Folktales, Faeries, and Spirits is a 2022 release in Moon Books' "Pagan Portals" series. These books are designed to be approachable, digestable volumes on narrowly defined topics; they don't wander far afield, nor do they claim to be the deepest dive into a topic. You don't know much about X? A "Pagan Portals" book on that topic will set you up with a foundation on the topic, and if you don't feel the call then you don't need to push further. If you do, well, great you've had a good introduction and probably have an idea of what particulars you want to get more into. This particular entry is by Halo Quin, a writer with a comfortable style that doesn't get in the way of your understanding the material.

That writing style is put to good use in Folktales, Faeries, and Spirits. Even more than some of the other books in this series, of which I am in general a fan, Quin has a fine sense of how to present views on the topic rather than just their one particular take on things. in the beginning of the Introduction, for example, they make a point of explaining that they are using 'spirit' in a "a broad sense, to refer to the non embodied beings. Faeries, then... are a type of spirit." This does not say that you must see faeries exactly as gods or ghosts, but also does not exclude the possibility. Quin sets out a common language to be used in the book, while leaving you little to get stuck on; it's a nice effort that not every author succeeds at. Throughout the book, you get shown what our author knows (which is quite a bit; whether the book is meant to be an overview or not, Quin at all times gives the impression of knowing well of what they speak) and then ample space to form your own impressions.

Reinforcing the space to form impressions are the guided activities. These range from encouragement to explore your environment in Chapter 1, to rituals (the author calls it pathworkings) in chapter 2 that can facilitate your encounter with faeries, several journal prompts, and probably my favorite suggestion in chapter 5 in which you essentially invite faery folk over for coffee. Not really, but it is an invitation to converse, or more precisely to be listened to by you, and I particularly appreciate that it is an agenda-less environment. You aren't asking any of them to do anything for you, you just build a relationship. As you might infer from these, the chapters build smoothly upon one another. At the beginning, Quin is laying a foundation of what just who and what is being discussed, then moves to fundamentals of communication, then goes from there to how to ask for guidance or assistance, and eventually, all the way to altars and households that include the fae at a fundamental level. The last chapter, Integration and Practice, rounds things out by taking everything you've learned and showing how it can be woven into different aspects of your life.

As with many Pagan Portals books, I can recommend Halo Quin's work if this is a topic of which you don't know a lot but would like to learn more. It's an engaging read from a smooth-writing author who clearly is engaged with the subject on a deep level. And once you're done, if you want such a thing they have provided a Further Reading section to send you deeper down the road to faerie. 

~review by Wanderer

Author: Halo Quin
Moon Books, 2022
104 pages, $12.95