The Fairy Bible review
review by Posy Hammond
The Fairy Bible's tagline is 'everything you ever wanted to know about faeries'. And in many lovely ways this book delivers (without actually stealing you to a fairy kingdom for hundreds of years to teach you more than you'd ever bargained for).
Buy in paperback on Amazon: The Fairy Bible
The book begins with a nice and welcome little introduction, acknowledging that faeries can be viewed in a myriad of ways. Science may pooh-pooh them as a nonsensical escape from reality. Faeries can also be a joyous exploration of meaningful symbols that arise from the unconscious mind - which makes faeries important, and calls for reflection. Or... and this'll be the main stance of the book as the reader continues... faeries are absolutely in-your-face real. They are not figments of the imagination; nor are they spirits of an angelic/devilish nature. Rather, they are Otherlings existing beneath our feet and behind rocks and inside trees and rivers, abiding in an Otherworld that is both our own world and parallel to it.
In which case, it's up to us to find them - and make sure we don't get into trouble when we do. We all know how those mischievous faeries can take offence at the slightest, slightest thing. Tetchy, I call it. But not to their face, obviously.
Although The Fairy Bible is packed with information, it's written with engaging simplicity. Reading it feels like you're going on a charming adventure with half a smile on your face, rather than squinting over a dry and dusty tome by candlelight. Although it works well as an information resource, the book should be treated as a means of inspiration. Writers and would-be faery hunters will find it very useful for brushing up on the types of fairies, their preferred habitats, and their behaviour and otherly quirks in general. It's also filled with stories of well-known and lesser-known faeries around the world - again, not as much exhaustive detail as a dry and dusty tome, but absolutely wonderful for referencing how you can do further research into other writings and faery tales, and perfect for feeling like you've immersed yourself in faery lore so that you not only know more about it but feel it, too.
The author (Teresa Moorey) encourages the reader to use The Fairy Bible as a divinatory tool for inspiration. Open it to any page, she says, and you'll find information that you can use to reflect on your present situation. Filled with chapters divided into small sections of a page or two, the book is, indeed, perfect for dipping, though I read it in one go as my preference. I was a bit surprised to find Father Christmas (and his robes of Coca Cola red) and Giants classified as faeries, but went along with the ride. Firstly, there's nothing to be gained from arguing what a faery is or isn't. Secondly, Teresa Mooney's take on said characters was interesting. Thirdly, what I learned about bad faeries more than made up for it.
For anyone wishing to get stuck into faery lore, the book covers a tremendous amount of ground. You'll learn about the faery realm, elemental faeries, house faeries and faeries of the trees, flowers and weather. You'll learn about how to approach faeries during the seasonal faery festivals of the equinoxes, Imbolc, Beltane and such (these will already be familiar to Pagans and Wiccans). The book is simply filled with stories, meditations, exercises and facts that this reviewer was certainly unfamiliar with (I'd previously thought that all humans switched and replaced with a faery counterpart were known as changelings. It turns out that's just the babies. The changed adult humans are known as stocks).
If you didn't know that either, you'll find a wealth of information in this book. If you did, you're probably really rather knowledgeable about faeries already! But it's a joyous read - and the illustrations brighten every page with visual delights full of faery character.
In fact, the only thing The Fairy Bible doesn't contain is a section on how to catch and keep your fairy lover, but fear ye not because Mookychick's already covered it. Mookychick covered it very, very well.