Golems are animated pieces of matter, propelled by a spirit that is controlled by a wizard who created the golem.
Elementals are spirits attuned to a particular element who take the form of that element when they are summoned.
Faeries are corporeal spirits who are attuned to the land, the air, or the forest.
But what if they were all the same type of creature?
So, elemental planes don't exist, and neither do faeries or the fey court, but somebody could certainly create a golem and they would need to enslave a spirit in order for that golem to animate.
spirits of wind and air
The spirits are everywhere. They are literally made of air, and formed from each exhaled breath of the sleeping god, whose name has been forgotten and whose tomb has never been located. Each spirit is born of a god's dream, and so each spirit is different, but all share the same qualities. They are naturally invisible, formless, virtually immortal, and can travel great distances very quickly.
These spirits hover around people who show great magical prowess. They are still connected with the sleeping god, and they believe they are spies for him, so they send him messages about what is happening in the world and who is doing what, and his dreams catch these messages which causes him to exhale more spirits.
The spirits of wind and air are small, but usually travel together in large packs. They can work together to draw air out of the lungs of anyone they see as an obstacle. They are fearless, for the most part, but if someone does manage to inflict harm upon them they immediately turn tail and flee, while remembering to inform their sleeping god of the one who was able to hurt them.
spirits of form
These spirits are just like the ones made of air, but they choose to possess the living or take form out of inanimate matter. The most common spirits of this nature are the Dirt Pugs, small dogs that appear to be made of rock and mud. Some of the more complex and knowledgeable spirits can take on elaborate forms, and lay intricate plans. If the form they take is destroyed then the spirit still exists, though possibly weaker and will take some time assembling a new body. If a possessing spirit loses its host to death, then it can simply move to a new host.
A skilled magical practitioner can summon one of these spirits and forcibly house it within an object. When a magician creates a golem or similar construct using one of these spirits as its animus, these spirits become slaves to the will of the magician. They serve their magicians fearlessly, but fight relentlessly to free themselves of their prisons.