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The Methodology Used in
Researching the Fair Folk

A note from the author and editor of this site

It is always a challenge to do fieldwork in foreign cultures. It is even more challenging when your informants are invisible, and communicate in a language in which you have had no formal training. In this case, there are many more barriers to overcome.

My informants come from a culture that is believed not to exist, have values that are largely foreign to the modern world, and have their own hesitations about communicating too freely. There are no rules of interaction, no clear ethical guidelines for working with this variety of "native people", and no previous research upon which to depend. What little we know of this culture comes from folklore (which is often basically ancient gossip), stories carried down by oral tradition which change over the years, and traveler's tales. Stories of ancient deities have been confused with stories of ancient heroes and kings, and there is no chart detailing lineage, or individual powers for the gods of this culture.

Of course it is difficult to determine whether "gods" is an appropriate term for some of the Fair Folk described here. They do create their own sets of worlds according to their archetypal aspects and emanations, and perhaps they are gods for those worlds. They clearly do not create our world however, so we might call them demi-gods, or nature deities, or forget the question of divinity altogether and simply call them leaders of another culture.

As another culture, they form a cohesive group. We have one branch, which focuses on war and conflict, and another that emphasizes the arts. They have introduced me to their artists, bards, and mages so that I might learn of their cultural heritage.

I have tried to have this web site reflect their intellectual and artistic traditions. Rather than reduce their cultural claims to imagination or pathology, I take them seriously and respect their values. I allow them to define themselves, and I call them by their preferred names and titles.

This site was put together based on a specific request by Manannan, who was concerned about the inaccurate information presented about their culture by mythologists and folklorists. It seems that this information has trickled back to them, and they view it as libel.

I admire their culture for its beauty and ideals. I am therefore willing to go through the process of focused meditation, clearing the mental field of thoughts, and allowing them to appear (in a sometimes cloudy fashion), and to speak through images which I translate into words. I was asked to write their story as a favor, and I am a firm believer in doing favors for people.

I can make no claims for the absolute validity of these stories. In this context, I too am a storyteller. But I tell stories that have no other listener, for the Fair Folk who have been trying to speak for many years. These days, many anthropologists and religionists try to tell the stories of those indigenous cultures who have been silenced over history. This site is about one such group.

Introduction | History | Manannan Mac Lir | Merlin | Taliesin | Building the Realms of the Fair Folk | Lir and Danu | Lugh and the Morrigan | Anya, Daughter of Manannan | Manannan's Ocean Kingdom | Aengus, The Poet God of Love and Romance | The Ancient Roads to the Fair Folk | Manannan's Horses | The Society of the Fair Folk | The Place of Transformation | Traveling Between the Worlds | Research Methodology | Conclusion


Copyright © 2005,   J. Denosky,   All Rights Reserved