There was a common belief held into the early modern times (circa the turn of the 20th century) that the fae were actually fallen angels. This particular belief was among many beliefs that were held onto by citizens of Ireland. One version of the story goes that during the fall from grace angels that landed on land became the sidhe (land faeries, or similar to nymphs), and angels that fell into the water became mermaids. There is even a connected story that faeries were the children of Adam and Eve that Eve hid when God came to visit them. In this version Eve was ashamed of how much sex she and Adam had, and wanted to hide some of the evidence. Being that God was omniscient, he knew the truth and cursed the hidden children to forever be “hidden people” or the fae!
This really interesting theory of the origin of the faeries is one that was popular among Irish peasants for centuries. The reason for this theory being popular was that when Christianity became the dominate religion of Ireland the church could not fully wipe out older pagan beliefs. This is also what caused so many pagan deities to be Christianized as saints. At least that way if people were still worshipping them, it did not go against the Church!
The practice of the Church of taking faeries and pagan deities and making them into Christian figures helped to spread Christianity. This is particularly true for more rural areas of the world, and especially the Celtic world, where they held onto folk beliefs more strongly. Whether it is a more modern belief (since it came with the dawning of Christianity instead of during ancient times) or not, this theory on the origin of faeries is certainly an important one to remember!
I hope this post on the connection between the fallen and the fae was enjoyable. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is the book cover for Fallen by Lauren Kate. I found the image on amazon.com via pinterest.com.