Then Jesus grasped my heart and pulled me up for air. To my surprise, this was a very quick, rather simple and easy transition. Except for a few bumps. One was my belief in fairies.
Now where did the fairy stand? This is what I paint, what I love to paint. What do I believe about them now? What do YOU believe about them?
Brian and I were talking about the origins of fairies this past Saturday during a small road trip. I forgot how excited and interested I am in their history, and I hadn't really looked into it again since college. Re-reading about them has sparked my interest as a Christian, and as a professional artist of the fairytale.
This is part one. How many parts will this discussion have? I don't know. Yet I'm so mystified by being a Christian, painting fairies, and all of the gray in the middle, that I can't leave it be.
Here's where we start, the origin of the fairy.
Fairies in Christianity
One Christian belief held that fairies were a class of "demoted" angels. One popular story described how, when the angels revolted, God ordered the gates of heaven shut: those still in heaven remained angels, those in hell became demons, and those caught in between became fairies. Others suggested that the fairies, not being good enough, had been thrown out of heaven, but they were not evil enough for hell. This may explain the tradition that they had to pay a "teind" or tithe to hell: as fallen angels, though not quite devils, they could be seen as subjects of the devil. For a similar concept in Persian mythology, see Peri.
A third, related belief was the fairies were demons entirely. This belief became much more popular with the growth of Puritanism. The hobgoblin, once a friendly household spirit, became a wicked goblin. Dealing with fairies was in some cases considered a form of witchcraft and punished as such in this era. Disassociating himself from such evils may be why Oberon, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, carefully observed that neither he nor his court feared the church bells.
The belief in their angelic nature was less common than that they were the dead, but still found popularity, especially in Theosophist circles. Informants who described their nature sometimes held aspects of both the third and the fourth belief, or observed that the matter was disputed.