cover image Where Fairies Meet: Parallels Between Irish and Romanian Fairy Traditions

Where Fairies Meet: Parallels Between Irish and Romanian Fairy Traditions

Daniela Simina. Moon, $12.95 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-1-803-41019-7

Yoga instructor Simina (A Fairy Path) explores fairy mythology in Romanian and Irish folklore in this thorough study. Though located at opposite ends of Europe, the countries’ fairy mythologies “display a remarkable parallelism” that suggests, Simina writes, a “veracity of fairy experiences,” because when “bodies of fairy lore from distinct cultures point in the same direction, there must be something true there.” Known as Na Daoine Maithe (the Good Neighbors) or sidhe in Irish tradition and Zâne and iele in Southern and Eastern European folklore, fairies are “magical beings inhabiting a different dimension,” with connotations of “unpredictability, change, magical power, danger, and beauty.” In both cultures, fairies are said to be descended from gods and possess healing powers, have been depicted as beautifully dressed queens or “scary-looking” hags, and sometimes choose to connect with humans, who often become “gifted healers, musicians, poets, or good at divination and prophecy.” They also are believed to guard certain areas onto which trespassing brings dire consequences, she writes, adding that the “fear of fairies” has kept “many mounds, cairns, and tree specimens safe for hundreds of years.” Simina covers a vast amount of fairy lore, drawing on folktales, mythology research, and knowledge from her grandmother, a “medicine woman and fairy seer,” to offer a compact yet in-depth survey. Students of European folklore will find this edifying. (June)