In the Occult Book Review’s 7th episode, host David Halpin reviews The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries by Walter Evans-Wentz. Halpin is careful to point out that this book is quite different from books such as Lady Gregory’s Complete Irish Mythology or W.B. Yeats Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, in that this is no simple collection of stories of fairies. The author is an American anthropologist best known for his early translation of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. In this work, Walter Evans-Wentz examines various possible explanations for the existence of fairies. He considers the possibility that they are naturalistic expressions of the landscape and countryside, or perhaps they are the memory of a pygmy race, or maybe the folk memory of druids. He also considers fairies as changelings, when babies are switched for fairies. The reviewer raises the point that the experiences of those who encounter fairies are nearly identical to both near death experiences and cases of alien abduction. Terence McKenna is also mentioned as he wrote an introduction to the book in one of its reprintings. Halpin declares that, at its heart, this is a book of philosophy as it deals with such weighty concepts as spiritual evolution, reincarnation, and the soul monad. A fascinating and wide-ranging review.
From Amazon’s product description of The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries: First published in 1911, the classic book on the luminous reality of leprechauns, pixies, and other fairy spirits What are fairies, those romantic and sometimes mischievous little people–pixies, nixies, elves, fauns, brownies, dwarfs, leprechauns, and all other forms of the daoine sidhe (fairy people)? Are they real? Folklorists say they are fragments of ancient religious beliefs; occultists call them nature spirits; the peasant tradition says they are fallen angels who were not good enough to be saved or bad enough to be lost. In his definitive study, W.Y. Evans-Wentz, the renowned translator of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, unveils the mystic and mysterious folklore of all the Celtic nations. This book presents a body of tradition of and testimony about an elusive order of life that survives in the natural setting of wild and lonely places. Not satisfied with merely formal study, Evans-Wentz collected firsthand reports of fairies in Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and Brittany and sought to answer the key questions avoided by other folklorists. A classic in the field of Celtic studies, The Fairy Faith in Celtic Countries presents evidence for living fairy faith that Dr. Wentz gathered in his travels; examines the recorded stories of fairies in classic works like the Welsh Mabinogion, and the Irish Tuatha de Danann, as well as Arthurian legends; explores belief in fairies; and studies the fairy faith in light of science. A compassionate, lively, and seminal exploration of a rich and luminous world, this is an unparalleled addition to the field of Celtic studies.