The Jury's Still Out...

I saw this group a while back when I first joined, and was tempted to join it myself, but felt too silly to do so...since I can't seem to simply come out and say, "I believe in fairies and magic!"

However, I guess it depends on what the definitions of "fairy" and "magic" are.  In a way, I do believe in them...just not the stereotyped ideas of them.  Take for example the picture currently used as this group's main photo--a girl with little frolicky girly fairies (a picture later proven to be a hoax).  I don't really believe in that type of thing.  Even in the traditional fairy stories, fairies weren't often depicted as small, delicate, peaceful beings with feminine features and wings.  They were more often a lot more human in size and appearance, and what's more, they were cruel and deceitful beings and best left alone.  (Check out the novel Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell for example.)  It isn't to say that I don't enjoy some stereotypical fairy art, but once in a while the numerous depictions of beautiful females with butterfly wings and stripey socks make me want to roll my eyes.  (Why would a fairy wear stripey socks??  And where are the guy fairies or ugly fairies??)

That's for another topic though.  I don't want to ruffle the people who do prefer to believe in this sort of fairy and magic; it's just not the kind that I believe in.

After a while of thinking (and reading), though, it came to me that I do believe in OTHER things that could fit into the same category.  I've long been interested in the mythology/beliefs of the local Ojibwa Indians, for example, and their stories are filled with tales of little people of the woods, merfolk, cannibal giants, little people who live in stony crags, little men made of iron, lake monsters, giant birds, and all sorts of spirits and creatures that in some form or another can be found in various other mythologies.  Some of these concepts fall very close to the stereotypical idea of the "fairy."  For example, there are the Pukwudjininees, or little people of the woods, who are visible usually only to children, and try to warn people away from water where more dangerous creatures dwell.  If that doesn't fit the idea of a friendly type of fairy or brownie then what does?

The Ojibwa merfolk, or Nebanaubae, are held by tradition to be able to take human form when it's raining (as they need the water), and are feared as they've been known to kidnap humans and change them into their own kind to dwell with them under the water.  This too seems similar to more traditional ideas of the fairy.

One idea that sticks with me, however, is that of beings known as the Michinimaki (they go by various other names), who in my own writing I refer to as the Michinimakinong.  They were also called Turtle Spirits or, in an obvious European reference, Turtle Fairies.  These were said to be beings (sometimes giant in size) who danced upon the bluffs of Michigan's Mackinac (Turtle) Island and who, according to more traditional Indian tales, were driven or killed off by another tribe countless years ago.  In one version of the story, two of them, a male and a female, survived and fled, later to become "fairies" or mischievous spirits who still watched over people from the wild.  These stories are obviously tainted by European ideas...but what if there really were Michinimakinong?  It wouldn't be the first time there was an ancient race that was driven out of its home...

I have to confess that many of my current and forming beliefs have been tinged by what I write as fiction.  I write about the Michinimakinong (my own depiction of them is as basically humanlike, but with dragonfly wings--I admit, I do like the wings), and over time I've come to wonder...what if they're still out there?  And we just can't see them?  What if they still dance on the bluffs at night when no one's watching, and hide away during the day in the numerous holes and clefts in the rocks?  God knows the island is full of such places to hide, and although the island is small, there are places no human would ever bother wandering...

What if there are little Pukwudjininees hiding in the woods, and Nebanaubae flitting about in the brooks and springs and lake, and Mizauwabeekum (little stone people) living in the rocks...?

Whenever I'm there, it becomes a lot easier to believe.

As for magic, if it were called by another name, one that doesn't make it sound so supernatural and out of place, perhaps I believe in that too.  "Medicine" is a word used often in traditional stories and in my own writing and works and sounds so much better than "magic," which has become another word tainted by stereotypes.  Medicine may appear supernatural but it's as natural as trees and rocks and everything else, it's just not readily accessible to everyone unless they should work for it.

So, do I believe in fairies and magic?  Not much.  Do I believe in spirits and medicine?  It's quite likely.  I wouldn't be the only one.

 

tehuti88 tehuti88
31-35, F
2 Responses Jul 26, 2007

Yeah, I would love to read it sometime!!!

Lots of info here..I bet your fiction is really good.