Introduction & Amazon Review:
Elves, fairies and other nature spirits are much closer to humans than we can possibly imagine. While many writers and folklorists have frequently commented upon the similarities between fairy and human life, behaviour, customs and beliefs, it has not always been easy to explain the reasons for these parallels.
A multitude of nature spirits have been noted in every corner of the earth, with each of these reflecting the characteristics, beliefs and customs of the particular place they are encountered. For the purposes of this book I will concentrate mainly on the entities and tales from the Celtic tradition (particularly Ireland), simply because this is the tradition I grew up with and know best. Having said this, although I make reference to mainly Celtic examples, the observations I make regarding nature spirits here can be applied to every such entity encountered in nature, regardless of location or tradition.
The Celts had a rich oral tradition which has afforded us many tales of heroes, deities and mythical creatures linked to the land. Their roles as warriors, traders and agriculturists in the past greatly inspired these tales, and so a rich tradition of epic stories, poems and folk tales were passed down through the ages. The Celts treated the land with reverence and awe and believed that it was saturated with vast amounts of nature spirits, who later became the localised gods and deities of the Celtic world. A plethora of rituals and festivals grew around these deities, and druids and shamans from old Celtic traditions led the way in offering sacrifices to them, in recognition of their belief that these spirits controlled the harvests, seasons and climate. This makes the Celts similar to many indigenous and traditional societies throughout the globe, both in the past and even nowadays, including of course the North American Indians.
The positive and proactive relationship the Celts fostered with nature continued for years and traditions were passed down from generation to generation. This all changed with the introduction of Christianity to Celtic counties, however, as old rituals and beliefs surrounding the land and its spirit eventually became challenged. The new religions and societies that grew around the Church now sought to end all ‘pagan’ practices and gods (as they termed them), and focus minds firmly on the rules, regulations and authority figures of the Church. This meant that nature spirits and their worship became scorned upon, so that when monks started to record the tales and accounts from the Celtic oral tradition for the first time, they readily altered them to become morality tales, often ‘demonising’ the pagan deities, or else paradoxically adapting them into ‘holy men’ or ‘saints’.
From this time onwards, the Christian Churches habitually blamed nature spirits and old pagan practitioners for every calamity that befell the community, to the extent that tales of nature spirits became infested with Church-inspired teachings and new superstitions. All of this of course meant that the true meaning of man’s relationship with nature and its spirit got lost, abandoned and confused, leading to contradictory claims about entities such as elves and fairies, as well as a tragic loss of knowledge about what these entities actually are.
For this reason, today’s market is flooded with a huge amount of information recounting stories and other anecdotes about different types of fairies and their various characteristics. Very few writers, however, have attempted to definitively explain just exactly what these entities are and what their special relationship with mankind is.
Up until now there have been three main traditions that have attempted to explain the existence of elves, fairies and other nature spirits. The first and most familiar is in Literature (both in verse and prose), but writers like Chaucer, Shakespeare, Kipling, Yeats and Tolkien do not exactly tell us what elves and fairies are, nor do they fully explain their purpose here on earth or their relationship with humanity.
Added to this is the vast amount of information about nature spirits from folklore. This includes multiple tales of fairy encounters, which describe their names, stature, country of origin, lifestyle, clothing and much more. Folklore also gives us an indication about some of the relationships between mankind and these entities in the past, as well as the many superstitions and beliefs that have been created around them. Again, however, so much bias and contradiction exists in folklore that it is difficult to pinpoint the exact essence of these beings.
The third tradition is from ‘esoteric’ literature. This approach is based more on the ideology of Theosophy, with such famous contributors as Rudolf Steiner, Alice Bailey and Geoffrey Hodgson. They would argue that everything on earth has a vibration, and that humans can connect into vibrations when certain conditions are just right. These writers examine nature spirits from a more spiritual and energetic perspective, and attempt to explain their existence and purpose accordingly.
A lot of modern-day literature relating to elves and fairies retells the same stories and anecdotes from the past, but by simply repeating what people knew one hundred years ago or more, mankind will remain ignorant of his true responsibility when connecting with and learning from these entities.
An impasse has been reached regarding the true essence of nature spirits. The increasing numbers of people who have an interest in elves and fairies (or who may even have encountered them) have often been forced to accept the old theories about their behaviour and purpose. These theories include contradictory and confusing claims (for example) that elves and fairies can bring good luck or bad luck; cause illness or healing; and are unfriendly or friendly towards their human counterpart. Added to this are the huge lists of nature spirit classifications (including gnomes, elves, fairies, unicorns and more) which can also be contradictory in what they say, depending upon who has compiled the list and how they have used it. Folklore is saturated with many beliefs, superstitions and claims relating to nature spirits, each of these usually specific to a particular time and place in history. For all of these reasons, knowledge relating to nature spirits is really rather unclear, and it is left for us to decipher some meaning in respect of them from the many tales and accounts we find.
This book addresses just over one hundred selected questions in respect of elves and fairies, and uses evidence and examples from both the folkloric and esoteric traditions. It aims to introduce a new paradigm of thinking in respect of elves and fairies, and attempts to provide a 21st Century explanation about these entities, and our relationship with them here on earth...
5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative book 7 Jan 2013
By John Denver
"Elves and Fairies, a 21st Century Guide is an authoritive book packed with information about these ethereal beings that live alongside us. It centres round a new theory which is completely validated from the author's research, experiences and telepathic insight. After an enlightning and instructive introduction, the author takes us on a journey through a series of approximately 100 questions and answers adding more gravitas to his 'lemniscate' model as the book progresses. This is a serious book for anyone who truly wishes to understand these entities and to attain a more formal and serious outlook as to why humans should and could interact with them. Every now and then, a new shift in consciousness occurs, a new idea, a new model or paradigm happens and this book is a very strong contender for the actual scientific and philosphical explanation of the historical and modern-day manifestation of elves, fairies, orbs and more. It is ludicrous to believe that fairies are some sort of Disney creature. There is a mountain of evidence to indicate that all of these (living) ceatures exist in a different dimension to ours and joseph martin may have just found the right answer at the right time as all of these peculiar occurrences are happening on the earth.
A serious read for those who are serious about asking the relevant questions about life in other dimensions."