The Fairy Ring: An Oracle of the Fairy Folk, book by Anna Franklin, illustrated by Paul Mason
Llewellyn Publications, 0738702749
One thing needs to be very clear at the outset. This is NOT a Tarot deck. It has no Major Arcana, as such, instead it has eight Fairy Festival (Sabbat) cards, there are only 13 cards in each of the “suits” of the Minor Arcana (there is no “ten” and the Page has been replaced by the Lady). It also includes four cards illustrating layouts and the meanings for each position within the layouts. These cards will be an invaluable aid to becoming comfortable and familiar with these new layouts.
These cards are interesting on many levels, ranging from the expected ones of divining information and serving as a meditation tool to the unexpected use as a kind of mug shot book of the Celtic branch of the wee folk. Utilizing the book which explains the cards, one can gain more insight into the habits and behaviours of the most elusive inhabitants of our world.
Proper methods of behaviour towards these races are discussed, as are their expectations of the humans they choose to interact with.
Granted that there are a very limited number of fairy folk discussed, and this group is all derived from Celtic lands (specifically the British Isles), still there is a wide variety of types discussed. In all there are 56 spirits covered (each suit contains one double card). Of these, ways of contacting and working with are given for 40. The other 16 are “not recommended” to work with, for various reasons.
The cards are beautifully drawn, and the descriptions and divinatory meanings given in the book give a good starting point for your own encounters with the inhabitants of the land of Fairy.
Even in you don’t want to use them for divinatory purposes you could spend hours meditating upon them, Each card provides an easy entrance into the world of the particular spirit.
It will be a while before I have any solid, personal opinions regarding the layouts developed for these cards, but at this time I can say that they appear to offer some very interesting insights.
Faery Magick, by Sirona Knight
New Page Books, 1564145956, 209 pages (+ bibliography and index), 2003
My first quibble with this book has nothing to do with the subject matter, or the editing. It is with the typeface selected to print the book. I suppose it was chosen to provide a unique, otherworldly, look, but it is close enough to an italic face that I kept expecting to see a footnote indicated at the end of each paragraph. I even asked my daughter what she thought, and her first remark was that it looked like the entire text was italicized. I suppose it wouldn’t pose a problem for people with perfect vision, but for those with deteriorating sight, this might pose a problem. The illustrations and border designs are pretty and certainly add to the appearance of the book, but they do not overcome the shortfalls caused by the poor choice of typeface.
Statements such as: “Faeries like befriending mortals. They enjoy doing helpful things, and as long as you keep giving them gifts in return, the magickal relationship continues unimpeded,” are misunderstandings just waiting to happen. Certainly, there are faery folk who fit that description, but there are at least as many who do not. And leaving an inappropriate gift can cause a major insult.
This book contains basic lists of stones, metals, trees, animals, flowers and herbs, and provides their affinities to the faery folk. I found the lists interesting and helpful, especially for someone just beginning to work with faery energies. She also lists Faery Magick Tools. Although I don’t always agree with her choices, that is a matter of personal choice.
Her invocations of Guardians for the Magick Circle lend a very different feel from the “standard” Magick Circle. They are gentle and kindly in their feel. The standard Guardians provide a very solid sense of security, while the fse offer a more fluid feel.
Once again, a book from New Page suffers from poor editing. I suspect in this case, the work was passed by a spell checking program since the misspelled words are almost all homonyms (“passed” for “past”, etc.). I realize that there is an advantage to using technology in the mass production of books, but there really can’t be any substitute for a sharp-eyed editor physically reading over a manuscript after it is passed on by technology.
Ms. Knight shares faery tales with the reader. Some are well known to everyone, some are more obscure. All of them have unique twists which may have been forgotten over the years, but which serve to bring home the lesson Ms. Knight is attempting to pass along. There certainly are more extensive faery tale collections out there, but that is not the primary purpose of this work. This book is about working with faery energies. The stories chosen fulfil their purpose very nicely.
The Bibliography is fairly extensive, even if it s little heavily loaded with Ms. Knight’s own works. It offers some possibilities for learning about faeries.