Saturday, February 28, 2015

Kirk, Fairies, and Henderson

If you are in Glasgow the evening of Thursday 5 March and need something to do, go hear Lizanne Henderson speak at the Glasgow Theosophical Society. Her topic will be 'Fairies, Angels and the Land of the Dead: Robert Kirk's Lychnobious People'. Henderson, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, co-authored Scottish Fairy Belief: A History with Edward J. Cowan.

Robert Kirk was minister of the church in Aberfoyle and a folklore scholar. He also wrote about fairies in his best known work The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies. Kirk died in 1692, shortly after its publication. Apparently, the fairies were displeased at having their secrets revealed. At the top of Doon Hill in Aberfoyle is a Scots Pine, the Fairy Tree, in which Kirk's soul was imprisoned by the fairies. Today people tie strips of cloth representing their wishes or leave other offerings at the Fairy Tree. When I visited Doon Hill many years ago, I had no strips of cloths for wish-making, so had to content myself with photographing other people's wishes. 

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