The realm of the faeries is strongly interwoven with the concept of Earth and ancestral spirits, powerful energies that permeate both the faery and mortal worlds. These energies are addressed in Celtic Mythology, specifically in the myths and legends of the Tuatha De Danann.
In the history of Ireland, five consecutive waves of invaders took control of the island. When the last wave, called the “sons of Mil,” came, they drove the Tuatha De Danann, who were the people living in Ireland at the time, into the hills or “sidhe.”
When the people of the Tuatha De Danann went into the hills, they wove a veil of invisibility. This divided Ireland into two realms, the seen and the unseen. These hills or mounds represent another realm, a dimension of awareness that exists in a different tense, one step beyond our “ordinary” perception. It is in these hollow hills or subterranean “sidhe” mounds that the faeries still dwell.
The faeries are obviously part of a Pagan, pre-Christian religion. Within the faery lore of Scotland and Ireland are the remnants of the old religion, with gods and goddesses acting as the guardian ancestors of the clans. Every clan claims descent from a particular goddess or god.
These same Pagan goddesses and gods appear in local tales, and are transformed into faery kings and queens. Living in magnificent faery palaces in the woods and by secluded streams, they act as guardians of forests, lakes, rivers, villages, and cities. In this way, the Pagan deities transformed as faeries remain a part of the land and the folk memory of the people.
Rather than being descended from the Tuatha De Danann, the leprechauns come from ancestors that are equally as old, or even more so. Accordingly, the elves and drawfs are of Norse origin, so the Tuatha De Danann proposal only accounts for certain kinds of faeries.
Some theories on the origins of the faeries suggest that elves and dwarfs are the Nature spirits and deities who were worshipped by the ancient spiritual traditions. Another suggestion is that the faeries and related magickal creatures originated from people and other beings who have died and passed on, but their collective spirit still resides in the land.
This collective spirit comprises the faery. Indeed the strength of the faeries comes directly from the power of the land, from the earth.
Generations of ancestors and generations of the earth’s creatures buried in the land give it tremendously, sacred power. This sacred power is the power of the faeries. In post-Christian times, the Pagan faeries became the fallen angels. Occasionally they were depicted as astral or Elemental spirits. With the growth of Puritanism, faeries were thought to be harmful and evil.