Wiccan Fae Lore
Fata influenced modern Italian's fada and Spanish's hada, both of which mean fey, and the Old French fée, which gained the meaning "enchanter." By adding the ending -rie, we get féerie, meaning a "state of fée" or "enchantment." This also befits fey, who are known for casting illusions and altering emotions, particularly so as to make themselves alluring, frightening, or unseen.
Modern English inherited the two terms "fey" and "fairy," along with all the associations attached to them. Since the subjects of the words are somewhat alien and ethereal, the terms are often used interchangeably and have no standardized spellings. Common ones include the following:
Fey: Fae and Fay
There is, however, a slight distinction between the two. Properly, "fey" is a noun referring to a specific race of otherworldly beings excersing mystical abilities (either the elves [or equivalent thereof] in mythology or their insect-winged, floral descendents in English folklore), while "faerie" is an adjective meaning "of, like, or associated with fey, their otherworldly home, their activities, and their produced goods and effects." Thus, a leprechaun and a ring of mushrooms are both faerie things (a fairy leprechaun and a fairy ring).
William S. Gilbert liked fairies and wrote several plays about them. The best is the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta Iolanthe which deals with a conflict between fairies and the House of Lords and, among other issues, touches on some of the practical consequences of fairy/human marriages and cross-breeding in a humorous manner.
In his Fairy Folk Tales of Ireland (1892), W. B. Yeats coined the expression "trooping fairies" to refer to those fairies who liked to travel together in groups. This is in contrast to the solitary fairies, such as the banshee, leprechaun, or pooka. Typically Yeat's trooping fairies are compared to the elves of English lore.
Fairies figure prominently in most of Neil Gaiman's works, primarily the Books of Magic and Sandman.
Conversely, the Victorian painter Richard Dadd was responsible for some paintings of fairy-folk with an altogether more sinister and malign nature. Another notable Victorian painter of fairies was the artist and illustrator Arthur Rackham. Interest in fairy themed art in Britain enjoyed a brief rennaissance following the Cottingley fairies photographs, and a number of artists turned to painting fairy themes.
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