We’re finally getting to the actual action of interacting with the little spirits in our lives. Please go read the first two posts if you haven’t already – they are here and here. I’ll also be re-exploring the issue of ‘monsters’ in another post, mostly as it relates to the Otherfaith though it can hopefully be applied to other practices!
Here is a relevant bit from the first post of this series to keep in mind as we go forward:
Faeries, here, are liminal spirits that are connected to humanity, usually occupying a realm running just alongside (or slightly below) ours, with a penchant for shapeshifting or glamours. …I am working from a US cultural standpoint, I usually just use the very boring word ‘house faery’.
…House faeries are the ones I recommend to people who want to begin working or interacting with the little ones. This is largely because they seem to enjoy helping us out if we establish a relationship with them. However, no spirits are really ‘safe’, and neither are house faeries.
It is also important to note that faeries have individual cultures, and there are no hard and fast rules. Yes, even that rule about never eating faery food isn’t perfect. This series is much more based on my lived experiences with the faeries rather than lore, though, and the only culture I’m focusing on is the U.S blend. Looking up specific cultural lore about spirits you’re interested in is highly recommended.
The offerings that we will be starting with when beginning this practice are bread, honey, and milk. I substitute cake, cookies, and cupcakes for bread, as that is what the faeries of my house prefer and also what we are more likely to have on hand. You will need to consistently have these items. Rather than buying separate milk and bread for the faeries, I would suggest using bread and milk from your own stores – that way the faeries will protect your food rather than just concerning themselves with their own food. Honey can be drizzled on the bread or mixed into the milk – whichever you prefer and feel is appropriate. (Go with your gut!)
You will either need an offering tray or a space to leave these offerings. You may want to dump the offerings out in a specific space in your yard. I recommend having an offering tray or plate. This does not need to be especially fancy but it should be of reasonable durability. Stay away from metal trays. Ceramic or glass is better. Until you figure out if your spirits can tolerate metal – many modern house spirits can, but many others spirits can’t, and giving food to them on a tray made of metal could still be poisonous even if they can tolerate living in a home full of metal – go with any but metal. Having a small cup or bowl for milk is a good idea.
You can either leave the tray near your doorway (in or outside), on a counter, or in a special offering area/shrine/altar that you’ve set up. If you set up an offering area, don’t put salt or metal in the area. Offer in the same spot or as close to the same spot as possible.
Specific faeries may demand other items, either to be offered to them or to be used to place offerings on. You should have some sort of divination method in order to facilitate communication with the faeries.
After gathering your supplies, you need to figure out when and how frequently you will make offerings to the faeries. I personally recommend doing so once a week at either the start or end of your week. When you begin, you should consider this a trial run and offer once a week for a month. At the end of the month, check in with the spirits and yourself to see if you need to change when or how often you give offerings.
You will also need to decide at what time in the day you give the offerings. I give my gods offerings in the morning and pour out a bit of milk to the faeries after I’ve woken. Then I will give the faeries offerings at night, laid near the doorway, of milk and cookies. When I wake in the morning, I pour and dump out the offerings into the sink and trash, scrub the dishes clean, and then repeat the cycle. You will need to figure out when you dispose of offerings and how you do so. I never leave offerings out for more than one night.
When you begin this work, it’s a good idea to mark down when you will be making the offerings. Consistency is important. You’re building a relationship, and you need to be timely and uphold your responsibilities. If you won’t be able to make your offerings at your usual time, boost them up and announce the change to the spirits. If you miss making the offerings, apologize and try to offer something extra sweet – cupcake, maybe?
This is my method of making offerings to the faeries. Steal it entirely, tweak it, fiddle with it – do what your spirits require you to do. It should act as a good starting point for your practice.
When we first begin this practice, we should take the following steps:
- Gather offerings and set up tray (if used).
- Place these offerings where you will give them from now on.
- Say, “I give these offerings to the fair folk in this house.” Pour out the offerings.
- Now take the time to explain your motives for making the offerings and remember to focus on establishing a relationship. Do not focus on the ‘goodies’ you want from the faeries. Explain when you will make your offerings and how frequently and that you will check-in with the spirits a month from now.
- If you have a divination method you’ll be using for the faeries, hold it up and explain that they can use it to communicate with you. Explain that you will be open to communicating with them so that you both have a fulfilling relationship.
- Make it clear what behavior is not okay. When I moved into my new home, I spelled out clearly that any spirit that touched or attacked my younger brother was fair game. Set your boundaries for what you will and will not allow, spirit activity wise.
- As this is your first offering, offer extra of everything at the end of your speech or add in something extra sweet.
This beginning speech is vital, I’ve found. It may stir up some spirits that will push at your boundaries – either because that’s their nature or because they want to see if you can and will hold them – and you need to be firm. If spirit activity is crossing your boundaries, bring out the salt. I keep mine in a small jar and simply take it out of its hiding place when trouble starts brewing. That is usually enough to chase off or stop any behavior. If things don’t stop or get worse, bring in nails, metal chips, and anything iron you can. Placing these above a fireplace or in the kitchen usually does the trick. Beyond that, if activity becomes very severe, you’ll need to approach someone who can cleanse your house – because that probably means you’ve got something seriously intense cohabiting.
Your first response when dealing with these spirits should not be to kill unless there are certain hard boundaries that you’ve made that they cross. For example: our house spirits don’t like men and will shove at the men that visit our house or spook them. This has not been outright violent and more along the lines of people being shoved past as a spirit goes through or around them, and they’re within our agreement to express distaste when certain people visit the home. If the behavior gets very severe, I’ll chat with the faeries, make offerings, and ask what we can do better to be better roommates. My first response when this happens is not to immediately cleanse and chase everything out, and I’ve been very firm with my human roommates about not cleansing the area willy-nilly. However, I put down a very hard boundary concerning my little brother – no touching, no shoving, no anything spirit wise. I made it clear that if that rule was broken, I’d be going hunting, not going into a discussion. I recommend taking precautions if there is something you don’t want touched – place nails or a pinch of salt near it – and making it clear what will result in a cleansing or banishment. If a spirit is just being rowdy or a bit obnoxious, though, don’t try to kill it or chase it off. You’re cohabiting with these spirits. Give them respect.
In my experience, a spirit is either being troublesome because it is frustrated or in pain and needs you to help or it has a ‘bothersome’ nature. Some faeries will try their hardest to help us out and just make everything worse with their meddling, and our approach should not be ‘exterminate’ but ‘communicate’.
The regular method after making your first offering is usually a simpler version of the introduction:
- Gather offerings and set up tray (if used).
- Say, “For the fair folk.” Pour out the offerings.
- Take a moment to just breathe, be present and aware.
- Leave the offerings out for as long as you have decided to.
For the next post in the series, we’ll be covering various faeries that I’ve encountered, how to handle them, more on spirit activity, and learning to trust yourself when it comes to your experiences and impressions about the spirits in your home.