13 Signs You’re one of the Fae (The Fairies)

“Are you a witch, or are you a fairy?

Or are you the wife of Michael Cleary?” – Irish children’s rhyme

Poor Bridget Cleary, in 1895 she was burned alive by her husband in front of witnesses because they believed she was a ‘changeling’ a fairy substitute for the real Bridget, abducted by the fairies.

Changelings, puca’s, the banshee, the Tuatha de Danann (Irelands mythical race), the fae, right now I’m up to my eyes in all these and more, post-editing for my book. (It’s a tough life but someone has to live it)

My novel, Cailleach, is about a family of women with special abilities or powers, such as healing, second sight, and communication with the other world. In Ireland they would be known traditionally as Bean Feasa meaning Wise Women. The story, a quest narrative, is contemporary gothic, with paranormal elements, or magic realism tale. It’s inspired by Irish folklore, mythology, and the landscape I grew up in. In particular that of the Sliabh an Iarainn mountain, my fathers home. Where I spent much of my childhood.

fairy rath
Artist: John O’Grady Website: http://www.johnogradypaintings.com/

While the book crosses a number of genres I feel the premise of magic realism, where magical events occur alongside daily life without much notice being taken is ideal. Sound familiar? To Irish people it will. Because it’s daily life here.

You only have to look at Irish attitudes and laws around fairy trees and forts as well as the still prominent role of healers to see Ireland is like that. For those who don’t know, fairy trees and forts (any ring of trees) are protected by law in Ireland and there’s not many people would feel comfortable with damaging as much as a twig in case it would bring them bad luck. We think we don’t believe these things but superstitions run deep. For example…

While walking in Sligo in the early 1900s, WB Yeats asked an elderly man he met on the road if he believed in fairies. “I do not,” replied the man, “What do you take me for? What kind of eejit would believe in the little people or in witches and goblins and leprechauns? Don’t be ridiculous. I do not believe in them. Not at all…” There was a pause. “But they’re there,” the man concluded…

Much of this reality, of our rootedness in superstition and folklore, is so woven in our collective experience it is largely unconscious. For example, in my case I did minimal research before writing the book and was surprised, at times shocked, to find support for almost every idea I’d included. Even with artistic license of fantasy it would make you wonder. The latent knowledge that lies inside us and might never be brought forth. Where did it come from? 

Among the characters in my novel are otherworld creatures but also humans with close ties to the otherworld. And I have at times been struck in real life by people with what you might call ‘the look.‘ Much like some people remind me of birds there are some I would call fairy people, a look, oh yes, but also a way of going on, which is a definition of culture in itself is it not? Where did they come from? My idea of what they are, is almost certainly not mine at all.

Stories, imagination, popular culture, and our subconscious all play a part. Most would agree that ‘Legolas’ in Lord of the Rings has the look, he fits our idea of a fairy man. They are almost human, almost, but not quite, and they live among us. Are you one? Check my list below, I’ve adapted it from some of my characters, and see if you are or you know a fairy woman or a man. Word to the wise, elf on the shelf it isn’t…


‘The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.’ – W.B. Yeats

13 Signs You’re One of the Fae…

  1. You’re tall and slight of build with sharp features.
  2. You most likely have pale skin and black, red, or fair hair.
  3. You have small, bright, usually slanted, green or blue eyes.
  4. You’re what people would call strange in many ways, indefinable, eccentric, aloof.
  5. More still than quiet, with an intense quality/presence.
  6. Your favourite mode of transport is mist and your movements, walking, or in repose, are both awkward and graceful.
  7. You feel more affinity with landscape and elements than people.
  8. You’re from another world and so don’t quite fit and it shows.
  9. Lover of art, music, dance, and beauty.
  10. Free spirit.
  11. Both youthful and ancient.
  12. Lover of trees.
  13. Shy, kind, but with a cold streak, playful, and wise…

Does this sound like you or anyone you know?

9 thoughts on “13 Signs You’re one of the Fae (The Fairies)”

  • Yes,,,I do believe I am,,, 🙂 I am obsessed with fairies,,have so many photos of fairies on my computer as well. And I so want to make a fairy garden. One night my husband and I were arriving home,,and it was not lightning bug season yet,,which is summer. A light whisked across my yard,,right before we turned into the drive,,small and only one. But I just know it to be our Fairy. :)Fun and good to believe!

  • I so love this, Jane!
    (I have all but 1, 2, and half of #3, hehe. So perhaps there is something else for those of us without “the Look”… 😉 )

  • I fit only 7 of those boxes, so alas although I think of wild nature as my religion and am at my happiest in a forest or in the bush collecting and finding inspiration for my art or decoration for our home, sadly I guess I am not. 🙁

    • Strange I would have said you had that look across the eyes but what do I know! It’s just a thought, an impression, a story like any other.

  • Jane, I really enjoyed reading this ! I definitely have traces of the Fae running through my veins ! I look forward to reading your book! I am hooked already! Love and light and faery hugs to birthing it soon xx

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