Faeries, Elves and Leprechauns

Faeries, Elves and Leprechauns are Real

By Tanis Helliwell


Ten years ago, I spent a summer in Ireland living in an old cottage occupied by leprechauns. These seldom-seen beings taught me about the evolution of elementals—the race to which leprechauns, elves, goblins, gnomes, trolls, and faeries belong. They explained their interdependence with humans and urged me to promote an awareness of how humans and elementals need to work together in healing the Earth. Although my initial experience with the leprechauns took place in Ireland, they and other elementals have over the past ten years become part of my ongoing life.

If we are open to looking there is overwhelming evidence for the existence of elementals. Like humans, elementals exist in all countries of the Earth but are perhaps best known in Ireland and Britain. Reputable people have gone on record talking about their existence and recording their deeds. W.B. Yeats in his introduction to “Irish Fairy and Folk Tales” wrote of faeries saying, “In Ireland they are still extant, giving gifts to the kindly, and plaguing the surly.” While gathering his stories he asked Paddy Flynn, “Have you ever seen a fairy or such like?” Paddy responded, “Amn’t I annoyed with them” and then continued to recount his various true experiences of the jokes that elementals had been playing on him.

A friend of Yeats’, Diarmuid MacManus in his book, “Irish Earth Folk”, wrote in 1959, “I am no folklorist. I am merely a historian, recording as accurately as I can various happenings of recent times.” MacManus was educated at the Royal Military College at Sandhurst and served in the British army in India. He came from County Mayo, the same county where my experience took place. His criteria in reporting incidents with elementals were these, “The central character in each incident is alive, is reliable and is prepared to stand over it firmly. And in all cases the incidents are well authenticated and can be verified by anyone.”

There are as many kinds of elementals as there are races of humans. In Ireland the lords of the elemental race are called Sidhe, pronounced Shee. Scots call them the “silent moving folk” and the Welsh the Tylweth Teg or “the fair folk.” Of the various kinds of elementals the Sidhe most closely resemble humans. They are of human height or taller, slim and elegant in appearance. The Sidhe are often more androgynous in appearance than humans and the borders between feminine and masculine characteristics is more blurred for them.

Another race of elementals are gnomes, which are heavier set, of more somber nature and associated with the earth element. There are also smaller elementals which the Cornish call pixies or piskies and the lowland Scots call brownies who are often attracted to the haunts of humans and sometimes share homes with us. But by far the best known elementals are the Irish leprechauns who are commonly referred to as “the little people.” They are mischievous and clever and can offer humans great prosperity—the fabled pot of gold— if they befriend you.

But it’s not just in Ireland and Britain that elementals exist. Almost all cultures around the world have legends and stories about them. In Iceland a recent survey that was quoted in the Globe and Mail, Canada’s leading newspaper, indicated that twenty-two percent of Icelanders believed in elves. Mayor Ingvar Viktorsson of Hafnarfjordur, says, “We have known for a long time of another society coexistent with our human one, a community concealed from most people with its dwellings in many parts of the town and the lava and cliffs that surround it. We are convinced that elves, hidden people and other beings living there are favorably disposed towards us.”

And it’s not just people from European backgrounds who maintain a belief in elementals, native cultures do as well. The Arunta aborigines of Central Australia speak of a “fairy spirit race” inhabiting an invisible world who, like the Irish Sidhe, are thin and always youthful in appearance. The Maori in New Zealand call their oldest elementals the Children of the Mist or Patupairehe. The Children of the Mist are flaxen haired and slender and are said by Maori elders to have been in New Zealand long before the coming of their people. The Maori also believe in other kinds of elementals such as the ones they call Nanakia, who are similar to elves, are associated with trees and are encountered most often in forests.

Even in North America many of us have had encounters with elementals. As a child, I lived in many worlds simultaneously, and was aware of voices on the wind and elemental beings glimpsed out of the corner of my eye. I don’t think my story is unique. I think many children see elemental beings – like faeries and elves – and that many of these beings are the ‘special’ friends which their parents think their children imagine. The story of Peter Pan holds incredible attraction for children because it illustrates their connection to the magical world of elementals and the message that, as adults, they will have to forfeit this connection. Still, some people, as adults, remain open to see and hear angels and elementals. These people are called mystics or clairvoyants and it is my belief that a great many more of us can open to hear and see again as we did when we were children. And I would suggest it’s important to do so for many reasons.

Elementals catalyze fun, sparkle and mischievousness in humans, stimulating our creativity and appreciation for beauty in all the arts. We need fun and laughter to sweep away the depressing thoughts too often found in our world.

Also, learning more about the elemental race with whom we share this planet will inspire us to change our beliefs and actions that harm both our world and theirs. The central purpose of elementals is to work with natural laws to create a world of beauty and diversity. Elementals help flowers to bloom, trees to grow and even our human bodies to live. As my leprechaun friend, who shared my cottage in Ireland, told me, “Our work is to create form, to see the pattern that is in nature and to encourage that pattern to develop. Elementals can see the pattern that is in humans and can help grow you just as we grow a tree or flower.”

Because elementals are so gifted at manifesting they can teach us to do so. My leprechaun friend offers many suggestions on how to do this. He says that humans often send conflicting messages to the universe about what they want. Although we may want or need something, we do not believe that we can have it—either because we don’t have enough money, education, or because someone else has it, and the resources appear to be limited. “Elementals” says the leprechaun, don’t have this problem. “We think about what we would like and extend our senses to see it and feel it, and then it appears….The strength of the mind and the strength of the will are the keys to manifesting for all beings.”

It is not by accident that the dissolution of the natural world of our planet has coincided with our disbelief in elementals. We have undervalued both and taken both for granted. We have lost touch with the life around us and in us and by getting in touch with elementals we can heal both ourselves and our world. This is what the elementals wish us to do. Elementals are looking for committed humans with whom to work to help both of our evolutions and offer suggestions that will help us to do that.


Ten Commandments for Humans to Work with Elementals.

1. Believe in elementals. Human belief strengthens elementals and gives them energy.

2. Be happy and enthusiastic. Elementals are not attracted to depressed, sad humans.

3. Go to healthy places in nature as often as possible. Walk in forests, along the seashore, lie in a meadow, listen to birds, sit by a brook. Enter into the right vibration of the Earth and listen to what it wants. Humans will purify their vibrations if they do these things.

4. Appreciate the beauty in nature. When humans do this, elementals will be attracted to you.

5. Cooperate and create with nature by planting trees, growing flowers, feeding the birds.

6. Send energy to elementals, who look after trees, flowers, water and mountains, to keep them healthy. Do this with joy and gratitude.

7. Teach other humans to appreciate nature. Do it with love and joy, and these humans will begin to understand the Earth’s needs.

8. Do things spontaneously; free yourself from over planning and organizing.

9. Take time every day to do nothing. Create a space both in your house and in your head for magic to occur.

10. In order to contact an elemental who wants to work with you on an ongoing basis, sit in a quiet natural place, close you eyes, and call this elemental to you. Notice what kind of elemental has come. Ask it what its gift is and its name. Listen to this elemental on an ongoing basis; act on its suggestions, and your relationship will become stronger.


Tanis Helliwell is the founder of the International Institute for Transformation and the author of the updated version of “Summer with the Leprechauns: the authorized edition”.



Note – Images created by Billy Oliver of Vancouver, BC

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