Not Quite Hallowe’en

“Fey Warning”

The songs, the songs of mortal men

grow still when our dance begins

Jewels dark and bright,

Drink like firelight,

pass from hand to hand

in the shifting fairy mound.

Samhain eve comes swift and sharp,

frost upon the air.

Season turns, our power burns

wild and piercing-fair.

Be wary, mortals, near the mound

Be wary of our song –

one careless step draws you inside,

to us you then belong.

~ Marta Ziemelis. Written in Dubai, copyright October 2012.

A little tribute to the festival of Samhain just past (about which you can read more here).

The subject of this piece are the sìthichean (Scottish Gaelic, “fairies” or aes sídhe/ daoine sídhe (Irish, “folk of the mounds”/”people of the mounds”)  – known by a number of names in Irish and Scottish myths and legends, such as “the good people”, “good folk”, “fair folk”. “little people” or “fey”, who live in the Otherworld beyond and bordering ours. Why not call them “fairies” straight out? Because to refer to them directly by this straightforward name was considered disrespectful – and if the Fey are anything, they are notoriously capricious, quick to change their minds and moods. So treating them with disrespect can be dangerous, for they will as soon play a trick on you as do something kind. Yet if you are polite and show good manners, they may do you a favour or, if they really like you, give you a special gift.

(As one of the major turning points of the natural year, Samhain (roughly around the autumn exquinox, as far as I remember) is a time when the borders and divisions between the Otherworld and ours are especially thin and tenuous. Which is why, at moments like these, humans are especially susceptible to the fascination exerted by the Fey. It pays to be cautious at  Hallowe’en, and to treat the Good People with respect!


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