American Fairies: A Myth of Origin
by Elizabeth Kirwin
“Thus she brought us to the deep-flowing river of ocean and the frontiers of the world, where the fog-bound Cimmerians live in the City of Perpetual Mist.”—
Where have the American fairies come from? The tribe has a sacred history, which was at one time orally transmitted by the bards. Since it was counter to their belief to write things down, the only written record of ancient fairy culture is gathered and cobbled together from other perspectives.
We can trace a myth of origins, with the help of a well-known scholar in the field of Celtic mythology, Jean Markale. Through the work of some of the writers of the Ancient World, we can discern remembrances and traces of a fairy civilization and sacred history.
In Markale’s scholarly work, The Celts, she excerpts the musings of ancient writers such as Pliny and Socrates, remembering a race of people called the hyperboreans or the Cimbri. She finds a common link between these two races in the myth of the Tuatha de Danann, the people of the tribe of Dana, or the fairies. Markale points out that the Hyperboreans were supposedly initiated in the solar cults at Stonehenge and Delphi (47). In her essay about the submerged cultures of this race of beings, she asserts that Ancient Britain was ‘contaminated’
by the Hyperoborean culture, as Rome was with Grecian religious and cultural practices.
There were two main historical events that connected the fairy people of the northern Baltic region (Germany, Sweden, and Denmark) to those who lived further south on the European continent: they were the Amber trading routes (41), and a tidal wave that decimated the Jutland Peninsula where some of the tribes lived which caused a large scale migration of survivors further into Europe (37).
According to an excerpt from Plutarch, “The others lived at the ends of the earth, near the Hyperborean Ocean, in a land covered in woods and dense shade where the sun rarely penetrates forest so huge that they spread into the Hercynian forest. They were situated under the part of the heavens where the slope of parallel circles makes the pole so high that it is virtually the zenith of these peoples, and the year is divided exactly in half by days which are always the same length as the nights, whether at their shortest or their longest.” Even Herodotus, an ancient travelogue writer, records some unsubstantiated information about the Cimbri, whom he refers to as the Cimmerii, “It is said that the land now inhabited by the Scythians once belonged to the Cimmerii. When the latter had fled, “the Scythians entered and found it deserted. The enclosures and walls that the Cimmerii built for their towns can still be found there. Certainly there is a country named Cimmeria”
In the minds of the ancient writers, this magical civilization was real, yet the fairy homeland is elusive. It’
s the same with contemporary fairy culture. Contemporary fairy culture is spread across the earth now, thanks to technology and travel advances. The Fairy Diaspora is one that continues to evolve. On sabbats and holidays, we may reflect upon our sacred ancient roots, which Markale seems believes to be in the far northern regions of the world, above the European continent.
Markale, Jean. “The Submerged Town or the Celtic Myth of Origins.”
21-36. The Celts: Uncovering the Mythic and Historic Origins of Western Culture. Rochester: Inner Traditions International 1993.
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