Sunday, 22 June 2014

Faery Forts and Hidden People - Do we all have secret places?

I recently read on the BBC website that more than half of the population of Iceland believe in or consider it possible that the Huldufolk or hidden people actually do exist.  If left in peace they do not cause any trouble but if people start digging roads through their rock houses and churches they reputedly retaliate.  There are tales of bulldozers breaking down with inexplicable faults and of workmen having accidents.  Plans for the construction of a road through what is deemed hidden people territory were recently halted in Iceland.  You can read this interesting article here.

In Ireland it is often hawthorn "faery bushes" which are deemed to be home to the faeries.  Roads have been constructed around the bushes so as not to disturb them.  Legend has it that whoever cuts down a faery bush will never get a good night's sleep again.  In 1999 the upgrading of a national route from Limerick to Galway in the West of Ireland was delayed, re-routed and eventually opened 10 years later because the County Council in County Clare had to protect a faery tree which according to a local folklorist was the meeting place of the faeries of Munster (Ireland is divided into provinces:  Munster, Leinster, Connaught and Ulster).  Faery forts are also considered to be places where faeries dwell, the term "fort" meaning a mound of earth. Faery forts are the remains of round dwellings from ancient times and are all that now remain.  If you view them close up there is something mystical about them I have to admit. Roads have also been built around these sites so ensure they are not disturbed.

I think it is very refreshing that some cultures believe in hidden people or faery bushes even in our fast-moving technological age.  I think we all have a tiny drop of ancestral superstition in our blood which serves as a link to former ages.  We all have a hidden place deep within us where we like to go at times and be away from the bustle of the world.  Call it meditation, mindfulness, prayer or respect for the faeries.  It gives us an added depth.

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