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The Faerie Tree

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Myths and stories about fairies do not have a single origin, but are rather a collection of folk beliefs from disparate sources. Various folk theories about the origins of fairies include casting them as either demoted angels or demons in a Christian tradition, as deities in Pagan belief systems, as spirits of the dead, as prehistoric precursors to humans, or as spirits of nature. But as important as these trees are to humans, they are far more important to the broader ecosystem. Of all the native trees of Ireland, hawthorn, elder, and rowan are perhaps the most storied, literally — all three trees, and especially hawthorn, have featured in our folklore and legend for centuries, and each is so important that it is associated with a letter of the Ogham alphabet. They all have a wealth of practical and medicinal uses, and they are all vastly important to the ecology of our countryside. It should be no surprise that all three trees also are strongly associated with the world of faerie. These superstitions may seem outlandish, but there’s evidence to suggest there might be some truth to the rumors.

Sister stands in her window, hands over her belly like Mary finding out her son’s gonna die. I look at her and I think of the faeries, and I feel mean as a razor. “I ain’t going in,” I say. “I won’t. I’m gonna sleep here tonight.”After many generations, the Celtic Gods and Goddesses of ancient Ireland were now known as the ‘Sidhe’, ‘People of the Sidhe’ or ‘Aos sí’ and became the fairly folk we know today. Ireland’s Most Prominent Gods: Tuatha de Danann, Ancestors of the fairies. Types of Fairies Aos Sí In Irish folklore and mythology, fairies, often referred to as “the Good People” or “the Sidhe” (pronounced shee), are supernatural beings. These mystical entities occupy a prominent place in Irish imagination and have been a source of fascination and intrigue for centuries.

The Irish Times went further, calling the government’s conservation record “a national disgrace”. [ https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/editorial/the-irish-times-view-on-the-heritage-bill-the-case-for-a-new-vision-1.3562981]) Like elder, rowan is also a tree of protection, against the devil (and evil in general), charms, and the dead. As we have already covered, the Hawthorn tree has a rich history in Irish folklore. The Celts believed they were sacred and always left one in the centre of a field they were clearing as a sign of respect. This would create the curious myth of fairy trees in Ireland and the reverence around them that still exists today. Irish Mythology is split into four different cycles with the Mythological Cycle describing how faeries (Sidhe) moved to the other-world. When the Milesians or Gaels arrived in Ireland they took up a dispute with the Tuatha Dé Danann, children of the Goddess Danu. The Tuatha Dé Danann retired underground and became known as the fairy people, sidhe, or the wee folk.Fairy trees in Ireland are special and full of wonder, but they are not the only trees that have an interesting folklore. The Celts recognised the importance of trees to their survival, so much so that the tree of life became a common Celtic symbol. Visiting these while you are here will hopefully be a rewarding experience, as they are unique to Ireland. Decoration of Fairy Trees in Ireland In addition to their folkloric origins, fairies were a common feature of Renaissance literature and Romantic art, and were especially popular in the United Kingdom during the Victorian and Edwardian eras. The Celtic Revival also saw fairies established as a canonical part of Celtic cultural heritage. There are several recorded instances in Irish history in which people refused to cut an ash, even when wood was scarce, for fear of having their own cabins consumed with flame. The ash tree itself might be used in May Day ( Beltaine) rites. Under the Old Irish word nin, the ash also gives its name to the letter N in the ogham alphabet. Together with the oak and thorn, the ash is part of a magical trilogy in fairy lore. Ash seedpods may be used in divination, and the wood has the power to ward off fairies, especially on the Isle of Man. In Gaelic Scotland children were given the astringent sap of the tree as a medicine and as a protection against witch-craft. Some famous ash trees were the Tree of Uisnech, the Bough of Dathí, and the Tree of Tortu. The French poet who used Breton sources, Marie de France (late 12th century), wrote a lai about an ash tree. The Proto-Celtic for 'ash' was * * onnos; Old Irish, nin; Irish, fuinseog; Scots Gaelic, fuinnseann; Manx, unjin; Welsh, onnen; Cornish, onnen; Breton, onnenn. [4] Apple [ edit ] It may sound like a tall tale to some, but around these parts we don’t dare to disrespect the fairies—there are countless tales of works that have disturbed or destroyed fairy trees or ring forts with all manner of disastrous consequences. The county engineer took it very seriously, redesigning the plans to work around the sacred tree. Ancient tree Celtic cultures believed that the roots of the tree connected our world with the Otherworld. Trees were seen as doorways to the spirit world. Thus, they were magical as they protected the land from evil spirits and hindered their entrance into our world. They acted as both a door for fairies and a barrier for evil spirits.

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