Sardegna
Ph. Eleonora Diana

In Sardinia

In many traditions, stories about fairies are told.
They live in caves or in the mountains, near lakes or water sources, but far from men, because they are disappointed by their constant attempts to rob them of their immense treasures.
Good to the pure in heart, they can become cruel to the wicked, the thieves and the disrespectful ones.
Sometimes they are beautiful, sometimes they have disturbing details such as goose feet or cloven hoofs, sometimes they are sinister entities.

In the Sardinian Mediterranean maquis the Janas are fairies that wander among thyme and rosemary, lavender and mint, red juniper and strawberry tree, helichrysum and hyssop, rue and myrtle, which make them fascinating, holm oak and ferula, perfect for making magic wands, mastic and nasturtium, with strong aphrodisiac powers when eaten with onion and lemon, heather and borage for bright dreams.

 

The legend

Whether they are represented as witches, with long breasts touching the ground and long steel nails, or as girls of indescribable beauty, they are said to be dressed in red with gold and coral necklaces. Their very white skin forces them to go out only at night, otherwise it would become black as coal.

The live in cave-houses, the domus de janas, with custom-made furniture and furnishings, often in the vicinity of singularly shaped rocks and dolmens.
They spin golden fabrics on gold looms and in front of their house they hang a white cloth that charms passers-by, who, according to their noble heart, remain prisoners or are filled with treasures.
They dominate the fire and foresee the future and in their magical mirror they can see events that happen at a great distance.
If they take a liking to you, they come to your bedroom at night, calling you three times by name and showing you their richest treasures, they bring you special objects or abilities as a gift, such as magical cloaks or unsurpassed strength, they fulfil your wishes.

To meet them
Just taste an infusion of thyme in the middle of the woods or bring with you some rosemary, which drives away negativity but attracts enchanted creatures around.
Good luck!

Sources:
“La cucina delle Janas. erbe e magia nella cucina sarda” (The cuisine of the Janas. herbs and magic in Sardinian cuisine) Roberta Deiana (Blu Edizioni, 2014)
“Creature fantastiche in Sardegna” (Fantastic creatures in Sardinia) Claudia Zedda (La riflessione, 2012)
britannica.com/art/changeling-folklore
britannica.com/art/fairy