Relations with the Good Folk

Buffalo Mountain, TN

Now that you’ve learn of the Wee Folk of America, you may be wondering how to contact them and work with them. The Grannies knew them well. You’d hear ’em whispering to themselves while they dug potatoes, worked in the garden, sewed, washed dishes, etc.

Now, just because we call them the Good Neighbors doesn’t mean they’re always good. The old folk would protect their houses and land from those with mischievous intentions by hanging up wind chimes. My mamaw Hopson had about 40 on her front porch. Just said she liked ’em. Thinking back, I know exactly what all of them were for. She even had them in her kitchen in the window over the sink, and the large window that looked out yonder to the barns and field. Hell, she had a few in the barns too. Some Wee Folk don’t like the high pitched noises they make, cause they aren’t natural noises and most were made from iron. The wooden and bone ones they loved, but not the iron.

Now, we’ve spoken of the little folk in places across the country previously so this blog on how to build a relationship with them and work with them. They aren’t like other spirits. They don’t often give leeway. If you promise something, it’s in your best interest to keep it. If you live in an area where the native Little People are dangerous, I would suggest working with the ones who came over to America with the immigrants, those of Irish, Scottish, German origins. I suggest them because it is very hard to connect to those not native to your area. For example, you cannot call on the Nunnehi if your in California. Not because they can’t or won’t come, but they chose to not travel much.

Introducing Yourself 

The Little folk are weary of trespassers, so be sure not to go to far into the places where they live. Simply introduce yourself and bring offerings for them. Let them know that your intentions are pure and you will not harm them. Make a promise to them that you will not speak of your experiences for a certain time period, usually 7 days to 7 weeks. Bring them trinkets and food. They also love jewelry, sweets, and herbal teas (as long as they aren’t made with herbs used to keept the Little Folk away).

Leave them offerings in the same place often, at the same time as before. This shows them that you’re serious about connecting with them and learning from them. The timeframes for them to contact back vary greatly from a few weeks to years. Some will never have an experience. But, once you start giving offerings, don’t slack off. They’ll punish your laziness as they will see it as a form of disrespect to them.  They will be a nuisance every time you go into an altered state, mess with your workings, or worse yet. They’ve been know to do such things as breaking a leg, cursing your health, or jinxing your car. No one said they had a large moral stance.

Are they there? 

Some good tips to tell you if they’re ever present when you’re trying to make contact.

  • You’ll see faces in the bark and leaves in the forest. This is the main way the Nunnehi show themselves: in the rays of light that shine to the forest floor.
  • There will be an abundance of natural life near you, even though you assume your human scent is stinking up the forests and scaring everything off.
  • The wind won’t be blowing enough, but the trees will “wave”. If you’ve seen this, you know what I mean. When you do see it for the first time, you’ll understand what I mean, too.
  • Flowers will bloom out of season in your garden. This is where it gets freaky. Right now outside my door, I have mums blooming. In July. A couple weeks ago I still had one daffodil in bloom. My Iris flowers bloom at least three times a year. Year before last, one of them bloomed two days before Christmas, amidst freezing cold and a foot of snow. While this may be due to global warming, I’ve only ever seen this occur in my own garden, not elsewhere in my area.
  • Over time, you’ll notice twigs or rocks placed in weird fashions. I’ve found twigs built up like a teepee, rocks laid in circles, etc. While I do suspect it could’ve been another person who did it, I don’t think they’d come back every so often just to change the rocks around.
  • Sometimes you’ll feel something brush against your legs, even though it’s not the grass or wind. Not sure what this means in their way of acting yet. May be acceptance; may be simple play.
    • Protection 

      When doing any work with the Good Folk, you still need to be wary. Though most are kind and helpful, they still have a trickster-streak about them. After years of working with them and building respect between you and them, protection won’t be needed as there will be a trust of sorts between you.

      • Wearing “Holy” stones is said to keep the Little folk from working their magic on you or trapping you in their dances to lure you into their realm.
      • Most of them cannot touch iron or steel, which is said to render them powerless in its presence. It’s said they departed from our world when man began working iron, which now resides in every home around the world. When dealing with them in nature or giving offering you can carry a nail in your right pocket. The Irish say it’s got to be the right picket or it won’t work.
      • Carry a bottle of recently burned Willow ash on you or wear it on your hands.
      • Make a sachet of rue, garlic, cloves, tobacco ashe, and salt. Made with an odd number so their magic cannot cut it in half.
      • Three twigs of oak, ash and hawthorn is an old Irish trick to protect against their mischief. They must be bound and carried on your person to work. If they are not bound, it will attract them.
      • Rosemary has also been carried to protect from the Little Folk who mean harm to you.
      • The Little Folk are beautiful. Well most of them, but they all think they are. They have their own standards of beauty. They love looking at their reflection in pools of water, but they hate mirrors. Mirrors aren’t natural. Carry a piece of broken mirror on a red string around your neck to keep them at a safe distance.

          As time goes on and you meet little individuals that you know you can trust, you can lower your defenses one by one over time. These individuals will prove to be great allies for you in your work and your own personal life. But remember, relationships are two way streets. If they ask something of you and you say yes, you be best to follow through.


      The Little People have a standard of respect that we must meet in our dealings with them. Some ways to start out on a good foot are listed here:

      • Do not toss their offerings or food on the ground. They see this as disrespectful and dishonorable. They are not animals. Lay the food/offering down gently; or you can even put it on a plate for them.
      • Do not call them fairies or faeries. The spelling don’t change the insult they feel by this. They are insulted by this because of the way our world views them now: like tinker-bell sprites with tutus and iridescent wings. No one like stereotypes.
      • If one of them shares their name with you, it must stay between you and them. No one else can know their name in their language or ours.
      • Do not litter or add to pollution consciously. Don’t pretend you don’t know either, cause they’ll know about it.
      • Do not take something from nature without giving something in return and giving thanks. This includes plants and animal parts. They are gifts of nature when you find them and deserve respect.
      • Do not take from the plants they hold sacred without asking and giving a good reason. Leave a great offering in return.
      • Do not try to photograph them or get “evidence”. They’ll cease all communication if they get even a hint that you’re doing this.
      • Do not speak ill of them, ridicule them, or gossip about them. If your complaining about their little shenanigans then that’s fine. But walk softly here and watch your mouth.
      • Do not abuse animals or cut down wild plants without thanks or without a need. And always take what you NEED. They hate greedy people.
      • Some types of Little People don’t like to be called by their full title. Some simply refer to them as the littles or the People.

            Some people petition them for their help directly. Their ability to help is as varied as our needs. They can bring life back to a garden, provide protection in many situations, assist in healing/getting rid of disease, and will even cause a bad run of luck to those who cross us. They’ll see you as a friend and an insult or cross against their friend is against them in turn. Most of them keep a close clan, and will include you in that number and consider you “good people”.

      They will give knowledge of herbs and magic, but don’t go asking for that or they won’t give it. They gift it to those who they think deserve it and can handle the gifts. You can ask their opinion on herbs and the use of them in magic or medicine, but don’t ask them for power at all. That is the ultimate gift that they decide on.

      The Granny women didn’t do meditations to go meet them as some people claim. And they definitely didn’t go about by themselves for a time; life was far too busy to sit on the floor for an hour or go wondering off. Neither was there time enough to do these with kids running around.

      They would use the Sight instead. They would go into a trance while sewing, knitting, or rocking the baby. In this trance state is how they “knew” things. Now, when the kids were grown and the man was busy with something, I imagine they had plenty of time for shenanigans.

      One of my grandmother’s always loved drinking her “favorite tea” while she sewed and we played. I never figured the actual purpose, but I presume it was a tea for the Sight. Going by old Irish and Scottish teachings this is my recipe for the tea which I use when I crochet or sculpt:

      1 tablespoon of Catnip

      1/2 tablespoon of Ginger or Ginseng

      1 tablespoon of Dandelion root

      Boil a quart of water.

      When it begins boiling, pour some into a cup, sweeten the water and place the tea bag in.

      Cover the cup with a plate to keep the oils from evaporating through the stem or “letting the spirits out”.

           One of my matron Goddesses, the Irish Brighid, is closely tied to the Wee Folk. Born on the 1st of February (my birthday as well) she is a great healer, poet, and metal worker. Her traditions of ribbons in trees and tossing a coin with a wish into a well or fountain carried over here. For this the Little Folk also enjoy their offerings left in trees and shiny coins. Anything shiny really, as long as it’s not iron.

      If during your wonderings, if you come upon a place where you hear music, don’t follow it. This is the best way to become entranced and dazed into their world. Also, if you come upon a stranger in the forest who ask you to go with them, don’t. It’s one of their glamours.

      When you begin getting to know and trust them better, ask for their guidance through divination. The one they work well with is scrying in water, smoke, or fire. This is the easiest way for them to give you messages. Also think about inviting them to either assist or simply witness some works that you do. They have a playfulness about them, but they behave when work is being done. They also hate to be left out. When watering the garden, leave small offerings and talk to them. Whisper with them when outside. With practice you’ll be able to understand their mumbling more.

      While this is barely all the information regarding them, invest into some books on the market to further your understanding. Here’s a couple to start you off good.

      Recommended Books 

      • Edwin McCoy; “A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk
      • Ellen Dugan; “Garden Witchery”
      • John Bierhorst; “The Deetkatoo: Native American Stories About Little People”
      • Edward Cornplanter; “Tales of The Little People: Eight Native American Legends of Elves, Dwarves and Fairies”
      • Mary A. Joyce; “Cherokee Little People Were Real

             This probably won’t be the last post on the Yunwi Tsunsdi, but until then, follow the steps set here and be safe in your dealings with them. Done the right way, you’ll have friends everywhere.

      Author: Jake Richards

      Jake (Dr. Henny) follows family practice as a Yarb Doctor and Conjure man in the Appalachian Folk Magic tradition. He follows the legacy of his mother (a seventh daughter), that left behind by his grandfather, a baptist preacher who was a blood stopper, wort doctor, and thrush doctor; his grandmother, who was a knowledgeable woman in these works before Alzheimer’s set in; his great, great grandfather who witched for water in Washington County and his great grandmother who taught and worked from her roost at the foot of Devil’s Nest Mountain. Jake is the author of Backwoods Witchcraft: Conjure & Folk Magic from Appalachia, available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. When he's not writing, blogging, reading the bones or trying for clients: he is either traveling, gardening, sewing, book binding, reading, or sculpting. For questions, readings, recommendations for future posts, interviews and the like, you are welcome to email him below:

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