“Queen of the Bad Faeries” by Brian Froud
Here in the light of the waning moon is the Queen of the Bad Faeries. In Scotland she is known as Nicnivin, Elph Queine of the Unseelie Court. In Germany she’s Berchta, leading the savage dogs of the Wild Hunt. In Spain she is the Queen of the Estantigua, the ancient hosts of spirits, telling all she meets: “Travel by day, for the night belongs to me.” Her domain is the night. She rules over dusk and darkness, shadows and shades. The Dark Queen’s power emanates from the dark side of the moon. Much and secret and hidden here, cloaked by dark and illusion. Out of the gloaming beckons the faery woman whose enchantments create madness. An Irish banshee wails her deaths song, echoed by La Llorona, her baleful cousin in the American West. Black Annis, the wretched blue-faced hag, sits and grinds her long white teeth. Hobgoblins and bogles torment the ghostly black dogs who haunt dark country lanes. The human dead are ambassadors to the court of this dark faery queen, for the mounds that faeries inhabit were burial mounds in centuries past.
But every shroud has a silver lining. All things must die to be reborn. The transformative power of Faery turns much into magic, dross into shining gold, black despair into crystalline joy. Just as life grows out of death, good can grow from those things we call bad. The banshee cry foretells change, not death. Blue-faced hags, if we pass the test and embrace them, turn into beautiful women- or perhaps it’s not the hags who change, but merely our vision of them. In Irish folklore, hags were once revered as powerful wisewomen, credited with building the ancient cairns and Ireland’s sacred mountains.
In the darkness the seeds of good germinate, unfold, grow upward toward the light. Faeryland is the land of paradox: in light there is darkness; in darkness, light.* You will find no absolute evil here within the Dark Queen’s realm, for she is the queen of nature, a force of nature, formed from the dreaming earth. True evil exists only in the shadow of man, when he turns his back to the light.