They have been with us as long as humans have. They exist everywhere and within all cultures. Fairies, elves, dragons, goddesses, angels, plant and tree spirits, the list will be endless. The names and terms may be different, according to culture and belief.
With every spirit/energy there is always a lovely and important story to tell and always a little or big grain of truth in all of them. With each culture, or individual there will also be various ways and rituals of contacting and connecting with these spirits. For example through a shaman or medicine woman, trance, visualisation, meditation, invocation, dreams or simply just being in an appropriate place such as forest, water, windswept hill, rocky terrain etc. Being still, in tune and undisturbed within these surroundings.
Included here are nature spirits, guardians and protectors of mother earth and her animals and plants. These are ones I am familiar and happy with. And ones I feel work for the good and positive of all things. When you call for the assistance or blessings of one of these spirits, listen and watch for their answer, message or sign carefully. And always remember to give your thanks and give something back in return for their help.
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago all the Native American Indians lived together. Day and night Grandmother Spider Woman (who created all animals and plants) would weave little silken threads she called her “Dreamcatchers”
Mothers would hang them over cradles and beds, so that babies and children would sleep peacefully.
Bad and horrid dreams would become entangled in the silky little webs and only the happy and good ones passed through. The sleeping babies and children, when waking from their dreams, would laugh and clap their hands for joy, with the first rays of sunlight. Any bad and horrid dreams broke free and returned to the place of shadows and dark and were lost forever. The happy and good dreams sparkled and danced and stayed with the babies and children. But the sad time came when the Indian people were so many and travelled to live in distant places. Grandmother Spider Woman could no longer visit all her babies and children and spin her special silky webs for them. So she taught her magical secret to the wise-women and grandmothers, who in turn taught their daughters to weave these magical webs for their own little babies and children and for all children all around the world
And so the “Dreamcatcher” was made to keep them happy and safe always.
(Each of my gorgeous grandchildren, were given a dreamcatcher, when they were born, along with this story).
Generally thought of as tiny exquisite and beautiful spirits of the air. They have transparent, delicate coloured wings and love to be among scented plants, blossoms and flowers. Their beauty as suggests in the phrase "elfin beauty" is dainty and ethereal.
Mostly they are helpful and industrious little beings. (The elves and the shoemaker story?) With positive and pleasant energies. And like fairies, who they are often closely associated with, they love to dance, sing, feast and play musical instruments, and also possess magical powers. It is said that the enchantment of elves is, that if you were to stand and watch them dancing in their little ring for, say a couple of hours in their time. In our time whole weeks and months would have passed by.
Obviously I just have to include this one. Fairy cat is of Celtic/Scottish/Irish mythology. She is a large black cat, much larger than a dog with beautiful shining eyes and a white spot on her chest. She roams the wilder parts of the countryside, silently and elusive, mostly by moonlight.
One story says she is really a witch that shape shifts at will. However this can only happen 9 times and after this the witch cannot change back from a cat. This also ties in with the saying that a cat has 9 lives. Fairy cat can also speak human language but does so only on very rare and important occasions. It is also said that fairy cat will steal the souls of those who have very recently passed over. To stop this from happening, it is important to distract fairy cat, by making as much noise, music, dancing as possible.
Anything that will distract the fairy cat from stealing a soul. At Samhain (see pagan year) a saucer of cream or milk in a clean, silver bowl should be placed outside your house just in case fairy cat decides to wander by. If she does drink from this dish and enjoys it, she will bestow many blessings, favours, wishes upon you. However failure to do so, or if she is displeased with her offering, bad luck and sorrow may follow.
Life force of the earth. Guardians of the land and mother earth. Associated with the earthy and sensual signs of Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Gnomes dwell in dark places, caverns, caves, underground, dense forests and woods, roots of old, old tree, preferring shade, very early mornings or dusk.They work diligently and tirelessly caring for, repairing and healing the land and mother earth. Helping the growth of all trees, flowers, and plants.
Healing, nurturing and protecting all animals. They will help you with all earth-type matters, family and security, business ventures, fertility, and healing, especially earth healing. And all that corresponds to the earth signs. Herbs of the gnomes may include geranium, bergamot, sandalwood, peppermint, basil, cypress, horehound, sorrel, primrose, honeysuckle and most tree leaves.
She has the upper body of a beautiful, young, long fair haired women and her lower half of a silvery scaled fish. Mermaids are often depicted sitting on rocks, in the sea, combing their hair with a magical comb and magical silver mirror.
Stories vary, from culture to culture as to whether the mermaid is a good or bad creature. Some say she is an incredibly compassionate, gentle and peaceful creature, who is able to foretell the future. She will also bestow wishes and good fortune upon you.
Others say they like to lure unsuspecting sailors with their beauty and singing, so they may capture them and take them back to their watery kingdom beneath the sea. This kingdom is reputedly a beautiful and luxurious place. The reason for this abduction is because mermaids have no souls of their own and so need to steal those of the sailors. There are other stories in which mermaids come ashore and marry a human man. Their children become fairies.
Another Irish legend is that mermaids are actually pagan/heathen women who have been turned into mermaids by St. Patrick.
As the name suggests, a rabbit which lives on the moon and figures in many cultures. The rabbit, usually white is constantly busy, forever pounding a mortar and pestle full of herbs and plants to make medicines and potions for humans. A Native American story tells of a rabbit who desperately wanted to visit the moon and the only animal that would take him was a crane. The long, long journey stretched the cranes legs, which is why they are so long and slim today. And as they landed on the moon, on a bumpy piece of rock, this jarred the rabbit, who accidently scratched the cranes head, quite deeply, leaving a mark, which again to this day exists.
There are other stories in which the rabbit, selflessly sacrifices himself, on earth as food for starving people/other animals. And as an everlasting reward and constant reminder his reflection can be seen on the moon’s surface.
Usually depicted as a large, beautiful, pure white, winged stallion. He wore a bridle of pure gold, a gift from the Goddess Athena. Everywhere Pegasus stamped his hooves a sacred well or spring of magic would burst from that spot. Pegasus was a helper for Bellerophon who tamed him and rode the heavens on him. However, the downfall of Bellerophon was that he became too over-confident, after destroying the Chimaera ( a fierce creature with the body of a goat, lion, serpent and three heads) He begun to think of himself as a great god and tried to fly to Olympus, home of the gods. Zeus intercepted him, causing Pegasus to rear and Bellerophon
fell to earth in a huge thorn bush, laming him and forcing him to wander the earth aimlessly. Pegasus meanwhile, remained in Olympus and carried thunderbolts and lightening for Zeus. A beautiful creature of immortality, wisdom and aspirations. He is also associated with the constellation Pegasus - The flying horse.
A beautiful, huge bird of stunning red, gold and bronze colours. A bird that is perpetually regenerating itself. As the phoenix nears the end of its life cycle of 500 years, he would burn himself and from the ashes be reborn. The phoenix built a nest of cassia, a type of cinnamon, and frankincense, and myrrh, which he would travel to many countries for and after 3 days after building this nest, would rise, spectacularly again.
To this day the phoenix remains a symbol of regeneration, hope, strength and mortality. Associated with other religious groups, such as Christianity, compare the likeness of the phoenix dying and being reborn after 3 days, with that of Jesus, being crucified and after 3 days being resurrected.
Usually associated with Devon and Cornwall. Possibly of Celtic origin. But pixies live in most rural and undisturbed places, woodlands, meadows, moors and tors etc. Often to be seen dancing, especially on a moonlit night as they love dancing. They also adore riding horses and will often "borrow" a horse for an entire night, just for the sheer delight of riding it, as a reward for the horse they will comb and plait it's mane until it is beautifully shiny and smooth. They are considered mischievous, playful, and light hearted little creatures. To see one, brings good luck as it proves you are a believer and they love that. So you will be blessed with good luck.
They are tiny little creatures, with little pointed hats and soft boots. They do not fly and usually work and play together. Although playful and fun loving they are also hard working and along with the gnomes of the earth they work hard and joyfully, tending, and caring for mother earth and her animals and also helping particularly younger children and older people with little tasks. Maybe there’s been a time you have thought you've done something, but can’t remember doing it, only to find it already finished! That's pixie energy.
Exist in all herbs, flowers, trees etc. The most obvious example would be Bach’s flower remedies. And Mechthild Scheffer "Bach’s Flower Therapy" is a brilliant book, which explains so well this theory. Each plant has its own energy and spirit and magical healing properties. It's possible to connect and tune in to any plant spiritually. You may be drawn to a particular plant or flower. Most people have a favourite flower or tree.
I only have a small garden, but it's packed with my favourite herbs. My marigolds are still blooming wonderfully, and it's nearly December! During the seasons, if I'm feeling a bit down or stressed, I usually only need to go into the garden and just sit awhile with them and gradually really do feel better. Each one has its own personality, spirit and soul, however you would term it and its own magical healing powers. When I need to pick them, I always ask permission (in my head) and thank them after. And in return, I feel they grow healthy and come up year after year for me.
Life force and guardians of all fire and heat sources. Signs of Aries, Leo and Sagittarius. The salamanders are found in all forms of fire and heat energy. The sun, candles, incense, bonfires, lightening etc. There may appear as large lizard like, shimmering and glittering. Gold, bronze, orange etc. Moving quickly, energetically and powerfully. Intuitive and spirited. They may be called upon for passion, confidence, energy, emotion, love and protection.
Herbs of salamanders may include peppermint, clary, clove, angelica, coriander, dill, ginger, lime, marigold, orange, sunflower, saffron and St. John’s wort. Perhaps also Mars associated plants.
Life force of the winds and air, breezes and gales. Associated with Gemini, Libra and Aquarius. Guardians of the higher self and representing the higher powers of the universe. Bringing inspiration, creativity and psychic awareness. These spirits are found in high places, such as mountains and hill tops, open meadows and fields, above tall whispering treetops, messages in cloud formations, places where there are wind chimes, floating and dancing gracefully in shades of mist. They will inspire and help you with decisions, and bring you answers and wisdom out of the air. For balance, inner harmony and personal growth
Herbs of the sylphs may include chamomile, lemon, lavender, anise, bergamot, borage, clover, dandelion, lemongrass, verbena, marjoram, mint, meadowsweet and sage.
Life force and guardians of all water, working closely with the moon and tides. Associated with cancer, Scorpio and Pisces. Found within all water sources, rivers, streams, waterfalls, oceans, ponds, lakes etc. Water spirits refresh, revitalise and sustain all life. They may speak to us through dreams as well as places of water. And may help us with emotional and/or family issues, help us unveil hidden mysteries and secrets, bring depth, understanding, empathy and compassion into our lives. Protect travellers.
Herbs of undines may include ylang ylang, jasmine, rose, apple, apricot, balm, blackberry, cherry, coltsfoot, comfrey, chickweed, water mint, and lotus.
A creature of many legends and stories. One story is that a unicorn could only be captured but never truly tamed, as it remains forever wild at heart by a virgin, or person of purity and natural innocence. The unicorn symbolises grace, beauty, magic, mystical abilities and our inner child. Often depicted as a dazzling white or silver colour, with a spiral shaped horn, in beautiful woodlands, or moonlit nights.
Call on unicorns energies for psychic intuition, creative inspiration and possibilities, for getting in touch with your inner child, sense of adventure and magic. And I feel in these days, with so many pressures squeezing down on us, it's important to free the inner child once in a while, and what better way than strolling through a lush green, leafy wood and finding your own silver unicorn waiting!
Art on this page by Josephine Wall