Faerie Exploration International
Part Two: What are Fairies?
But what are fairies--where do they come from, what are they made of, how do they function? They seem to defy the rules of physics as we know them--or do they?
Right off the bat, I want to state that I do not have the answers. What I do have is a profound curiosity, and a spotty knowledge of several theories that may or may not contradict each other or fit right in with each other in ways we haven't yet figured out. I would delight in discussing this further within the group, should you care to join.
(For discussion purposes, Faerie is the realm or state in which fairies and their manifestations exist, fairies are the beings, and fey is the adjective that refers to fairies or manifestations of Faerie.)
Imagine you are a being of pure energy. You might simply have started out that way. Or, as some religions or traditions aspire, you might have attained that state. Or you might have realized that you were a being of energy all along and stopped buying into the Dominant Paradigm of Consensus Reality, with its faith in unremitting solidity, as some mystics, physicians, and physicists agree could happen.
So what do you do? Spending eternity simply existing could get boring after awhile. You could go off seeking a higher power, who might send you back with a mission to perform, and you could shape your energetic form to the service of that mission. Or, you might explore the possibilities, use your imagination, and start shaping your own world according to your own paradigm, and others beings of energy might join you in doing this--call it Faerie, if you're English, or the Sea Ania, if you're of my tribe, or other names for other cultures. Or you might never leave your original world, just interact with it differently, manifesting whatever body you want, rearranging the particles as you see fit, your consciousness resting not on the form but in the energetic charge itself. You might overlap this alternate world with the world you came from, or it might just happen to intersect. (In my particular tribe, what often gets translated as "world" or "reality" actually better translates as "climate".)
In this energetic form, people not on the same wavelength (so to speak) might have difficulty seeing you or communicating with you. On the other hand, you could find it much easier to visit them in dreams, since human beings most readily connect telepathically in the dream state, and since the human perception of having a body that interacts with the dreamscape would most closely resemble what you as a being of pure energy might come up with for yourself. In these dreams you might take on forms familiar to the dreamer, borrowing imagery from people's minds, naming yourself according to the dreamer's culture, myths, even her fiction.
That's the quantum physics explanation, probably stated in exceptionally bad layman's terms and hitting wide of the mark, but I did the best I could. There's also the M-theory physics explanation:
In this theory, layers of universes exist ad infinitum. People in different universes might function in vastly different ways, that would seem magical to us (as perhaps we might to them.) These layers might touch, or bisect. Some physicists would expect a catastrophic result if this were to happen, others believe it happens all the time, creating a kind of pulse or bellows effect, while still others consider that such liminal intersections might do no particular harm, and might even teem with marvelous syncretic energies and interactions. The last might explain Faerie, and human interaction iwth fairies.
Even without intersection, I have known physicists and other scientists to speculate that beings of a different universe (or "brane" as they call them) might be capable of mental contact with people of this universe. The most conducive environment for this contact would be the dream.
Yet another theory is that we created fairies, ourselves. First as figments of our imagination, then as real creatures that accrued solidity and independence the more we thought about them, and expected them. This would give a different twist to the quantum physics side, that although Consensus Reality would resist exceptions, being backed by billions of people over uncounted generations expecting particles of energy to manifest just precisely so, yet groups of alternate believers or even a strong-minded individual could stir up something else entirely.
One could also combine several of the above explanations with that last one--that beings of another plane of existence borrow imagery from our minds in which to clothe themselves. They might work closely with us in their own creation.
Then there are many folk examples, including anecdotes, that postulate fairies as one possible manifestation of the Dead. What if you choose what you experience after you leave the body? Or what if the choices you made while alive predispose you to different experiences? What if the gamut includes a range of options between Heaven and Hell? Mind you, I am not endorsing this or any theory--I just want to put all of the theories out there on the table.
Scholars of the middle ages also offered a possible explanation, that perhaps fairies were children of Adam born before the fall, if not to Eve then perhaps to a legendary first wife, Lilith, who would not submit to his authority, prompting him to divorce her and ask God for a replacement (none of which is in the Bible, of course.) Some cast Lilith in the form of a demon, others as a goddess, still others as a woman scorned.
Of course I would fail in objectivity not to mention the purely psychological explanations. Hallucination and delusion come to mind. I cannot rule this out in my own case, because I have a neurological condition, called narcolepsy, that not only causes sleep seizures, but can also cause me to slip into brief flash-dreams while awake. I say that in the interest of honesty. I still consider dreams to hold transpersonal possibilities, however. And non-narcoleptics of sound sanity have seen or experienced fairies, too.
Or one could take a less pathological tack and declare fairies to be archetypes that manifest similarly in psyches throughout the world. Even if they exist only as archetypes, however, the fact that they're appearing to people around the world, especially but not exclusively in dreams, with the same message, should red-flag the importance of heeding that message for the good of society as a whole. If so many people imagine beings shouting "Change course! For God's sake, change course!" then perhaps some collective survival instinct has shaped itself thus to grab our attention.
I do not, by any means, intend this as the compendium of all possible explanations. But I had to start somewhere.
--Dolores J. Nurss