Truthfully, I approach fairies from every culture -- but particularly the fey and sidhe of Celtic culture -- with some caution. Fairies are tricksy. Like most spiritual entities, fairies are looking out for themselves (or for their habitat), and their needs and wants can be very foreign to humans.
Depending on where you live in the world, you probably have some sort of fairy spirit living on or near the property where your home sits. They're the "good neighbors" in Celtic lore ... but only if we are good neighbors to them. It is wise to propitiate the fairies in your area BEFORE there is a problem.
What sorts of problems can fairies cause?
- tangling the hair of sleepers into "elf locks"
- stealing small items
- leading a traveler astray
- some forms of sudden death (!!!)
- wasting illnesses
- paralysis and mysterious illness in animals
You can protect yourself against unwanted fairy encounters, which is the most common type of advice given regarding fairies. If you wish not to be disturbed by fairies, implementing one of these tools/tricks can help you:
- cold iron
- wearing clothing inside out
- running water
- bells (especially church bells)
- St. John's wort
- four-leaf clovers
However, if you are more interested in developing a respectful relationship with the "good people," you can use one of these sacred and beloved offerings to your benefit:
- rowan trees (berries, twigs)
- cream and butter
Common sense is always key, though. Even if you have a good relationship with the fair folk, you should really think twice before:
- following a will o' the wisp
- lingering in fairy haunts
- digging in fairy hills
Finally, a sure way to have a lasting relationship with one of the little people is to learn the name of a particular fairy. As with most beings, knowing an individual's name gives you a bond.