There is a generally anticipated depiction of fairies to be small, winged, and light.
But is this depiction accurate to Faerie Tradition?
The short answer is not really, but the long one is a little more layered than a single statement.
When we walk the faery path simultaneously, existing realities and possibilities will show up to test us from time to time.
First, Fae is a group terminology to include beings of a higher order than humans. In the term Fae / Faerie, we can meet the nature devas, Sidhe, Shining ones, the Pictish ( Scottish Origin of the Pixies ), The Good People of Irish Lore, Elves, and even some other Fae kind like bigfoot ( a hairy faery ) to name a few.
What is not Fae kind, we can generally describe as creature kind. Elementals, plant devas, ents, animals, mythical or otherwise, are considered creature kind.
The Fae encounters in faery tradition.
Authentic faery tradition describes the Fae as tall and often taller than human beings, but they can be witnessed well dressed, generously decorated, or armoured. This latter depiction is accurate to the Irish and Scottish faery traditional descriptions. Or Equally Sky clad with long hair.
So when we look at the old faery faith of Celtic and central European locality, there are no accounts, bardic tales, or other mentions of the Fae being little or winged.
So do they get confused with elemental beings?
Sometimes, Elementals can appear in any size and shape, often as big as a mountain or a great sea storm or as little as a seed, and are largely unseen but felt. The Fae does have a relation to elementals. In some visions, I saw the Fae creating palm-size elements for a specific purpose with a short lifespan, and I have met many with such images during my workshops. In Icelandic traditions, the Faeries are mound-dwelling folk who like food, drink and grant wishes and are known to be small at times. Or at least have tiny homes. But in Celtic Fairy Faith, there are no mentions of any such ways of existing; Of course, the Good People of Irish Folklore dwell in the hallow hills; however, they are known as gentle but great warriors larger than man travelling in the warm wind on horseback battling the darkness in the heavens. So where does the Fairy, Pixie, Pooka depiction of little winged being come from? It is primarily fantasy and fiction of the Victorian era and the birth child of Edwardian occultists, romanticising faeries in depiction as more comforting, delicate and harmless. With whatever intent created these descriptions, they are the birth child of the era's fantasy writers, possibly doing little research into the then-still existing faery faith. Many could argue that there is a genuine intent of emasculation. Large, firm, almost giant-like faeries are more intimidating, inspiring, and of course, transformative to encounter. The latter being crucial to Underworld traditions and Celtic faerie faith is essentially a branch of the underworld tradition where transformative experiential work is encouraged.
Some semi-serious presentations of little faeries as nature devas in Scotland, based on the Work of R Ogilvy-Crombey, result from Edwardian modern spiritualism and serves as an excellent example of those mentioned above.
On the other side, the earlier Scottish Fae is described much like what you see depicted in the Elves of LOTR.
There is, of course, no ill intent here, or at least it is safe to assume that ROC's Findhorn faeries are a product of his innocent encounters and imagination. At his time, creating a romantic neo-fairy faith was possibly delightful destruction to many of the darker experiences people undoubtedly suffered from at the time.
Whilst there are no little beings in lore, we must recognise that faery tradition is experiential.
Therefore, there are no set rules, dogmas, or even depictions to follow, so there is always a possibility that some people's experiences will support the imagery of a tiny faery.
Possibly, these individuals need to experience the Fae at first as little people.
Whilst others do not need this bridge of story, fantasy and experience as much and are perfectly happy to encounter the full glory of the Fae or meet with the good people as they are.
So, although there are no little beings in traditional faith, there are, in fact, some in the hearts and sight of our ever-changing world.
When my students share their personal experiences with the Fae after workshops, each group will have a different experience based on where the event was held. Furthermore, their encounter with the fae beings during the journeys are very much alike. This is to say that the way we experience fae encounters can be local to the area; we choose to make our acquaintances. But also that each group develops a hive mind when Questing together.
We are encountering Fae, which can only happen through faithful questing to say we seek the allyship based on the capacity our creative mind is capable of experiencing at the time.
So the Fae Experience, after all, is profoundly individual and will be as accessible or as limited as we allow it to be.
So whilst there is evidence there are no cute little beings in Faerie traditions, there are now some tiny folk who exist at places where humans can meet the Fae within their quest.
Despite this, we must distinguish between Fae, Sidhe, Deva, Pixie and Elementals. Purely out of respect and wisdom, keeping with our ancestral tradition.