't. They may ask for something else but whatever it is you should be asking yourself why they want it and whether you really want to give it up. I mean a soul seems pretty inconsequential until you don't have yours anymore. So don't be afraid to negotiate or even to say no. Sometimes it's just not worth it. Did I mention the butter and cream?
4. Manners are a Thing - Seriously though, if you want to deal safely with the Good People then you better say 'please' and 'May I?' like you are visiting your Grandmother. And not the nice one who bakes you cookies but the strict one who doesn't let anyone slouch and has plastic on the furniture so you rotten kids won't get it dirty. Although there is a prohibition against saying 'thank you' which many people I know agree is best to follow; say something else instead which isn't 'thanks'. Why no thank you? Some people say it is dismissive, while others say that it is an admission of a debt - see point #2 for why that's bad if you've already forgotten. The key here is be on your best behavior, be polite, and remember that you aren't the one with the actual power here. Which is why you are dealing with them in the first place right?
5. Keep It Clean - I don't know if cleanliness really is next to godliness or not but I do know that the Fair Folk detest filth. You want to know a really good way to ensure that the Good People will be against you? Pee on land that is theirs. True story. A traditional method to keep them out of your home involved dirty water, and it was an old practice to always yell 'Beware' before tossing dirty water out a door or window after cleaning, because you did not want to hit a fairy with that water, should one be passing by. So if you want to work with fairies keep it clean.
6. Don't be an Ass - I suppose I could have put this under #4 but honestly its such a big issue it deserves its own bullet point. I don't know why people labor under this delusion that getting a huge attitude and treating the Good Neighbors like you are some spoiled prima donna and they are your lowly intern is a thing, but it does seem to be a thing so here we are. I have seen popular pagan authors suggesting people make their own fairy* or command fairies to certain tasks and that is just a jerk thing to do. Fairies are independent, sentient beings. Would you walk up to a stranger in the street and start bossing them around? Unless the fairy starts it first and you are being a jerk in defense of yourself or similar, just don't go there. You go there and so will they and that is not a contest you want to get into unless you are 100% confident you will win - and they have a lot more experience at it. Also way more viciousness. So for the love of all that's green and growing don't be an ass unless and until you have to.
7. Speaking of Asses Always Cover Yours - The best laid plans still go sideways so always have a worst case scenario plan in mind. Know what protections work against which fairies - because there is no one size fits all - and know when to bluff and when to run. Have an escape plan behind your back-up plan. And know exactly how far you are willing to go and what you are willing to do. I mean when it comes down to it would you kill something? Would you maim something? Remember tip #6? Well I mentioned don't be a jerk unless you have to but understand if you have to go there you have to go all the way there. You can't half-ass your jerk attitude with the fairies when that attitude is required by a situation. Which by the way is exactly why you don't want to lead off with it, because if you are going full-ass jerk then you'll be wearing iron jewelry and lighting up St. John's Wort and sulfur every day for a loooooong time. This is also why tip #1 is to start small and build up relationships, because if the shit hits the fan you'll need those allies.
So there you go.
Good luck. You'll need it.
*in fairness while they called it a fairy they were actually talking about making a thoughtform or golem. But still the principle of creating your own fairy servant is pretty offensive so here we are.