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Tuesday, October 13, 2020

My Fairy Writings

 I've been asked several times about what I've written on fairies by people looking into my writing on the subject. I finally decided it would just be easier to write a quick bit here about it. I'm including articles, presentations both on fairy witchcraft specifically and on fairies in general. I am not including the range of my blog material here or on Patheos Agora: Irish-American Witchcraft or Witches&Pagans On the Fairy Road. 


      “The Witch, the Bean Feasa, and the Fairy Doctor in Irish Culture”. Air n-Aithesc, vol. 1 issue 2, Aug. 2014

“Fairy Witchcraft Master class”, Spirit & Destiny, July 2016

“Enchantment in the Modern World”, Mystic Living Today ezine July 2016

“Scottish Fairies and the Teind to Hell”, Pagan Dawn, Spring 2017

“Fairy Witchcraft: Old Ways in New Days” Watson’s Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Spring 2017

“Fairies, Word and Deed” Watson’s Mind Body Spirit Magazine, Autumn 2018

“Fairy Queens and Witches” Pagan Dawn, Lammas 2019 no 212

“Queens of Fairy” The Magical Times, Oct 2019 – March 2020, issue 27

“Conceptualizing Fairyland” Pagan Dawn, Imbolc 2020 no 214

“The Power of Transformation”, Witch Way Magazine, Midsummer special issue 2020

“Fairies and the Stars”, Pagan Dawn, Lammas-Autumn Equinox 2020, no 216


On Academia Edu


The Good Neighbours: Fairies in an Irish and Scottish Cultural Context, Air n-Aithesc 2015

Two Views of the Leannan Sidhe, Air n-Aithesc 2016

(Conference Presentations)

Álfar, Aelfe, and Elben: Elves in an historic and modern Heathen context, HWU conference 2019

Evolution of the Fairy Courts: from Scottish Ballads to Urban Fantasy, OSU Fairies and the Fantastic Conference 2019



A Child’s Eye View of the Fairy Faith, 2012 (out of rpint)

Pagan Portals: Fairy Witchcraft, 2014

Fairycraft 2016

Fairies: A Guidebook to the Celtic Fair Folk; 2017

Travelling the Fairy Path 2018

Pagan Portals Fairy Queens 2019

A New Fairies Dictionary 2020

Pagan Portals Living Fairy 2020

Euphemisms for Fairies

 It's been a common practice for centuries to refer to fairies by euphemisms, terms that are intentionally more positive than the beings being referred to. I'm going to start a list here which I'll occasionally update of these terms and, where possible, the oldest known dates of their uses. This is a work in progress, if you have references to uses of any of these terms in specific dated works please share in the comments. 


Aes Sidhe [people of the fairy mounds, modern Aos Sidhe]  circa 7th-9th century Echtra Condla

Gáethshluagh [host of the wind] circa 13th century Accalam na Senórach

Túathgeinte [leftwards turning folk] circa 16th century O'Davoren's Glossary

Sidaige [dweller in a fairy mound] circa 16th century O'Davoren's Glossary

Daoine Sidhe [people of the fairy mounds]

Daoine Uaisle [Noble People]

Na Uaisle [the Gentry]

Na huaisle bheaga [the little gentry]

Uaisle na gcnoc [gentry of the hill]

Daoine Maithe [Good People] in use by 19th century/early 20th, ref.

Daoine Eile [Other People]

Slua Sí [fairy host] old or middle Irish Sidshlúag

An slua aerach [the host of the air]

An slua bheatha [the living host]

Slua bheatha na farraige [living host of the sea]

Slua sí an aeir [fairy host of the air]

Slua sí na spéire [fairy host of the sky]

Sióg [given as fairies, possibly sí + diminutive óg] probably 20th century^

Bunadh na gcnoc [people of the hills]

Cuid na gcnoc [part of the hills]

Dream na gcnoc [people of the hills]

An dream aerach [the people of the air]

An dream beag [the little people]

Lucht na mbearad dearg [people of the red caps]

An mhuintir bheag [the little family]

An bunadh beag  [the little people]

Bunadh beag na farraige [little people of the sea]

Daoine beaga [the little people]


Daoine Sith [people of the fairy hills or people of peace]

An Sluagh [fairy host]

Sleagh Maith [good people] ref 1691 rev Kirk


Gude nichtbouris [good neighbours] ref 1585 the Flyting Between Montgomerie and Polwart

Subterranean ref 1691 rev Robert Kirk

Fairfolkis, fairy folk, ffair folk  ref 1518 Douglas's Aenid translation; 1576 Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland from AD 1488 to AD 1624

Gude Wichtis/Gude Wichts [good beings] ref 1576 Criminal Trials

Seelie Wicht [blessed being] as 'celly vichtys' 1564, William Hay; as 'sillyie wichts' 1572 Criminal Trials

Seelie Court [blessed company] 1783 ballad of Alison Gross

Seily Queen ref 1827 Crawfurd's Collection v II, A Fairie Sang

Unseelie Court** [unholy company] ref. 1819 Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany vol 84 

Gentrie ref 1827 Crawfurds Collection v II, notes on 'A Fairie Sang'


Tylwyth Teg/Tylwythen Deg [Fair Family] ref in the 12th century by Giraldus Cambrensis

Plant Annwn [children of the Otherworld]

Bendith Y Mamau [Mother's Blessing]


Guillyn Veggey [little boys]

Vooinjer Veggey/Dooiney Veggey [little people]~

Little Fellows


Les bonnes dames [the good ladies]
Le peuple de la paix [the people of peace]
Les douces [the sweet ones]
Les petites dames des futaies [the little ladies of the tall trees]
Les bienveillantes [the benevolents]
Les fileuses de destin [the spinners of destiny]
Les exquises marraines [the exquisite godmothers]


Little People ref 1726

Wee Folk ref 1819 

Fairy (suggested as possible euphemism imported from French to avoid saying elves^^^)


Pulchrum Populum [fair folk] ref 1586 Bromyard Summa Predicantium (originally 14th century text)


Gentle Folk


Honest Folk ref 1908 Simpson Folk Lore in Lowland Scotland

Hill Folk ref 1908 Simpson

Silently Moving People, ref 1900 Campbell, Gaelic Otherworld

Still Folk ref 1900 Campbell




Grey Neighbours (Orkney)


Shining Ones

The Honest Folk (Scotland, ref Henderson)

The Forgetful People (Scotland, ref Henderson)

The Restless People (Scotland, ref Henderson)

*with thanks to Shane Broderick for many of the Irish terms. English translations and any errors in translating my own

^ per discussion with Shane Broderick

**Technically not a euphemism, as it is a negative term

~ related by Adam Cain via Twitter, 5/22

^^ thanks to Allie Valkyrie for the French terms and translations

***the Latin here was used by an English writer and in my opinion reflects English euphemism of the time

^^^  suggested by prof Ronald Hutton in a lecture 'Traditional Fairies' 21/9/21


Henderson & Cowan (2007) Scottish Fairy Belief

1908 Simpson Folk Lore in Lowland Scotland

1900 Campbell, Gaelic Otherworld

1586 Bromyard Summa Predicantium

12th century by Giraldus Cambrensis

1585 the Flyting Between Montgomerie and Polwart

Crawfurds Collection v II, notes on 'A Fairie Sang', 1827

1819 Edinburgh Magazine and Literary Miscellany vol 84

1518 Douglas's Aenid translation; 1576 Ancient Criminal Trials in Scotland from AD 1488 to AD 1624

1576 Criminal Trials

 1564, William Hay; as 'sillyie wichts' 1572 Criminal Trials

1783 ballad of Alison Gross

Echtra Condla

 Accalam na Senórach

O'Davoren's Glossary

Robert Kirk, 1691, The Secret Commonwealth of Elves Fauns and Fairies