My Grandmother's History of Fairies
Although there are a lot of stories about how fairies came to be, I’d like to share with you a story that I was told as a child by my grandmother. It may not be accurate, but I have found some pieces of it to be true in Irish Mythology when I did my own research of it as an adult. Here is a generalization of what she said:
Long ago, there was a huge battle between two races: the Fir Bolgs and the Tuatha De Danaan. They were like the forces of dark and light. In fact, the Tuatha De Danan were considered the children of the Goddess Danu who was the bringer of light. They fought long and hard, and the Tuatha were forced to use their four weapons of power (the stone of destiny, the spear of destiny, the caldron of destiny, and the sword of destiny) in order to overcome the mighty forces of the Fir Bolg. Much of Ireland’s land was changed because of this fierce battle. In the end, even though the Tuatha were able to push back the Fir Bolgs, they went into hiding themselves in the woods of Ireland. When they did, they began to change and morph. They hid away from humans as much as possible, and when they were seen, they appeared tiny and harmless. They became known as the fairies. Some of them were good and welcomed visits from humans, while others became jaded from the battle and wanted to punish humans for the war they were forced to endure.
Memories that Still Hold True
Long ago, I remember attending a camp called Camp Pattegansett. Every day I would pass by the main office just so I could get a glimpse of their little gnome village. I can’t remember too much as it was twenty some odd years ago (mumble mumble, give or take a few years), but I do recall the ceramic gnomes they had outside and a tree that was their home. Every so often, one of them would be holding a note or a flower or something. I know as an adult that one of the staff put it there, but as a child I thought that it was magical and it made my day.
The Creation of Our Fairy Home
Fairy Villages can be bought piece by piece at places like A.C.Moore, Target, Michaels, Joann Fabrics, and more. They can also be created out of falling twigs and branches. When my son and I created our first village in our backyard, we bought things and placed them in our village. After a while, I looked at it and was a little bummed out. Although it was pretty, it didn’t look very realistic to me (don’t get me wrong, I’ve seen hundreds of villages that had bought items in them and looked magnificent).
One day, I decided that we were going to remake the village. Connor and I sat on the back porch with a glue gun, twigs, leaves, some clay pots, and bale twine. He would run to the backyard and fetch me more materials as I glued the pieces together to create beds, houses, and more. We even created a fence and a laundry line. It was so much fun and you should have seen the excitement in his eyes when it was complete. I even bought a little Victorian key at A.C.Moore and gave it to Connor. I told him that he was the guardian of the village and that it was his duty to look after it.
Now, whenever he has friends over, they all go over to the fairy village and marvel at it for a few minutes before continuing on with their games. I have smiled to myself on more than one occasion when I hear them playing fairies and trolls. My son stands guard with laughter in his eyes as he solemnly guards the fairy village against the friendly “trolls” that run across the yard, attempting to steal the magic key to the fairy home.
The Present Calling
Just the other day I was out for a photo shoot with my team. As we walked through the woods, we stumbled across a “fairy village” made from old action figures. Even in the craziness of the shoot, the entire team began to smile and take a break. Everyone pulled out their cellphones and took pictures of this little treasure. It didn’t matter that it was action figures and not the fairies that you buy at the craft store, just the idea that someone took the time to make it for others to enjoy was worth it…and we all enjoyed it immensely.
It made me realize that creating a fairy home or village has a lot of wonderful benefits. It teaches kids to use their imagination and creativity. It gives adults a break from the stresses of life and brings us back to the happiness of child-like wonder.
I have a plan this year to create a village somewhere that isn’t my home. I don’t really need to buy anything. It could be another fun art project for Connor and I to do. We will make it out of sticks and stuff and plan to randomly place it in a park for others to discover and enjoy. When I create it, I will definitely take a picture. Someone may end up destroying it, but if one person sees it and it makes their day, then I consider it a success.
The Mysterious Remains
There is a place I have been curious to visit. It is called the “Little People Village” and it is located in Middlebury, CT. Seated deep in the woods, there are a few old “little” houses that have been created with brick and mortar. According to local legend, a husband and wife lived in that area many years ago. When the wife claimed to see fairies in the woods, the husband began to build houses for them to live in. The village still remains standing to this day. I have included a link at the bottom of this blog for anyone that wishes to see what the houses look like.
Sharing Your Fairy House with the World
Building fairy houses has become quite a popular event. In Connecticut, there have been several events with fairy houses in display at the Florence Griswald Museum and many other places. There are also many fairy festivals in which people showcase their villages and there are contests as well on the internet. If you choose to build your fairy home/village, feel free to take a picture and share it in one of the contests.
There are also a lot of really great tutorials on Pinterest and just on the internet in general. People have made fairy houses and village in things as small as a birth bath and as big as a tree. Please feel free to check them out, or to share some of your own fairy stories.
"Find that magical place in your world, and live there."
"some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again."
Little People Village in Middlebury, CT
Fairy House Contests
A Walk into the Silent Beauty
As I gaze out into the expanse of the area around me, I am surrounded by white. The color of purity…and of innocence. It is all around me, and I am engulfed within its presence. It is cold, yet so beautiful. It is a clean slate, and a chance to start anew. Not a single footprint can be seen on its icy coat, and it lights up the area on even the darkest of nights. I close my eyes and listen to its silence, and smile as a snowflake gently kisses my cheek before drifting down to join its comrades. In the sunlight, the sun glimmers off the fresh powder, making it appear like thousands of miniscule diamonds that can never be captured.
When I hear myself talk about this image, I instantly think of a luxurious place that is yet untouched by man. The ironic part of it is that I wrote it late at night after shoveling my suburban driveway. The way that the snow fell around me and the soft whisper of the wind made me feel as though I was in a world of my own.
The Meaning of Winter
The word winter is actually German in reference and was once called wintar. It has altered from the original word of wed which means wet or water. Although many people think of water as the element for summer, winter is the season that encompasses the element to its fullest potential. That is also why water is seen more as a darker element (because the nights are longer) and is considered feminine.
The Paradox of Things
One of the things I find the most interesting about winter is that it is considered the “dark time” of the year when, in fact, it is not. Winter usually starts on the 21st or 22nd of December (depending on the year) and it purposely coincides with the Winter Solstice. For those that aren’t into astrology, the Winter Solstice marks the longest night of the year (and the shortest day). The entire season of winter is about the sun coming out longer and longer. In essence, we are coming out of the dark that fall delivered and slowly making our way towards the warmer months. Ironically, winter is the time when the earth’s northern hemisphere is actually the closest to the sun. I like to think of winter as the sunrise in the morning. Each day that passes in the winter brings the sun higher in the sky for an extended period of light. Within three short months, it will be the Spring Equinox (and the last day of winter), when day and night are equal in time.
The Nature of Winter
As children, we grow up on stories of the bears in the forest that hibernate for the winter, and the birds that fly south for warmer climates. Just like night in the cycle of the average day, winter is a time to rest and recoup our energy. The same could be said for us humans. Although play is certainly always a pleasure (and we will name off just a few ways to do so at the bottom of this blog), winter is important because it is time for reflection and renewal. After the craziness of Christmas, Hanukah, New Year’s Eve, Yule, and so much more, things tend to get very quiet for many people. For those of us in the New England territories (and many other places), the snow falls and makes it tougher for most to get around. Hence, we are more apt to stay inside and binge watch our favorite shows, or stare out at the white expanse and count the days until spring.
Looking into the Mirror
When I was younger, my friend and I were relaxing by a lake near her house. It was a quiet summer’s night and I remembered talking about what I wanted to be when I grew up. After much thought, she urged me to kneel at the water’s edge and look over into it. When all I saw was myself, she smiled and told me that her grandmother had taught her to close her eyes and think, and then look again. I did and still only saw myself, but when she touched the water, I could swear that my face looked longer and I appeared older and more beautiful before it disappeared. I still wonder sometimes to this day if it did or not, but the point she made afterwards was that I need not look to outside sources to find out who I was, it was in me the whole time. If I wanted to know what I should become, I just needed to pay more attention to myself and listen.
Winter does that for us. It is the mirror we seek at night when we are lost. It is the reflection that stares back at us and the perfect time to look inside and see what we want – and need – within our lives to fill the voids that have been created. For some people, this is a frightening thing. Most of us use the summer activities of barbecues and family events, beaches and parties to distract us from our moments of self-doubt, sadness, and self-discovery. Winter is quiet and reminds us what is there – and what is not. Now this is not true for everybody, but many share in the symptoms when all becomes quiet and they can only hear themselves. The question is: are you ready to listen?
Grasp the Mirror
I love the winter because it is my time to curl up and relax in the late of night. I use it to catch up on things, re-arrange my house, and take the time to learn new things. Every year, I push through the craziness of the holidays and long for the silence that follows so that I can prepare for the year. I invite you to do the same. Below are some things I find fun to do amid the colder season, and some things that can be done to look in the mirror and see your reflection. I would love it if you would like to share some of your own activities or the ones that you have tried and loved. ^_^
Things to do in Winter (After the BIG Holidays)
-Spring clean the house (I like to do this in the winter so that I can work on the outside in the spring)
-Work on new interior decorating ideas and house projects
-Make a dream/vision board about what you want in your future
-Write a book (the winter is when I do my best writing)
-Sled/ski/snow ball fights/do you want to build a snowman? (sorry, I couldn’t help it)
-Visit family and rekindle relationships
-Cleaning, organizing, and purging the dreaded closet (also, matching new outfits together and having a fun new spin on outfits that needed a new perk)
-Genealogy and interviews for genealogy with family (what better way to spend the afternoon then listening to wonderful family tales from grandma and writing it down for future generations)
-Hot cocoa and fires (in the fireplace naturally)
-Mini trip to a lodge or cabin in the woods
-Family game nights
-Have a post-holiday gathering at your house (wine party, valentines/unvalentines party, book club, Super Bowl party, Girls’ group, home spa day, etc.)
-Start researching a topic that you’ve always been interested in and read a book that covers it in some detail. It doesn’t even have to be something related to your job. It could be something that you’ve just been curious about. My newest curiosity is about how shoes are made.
-Make some goals that you would like to achieve this year
-Write things that you are grateful for
-Start a bullet journal (check out Pinterest if you are interest as there are tons of pins and boards just for this topic) I definitely recommend first making and filling out the bullet journal page called “ten to life” so that you can see the difference as you continue to journal
-Start a journal of any type (adventure journal, emotion journal, creative journal, cooking journal, learning journal, sleep journal, dream journal, etc.)
-and so much more…
"Let us love winter, for it is the spring of genius."
"The color of springtime is in the flower,
the color of winter is in the imagination."
-Ward Elliot Hour
The Dance for Myself
I close my eyes as my arms languish up in the air of their own accord. My hips glide – unfettered – to a beat that only I can hear. I am free, and unbridled. My darkened tresses tickle the small of my back as I throw my head back and twirl in sheer abandonment. A secretive smile plays upon my lips as I enjoy the feeling of dancing in the wild. It’s almost as if I have surrendered my conscious self to a higher power and entered into the body of a forgotten goddess. She guides me in my moves and I am happy in my temporary divinity.
Over the exotics beats of the bass, I hear a small giggle and realize that I had forgotten to close the door to my bedroom. My five-year-old smiles at me from the crack in the door and then runs away, presumably to tell daddy that he caught mommy dancing again while cleaning the house. I laugh in return and pretend to give chase before continuing on with the vacuuming.
The Benefits of Dancing
Dancing has been part of the human race since the earliest of recorded times – and beyond. It is something that does not have to be taught to us. Within each person resides the ability to move to rhythm in a way that makes them feel good. Of course, there are particular dances that are more popular and thousands venture to learn them, but dancing in general does not need to be taught. It doesn’t matter if it is a beautiful couple waltzing across a polished dance floor or a mother tapping her foot while humming to an unknown tune. They are all forms of expression and are unique to each person.
So why have so many people stopped?
Dancing has so many benefits for both the mind and the body. It helps reduce weight and stress, increases flexibility, makes friends and improves romantic relationships. It also helps with muscle toning, flexibility, posture, balance, decreasing the probability of dementia, kinesthetic awareness, mood, and so much more.
Different Forms of Dancing
There is no way that I’ll be able to list all of the formal types of dances, but I’ll try to hit up some of the more popular forms. As I have stated before, formal dance is not a necessity. It is just a suggestion for those that want to try it out. I would love to try out formal dance (if I had more free time), but until I get the chance to do so I will happily dance in my own originally outrageous style.
Ballet, waltz, rhumba, barn dances, contras, Bollywood, breakdancing, square dancing, cat daddy, calypso, cheerleading, chicken dance, court dance, conga, cupid shuffle, disco, electric slide, fan dance, flamenco, foxtrot, freestyle, Gangnam style, Harlem shake, hand jive, hula, hustle, ice dancing, Irish dancing, interpretive dance, modern dance, jazz, Japanese traditional dance, crumping, Latin dance, line dance, Macarena, Persian dance, quick step, reggae, salsa, tango, and so much more.
The Magic of Dancing
When I think of dancing in the past, I love to envision a gypsy fire at the beach on a warm summer night. The breeze is filled with the aromas of sea lavender and ocean air mixed with the exotic scent of the smoldering fire. A merry group of men and women sit around it with various instruments as a lone girl dances near the center. The shadows of her dance cast beautiful shapes across the revelers as she spins and laughs to the beat of the song. The dancing within this image conjures up happiness, sensuality, and comradery.
The same can be true about today’s society. Can you remember a time when you were at a dance club, family gathering, festival, etc. and just danced without caring what people thought? How did you feel?
Special Ways to Dance
Everyone is different, but I would love to share some unique ways that I dance to add magic back into everyday life. I can’t explain it but it makes me feel amazing and I promise you, I am not that good of a dancer. I’m the girl that has been told on countless occasions to “stay in my box” and “keep it simple” for dancing. Regardless, I still love to dance. It is empowering and amazing.
IN THE KITCHEN
-Honestly, one of the most romantic things that I love to do is to cook a meal with some international music playing through my kitchen speakers. I will dance in my kitchen until my husband will come along and begin to waltz with me – or slow dance. Neither one of us has ever taken professional lessons but we get by with the general dance moves, and it feels amazing.
-As I have stated at the beginning of this blog, I will close the door sometimes to whatever room I am cleaning and start to dance my heart out. Usually I like to listen to Belly dance music on my headphones while I do this (Shakira rocks my Spotify list) but other times I’ll be blasting 80s Freestyle or something similar and upbeat. Not only does it make the cleaning more enjoyable, it also gives me a workout and an ego boost to boot.
WHILE WORKING OUT
-This is the same as cleaning except I usually will listen to fight songs and/or techno. I find that it keeps my heart rate up between reps and puts me in a great mood.
DANCING IN THE RAIN
-I don’t need music at all for this. I just like to dance in the rain, especially when it is one of those rare summer days where the water is warm and you feel like you are in your own little world. I have even pulled my son outside and danced with him in the rain on several occasions. So far he has not questioned my unique hobby and just joins in the revelry with laughter.
DANCING IN THE CAR
-Every so often, I’ll pull up to a stop light and hear music radiating from a car nearby. When the occupant(s) is(are) busting a move to a song that they love, I just can’t help but smile in happiness. I also love to sing my heart out while throwing up one hand and scooching my bum from left to right in my seat (while still following all of the driving laws, of course). It makes the car ride that much more entertaining and sets you up in a great mood for when the drive is over.
-It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Some of the coolest dances are those done in sheer happiness. The little dance we do while eating our favorite foods, the infamous signature dances done in football after a touchdown, and the dance of joy we do when something makes us particularly excited are all wonderful examples of the fun mini goal dances out there.
It doesn’t matter what your style is or how you do it, dancing is a magical thing that brightens the mood and transcends time. I definitely recommend making a CD, playlist, mix tape, radio station, etc. that is filled with wonderful songs that will get you grooving and keep it someplace for easy access on those days where you just need a little more to the day. Dancing is wonderful to watch and more amazing to do yourself (or with others). If you have other places/ideas for dancing, please share it because I am always looking for more wonderful examples on when to bust my moves.
“Dance is the hidden language of the Soul.”
“I could not adequately describe the way dance makes me feel. It is as though I had somehow found a way to sever the chords holding me to earth and for a moment, if only a fraction of a second, I can fly.”