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The Fairy-Faith in Celtic Countries (Library of the Mystic Arts)

4.11  ·  Rating Details  ·  988 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
What are fairies, those romantic and sometimes mischievous little people-- pixies, nixies, elves, fauns, brownies, dwarfs, leprechauns, and all the other forms of the daoine sidhe (fairy people)? Are they real? Folklorists say they are fragments of ancient religious beliefs; occultists call them nature spirits; the peasant tradition says they are fallen angels who were not ...more
Paperback, 524 pages
Published July 31st 1990 by Citadel (first published November 30th 1903)
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Aug 20, 2015 James rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I was incarcerated for nine months in the U.S. Navy brig, for refusing to obey orders, I became an admirer of religious scholar Professor Evans-Wentz. His translations of ancient Tibetan scriptures on meditation helped me transform my brig time into a fory into spirit. When I gained my freedom, I lived in a cabin in Big Sur, where with a copy of Fairy-Faith, I awakened to the reality of subtle beings indwelling the immense silence of the redwood forests.

Evans-Wenz, who was a friend of Yeat
Eddie Watkins
Oct 04, 2014 Eddie Watkins rated it it was amazing
Shelves: paranormal-etc
An early book by the guy who brought us (in English) The Tibetan Book of the Dead, and in its own way it too is a serious book on alternate realities and/or other dimensions. Plus the edition I have is part of the Library of the Mystic Arts and has an intro by Terence McKenna, the late psychonaut, who elsewhere had paralleled fairies and the little gibbering beings he encountered after taking DMT.

The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries offers plenty of speculation and theories regarding who or what
Jul 13, 2012 SusannaF rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: faerie-lore
I got this book as part of my research for a novel about Faerie. It is an old book, and refers often to pseudosciences that are laughed at nowadays. It uses the outdated "Aryan" to refer to white cultures. However, it's a very earnest and amazingly well-researched book.

It delves into the origins of various aspects of Celtic fairy lore and briefly covers other world cultures that have similar beliefs. The best and longest section is the collection of stories, including eye-witness accounts.

Dec 31, 2008 Tami rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

One of my favorite quotes (I don't remember where I read it, probably in a book about consciousness or neurology) is, "what you see is your brain's best guess about what's out there." Most brains, at least in the US, don't guess "fairy." I like imagining a world where brains did. I loved this book.

Jul 10, 2010 Jimyanni rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: textbooks
Stylistically impenetrable, virtually empty of logic or sense., July 10, 2010
By James Yanni (Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. USA) - See all my reviews

This review is from: The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries: The Classic Study of Leprechauns, Pixies, and Other Fairy Spirits (Paperback)
This author, writing in the early days of the 20th century, attempts to prove the existence of fairies and other mythical entities, and claims to have done so. He hasn't. I'm not such a sceptic as to insist that a f
Dec 08, 2012 David rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This was given to me by my dear friend, Darius, as a parting gift before I moved to Scotland to study Social Anthropology and Linguistics at the University of St Andrews.

It was published by an American who had, like myself, been accepted to one of Britain's finest universities (Jesus College, Oxford, in his case) to study at a late age. He had not studied Social Anthropology (as I was leaving to), although he acknowledges "the kindly advice and constant encouragement of Mr. R.R. Marett, Reader
Melody Daggerhart
Oct 17, 2012 Melody Daggerhart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hard to rate older books because sometimes it's the fact that they are older that affects a modern rating. I'm giving this one four stars because I liked the majority of the content, found it very useful to my purposes, and enjoyed the "atmosphere" in which the information was related. But parts of the data arrangement felt dry and intrusive. It was a bit of a chore to read in places.

What I liked about it ...

I loved the slow pace at which the author is strolling about the countrysides of the UK,
Oct 17, 2007 Willow rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an incredibly in depth compilation of old Celtic and pre-Celtic stories of fairies, the Tuatha de Dannan, and other between-the-worlds beings. The edition I have has an intro by Terrance McKenna, which is interesting. Lots of references to old old books, and most of the stories are from the early 1800s regarding traditions on how to deal with various forms of the good folk.
Amy Ross
Mar 28, 2015 Amy Ross rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have always been interested in Celtic mythology and the long standing culture of continuing oral history, through story telling and song. The Irish managed to maintain lots of their old stories and culture due to their relative isolation. I believe by capturing the faerie folklore when he did over (100 years ago, when belief was still prevalent). Evans has preserved a very important part of all our heritage. The similarities of stories from all the Celtic countries is something which could be ...more
Victoria Haf
Jun 12, 2016 Victoria Haf rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A principios del siglo pasado, un gringo con raíces irlandesas viaja a Reino Unido para investigar la creencia en las hadas, viaja por las islas, preguntando a los más viejos, gente que incluso no hablaba inglés sino gaélico u otros idiomas.
Leer este libro se sintió como sentarse alrededor de una fogata a escuchar historias ya que la mayor parte de este libro son entrevistas, me gusto leerlo mientras estaba en el campo, Evans Wenz dice que la razón por la que tantos desdeñan la creencia en hadas
The Elves
Jan 22, 2016 The Elves rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is essential reading for those studying the faerie faith.

The Silver Elves
authors of Through the Mists of Faerie: A Magical Guide to the Wisdom Teaching of the Ancient Elven
Jun 13, 2007 Joanna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of folklore
In the early 20th century, Evan-Wentz compiled a collection of folklore from Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall and the Isle of Man and created a comprehensive guide to the fairy faith. A fascinating read, even if it isn't always completely believable (although I find myself believing, more often than not!)
Interesting, but it would have been better if the author wasn't an Edwardian-era Spiritulist (in my option). Some of the "scientific" parts near the end of the book were painful to read.
Mar 09, 2014 Lindsay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This encyclopedic book -- you don't read it, you read around in it -- was one I purchased for deep background information on the novel I am currently writing. What a treasure trove it is. Evans-Wentz spent 2 or 3 years traveling about Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, and Brittany from about 1908-1910 and collecting lore about fairy folk. The stories he transcribed, often with aid of a translator, might have been lost otherwise. They are in the words of the tellers. There is material, too, on t ...more
May 20, 2008 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing. An actual study of the belief in faeries by anthropologist Evans-Wentz in the early 1900's.
An overlooked book of real value. Give it a read.
Nov 26, 2013 Debbi rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Evans-Wentz built his reputation as the translator of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The cover of The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries proclaims the latter to be his first love, however. While he was likely an able translator, and in 1910 when The Fairy Faith was published, may have been considered an expert researcher, the Scientific Method has come a long way since Dr. Evans-Wentz' time.

He devotes over 260 pages to the "collecting of evidence" in Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany, the Isle of M
Sep 02, 2015 Isobelpoe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know what exactly I was expecting but this was just a bit cheesy.
It was really exactly like listening to my relatives discuss these things,
barely able to hide their laughter, and no more believable.

But read it. It is good to be able to carry this info around in your
head, if only to share with little kids.

Picture me walking away muttering about wanting 'verifiable evidence!'.

Aug 23, 2014 Delta marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Delta by:
Juliana Haught
I wanted to read this because I so love the Celtic lands and culture. This is book is very academic, and it was written at the beginning of the 20th century, and references books from the 19th century. Most of it features first-person accountings of fairy sightings and stories from "peasants" of the Celtic lands. I got partway through the Scottish stories, and realized that this is an interesting reference book - and that I don't necessarily want to actually read a reference book cover to cover. ...more
Aprilianti Sulastri
Jun 14, 2014 Aprilianti Sulastri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: yes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 16, 2016 LeAnne marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Con recommendation (by pagan)
Wonderful treasure of folk practice. Some very odd theories in places, but it was written over a hundred years ago, so you can forgive the writer for believing in Celtic solar cults! There's never going to be such a range of evidence of belief in the Good Folk collected again, since the fairy faith is really a thing of the past in Ireland and Britain now. So this is absolutely worth reading, even if the old-fashioned style makes it a bit of a struggle to read.
Molly Ringle
Aug 09, 2015 Molly Ringle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How strange and wonderful that this book exists! But then, perhaps asking the native Celts about their belief in fairy-type spirits is no different, anthropologically, than asking the native Americans or Polynesians or so on about their belief in various spirits. Really cool stuff. I had to return my copy to the library while I was only halfway done, but someday I'll get it back and finish the rest.
Yes, this book is based in Victorian fancy, what of it? I think more folklorists should look to preserving the oral narrative of the past and fewer should tediously dissect that narrative in terms of metaphorical meanings which are at best conjecture.

Perhaps fairy, really meant a fairy and we all have too much faith in consensual reality?
Jan 13, 2014 Emma marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: research-faeries
Available to read legally for free at Project Gutenberg:
This book was interesting. I anticipated a book about fairies and the first half was just that. The last portion of the book was a more difficult read and full of "hoodoo". I really enjoyed it for the historical look at the beliefs of the time...Freud was spoken of as a contemporary!
May 28, 2012 DAN rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very difficult book for me to read when I read it. It reads in part as a school text with much research and Geo and Sociopolitical information included along side mythical and lyrical content. do not if I would tackle it again but it was worth the time it took to digest it.
Jul 11, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating subject, delightfully earnest and academic, but man, is the prose tortured in places. Still, probably the most detailed collection of eyewitness testimony and likely the most serious academic study ever done on fairies.
Tracey-anne McCartney
A wonderful book, full of inspiring knowledge! One of my favs ;o)
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Walter Yeeling Evans-Wentz was an anthropologist and writer who was a pioneer in the study of Tibetan Buddhism.

He was born in Trenton, New Jersey, and as a teenager read Madame Blavatsky's Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine and became interested in the teachings of Theosophy. He received both his B.A. and M.A. from Stanford University, where he studied with William James and William Butler Yeat
More about W.Y. Evans-Wentz...

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