In a former post, we discussed places that you could find faeries. These are typical places to find elementals. Elementals are the basic unit of fae. They come in four distinct groups; earth, air, fire and water. These were the elements back in classical Greek and Roman times. Chances are, if you have worked with fae before, you know a little bit about their base elements.
Elemental faeries tend to have a lot in common with their family “group”. They usually have similar jobs or similar modes of transportation or similar goals. They tend to like and dislike similar things. Yet each class of faery, and each faery herself can be completely unique. It takes a lot of different flowers to make a bouquet.
Air faeries are the most common.
The most common image of a faery that we see nowadays is that of a lady with wings. She could have butterfly wings, or perhaps dragonfly wings; she could be nude or clothed in flower petals. These images of faeries correlate most with air faeries. They are the beings that flit about in the sky. Some cause leaves to fall, others dance in snow drifts, and even others help to spread pollen far and wide. These fae are helpful to have in your garden, though some of them can also be tricksters. Generally they are benevolent, and they are the ones that most commonly live among humans.
Also included in this group are Valkyries, angels, apsara, and pixies.
Fire faeries prefer the wilderness.
Fire faeries can look the same as air faeries, or they can look completely different. In classical times they were known as salamanders, and indeed looked similar to the lizard-like amphibians. This was mostly due to the fact that salamanders like living under the woodpile or inside old logs, and would come out should that log be thrown onto a fire. Most fire fae still claim the term salamander, even though it’s a bit antiquated now. Like fire, however, these beings can either be helpful or harmful. They are more likely found in a raging wildfire than in your fireplace at home.
Also included in this classification are djinn, dragons, and will-o’-the-wisps.
Earth faeries are easily disappointed.
You have probably seen a cutesy little gnome figurine sitting in someone’s garden. This isn’t exactly what they look like, and gnomes in general are disappointed that their image has become synonymous with Snow White’s Seven Dwarves. Gnomes do tend to live in gardens, but many more of them dwell deeper in the earth, preferring the heat and darkness of it. Earth faeries tend to be disappointed in humans, because we take too many natural resources without proper thanks. Humans can’t even be expected to pick up their own trash after a picnic, and this makes them sad for us, as well as for the natural world.
This group also includes brownies, goblins, nymphs, ga-hon-gas, and dwarves.
Water faeries are elusive and secretive.
Water faeries are things like mermaids, selkies and undines. They live in the oceans, ponds, rivers and lakes, but tend to seclude themselves from humans. Because there are so many folk tales about humans taking advantage of selkies, I am sure that these water beings are wary of us. We also tend to pollute our water ways, which does not enamor them to us. Still, you can find them in the wildest of lakes, in the flooded rivers and streams, and in the depths of the oceans.
Classification is difficult.
Some faeries, like pixies and brownies, can be both air and earth spirits. Others might be all of the above, and yet others might not want to be classified as a type of faery. All that is completely fine; classification of objects is just how humans make sense of the world around them. Don’t be surprised, however, if your water fae friend one day shows up as a sylph. Faeries change depending on their own desires, and every faery is unique.
Your turn . . .
What types of faeries have you encountered in your life?