Today is the Valentine’s Day Fairy Ball. There are several Fairy Balls a year, usually held outside, but due to inclement weather, tonight’s ball is being held in the Great Hall. Though buried in snow, the entry to the hall has been cleared and dressed in their finery, the attendees are gathering to celebrate, exchange Valentine cards, and dance the night away.
There will be party foods – wild mint teas with rose infused honey, warming citrusy tea from sorrel leaves and Douglas fir needles, cookies made from hazelnut flour and dried huckleberries, and a warm stew from dried mushrooms and the roots of many plants, seasoned with wild ginger. This is fairy food, they harvest what their plants willing give them.
This is the door to the Great Hall. It is deceptively small, for inside is indeed a great hall. With a warm fireplace, torches to light the way and hearts hanging from wooden beams, it is a cozy place for the ball to be held.
Tree Fairy (you may remember her from my December post), is not a socialite, she prefers the company of her beloved trees, but she does love her fairy friends, so donning a fancy cape and hat she set off for the ball. Her little seed fairy friends are helping her take a string of hearts to help decorate the Great Hall.
One of the many flower fairies, this fairy in pink, decked out in stilettos and ruffled pants, is ready to dance. She loves to dance! I wonder if that rose bud is for a special Valentine?
So am I going crazy? Telling fairy tales? No to both. (Well, maybe a little crazy.)
I started making plant mandalas in spring 2016, a creative sideline when harvesting herbs, flowers and wild plants for medicinal or culinary use. Soon mandala making expanded beyond harvest times. During the winter holidays that year I started making angels, and then my “stone faced flower girls” showed up, a descriptive, but not very poetic phrase, so they became fairies. Not fairies by the conventional definition, most have no wings, and none are impish or tricksters. The simplest dictionary definition I’ve found for fairy is “a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one.” That best describes my fairies. They are forest spirits, little beings made from that which they love – bits of plants, stones, seeds, etc., and who live in and care for Nature. Some can be stubborn, ornery and protective when their beloved plants and trees are threatened, but they are generally gentle, kind and loving. They don’t interact with people much, preferring the plants they care for. Besides, they are busy enough with their work. They do love people who come to the forest, or a garden, to appreciate their plants and trees. They are especially fond of children and will show them the magic of nature and help them if they are lost in the woods. They can be found anywhere in Nature, from a tiny garden on the corner of a city street to distant forests in the mountains.
“Story” lines about each one come to me as I make them, their personalities and bio emerge as they do. Like the mandalas, making them is an unfolding process with no predetermined concepts. The results usually surprise me (and sometimes frustrate me.) Unlike traditional fairy tales, my short one or two story lines have no villains or heroes, no moral or life lesson, and are not “dark”, as many fairy tales are.
Another fairy dressed for the ball. For her fairy job she wears all leaves, but she made a pretty petal top for the ball. Oh, and her very special shell purse contains Valentine’s for the Valentine’s exchange.
Fairy tales go back thousands of years and were (are) written with an intention. They are tales with a purpose – to teach a lesson, a moral code, etc. Most the earlier tales were not necessarily written for children and because they often reflect the values and social attitudes of the times and/or author, they may not be useful or even appropriate as stories in today’s world. There are modern fairy tales, especially in the movies, and there are some classic and timeless tales of old. (see links below to articles about fairy tales.)
Her card in one hand for the Valentine exchange, a torch in the other to help her find her way home, this pixie fairy is off for a night of celebration! She is beaming with love tonight for everyone….including you!
Any tales that emerge with my forest spirits are simple whimsy, the only intention is to make you smile, or laugh….or think I’m crazy.
HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY from the fairies…and me!
A few previous Valentine’s posts:
To view more of my fairies check out Flora Mandalas. Or visit my Instagram page.
Interesting articles about the history of fairy tales: