The Fair Folk and the Jinn

I recently subscribed to John Beckett‘s ‘Under the Ancient Oaks’ newsletter, and was very interested to see a link to a Spirit Box podcast by Darragh Mason Field. Darragh is an award-winning photographer, who has – amongst other things – taken a lot of photos of sites associated with Jinn.

In his podcast, Darragh discusses “Folklore, Magick and the Spirit World’; two of the episodes discuss the similarities between the Irish Sidhe and the Jinn of the Middle East.

The first is just a basic introduction to the topic, while the second is a much longer discussion with Morgan Daimler, a well-known authority on the Fair Folk. This one is particularly interesting, with both Darragh and Morgan being surprised at the extent of overlap, and it’s hard not to conclude by the end that the Irish Sidhe and the Jinn are in fact the same people.

They don’t discuss the Tylwyth Teg of Wales, except in passing, but I found this conversation to be particularly exciting because it confirms the argument I made here that the Coraniaid of the the Mabinogion, and the Tylwyth Teg of later Welsh myth, represented two successive waves of Jinn migrating to the Island of Britain – the Welsh Triads specifically saying that they came from Asia. This fits in very nicely with the traditional lore that Gwyn ap Nudd is the lord of the Fair Folk. I concluded that while Islam acknowledged the Jinn and granted them a role and legal rights, Christianity excluded them and called them evil.

All of this matches the material that Darragh and Morgan covered.  One thing I found interesting was that all of the traditions – Irish, Welsh, and Islamic – acknowledged that sex between humans and the Fair Folk/Jinn is possible, and can lead to children. I hadn’t looked at the Irish traditions in detail, though, and from what Morgan said it seems that to the Irish, this is always referred to as perilous; there seems to be no Irish equivalent of the Welsh Gwragedd Annwn, the women of the Fair Folk who choose to join human society. often bringing great gifts of magic or medical knowledge to their new family. I wonder why there is this difference?

1 thought on “The Fair Folk and the Jinn

  1. I’ve been enjoying your posts immensely. I’m also Welsh and recently an old interest in ancient Celtic folklore has reawakened inside of me. I’m strongly considering ONOB enrollment currently and I’ve dedicated my personal, academic, and professional life to environmentalism, which shows the innate connection I have to nature.

    In terms of the tylwyth teg, two themes spring to mind/stoke my interest: 1) If the coraniaid were from Asia, isn’t it a coincidence that fairy butter has associations with saffron, which came from the east? And, 2) Where do the tylwyth teg reside now? Do they live in the ethereal plane or another dimension? How does damage in our realm relate to their world, if at all? Do places found in both dimensions correlate to any extent? Did the increasingly destructive force of humanity – from Roman times onwards – force them to withdraw from our reality? Is that perhaps why the magic died for us many moons ago?

    I believe strongly that there is no smoke without fire when it comes to ancient ‘myths’. I feel a strange affinity to the fairy lore of Cymru. If only there was a way to commune with Isfyd. Based on your writings, I live in hope that Gwyn ap Nudd is poised to strike back against the plague of humanity. Maybe it’s a shame that the coraniaid didn’t defeat the humans of old. If they had, perhaps the world would still be replete with nature and wildlife.


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