The Fae: Expectation vs Reality

The Fae Expectation vs Reality

This week’s post in the Expectation vs Reality series we’re tackling the Fae. Typically the Expectation vs Reality posts focus on magickal paths; however, as faery magick aligns with the modern tradition of Faery Wicca, I didn’t feel compelled to write about it. If you do want to research it for yourself, start with a woman called Kisma Stepanich, the founder of Faery Wicca.

Having said that, I’m taking this post in another direction. We will be discussing the Fae and the expectations and realities surrounding the Good Folk. You may have heard of the Fae, faeries, fairies, Good Folk, Good People, Good Neighbors, Fae Folk, or Fair Folk. But what do you really know about them?

For the sake simplicity please note that the nomenclature used within this post is interchangeable, i.e. faery vs. fairy vs. fae, etc.

Let’s get into it, shall we?


  1. Expectation: They share the same realm with us
    Reality: Most are from their own world
The Otherworld

The Otherworld to be exact. But what is the Otherworld?

That depends on who you ask. The Celtic, Irish, Welsh, and French all have their versions and beliefs regarding the Otherworld. There can also be a subset of multiple otherworldly realms.

Here’s a quick rundown of each:

-Celtic: The Otherworld is the realm of deities and quite likely the dead.

-Irish: The Otherworld is the realm of everlasting youth, health, beauty, joy and abundance. It is also where gods dwell. Another Otherworldly realm is said to be purgatory.

-Welsh: Battle survivors gather to feast in the Otherworld, void of their previous grief and sorrow.

-French: The dead live in the Otherworld

When you think Otherworld, think a very close parallel universe. Like, side-by-side close. This is why faeries are believed to use glamour magick on humans in order to influence what we can and cannot see.

Those who do not reside in the Otherworld can be found in loads of other places in our realm: forests, lakes, oceans, country cottages, city lofts, and on and on and on. This is because the types of Fae that exist are vast, so it only makes sense that their living situations would be too.

  1. Expectation: They all look like Tinkerbell
    Reality: The Fae is made up of many different creatures
The Fae are made up of lots of different creatures

While you’re not wrong in thinking of Tinkerbell, there are many, many more creatures that fall under the umbrella term of fairy.

When thinking of their homeland of Otherworld, conjuring images of Alice in Wonderland is a great way to generally look at it. There, Alice meets beings like a talking caterpillar and a Cheshire Cat, among others.

Much like Wonderland, within the Otherworld live faeries like Tinkerbell (a pixie), but also elves, hobgoblins, kelpies, brownies, fairy animals of all kinds, and those which we cannot even fathom. Just as the world is divided into different cultures, beliefs, practices, etc. so applies to the Fae Folk. And you may only find certain groups in certain regions.

  1. Expectation: Witches worship the Fae
    Reality: They do not
Witches do not worship the Fae

The Fae don’t really work like gods or goddesses as they perform in the context of worship. They operate more on a bartering or give and take system, for lack of a better phrase. Humans can make the choice to seek out and develop a bond with the Fae, but it will highly differ from a practitioner’s connection to a god or goddess.

The biggest thing about seeking to form a relationship with faeries is respect. They do not need us. It is imperative that you remember this. We are not above them nor do we rule over them. We’re not doing them a favor by offering our friendship. They are equally curious about us as we are of them. As such, treat them equally.

  1. Expectation: The Fae are docile
    Reality: They can hurt you
The Fae Folk can hurt you

Just as there are a myriad of different species of the Fae, each individual faerie has their own personality, set of values, beliefs, opinions, ethics, etc. much like humans do. They can also be unpredictable like humans, too. So if you were to commit an act that upsets one, they can certainly hurt you – in more ways than one.

Going back to the proximity of their realm to ours, it’s very easy to see that they have physical capabilities here with us humans. They can touch and move objects and us as well. For centuries, people who work with the Fae (and those who do not) have reported bleak interactions with faeries. These reports range from items going missing, cursing crops, inciting madness, injuring animals, causing temporary blindness to more insidious acts like bringing on strokes, stealing kids, or even attempting murder.

While these accounts are terribly frightening, the Fae was acting from a place of revenge. The targeted human had done something to cause this retaliation that the faerie in question deemed deserved and necessary. In most cases Fae Folk will only cause damage to humans if they have touched or destroyed a place of faeries – but again this depends on the faerie.

Having said this, it is only fair to point out that with faeiries the opposite holds true. They also have the ability to heal. They can foster a friendship that opens a doorway to more magick than you’ve ever dreamed of. They can help you and interact with you in so many different ways. They can do things like warn of danger and excel your witchcraft.

Remember to be respectful as your experience with faeries highly depend on how they’re treated by you.

  1. Expectation: Food from the Fae is okay to consume
    Reality: Just because you CAN eat their food doesn’t mean you SHOULD
Fae food is real and can harm you

Wait…I can eat fairy food!?

Yes. But first, let’s back up.

As legend states, those who ingest fairy food will either be stranded in the Otherworld or simply go bananas because they lose taste for human food.

How does one get stranded in the Otherworld?

One would be kidnapped when no one else is around and taken to their realm. This might not be immediately after eating food of the faeries, but whoever consumed it could suddenly vanish or go missing.

Whether or not the missing person in question returns home depends: some do while others do not. And because Otherworld time works differently than time in our realm, it could be anywhere from a day to centuries.

Food from Fae Folk is also said to cause sickness. This could explain losing one’s appetite. Now if one were to lose their taste for human food, going crazy is an expected reaction. I know I would. Death could also be on the table as those who don’t eat will perish eventually.

How would I even get my hands on fairy food?

If you cannot see faeries, how would you be able to accept food offered by them? There’s a couple of different ways actually.

  • Eating wild berries, mushrooms, herbs, leaves, etc. you find out in nature. If it seems sketchy, like you’re being followed or watched, hear faint music playing, eek out energy of the Fae, see a fairy ring or dwelling, etc. do not ingest anything.
  • As previously mentioned, faeries are well adept at casting glamours. They can even appear human through this magick. This could equate as someone offering free food samples at a kiosk or the like. Again, if the energy seems off to you or odd, don’t accept it.

Now, let’s say the fairy food is a gift. You offered your Fae friend a beautiful crystal and in turn they offered you some eats. As long as you’re absoulutely certain the bounty is not poison, the food is a gift given in return of yours. You will not owe a debt, nor will you go crazy or be taken to the Otherworld.

In a situation where you ask for food from the Fae and they give it to you, you can chow down. But – and this is part of fairy etiquette – you have to give them a gift in return. They won’t ask for it or remind you to pony up, so if you let it slip your mind you may fall prey to fairy vengeance.

If you astrally travel, you could find yourself in a situation where you’re being offered fairy fare. As you’re in another realm, you’re much more vulnerable to trickery. It’s best practice to politely decline whenever possible in this situation.

  1. Expectation: You can interact with the Fae however you want without consequence
    Reality: They have their own etiquette that is best to follow
Say thank you

The type of etiquette is directly linked to the type of fairy. This is not an exhaustive list, but just a general one to give you an idea of what you might be dealing with if you choose to try and work with the Fae.

  • Don’t call them faeries or faeries. Either ask them what they’d like to be called or refer to them as the Fair Folk or Good People
  • Don’t use ultimatums or force when trying to elicit a fairy’s name. Like other magickal creatures, a name holds a lot of power. Instead, ask what they would like to be called.
  • Do not offer up your full name, but a nickname instead. The truth is imperative to the Fae. If they were to find out you didn’t give your full name initially, you run the risk of them feeling deceived or tricked by you if they find out later on. But you do not want to give them power over you by offering your full name, so use a nickname!
  • In most cases, if you’re offered a gift from the Fair Folk it’s best to accept. If you refuse, the fairy could be upset or hurt. But beware: sometimes gifts from faeries are traps. It’s best to tune into your intuition and stop for a moment before accepting or rejecting.
  • When you receive a Fair Folk gift, make it a habit to requite a gift that shows you put thought behind it. Offer it as quickly as possible.
  • Do not lie.
  • Do not break promises.
  • Do not spy on the Fae. If they’re spotted without their permission, you could make them mad or cause them to leave forever. If you do happen to catch a glimpse of them and are unsure you have their permission, simply pretend like you saw nothing at all.
  • Keep any interactions with faeries to yourself.
  • When asked by a fairy to keep something in confidence, make sure you do.
  • Always speak well of the Fae.
  • Pay attention to the gifts they respond to. Much like working with deities, you can tell if an offering has been accepted or rejected. A good rule of thumb is to err on the sweeter side when offering the Fae food gifts, at least to start.

Again, this is by no means a definitive list. Please do your own research to find out more – especially BEFORE working with the Fae.


Well there you have it Witches! I hope this post has shed some light into the realm of the Fae. Were there any points you thought were true that turned out to be different? Do you work with the Fae? Let me know in the comments! Bright Blessings and Happy Crafting!

Published by Pie

Pie Ankiewicz is the Resident Witch of Printable Witchcraft and sister-site Candle Cross Coven. She is a seasoned Eclectic Witch whose practice spans over three decades. Residing in Massachusetts, Pie designs printable Book of Shadows and grimoire pages, blogs about the Craft, and teaches others how to pursue being a practitioner.

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