Africa—The Origin of Fairies

Africa—The Origin of Fairies

Contents of Africa—The Origin of Fairies

Who Were the Original Fairies (Faeries) of Ancient Lore?

The Appropriation of African Fairy Culture and Magic

Goddess Tiamat—The Babylonian Origin of Mermaids

“It’s Not True to the Original Vision” Is a Racist Remark

Every Culture Has Wondrous Fairy Lore and Myth

Faerie Magic Isn’t a Commodity for Oppressors to Appropriate

Faerie Secrets & Sacred Mysteries Thrive Only in Shamanic Cultures

Honoring African Faery Faith Ancestors

Diversity, the Fairy Witch, Magic How-To Books and Classes

Here’s one of the most frequently asked questions about Fairies and the ancient Faery Faith:

Who Were the Original Fairies (Faeries) of Ancient Lore?

The original Fairies (Faeries / Faery / Fey …) were an ancient African tribe near the Dahomey coast. They were people of tiny stature and migrated throughout the world, teaching their enchantments.

That history was taught to me orally decades back (by someone who needs to remain anonymous) and still makes sense to me. Africa has been the birthplace of so much of the world’s culture that it likely had to be an initial source of magical culture. (Later, this post touches on how magic is not separate from culture.) Plus almost every ancient society has lore about a small, dark, magical people. One example is the Menehune—the Fey Folk of Hawaii.

Lore about the origins of Fairies differs. Some, at least on an overt level, are more mystical than what I’ve provided here. But I find none of the versions incongruent with the others.

For example, it is said Faeries descended from human women who mated with Gods. Ancient stories of Gods falling in love with human women were worldwide. Whether such lore is taken literally or not, myths in which humans and Deities couple are part of many cultures. These myths have deep roots in humankind’s psyche and echo a Fey origin that is fairly consistent outside of colonizer culture, even if we never know the actual events that underpin the myths. Not speaking necessarily literally here but, perhaps the aforementioned migratory individuals of Africa were the first descendants of women who dared to be adored by a God.

(For other lore about Fey origins, click here: Fairy, Faerie, Faery, Fey, Fay, …)

Note: I tend to use the following words interchangeably: Fairy, Faerie, Faery, Fey, Fay, Fae, … If you want to know why, click the link in the previous paragraph.

The Appropriation of African Fairy Culture and Magic

White writers almost never cite the tale of migrating Fey Africans. This lack exemplifies Africans and people of the African Diaspora originating something that is then credited elsewhere. In this case, it is the insistence that Fairies are innately a European construct.

Also, racists consistently turn BIPOC away from the very things their cultures helped create. If drawn to European shamanism, they are often treated condescendingly or excluded. When they dress up as Fairies for cosplay, they are often harassed in cosplay groups.

And lack of representation of BIPOC in modern fantasy art, literature, and film has been rampant.

Goddess Tiamat—The Babylonian Origin of Mermaids

At the time of this writing, there is tremendous backlash against Disney for selecting Halle Bailey, a black woman, to play Ariel. Ariel, the lead character in Disney’s live-action remake of The Little Mermaid, is a mermaid.

This brings to mind another erasure: Tiamat, an ancient Babylonian Goddess, was the forerunner of all mermaids. No way was She Anglo.

After examining a goodly number of online debates and articles about Disney’s casting choice, I have not seen one mention of Tiamat. It hurts my heart that Her erasure has been thorough enough that I saw no one bring up Tiamat to counter arguments that a white woman was the only appropriate person to play Ariel.

I hope mentioning Tiamat here helps a little in healing wounds from the racist comments that Halle Bailey should not have been cast in the role.

“It’s Not True to the Original Vision” Is a Racist Remark

The lack of diverse representation in modern fantasy art, literature, and film is starting to shift. But it’s a bare beginning in the face of the overwhelming colonizer culture that portrays whiteness as the norm.

(One of the exceptions to white-only fantasy movies before recent shifts is Hong Kong Cinema’s decades-long fantasy genre. Check it out if you like fantasy because it includes the most visually-stunning, pulse-racing, wildly-imaginative movies I’ve ever seen.)

One argument against Halle Bailey playing Ariel is “It’s not true to the original vision.” That’s a racist remark. For one thing, the original vision was Babylonian.

At this point, a racist will want to interject, “I was referring to staying true to the Hans Christian Andersen version from which Disney adapted their script.”

Sorry, no go. Hans Christian Andersen contributed a lot to the world, but his work also upholds racism. Disney’s cast selection is helping remedy that.

Racists are insisting that casting BIPOC in the current Lord of the Rings series goes against Tolkien’s original vision. Going against his vision is a good thing. His vision was racist.

Supposedly erudite arguments that putting BIPOC in Fairytales is inconsistent with the original tales are erroneous. Often, white people’s Fairytales are Anglicized bastardizations of BIPOC’s lore or myth.

“Upholding tradition” often means maintaining the tradition of systemic oppression.

Well-meaning white people who say, “We need to change representations of Fey legends to be more inclusive” might want to examine that sentence. It defines “we” as innately white. The global majority is not white.

Much of that majority population never viewed Fey creatures as only Scandinavian, Welsh, French, German, etc. Fairy Folk are part of most native cultures.

Every people has wondrous Fairy lore. This prevalence of beauty and power is something to celebrate, not deny.

Every Culture Has Wondrous Fairy Lore and Myth

Whether Fairy lore is Polynesian, Chinese, European, or stems from another place, it shows humankind has always had a relationship with Fairy magic. It is a human heritage that left its marks in all societies and belongs to all people.

For example, Witches centuries back in my Italian family lineage and in many ancient Mediterranean villages viewed the Goddess Diana as the Queen of Fairies.

Faerie Magic Isn’t a Commodity for Oppressors to Appropriate

Magic is not a commodity for oppressors to steal for their greedy purposes. Lore throughout the world tells of Fairy magic spells that free us from oppression. The Goddess Diana was known as the champion of the oppressed.

Magic is not an object like gold in the earth that someone can cleave from rock for selfish ends. Magic is not an object to be owned. Magic is a heritage. Magic is not separate from its environment. When stolen, the Fairy Queen’s magic spells become impotent. Here’s why:

Faerie Secrets & Sacred Mysteries Thrive Only in Shamanic Cultures

For me, Witch spirituality includes living in the understanding that everything is connected.

Faerie secrets have context. Mysteries abide in Shamanic cultures. (For brevity’s sake, I am not defining Shamanic culture here. If you need a definition, imagine what it might be. You’ll probably be close enough to understand the rest of what I’m saying.) Faerie secrets are stripped of magic when they are stolen, their cultural context dismissed.

No wonder many dishonorable culture-thieves who divide all of life up into components insist that magic doesn’t work.

Another reason they can’t find magic’s power:

Magic is the living presence of the old Gods’ loving care of Their human children. Cultural thievery breaks the link to the Gods and hence to magic. In other words, ripping magic from its culture disintegrates connection to source, which ultimately is Deity.

Honoring African Faery Faith Ancestors

The British Isles’ ancient Faery Faith is not a rigidly-defined entity, divorced from the rest of the globe. African spirituality and the Faerie Faith were never separate. The Faerie Faith originated in Africa.

Another thing Witch Spirituality means for me is that the Old Gods are my ancestors. This is more than a belief. It is also my experience.

I believe in greatness because I experience the Old Gods’ powers in me.

But no one can honor or stay connected to the Old Gods unless they honor their human ancestors. That includes humans to whom they are not related but who helped create their culture.

And all humans are related, so there we are.

As to more immediate ancestors—both cultural and biological—I’ll use myself as an example. Traditional African-based spirituality is strikingly similar to the ancient European Shamanic family lineage in which I was raised. Africans are among my Faery Faith ancestors in more than one generation. Many Africans lived in the ancient Mediterranean, intermarrying and influencing its spiritual culture. The same is true of other parts of Europe, though colonizer history denies it.

Dishonoring human sources distances one from the Old Gods.

Part of addressing ancestral trauma is healing trauma from cultural thievery that ancestors suffered. I hope attributing origins in this essay helps that healing some.

Diversity, the Fairy Witch, Magic How-To Books and Classes

I teach Goddess spirituality and Witchcraft as tools for transforming one’s inner and outer realities.

No one should be turned away from magic’s miraculous powers and joys.

Anyone who wants can be a Fairy Witch. Meditations with the Fairy Queen and other Fey rituals belong to everyone. Magna Mater—Great Mother Goddess, Creator of All—is known as the Queen of Fairies, in culture after culture. She is a loving Mother who welcomes all Her children to the empowering magic of the Fey.

If you want fellow seekers who embody diversity, study with me. Click the newsletter banner below to receive notice of new classes:

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Francesca De Grandis, Fairy Witch and bestselling author of Be a Goddess!, offers long-distance classes, Shamanic counseling, and healings. Her Goddess spirituality embraces practical magic spells. Trained from birth in a Shamanic family tradition of Italian (La Vecchia Religione) and Celtic Witchcraft, she practices Witchcraft that is an ancient Faerie Shamanism. An Italian Witch is also called a Strega. Francesca equates Fairy Witchcraft with Faerie Shamanism. Nowadays, most people do not view European Witchcraft as a Shamanic practice, but traditionally it was for many practitioners.

What to Do after a Major Otherworldly Vision

AfterVision

What to Do after a Major Otherworldly Vision
Alternative title:
A Powerful Calling from the Gods:
Priesthood Means Service

A major, otherworldly, life-changing vision—or a forceful calling from the Gods—that lacks the follow-through of acts of service corrupts one’s spirit eventually.

Without a follow-through of service, the calling or vision ends up feeding the false ego. (… Wow, voice-recognition software turned “feeding the ego” into “cheating the eagle.” Oh, my Gods!)

The false ego then curtails connection with the Divine and creates a mirage of connectivity that gives erroneous information. This misleading guidance leads one into wrongdoing.

The whole process I described of going astray after a major vision or Divine call can occur unwittingly.

NesltrSqTPeople who call themselves a priestess or priest, but the only thing they serve is their own ego—even if they do it unknowingly—get corrupted. Yes, even if they have the best intentions, corruption sets in unknowingly.

I am by no means suggesting the follow-through must be perfect, fearless, or immediate. All human undertakings are far from perfect. And it can take someone a long time to figure out what their follow-through should be.

And often, we might know the most immediate way we can be of service but not know our longterm plan of service yet. That’s to be expected.

For myself, I’ve been in an ongoing process; my ability to serve and the ways I serve both continue to grow, and they need to continue to grow because I cannot rest on my laurels; to whatever degree I am not of service is the exact degree to which my spirit is not whole and the exact degree to which I will not be happy.

I’m not suggesting self-neglect; service includes taking care of myself, knowing my limits, and having boundaries.

A priest or priestess is a servant. That can take many forms. It might mean you give Tarot readings to the general public. Or perhaps your work is hidden because you serve the Gods through constant offerings to Them, rituals to heal Gaia, and tending the property on which you live.

Perhaps your wonderful work would invalidated by misled priests and priestesses who deem your service too humble to be called priesthood, e.g., cooking healthy nutritious meals for your family and otherwise taking care of them on the physical plane.

A Divine call or major vision, without a follow-through of service, not only eventually corrupts the spirit, it also can destroy one’s spiritual peace and material well-being.

If my definition of priesthood— that a priest is a servant—is true, then humility must be an ever present goal.

Achieving humility is a topic unto itself and no easy trait to acquire. Nor is it an asset that, once acquired, is permanent. Finding humility is a lifelong journey. But here are a few suggestions.

1) Find a teacher who does a lot of service and ask them for instruction.

2) Pray for humility.

3) Think of someone whose arrogance really bothers you. Good chance it’s because they’re mirroring your own arrogance. Yes, you may have other good reasons for being bothered by their conceited attitude, such as it hurting those with whom the pompous person comes in contact. But put that aside for a moment and try to determine what in yourself they might be reflecting. You may have to get creative here, because large or subtle differences between their arrogance and yours can make you not see your own. In these instances, I get in touch with the sort of feeling that person’s arrogance gives off, as opposed to any specific haughty actions of theirs that bother me. I then check inside myself to see if that same feeling is in me.

Be assured none of this essay is empty words. Life has taught me a road to happiness, and what I’m saying in this essay describes part of that road.

As a shamanic teacher, I don’t suggest anything I wouldn’t do myself. While I’ve been writing this essay, I’ve also been examining myself for ways I need to apply it to my own life right now. (It doesn’t matter that I’ve applied this essay’s thoughts before; if I’m writing about them, I need to apply them again.) So know you’re not alone in your journey as a visionary or as someone whom the Gods have called; we are in this together, growing and learning, even if we never meet in person or online.

Serve well! You will be whole and happy.

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Upcoming Training

Update: The day and time of this event has been changed, so you can enroll if the new schedule suits you better. New schedule: we meet seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend. Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions. Rest of class info is below:

Come Home to the Faerie Queen
A Seven-Week Faerie Shamanism Training

FeyRealm

The Faerie Queen tells us, “I’m Mother of the Faerie Nation. And more of you are awake to your magic now—lovers, warriors, children and elders, changelings, cats in disguise, bards, wolves, gardeners, corporate executives, tricksters, star-children, and many others. Come to me, come home, I will protect you and tutor you until our starlit cells flow back and forth between us like the milky way in all its immense luminosity. You’re awake now, my Faerie children. The new global Fey village has begun.”

This class responds to the Faerie Queen’s call. You’ll create previously impossible possibilities for you, Gaia, and all beings. Honest. The curriculum is the culmination of decades’ work. Rewrite your DNA and break through to the stars.

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

Faerie Ancestor who is a guardian to this site. Silk Painting, Outlaw Bunny

The Fey-spark in humans re-ignited. Ancient starlit blood came forward till it finally hit critical mass; Faerie magic’s thoroughly awake in many people. This leaves us with new questions and new approaches needed to answer them:

image* Have you sensed shifts in the human/plant/mineral psyche?

* Can you have self-healing, prosperity, and great sex during present times?

image* Do you feel the mystic part of you desperately needed by everyone, including you, right now?

* How can we better use our new/old/undiscovered/shifted powers, both magical and mundane?

image* Do you find Paganism too dogmatic, not pagan enough? Do you long for fellowship that supports your unique vision?

* How can mystics—ranging from activists to quiet magicians—come together to love, celebrate, and protect Gaia? Can Gaia—and ourselves—be happy, or even survive, without such a tribe happening globally?

This class addresses these issues with innovative magic and fresh ideas.

FDG2015ProfileYou also receive lessons to be your style Faerie shaman. There are different places in Faerie, each special. One is your home. This class helps you go home. If you’re already home, you’ll learn (more) about its unique magic and spirituality, and use them practically to empower your mundane life.

This teleseminar is multi-leveled, suitable to entry-level beginners and adepts.

Come Home to the Faerie Queen qualifies as one of the two electives needed before advanced Third Road training.

Nuts and bolts:
* These are group meetings by phone. To participate, just dial the phone from anywhere.
* Class meets seven Sundays, from 4 to 5 PM EST, starting Sunday November 8. Classes are consecutive weeks except we skip November 29, for Thanksgiving weekend.
* Reserve Sunday Jan 10, same time, for a makeup class in case I’m unavailable for one of the planned sessions.
* Tuition: $250. If you’ve taken it before, repeat it at half-price. Your usual long-distance charges apply and appear on your phone bill. The event’s area code is a U.S. #.
* Enroll here.
* Or pay by check or money order here.
* Upon receipt of payment, I email you event phone number, etc.
* Call me—814-337-2490—for more info or to discuss scholarship, trade, or payment plan. Do not email me. Refunds unavailable.

imageIf you want to be part of this experience, enroll now, because I don’t know when I’ll be able to teach it again. It’s maybe been six years since the last time.

If you see someone else’s class that sounds the same, this class is original material. No one teaches it but me.

Faerie holds daily miracles. I trust that.

Enroll here.

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A mystical event is no substitute for medical care by a trained physician, psychiatric counseling, or other therapeutic treatments. Participants are personally responsible for the consequences of their voluntary participation.

Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson

My dearest Olivia, Below is a post to honor and celebrate your birthday. The piece was written over a decade ago, but you may remember it, because you told me twice you wanted it as your memorial reading. A birthday is a much happier occasion, I am blessed to post this as a birthday offering.

FOInitiationB

A treasured picture of my FOI initiation. Click on it to see it less blurred and large.

It’s been quite a while since we’ve been in touch—only once or twice in a decade—which saddens me. I wish my health had allowed otherwise. The multiple sclerosis (that’s what my illness probably is, we still don’t have a definitive diagnosis) ate up my life for years. It got so bad that it looked like I’d only a few months to live. Not to worry, now I’ve another 10 to 30 years left, because I made a deal with the Faerie queen. She needed some community work done, which I now do, and she keeps me going.

My health, though greatly improved, is nevertheless challenging: I use a wheelchair and require caretakers to perform many of my daily tasks, such as dish-washing.

But I am able to continue my work, and am still very happy in it, serving community with the shamanic skills that I was given for that purpose. And the relative improvement in my health has allowed me bit by bit to reconnect with some folks: I’m so grateful to be contacting you and re-sharing with you the piece you enjoyed.

With love, Francesca De Grandis

**************************************
Meeting Lady Olivia Robertson
Francesca De Grandis, September 2002

In the early ’90s, I was given a vision of Olivia. I saw her to be very similar to myself, what I would become. I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant; Olivia is one of the public priestesses I most admire and my admiration for her also extends to her simply as a mystic with an enormously inclusive and remarkably warm heart. Thus, to say I think we are alike might sound uppity. But in fact, it’s not that way. It’s just that, simply speaking, we are quite alike! Take that as you will.

So I went on a pilgrimage in Ireland to meet her. To her castle in Clonegal. And I wondered: Since I only had that one brief visit scheduled, how was I going to forge the connection that I was spiritually driven to make?

Waiting for her to arrive, I suddenly sensed a presence behind me. Knowing she had come into the room, I turned and there she stood, wearing bright green eye shadow and her bathrobe, the latter clearly—somehow I knew this—worn as a ritual robe. She had posed herself precisely, and her entire aspect proclaimed, “Aren’t I magnificent!?” And she was. She truly truly was. I knew that my vision had been real and correct.

We sat and chatted. Thinking that I had to grab her attention immediately, and somehow impress upon her that we had a reason to go further than a brief, amiable discussion, I took a risk: I told her who I was.

I said to her, “Olivia, I had to meet you. Because I’ve been told we are alike. I’ve been told that, like me, you are eccentric, a remarkable counselor, and an equally remarkable ritualist.”

She responded, “Why do think they call us eccentric?” And then she went on, answering her own question, “You know, they did this book. And, in it, so-and-so lay on an altar and such-and-such-other-person was leaping over a fire, and they called me eccentric! But you know why I think they call us that? It’s because we don’t do it for the money.”

FOInitiationA

A treasured picture of my FOI initiation. Click on it to see it less blurred and large.

Oh, but I gulped at that point. Because of what I knew I had to say next. To tell her who I was. Only the truth, as always, would do. And I said, “But, Olivia, I do get paid for my services.” I didn’t tell her that I do far more free work than the work that I get paid for, because that wasn’t the point.

She looked at me, perhaps startled, and said, “Ah, I know why they call you eccentric. Because you are sincere. You believe the gods are real.”

She understood. And although we had scheduled a brief visit of an hour or two, she cordially allowed me to spend the rest of the weekend with her.

There are many things I could say about Olivia. Not only in regard to what happened between us that weekend and since then, but also about her work in the world. But for now I will say this: She embodies a gracious inclusiveness that I think is sorely lacking in almost every other spiritual leader and religious organization I have seen. She understands that each person’s path is beautifully valid and, therefore, welcomes everybody into the Fellowship of Isis, blessing each soul who appears before her, querying each person with delighted questions about their unique journey. And I will add this:

Years later, she came to dine with me in my home which, being oh-so-truly-humble, unlike myself, was a sharp contrast to her castle. And as we sat in my kitchen, breaking bread at my Formica table, I happened to tell her that I had spent seven years in Faerie; a time in which I was in trance 24 hours a day. And she asked a question that no one else had ever spoken, no one had had either the insight or forthrightness. She said, “Were you celibate during those years?”

She, again, understood; she is not only a profoundly loving person, though that would have been enough. She is far more. Often, when someone has a big heart like Olivia does, others assume that the good heartedness lacks depth. People tend to think that a person has to be one-dimensional—as if one can have a good heart or brilliance, creativity or amiability, cheerfulness or insight. No, people are much more complex and wonderful than that. And in Olivia’s case, the “more” is that she is also a true not to mention brilliant mystic, and a woman I suspect has made heart rendering sacrifices to serve the community.

At the time of this writing, I have not seen Olivia for maybe three years. And I will get to be with her again in a week. During her last few visits to the States, I had to be at different conferences than she was at. I hated it but, you see, to use the old, trite, but so apt expression, duty called. I am a priestess and must go where Goddess sends me.

So this chance to see her face again, to tell her how much she means to me once again, and to pay homage in any way I can is exciting. I do not use the word homage as a sycophant; for I, too, am one who can proclaim her own magnificence. I have no false humility. But in my struggle to be a community servant, in the day-to-day fierceness of battling for a better world, I, warrior, lift my sword in salute, paying homage to my comrades in arms. To those who walk beside me, believing in greatness, sacrificing far too much for the good fight—you know, there’s no other way to fight the good fight except to sacrifice far too much —, I say, “I could not continue this battle, this terribly difficult work, without you by my side. Even if I never see you, simply knowing that somewhere you are doing the work that needs to be done allows me to keep doing it myself.” And I look up to the spiritual servants, though I am one myself. Lady Olivia Robertson, one warrior and lady to another, blessings on your magnificent soul.”