Originally published in the 2008 Maryland Faerie Festival Map. Now our courts are called the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, the traditional Scottish names.
We wish to offer a brief explanation to those of you who have little knowledge of the Faerie lore:
Faeries are ruled over by two courts. One is the Court of Dawn, known also as the Summer Court, and the other is the Twilight Court, or Winter Court. The powers of these two courts affect our world and are evident in the changing seasons and weather occurrences. Maintaining a balance of power between these two courts is very important to faeries, as many natural disasters are believed to be caused by disruption at this balance. As the Court of Dawn waxes in power and light, our winters become summers and all the plants and creatures at the earth bloom and grow. And again as the Twilight Courts wax in power in its own right- sequestering the light under a deep, rich darkness, winter covers the earth in snow the plants and creatures take their much-needed rest.
Each of the two courts has a ruling King and Queen, whose rule is absolute. Each court has one Knight, a mortal champion appointed by the Queen, who may involve him or her in mortal matters.
The two courts rarely see eye to eye, but they’ maintain a deep respect and understanding of the necessity of each other, and as a result conflicts are hardly more than brief scrimmages: banter, feats of skill, cunning, wordsmithing. Occasionally more violent forms of conflict occur. It is believed every faerie conflict has a great effect on our nature, weather, and the environment around us.
Faeries never tell lies. However, they are wordsmiths; this means that while they speak truth, their words can be tricky and misleading. So if you talk to a faerie, be careful to ponder all the meanings of what they say. All faeries are mischievous by nature but rarely mean any harm.
All of life is precious to faeries therefore the two faerie courts have reached an accord of peace. Twice a year they meet towards the middle of the seasons to pass the light and transfer their reign. In order to maintain a balance the Dawn Court allows the symbolic light to pass to the Twilight Court at an event known as SummerFest. The Twilight Court then rules for the next six months and then allows the light to pass back to the Court of Dawn at an event called WinterFest. This way, the cycle of life is perpetuated and balance is maintained.
COURT of DAWN or Seelie Court
Seelie King and Queen of the Maryland Faerie Festival
The Summer Court is more the warm and caring side – summer faeries are typically more nurturing. The Court of Dawn Faeries are associated with all the elements, and the gate to their land is known as the Verdant Tor. The lands beyond this gate are referred to as the Nevemever and are bright, sunny, warm, and lush with vegetation. Their rule allows humans the warmth of summer to swim, play, and relax and celebrate. They dress the landscape in velvet greens and rich browns, while the flower faeries paint the fields with millions of bright colors. Be warned:
the summer Faeries can be just as mischievous as their winter counterparts. You may find yourself lost in slumber and over- sleeping your commitments, or lost in the woods whilst admiring its beauty!
TWILIGHT COURT or Unseelie Court
Unseelie King and Queen of the Maryland Faerie Festival
The twilight court is colder and harsher than its summer counterpart. Their lands resemble tundra or frozen wasteland. The gate to their land is referred to as Arctic Tor. Some at the lesser creatures of Winter include trolls, goblins, and spirits that play on the fears of mortals. Their rule allows the world to become dormant and replenish its energy, Twilight faeries dress the scenery in the colors of the fall and winter, painting the trees in riotous, raucous color and then, in time, working hard to create millions of individually shaped snowflakes.