Wikipedia - Fairy ring folklore
Type of Spiritual Experience
Symbolism all mixed up with literal meanings - how symbolic meaning can be lost
A description of the experience
A great deal of folklore surrounds fairy rings. Their names in European languages often allude to supernatural origins; they are known as ronds de sorciers ("sorcerers' rings") in France, and hexenringe ("witches' rings") in German.
In German tradition, fairy rings were thought to mark the site of witches' dancing on Walpurgis Night, and Dutch superstition claimed that the circles show where the Devil set his milk churn. In Tyrol, folklore attributed fairy rings to the fiery tales of flying dragons; once a dragon had created such a circle, nothing but toadstools could grow there for seven years.
European superstitions routinely warned against entering a fairy ring. French tradition reported that fairy rings were guarded by giant bug-eyed toads that cursed those who violated the circles. In other parts of Europe, entering a fairy ring would result in the loss of an eye. Fairy rings are associated with diminutive spirits in the Philippines.
Scandinavian and Celtic traditions claimed that fairy rings are the result of elves or fairies dancing. Such ideas dated to at least the mediæval period; The Middle English term elferingewort ("elf-ring"), meaning "a ring of daisies caused by elves' dancing" dates to the 12th century..