Are you being harassed by faeries? Are they curdling your cream, causing your cake to fall flat in the oven, or driving your cat or dog crazy? If you thought ants, mice, termites, or other pests drove you up the wall, faeries will double that! And to prevent you ending up in the loony bin, here some facts of protection against faeries every red-blooded human should know.
Faeries can be malicious. Even those tiny ones. Regardless of what Disney films say, Tinkerbell is bad news if she decides your home or office makes a great place to crash.
Faeries are essentially pagans and tend to be superstitious. Most of these most can be warded off by religious objects or rituals. Sacred symbols such as the cross are often effective, not just because of its religious significance, but also because it represents the purifying light of the sun. Now faeries are not afraid of or can be harmed by the sun. It is the symbol of being a giver of life, opposite to their status as beings of the dead. Christ's conquest of death on the cross can be seen as a repudiation of the Faerie lifestyle. Making the sign of the cross is deemed effective, and Christian symbols were accepted as shields against the evil Faeries of the Unseelie Court—like prayers, singing hymns, sprinkling or carrying Holy Water, and even carrying churchyard mold. Bread and salt are also effective, being as they have been regarded as sacred ever since primitive times. Like the sun, bread and salt are symbols of life.
Other protective means that are used: ringing bells, whistling, and snapping clappers. Travelers who believe they are being misled can turn their coats inside out, in an attempt to change their identity. Those fleeing faeries find safety by leaping across fresh running water. Self-bored stones, which have holes in them created by running water, not only allow a person to see through glamour of a faerie (by looking through the hole), but also protect animals and people from being taken. There are different plants and herbs useful as counter-charms. Such are the shamrock, or four-leafed clover, considered most powerful, as it breaks through Faerie glamour. St. John's wort and red verbena are guards against magic in general. Daisies can thwart children from being kidnapped. Wood or red berries from rowan or ash trees do much the same for adults.
Iron though, is thought of as the most potent in protection. Especially cold-wrought iron implements. These are created by beating raw iron instead of melting and casting it. Steel, the primary alloy of iron, is also effective. Anything made of iron or steel, including horseshoes, knives, and scissors, can be used to keep Faeries at bay. Why the fey fear it is a good question, as no one answer gives the reason. One suggestion is that Faeries consider iron-working to be uncanny, a form of magic only humans can do. This would be regarded as strange, as faeries are master smiths, familiar with metalworking. Another possibility is based on the fact that iron is considered to be representative of life. Just as bread and the cross are, it might symbolize a concept inimical to the faeries. Anything made of iron or steel, including horseshoes, knives, and scissors, can be used to keep faeries at bay.