Most new-age teachers categorize fae as benign nature spirits. Indeed, anyone who has read a book by Lucy Cavendish or Doreen Virtue would think that the fae are kindly and good to humans. This is both true and not true. On the one hand, there are a lot of faeries who love humans and love working with us. They usually only appear to people who already believe in them. These fae are the kindly and happy faeries that so many people work with. But we must remember the most important fact; faeries are nature beings. While a lot of nature is adorable, like waddling baby duckies, a lot of nature can be dark and scary too.
Anyone who has watched a nature documentary can tell you they know when that baby gazelle is going to be chased by that lion. The music picks up with a lot of drumbeats (to imitate the quickening heartbeat) as lion and gazelle are locked in a death match. Who will win? We might celebrate victory as the baby gazelle escapes, but that means that the lion gets no food. Our worldview is very dichotomic; we tend to see the baby gazelle as good and the lion as evil. But the lion is a carnivore, which means that something must die in order for it to be able to eat. Because the lion is a killer, it is associated with darkness.
Dark does not mean evil.
There are a lot of people who still hold antiquated notions that darkness is bad, or that something horrible will happen in the darkness. I have led a lot of night hikes, and a lot of people still insist on bringing their flashlights. You’d think that with all our technology and education, we wouldn’t still be so afraid of the woods at night. But there’s something primal and right-brained about our fear of the darkness, something that the rational left-brain, with all its logic, cannot make us see. There’s a reason that ancient people were so reliant upon fire; it lends us light in the darkness. It also scares other animals away. We tend to think that if we can see through the darkness, all the monsters we imagine will, logically, not be there anymore.
The thing that you may not know, because a lot of people don’t go walking without light at night, is that your eyes adjust to the darkness. Granted, humans do not have perfect night vision. But if you leave your light off, other things start to happen. Your eyes begin to adjust, and where your eyes start to fail you, your ears pick up. You can hear all the little nighttime critters on the forest floor. You wouldn’t be able to see them, and sometimes that lends credence to our imaginary monsters. I can’t tell you how many times I imagined a vampire was following me back to my tent at summer camp. But I never got eaten by any monster!
Monsters are real . . . kind of.
There are a lot of types of faeries who like to play tricks on humans. Pixies, brownies, hobgoblins, the list goes on. Because faeries are more in tune with our right-brain side (the spiritual, creative side), they are able to “manipulate” that imagination. Almost all of the time, they are not doing anything to us physically. Faeries really can’t do much to harm us physically, anyway. They are simply casting a glamour.
Have you heard of a faery glamour? Apparently it makes people more beautiful. It taps into that intuitive and imaginative side of your brain and simply affects the wavelengths that you perceive. So although your left brain knows that those sounds in the woods at night are just nocturnal critters, your right brain is convinced that there are vampires. Meanwhile, the tricksy pixies in the woods have a good chuckle at your expense. Silly human.
The same can be true of the monster in your child’s closet, or that weird feeling of being watched as you walk to your car. These are faeries playing with you, casting glamour to make you afraid. But fear is not the only feeling. Sometimes these faeries come along to teach us valuable lessons about our inner selves.
“Dark side fae” are just the other side of the coin.
Are you 100% good? Are you a saint? I didn’t think so. I know that I for sure am not either one of those. Much as I strive to be a good person, I know I am not 100% good. Neither are faeries. A few blog posts ago, I spoke about how the fae embody duality. Indeed, the “dark side fae” is just one aspect of their being. If we humans never saw the dark side of our own nature, would we ever learn anything? It is only in acknowledging our own darkness that we are able to transmute it into light. Dark faeries exist to help us along this path.
Dark fae are sometimes called “Unseelie”. Some of them do belong to the Unseelie Court, but most of those royal, “trooping” fae exist in Europe rather than the United States. Ours tend to be a bit more solitary, with blurry hierarchy that even they can’t always explain. The most powerful American Unseelie desire to be left alone, and will only choose the most worthy people to work with. But that is another post entirely.
Autumn is the time of the year to really delve into this topic. The days are getting shorter, and night seems to be slowly encroaching on our world. What darkness are you trying to transmute into light?