Mythical Monday: Thought Forms and the Fae by Mae Clair

fantasy landscape in the nigthI recently finished a series of novels by C.S. Friedman called The Coldfire Trilogy/Saga. One of the most compelling things about the novels was a concept the author created for her imaginary planet, Erna.

In the books, Erna is rife with a power that can be manipulated and Worked by those who know how to tap into it. Adepts are born with this ability. Others, such as sorcerers, achieve limited use of it through study and apprenticeship. The fae is divided into categories such as earth fae, solar fae and tidal fae (only women are able to work tidal fae, and even then the gift is very rare).

What I found most intriguing about the fae was its energy at night. When darkness fell, it became highly active drawing strength from, and feeding on, human emotions. Feelings of fear, anger, jealousy and lust allowed the fae to take physical form (usually in the shape/form of something very nasty), which preyed on humans. Wards were needed to guard homes and city gates, keeping these “constructs” outside. Townspeople knew better than to be outdoors after sunset. Nightmarish creatures conjured from human fear and hostility stalked those foolish enough to brave the darkness.

I thought this was a great concept for a series of fantasy novels. Then recently, while reading a book on the Mothman, I learned of something called tulpas, or thought projections. Tibetan monks believe in the ability to conjure thought forms. It’s said that someone with a highly advanced, disciplined mind can conjure a sentient being through the power of thought. The tulpa is in control of its opinions, movements and thoughts, and can only be destroyed by killing the thought itself (if the tulpa is not fully formed) or diluting the thought and then dispatching the tulpa.


Did you just experience a goosebump? We’re talking about thought given physical form.

That’s entirely too bizarre for me. I’m not even sure why anyone would want to conjure a tulpa, but I couldn’t help comparing the idea to the fae in C.S. Friedman’s novels.  I much prefer my weirdness to be restricted to the fantasy realms between the pages of a good book. I loved the idea of the fae, but am equally repelled by the concept of a tulpa.

Myth is intriguing, but some things are just too creepy for my taste. This was one of them. What about you? Are there certain myths that give you nightmares? Would a tulpa be one of them?

23 thoughts on “Mythical Monday: Thought Forms and the Fae by Mae Clair

    • Hi, Alicia. I’m completely with you on not giving any more thought energy to a tulpa *shudder* For some reason, reading about the idea really gave me goosebumps. Totally weird. I could see Stephen King having a field day with that one. Then again….maybe he already has!


    • I agree, Jessi. Creepfest supreme! It was weird to realize C.S. Friedman’s fae manifestations were basically the same thing but, in that context, I loved the idea!


    • Oooh, the Dementors! Totally weird, floating around and sucking the souls from people. J.K. Rowling really created some bizarre creatures and drew on so many cool legends. I miss Harry & Co!


  1. I love myths about the fae. The concept of them coming from dreams or nightmares has appeared in other things. One of my favorite games, Changeling the Dreaming, has fae spawned from and fed on the imagination of humans. Some of those fae are super creepy, like Redcaps, which also appear in Irish folklore.

    There are a lot of things in myth that give me the creeps, yet I still find them fascinating. The headless horseman ranks among one of the scariest for me. Honestly, anything dark and deadly that might creep through the night and kill me.

    Thanks for the post, Mae!


  2. I’m going to have to look up Redcaps. I’m not familiar with that one. The Fae in Changeling the Dreaming sounds much like the fae in the novels I read. I love how the author described them … kind of dark, creepy and lyrical all at the same time…and how they couldn’t manifest in the presence of the anti-hero because he was so evil, his form just swallowed them up.

    The headless horseman is not someone I’d want to meet! And I’m in total agreement about being creeped out by anything dark and deadly that might creep through the night and kill me. Amazing what our writer imaginations can conjure, isn’t it?


  3. Several mythological beings come to mind. I have no desire to get lost in the minotaur’s labyrinth…in the dark…at night…And it would really creep me out to find myself staring at Charon while riding his ferry…(I wonder if you can pay him to turn around?)


    • Those both would give me nightmares. Especially Charon, knowing where he was headed. There are definitely a lot of nasty beasties and ghouls out there in the land of myth! 🙂


  4. I found you thanks to Kitt. Fascinating post. I love reading about the Fae. Find them very intriguing. I have to side with Diane. I can’t think of many things more upsetting than the Dementors. Although, there are several unseelie that may give me chills. I have a character I’ve written that can see the thoughts of others and is learning, through trial and error, that she can bring some of those thoughts to life. Kind of like a Tulpa, wouldn’t you say?


    • Hi, Debra! Thanks for dropping by. I loved swinging by your blog today and seeing what you were up to on Immortal Monday.

      Your character DOES sound like she’s creating a tulpa. Among the pages of a book I would find that fascinating!


    • Yep, watched the movie and thought it was great. The book is pretty “out there.” The portions devoted to the Mothman and the Silver Bridge disaster (beginning and end) are riveting, but the bulk of the book is devoted to UFO sightings and some of those are truly bizarre. It was interesting to see how closely the movie paralleled the book.

      I read the book with a highlighter in hand, made margin notes and dog-eared a bunch of pages. A very strange read…


      • Sounds like my cup of tea for sure, very like X-Files. I’ll have to pick up the book.
        In the film, though, I had to laugh when the Mothman phoned Richard Gere. Those Mothmen must be pretty advanced if they’re picking up phones. 🙂


    • I’m in line with that, L.J! Oooh, and I like the idea of thought taking form by way of dreams you pursue. That’s a much better way of thinking about it! 🙂


  5. I always wonder how authors come up with their names, like the tulpa.My thought upon reading this post is that tulpa may actually exist, in the form of evil


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