Yesterday, this faery told me she was a slight madness engendered by eating too much bacon… but I don’t believe everything a faery says. Today, she states that she is the one who maintains correct levels of iron in the blood. Her work is in the liver, recycling iron. If this faery becomes vague and inattentive, anemia can result.
In this faery form, we see female energy moving into balance with the male. Iron* represents stasis; it is inflexible and masculine. The intransigence of iron is transformed, when it rusts, by the feminine aspects of water and oxygen, the very essence of life. Rust, then, is formed of the cold reason of iron transformed into red oxide; the colour represents passion, life renewal, and the blood of the earth. Shamans used body paint made of red oxide in many mystical rites, and in the ancient world it was used for ritual decoration of corpses and bones. Water of a rusty colour was deemed to have magical properties — such as the famous healing waters of Holy Chalice Well in Glastonbury, England.
This rusty faery interacts with us on many different levels, concerned particularly with bodily health, decay, and regeneration. But you might know her best in one of her more annoying guises: as the cause of that first rust spot on a shiny new chrome surface.
* A note on rust: Faeries have their origin in the pretechnological past. Classical writers refer to a Silver Age, a time when Man’s mind moved more easily in intuitive and creative modes. Silver is a faery metal, influenced by the moon and Mercury, that enhances communication and connection. After the Age of Silver was the Age of Iron, which brought us reason, ambition, and warfare; thus it is no wonder that the faeries’ relationship with iron is ambivalent. Many faeries are frightened by iron — a nail or knife or open scissors are traditionally used to keep faeries away. Other faeries, the borrowing faeries, are just the opposite; they find anything iron irresistible (especially kettles and cauldrons) and delight in stealing it. Being faeries, they get overexcited and will carry off almost anything — as you discover when you try to find that whatchamacallit that was going to be so useful… and you know you put it down right here… and now it’s gone… it just walked away.
Actually, it’s in a faery nest in a glittering collection of “lost” objects.
— Good Faeries Bad Faeries, by Brian Froud.
[Artwork: The Rust Spot Faery, by Brian Froud.]