In a recent post, I talked about Japanese hokora miniature shrines and how they look like little “faerie shrines.” Since then, I’ve been doing a little research into what could be the Western world’s nearest equivalent – “faerie houses.”
There’s a bit of an artistic movement of making tiny little houses like the one pictured here, designed to look as if a faerie would live in them, and they do remind me of hokora very much. Like hokora, they are miniaturised, use natural materials, are normally photographed outdoors, and usually take a rather primitive or organic shape (rather than looking like a house that a person would live in – that would just be a doll’s house).
But unlike hokora, for the most part there doesn’t seem to be a particular spiritual significance for the majority of faerie houses. They are made as an artistic expression and while the maker probably has a deep appreciation of faerie legends, they may not necessarily believe in faeries or other nature spirits. For this reason, I have not yet seen a faerie house with offerings places outside it.
However, in some of the cases, the makers do seem to have some sort of belief in faeries and place their faerie house in a particular spot outside where they can “attract” faeries. Whether or not these nature spirits are “venerated” in the same way kami are venerated in the hokora is another matter, but it interesting to see that some crafters of faerie houses do acknowledge that nature spirits could exist.
It’s interesting to see how something quite similar to hokora has cropped up in Western culture, and whether or not pagans might adopt something similar in order to venerate nature spirits (I personally would love to see this happen!)