Saturday, September 19, 2009

A Little Bit More About THE DENHAM TRACTS

Maybe I'm now beating a dead horse, but...

Out of all the things on the rather extensive list of "spirits" from Volume II of The Denham Tracts, fays are listed, but faes are not. Granted, some of the spellings of the names of other beings are different from spellings seen elsewhere, and Denham's works are now well over one-hundred years old, but I still find the absence of "fae" telling. Yes, language is mutable, but what about tradition? Shouldn't tradition carry some weight when talking about beings found in lore going back hundreds, if not thousands, of years? Or must modern men thumb their noses at such things in order to be modern, playing fast-and-loose with tradition?

The fairies of today are, for the most part, descendants of the fairies of yesteryear. Even thinking of fairies as entities existing in a slightly different dimension from our own, occasionally slipping through the edge of our reality, is nothing really new; fairies were often thought of as beings of "in-between" (creatures of dusk and dawn, people of mist and shadow, a strange link between the living and the dead). Much of the lore surrounding the fay had them residing in an alternate reality, a reality that often possessed different physical and temporal rules from those holding sway over our own world. And traditional Celtic belief in the fair folk was just as strong as current New Age belief in the actual existence of fairies. So, why the change to "fae"? What purpose does it serve? If they are the same beings, with such a rich tradition behind them, why the departure from the more traditional spelling of the term?

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