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Notice Widdershin is mentioned in here, really as it was originally as a door opening. Perse
Fairies live in some type of land both on earth and on an other plane of existence. This place has been called many names throughout history: Fairyland, Elfhame,Tir-na-nOg, the Realm Perilous, Avalon, ...
It is told in the legends, that once there was a time when the human world was one with Faerie. But because of some dramatic change, faeries had to retreat and maintain only an avant-post on our world. However, the same legends say that there still exist some gateways between the world of faeries and our. Those who have the gift or are in possession of the magic mantra can enter into faerieland.
In the legend of Childe Roland, he gained entrance to a fairy knowe by circling it three times widdershins, crying "Open door! open door!". At the third pass it opened and he found himself in the Dark Tower of Elfland.
Time appears not to exist in fairyland, and neither is there any ugliness, sickness, age, or death. Mortals taken to fairyland may pass as much as 900 years there, thinking it only one night. Although no one dies in fairyland there appears to be a fairy birth, as there are many stories of fairy infants and children who require mortal mothers to nurse them.
Fairy palaces (see Ir. Brug) are thought to be lavishly decorated in gold and silver, where the residents and their guests spend much time consuming immense banquets of the richest, most delicious food. Much time is given to dancing and music. Fairies favour two domestic animals, the dog and the horse, although fearful dogs and cats are sometimes ascribed fairy powers. Fairies ride in procession on their white horses, their manes braided and decorated with tinkling silver bells.
The two worlds are said to be connected by fairy rings, fairyislands and fairy steads, magical gateways to the other world. The passages that lead to Faerieland were as numerous as people and countries. Banks of mists often surround fairy rings or fairy hills. However, there sometimes can be found a gap in the mists. This is called the mist-gate.
One family who was supposed to have stumbled upon this underground abode was the MacCrimmons, whose fame as pipers is known throughout Scotland. They were supposed to have been granted this marvelous musical gift from the Seelie Court in return for their unselfish desire to serve their fellow countrymen. Incidentally, they found the Seelie Court's burgh.
Fairy islands are mythological islands where endless spring and happiness is. Ageing and sickness in unheard of. Somesay they float, some are underwater and come above surface at night and some are visible only at special occasions.
Among the best known are the Isles of the Blest (a/k/a Fortunate Islands), Tir Nan Og (the Land of the Young), Tirfo Thuinn (the Land Under the Waves), Tire Nam Beo (Land of the Living), Tirn Aill (the Other World), Mag Mor (the Great Plain), Mag Mell (the Pleasant Plain), and Tir Tairngire (the Plain of Happiness).
Tír-na-n-Og: There is a country called Tír-na-n-Og, which means the Country of the Young, for age and death have not found it; neither tears nor loud laughter have gone near it. According to many stories, Tír-na-n-Og: is the favourite dwelling of the fairies. Some say it is triple-the island of the living, the island of victories, and an underwater land. The shadiest boskage covers it perpetually. One man has gone there and returned. The bard, Oisin, who wandered away on a white horse, moving on the surface of the foam with his fairy Niamh, lived there three hundred years, and then returned looking for his comrades. The moment his foot touched the earth his three hundred years fell on him, and he was bowed double, and his beard swept the ground. He described his sojourn in the Land of Youth to Patrick before he died.
The Isle of Apples: known as Avalon in the Arthurian mythos (often equated with Ablach Emain). Here we find the Silver Bough that allowed a living mortal to enter and withdraw from the Otherworld or Land of the Gods. According to legend, the Fairy Queen sometimes offered the branch to worthy mortals, granting them safe passage and food during their stay.
Another medieval writer described Avalon, which meant the isle of apples, with the following words:
'Avalon, which men call the Fortunate Isle, is so named because it produces all things of itself. The fields there have no need of farmers to plow them, and nature alone provides all cultivation. Grains and grapes are produced without tending, and apple trees grow in the woods from the close-clipped grass...Thither after the battle of Camlan we took the wounded Arthur...with the Prince we arrived there and Morgan receved us with becoming honour. In her own chamber she placed the King on a golden bed, with her own hand uncovered the wound, and gazed at it long. At last she said that health could return to him, if her were to stay with her for a long time and wished to make use of her healing art.'
Ys is a mythical city that was built on the coast of Brittany and later swallowed by the ocean. Most versions of the legend place the city in the Douarnenez Bay.
Pembrokshire Coast : the Welsh thought it to be an invisible island in the Irish Channel just off this coast
Hy Breasail : elusive island to the west of Ireland
A Dutch pilot, settled in Dublin, told M. De La Boullage Le Cong, who travelled in Ireland in 1614, that round the poles were many islands; some hard to be approached because of the witches who inhabit them and destroy by storms those who seek to land. He had once, off the coast of Greenland, in sixty-one degrees of latitude, seen and approached such an island only to see it vanish. Sailing in an opposite direction, they met with the same island, and sailing near, were almost destroyed by a furious tempest.
In old Celtic fairy lore the sidhe (fairy folk) are immortals living in the ancient barrows and cairns. The Tuatha de Danaan are associated with several Otherworld realms including Mag Mell (the Pleasant Plain), Emain Ablach (the Fortress of Apples or the Land of Promise or the Isle of Women), and the Tir na nÓg (the Land of Youth).
Some 19th century archaeologists thought they had found underground rooms in the Orkney islands resembling the Elfland in Childe Rowland.
Those who do not live in the big cities tend to settle down in small packs of several families. There dwelling can sometime be recognized. The Gaelic belief recognizes no Fairyland or realm different from the earth's surcface on which men live and move. The dwellings are underground, but it is on the natural face of earth the Fairies find their sustenance, pasture their cattle, and on which they forage and roam.
Sithein is the name of any place in which the Fairies take up their residence. It is known from the surrounding scenery by the peculiarly green appearance and rounded form. Like a tumulus, it is nearly conical a form and covered with rich verdure. Its external appearance has led to its being also known by various other names.
Brugh denotes the Fairy dwelling viewed as it were from the inside--the interiors--but is often used interchangeably with sithein. It is probably the same word as burgh, borough, or bro', and its reference is to the number of inmates in the Fairy dwelling
These dwellings were tenanted sometimes by a single family only, more frequently by a whole community. The elves were said to change their residences as men do, and, when they saw proper themselves, to remove to distant parts of the country and more desirable haunts. To them, on their arrival in their new home, are ascribed the words:
"Though the good haven we have left,
Better be the haven we have found."
The Fairy hillock might be passed by the strangers without suspicion of its being tenanted, and cattle were pastured on it unmolested by the "good people".
There is, however, a common story in the Western Isles that a person was tethering his horse or cow for the night on a green tolman where a head a appeared out of the ground, and told him to tether the beast somewhere else, as he let rain into "their" house, and had nearly driven the tether-pin into the ear of one of the inmates.
Another, who was in the habit of pouring out dirty water at the door, was told by the Fairies to pour it elsewhere, as he was spoiling their furniture. He shifted the door to the back of the house, and prospered ever after. The Fairies were very grateful to any one who kept the shi-en clean, and swept away cow or horse-droppings falling on it.
Finding a farmer careful of the roof of their dwelling, keeping it clean, and not breaking the sward with tether-pin or spade, they showed their thankfulness by driving his horses and cattle to the sheltered side of the mound when the night proved stormy. Many believe the Fairies themselves swept the hillock every night, so that in the morning its surface was spotless.
The Welsh otherworld, roughly equivalant to the Irish faery land where the Tuatha de Danann dwelt.
In the Welsh tale "Pwyll Lord of Dyved" from the Mabinogion, it is told that Annwn was originally ruled by two great rival lords, Arawn and Havgan. However, a deal between Pwyll and Arawn led to Pwyll's slaying of Havgan in combat, and from then on Arawn was sole ruler of that magical land.
However, in more recent legends and lore, Annwn becomes more the land of the dead, and its king is almost always Gwynn ap Nudd.
Sometimes spelt Annwfn or Annwvyn.
Long ago, on every New Year's Day, a door would appear in the side of a great rock next to a certain lake. Those who entered found that it lead to a passage that ended on the island in the middle of the lake. This island was a beatiful garden kept by the Gwrgedd Annwn, who would serve wonderful food to the travelers and treat them as honored guests. They warned the fortunate mortals that the doorway was a secret and that nothing could be taken from the garden. One mortal took a single flower from the garden and as soon as he touched the soil of earth, all of the other other travelers were expelled and the doorway was closed, never to reopen again.
IN the prose Edda, Ganglar inquires what other cities beside that in which the Nornir dwelt were by the Urdar fount, under the Ash Yggdrasil. Hár replies: “There are many fair cities there. There is the city which is called Alf-heim, where dwelleth the people that is called Liosálfar (Light Alfs). But the Döckálfar (Dark Alfs) dwell below underground, and are unlike them in appearance, and still more unlike in actions. The Liosálfar are whiter than the sun in appearance, but the Döckálfar are blacker than pitch."