How often do we talk about the power of stories? Or about having faith? And how often do we act on either - as in a leap of trust? In reading Signe Pike's Faery Tale I came across a woman who had followed the power of stories - and leapt into her own as she went off to search for the Fair Folk.
I had picked up the hard cover a while back, and had added it to my library of faery lore. And I will admit that even as I purchased the book I was a little dubious, since many of the modern books on the fairies tend to be very light on actual lore, and heavy on fluff. Couple that with it being a memoir and I was really wondering if I had spent my money well.
It turned out I had.
It took me a while to get around to the book as other research projects demanded my attention, but now I am sorry I have finished it.
This was more than just a book of fairy lore. Ms. Pike's ability to bring places and people to life on the page is powerful in its own right. And the landscapes of her travels through the British Isles stand out in your mind.
She had studied her lore and history, and she blends that with her personal growth and healing through the book.
At the end you know she is strong in her beliefs, but she doesn't try to come up with any hard conclusions. Not that that would be possible when it comes to the Fair Folk. What is solid is the belief that both nature and history should be respected, and permission asked when a traveler enters these realms.
This is a new blog series that focuses on life stories that have caught my attention. With some being better known than others.
The thread of this series began when Amazon offered up one of their "Recommendations," which was Steve Blamires, The Chronicles of the Sidhe. I am always interested in new books about fairy folklore, and decided to look at the review. It turned out to be intriguing in that Mr. Blamires offered the theory that the biographer/poet, William Sharp, was possessed by a Fairy spirit, who had taken on the name Fiona McLeod. And through her abilities wrote volumes of powerful poetry.
NowI wasn't too sure about the theory, but I was intrigued by William Sharp's story, because it was a fact that he did write poetry (some said it was better than his own) under the name Fiona McLeod. He also carried on quite a elaborate plan, for many years, to make her seem to be real individual.
Mr. Blamires also wrote one of the few biographies on William Sharp, entitled, The Little Book of Great Enchantment, which is a more standard biography. What also makes William Sharp's life interesting is that his life overlapped so many other fascinating people - Y. B. Yeats, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Wellesley Tudor Pole (via Glastonbury and the blue chalice).
While I don't subscribe to Mr. Blamires' theory of fairy possession I will admit that William's Sharp early death did remind me of the legend of the Leanan sídhe. The Leanan Sidhe being a fairy lover/muse who inspired their chosen lover to great heights of artistic fame - before cutting their lives short.
Be that as it may, the books on William Sharp brought to my attention other life stories I wanted to follow, and I will write more about these later.
I am including some links to Fiona MacLeod's poetry:
I am a Springfield, IL based storyteller with a fascination for how folklore travels, and for history.