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What Do Fairies Look Like?

Updated on January 5, 2015
kittythedreamer profile image

Kitty has been independently researching and studying the fae for over 15 years. She enjoys sharing what she's learned with her readers.

Fairies come in all shapes and sizes.
Fairies come in all shapes and sizes. | Source
Fairies are often as different as you and I.
Fairies are often as different as you and I. | Source

Do all fairies look the same?

Hundreds of years ago our ancestors believed in fairies so much so that fairy sightings were often shrugged off as if the eyewitness had merely seen her neighbor pass by. Our ancestors were quite familiar with how the fairies acted, talked, and even how they looked. In this day and age most of us have forgotten who the fairies really are and even what they may look like.

So in favor of bringing back the ways of our ancestors and their strong beliefs in the fay, this article will focus on the question "what do fairies look like" in hopes of rekindling the ability for us to see the fay in their many brilliant and mysterious forms.


Fairies as Beings of Light

Many times fairies will appear right in front of our very eyes without us ever noticing them. I think the problem is that we have a certain image in our heads as to how fairies look, when in reality there are dozens (possibly hundreds) of various forms that the fay can take. The fairies are master shapeshifters, but most of the time they come through to our realm in the form of pure energy...pure light. This is their easiest method of metastasizing on the mundane plane (our world).

For centuries the phenomenon known by many names but originally called "will o' the wisp" or "willow whisps" is a prime example of what fairies look like in their light form. A will o' the wisp was a bright, sometimes flickering, ball of light that appeared out of thin air taunting nearby humans with its beauty only to disappear when followed. Will o' the wisps have been known by other names on other continents, and in the United States they are usually called "spooklights" or "ghostlights" but all of these things are essentially the same being...a fairy in its purest energetic form. If you'd like to read more about will o' the wisp legends, click here.

So if you see a bright ball of light of any color flitting about through the dark woods, over a pond, or dancing about in a meadow, you'll know that this is one way the fairies can look. But there are more answers to the question "what do fairies look like". Follow me.

Some fairies have fins...
Some fairies have fins... | Source

Fairies as Little People

In addition to the fairies looking like streaks and balls of light, fairies have also been known mainly for appearing in the form of little people. In fact, "little people" is another one of their many names. Fairies in the form of little people have been seen in almost every country, including the United States. The Native Americans believed in the little people so strongly that many of them feared traveling into certain mountain ranges, as this is where they knew certain kinds of the little people lived. Some of these Native American tribes still believe in the Little People of the mountains, and they claim these little people stand between a foot and a half tall to about three feet tall. They carry little bows and arrows and will attack if they feel their land is being invaded. If you want to read more about the Natives' beliefs in the little people click here.

In Ireland and Scotland, the little people have been seen dozens of times. One Scottish man who is alive today tells the tale of walking home along the hills of Scotland and seeing the little people in his shadow. He stopped to watch what the little people were doing and it looked as if they were trying to disconnect his shadow from him. One was a little man with weathered "wizened" skin, dressed in all brown leather. The other appeared to be a little woman of similar appearance...both of them standing below two feet tall.

These little people tend to fit the bill of what many people refer to as "dwarves" or "gnomes". Dwarves and gnomes are thought to be a type of fairy by many modern authors and researchers on the subject. But we also know that sometimes the fairies appear as even smaller beings, perhaps standing no taller than the length of our hands with their backs adorned with tiny wings. This is perhaps the most popular depiction of a fairy in modern times (think Disney's version of Tinkerbell).

Learn how to make fairy homes:

Fairies like Humans

So what do fairies look like? Can they look like us?

Besides the cute pixies with glittery wings, gnomes with pointed hats, and wisps of light, the fairies can also appear in the form more like that of a human. Dozens of fairy shamans and magicians know these types of fairies as "the fay". Some believe that the fay are an entirely different type of fairy being as opposed to the "little people" or the nature spirits that show themselves as light. I tend to believe that the fairies can appear in almost whatever form they please, including that of a human's.

Usually when the fay appear in human form, one can still tell the difference between a human and a fairy. The fairy will have a glowing appearance, and they are usually ethereal to a certain degree with long, silvery hair and almond-shaped eyes. Some say that the legends of elves are the same as the fay, as this appearance does indeed sound like that of a human-sized elf (similar to the depiction of an elf in JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy). When I met a fairy in my dreams, she appeared to be a human but was quite surreal in the same breath. She had long, flowing white hair, and her skin had an unnatural glow to it.

There have been hundreds, if not thousands, of fairy sightings all over the world, all of which share similarities but also have profound differences on what a fairy actually looks like. If you see a fairy, let me know how that fairy looked!

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Shapeshifting Fairies

Fairies have the innate ability to shift their shapes whenever they feel the desire or need to. In this way, they are some of the oldest of the shapeshifting beings on this planet. Instead of seeing the fairies in a tangible form, such as a small person or elf-like being, you just might see them in a totally different form.

Fairies often like to shapeshift into beings that reflect the part of nature that they most enjoy helping. For instance, the flower faeries and garden faeries most usually shapeshift into creatures that also have wings like themselves. Some of these fairies will shapeshift into some or all of the following forms: dragonfly, butterfly, bee, birds of many different kinds, moths, beetles, and more.

Forest fairies that aid in the protection of wild animals might take the form of those animals, particularly of large animals that can protect themselves if the need arises. Some of these shapeshifted fairies might appear as: deer, bears, wolves, mountain lions, hawks, eagles, and more. They do this in order to protect themselves from oncoming invaders of some kind or to simply mingle with the animals and aid them in some way.

Written and copyright © KittytheDreamer (May Canfield), 2013. All Rights Reserved.

Fairies like to hide amongst the plants...sometimes they can even shift into the form of their favorite plant!
Fairies like to hide amongst the plants...sometimes they can even shift into the form of their favorite plant! | Source

© 2012 Kitty Fields


Submit a Comment

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    8 months ago from Summerland

    Sue - In all seriousness, are you for real?

  • profile image

    Sue Dare 

    8 months ago

    In all seriousness, are you for real?

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    I've felt their presence, and seen them in the grass (their figure was invisible...but I saw the imprint of where they were standing).

  • moneyfairy profile image

    Money Fairy 

    6 years ago from New Woodstock

    Thanks lifetips123.

    kittythedreamer: sorry I asked the question about you physically seeing a fairy , I re-read above and you said only in a dream. But it was a lovely description. thanks. I do believe in them though and look forward to the day I see one. :)

  • lifetips123 profile image

    Praveen P.V. Nair 

    6 years ago from Trivandrum

    I agree with you moneyfairy

  • moneyfairy profile image

    Money Fairy 

    6 years ago from New Woodstock

    What a great hub. I would love to see a fairy sometime. Are they only in nature spots with streams and lakes or are they all over?I watched that movie ages ago with Fransis Griffith and her cousin building a fairy house and going down to the Beck to see them and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle gave them cameras to take photos. Have you physically seen a fairy or just in a dream? I'd love to learn how to see them. I have felt angels and seen them in my dreams sometimes but in Ireland back in 2009 I thought I'd be able to spot a fairy but didn't, but I did feel the magik surrounding the place, I must go back again when I can afford it.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    Phyllis Doyle - That's so lovely! I leave wine and cakes every once in a while too for the fay. Thanks for commenting.

    rcrumple - Perhaps you've seen a fairy and just didn't know it!?

  • rcrumple profile image


    6 years ago from Kentucky

    Kitty -

    Another great article! Had no idea as to the "will o' the wisp" phrase. To me, it was an album released by Leon Russell in the early 70's (of which I had to start playing upon reading this... no association, whatsoever $6 between the two, lol). It makes me wonder about my times as a child living in the country. If I'd have only known back then what to look for. Great hub, as always!

  • Phyllis Doyle profile image

    Phyllis Doyle Burns 

    6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

    Ahhh! You know my heart, Kitty. I live by a little mountain that is full of the fay in many shapes and sizes. There is even a faerie mound I visit once in awhile and leave little cakes and berries for those of the realm so close to ours. Wonderful hub!

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    You're so sweet, flashmakeit. I always enjoy your comments and hubs too!

  • flashmakeit profile image


    6 years ago from usa

    I always love to read the articles you write so well about fairies.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    k12rswow - Nothing turned me to paganism, I was always pagan in my heart (even as a little girl) just never knew what to call it until I met someone else who was Pagan.

    NS - Thanks for the support, buddy! Sounds like she could be a potential spirit guide for you. I have one particular fairy that appears to me on occasion in dreams, and in one dream she told me what was physically wrong with me...and then I was able to heal myself with herbs because of what she said to me! Hopefully this helps.

    lucybell - You're so sweet. And it sounds to me like will o wisps in that cemetery for sure!

    Nellieanna - Thanks!

    WitchesMix - Agreed. Thanks for the support.

  • WitchesMIX profile image


    6 years ago

    I'd say that it's the least turning based belief system there is, seeing as the whole basis of it coincides with common sense and ones intuition. A lot of paganism runs hand in hand with science now... Hell, 90% of Christianity is built around paganism. It's referred to as occult but that only means hidden, it's only hidden as it was driven to be that way by sword bearing barbarians.

  • Nellieanna profile image

    Nellieanna Hay 

    6 years ago from TEXAS

    Kitty - it is a charming hub with lovely imaginative illustrations.

  • lucybell21 profile image

    Bonny OBrien 

    6 years ago from Troy, N.Y.

    Awesome hub as usual kitty. I really enjoyed reading it. At times when I am at work and I look across the street to the cemetery at night sometimes I think I see flashes of light, and brush it off as my imagination taking over.

  • Nupteiron Stulker profile image

    Brad S. Muffley 

    6 years ago from fredericksburg VA

    @k12rswow--- kitty is right... anyways... Almond shaped eyes and a glowing aura? kitty i think you just told me what woke me up one night a few years ago... i have had contact with this fairy for my entire life... do you think that means anything... i mean about the fairy visiting me over and over again?... we vampires don't like the Fay (they are beautiful though) and we really don't like Elves... in reality we vampires and the elves never got along until recently (we still don't trust them) anyways i really need to know why this Fairy keeps coming to me..

  • k12rswow profile image


    6 years ago from New England

    Well Kitty,

    At least you believe in something, most don't. The cares of this world are more important to them at the moment.

    If I may ask; what turned you to the occult, paganism, witchcraft, or whatever flavor you are?


  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    k12rswow - I'll publish it just to show you how I feel. Please STOP trying to convert me. Thank you for your concern, I do take it as a compliment that you care so much for my soul that you feel you need to save me; however, your preaching will not work to sway me from my beliefs or from myself and I do not need "saving" one needs saving, we are inherently a part of the universe and therefore can never perish. I know who I am, and I know who the divine is and it doesn't mean for me to be anything other than who I am. Thanks.

  • k12rswow profile image


    6 years ago from New England

    I know Kitty you will not publish this comment, so it is strictly for you: If as a Christian, I can show my love to you through the ether. Consider the word of God below regarding spirits.

    Ephesians 6:12

    For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.

    John 12:31

    Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out.

  • kittythedreamer profile imageAUTHOR

    Kitty Fields 

    6 years ago from Summerland

    bac2basics - So true. Thanks so much!

  • bac2basics profile image


    6 years ago from Spain

    Hi kitty. What a delightful hub. Although I believe in the spirit world, I´m not so sure about fairy´s. But I am open to suggestion, and wonder if they don´t exist..why there is so much written about them..there´s not usually " smoke without fire" and this belief must have some facet of truth about it.


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