DISCUSSION ABOUT NATURAL SPIRITS, ELEMENTAL SPIRITS ETC AND THEIR NATURE
Not so far ago I published an almost identical article on another forum, under another username, but sadly didn't get any response. So I'll now try here...
I want to start a little discussion, not because this is the most important topic to talk about (even if it is interesting), but just for the joy of debate and comparing my views with other... So let us just speculate and theorize a little bit.
Sometimes I have been thinking about the nature of the so-called lesser spirits, that is elemental spirits, nature spirits and such. I have been wondering what they really are, and how to classify them. What do they consist of? Where do they come from? Are there things that separate them from “greater spirits” of the same kind, other then the magnitude of their power?
This is my own theories, that are the result of observations, studies of some literature, and common thinking. These are just working theories, not something I will argue is the truth, but some ground on which we can start this discussion. I'm sure there's more prominent members of this forum who knows better and I want to hear their opinion!
If we start with the elemental spirits, those that are popularly called sylphs, salamanders, undines and gnomes, I see them as simple beings with only one (or at least very few) characters. They are made of pure elemental force – Air, Fire, Water or Earth, they are single-minded with little or no intellect, and only one purpose if any. Most often they seem to be their own purpose, emanating straight out of their elemental source and a manifestation of the pure joy of existence. Sometimes I can see these entities with my physical eyes, most often at sites where the “Earth Powers” are strong. Seeing them dancing and playing is a feast for the eyes!
Belonging to the same class I see those beings that are made of one single substance, what we could call secondary elements, like Light, Darkness, Shadow, Heat, Cold etc. When I first started to develop Sight I was a little bit scared, because I saw all those tall shadowy figures standing in dark corners. Then I realized they were never threatening, aggressive and dangerous in any way, just calm and minding their own business. A few of them have showed a little interest in my doings, and at first I banished some of them. Now I think that was unnecessary harsh. They mean no harm.
Then it seems to be more advanced elemental spirits, still made of pure element but more complex, with will and intellect of their own. These spirits, let us call them higher elemental entities, are able to have conversations. They also have a lot more power then the simpler ones, but not as raw and more defined. There are also more types of these spirits than I'm able to count; some seem to be unique, but there are also breeds, races and peoples. And there are huge differences in the magnitude of their powers, but he nature of their powers depends of what they are made of.
Most powerful of elemental beings are the Elemental Lords / Ladies with godlike powers. There also seem to be local lords, governing the elemental force of a region of the world. Entities like these are personifications of their element. But those are not the “lesser spirits” we will discuss here.
Elemental spirits are also known to have the power to affect human beings by their mere presence. They emit raw elemental energy that have an influence on the elemental balance in other beings. This could be for good or for bad. Most notorious in this matter are the undines said to be, since they mess with human feelings and our emotional life in a way that could be dangerous and lead to bad decisions.
What is the difference between elemental and natural spirits? I think the greatest difference are not their function, but what they are made of. As I see it (and I could be wrong) natural spirits are made by mixed elements, like material beings such as plants, animals and humans. Some people argue for example that goblins are the same thing as gnomes, or perhaps a more advanced breed of them, that naiads are undines and that fairies are some kind of sylphs. But I'm not so sure about that. Of course, many natural spirits are closely associated to a certain elements. So are many physical animals – birds belong to Air and fishes belong to Water. Still they are evidently made of mixed elements...
Are the natural spirits always “just” spirits? In old times many people actually believed they were at least semi-physical non-human sentient beings. And some of them surely can have substance enough to manipulate the physical existence, and bodies that seems to be just as material as humans or animals. Even spirits of small size are known by many tales to have remarkable physical strength. And giants are probably able to dramatically reshape geography, if woken from their deep sleep. If the lore is to be believed.
The spirits of Nature have many functions, just like animals and humans. Perhaps it is wrong to talk about purpose, because most of them are their own, just like us. Some are like animals or vagabonds, roaming the land. Some of them inhabit a certain part in the nature, this place can be big or small. Some of them are huge, like trolls. Some are vast in a geographical way, like the giants or dragons, who sometimes are so big that they are hard to see, even if they happens to be visible with physical eyes... Some are tiny, like pixies and the smallest of goblins.
Among those natural spirits that are most like humans are those who are called elves, fairies etc, known in many different cultures under many different names, but with very similar folk tales around them. They are like humans in the way that they are fully capable of intellectual thoughts in a way that at least remind of ours, and in the way that they have civilizations. Which doesn't mean that all of them are civilized (just as humans). But here's also many differences – they are very magical by their nature, glamorous and notorious tricksters and shape-shifters. They come in many forms and breeds. Their royalties can have good-like powers. And they seem to inhabit if not the same world, then a world very close to ours. Most likely it is the same world, but another frequency of the “Earth-Sphere”.
Also some goblins, trolls and giants are civilized and thereby a little bit like us. But all spirits of nature are magical. The magic seems to be a part of their being, not only something they can do, which means most of them are much better at magic than we ever can hope to be...
Some natural spirits are easy to work with and friendly to humans. But many others have no reason to like us, because of deforestation, environmental pollution, over-fishing and other examples of human foolishness.
There are many different theories on where the natural spirits comes from. Some say they are old as the world or perhaps older. There are folk-tales that says they are the ancestors of rebellious angels who broke with The One God in the beginning of time, but without being followers of Satan. Therefore they couldn't be sent down to hell, but was left in this world. Other say natural spirits are diminished pagan gods, who lost a lot of their because of Christianity. Then there are the belief that all spirits are the sprits of the human dead, and natural spirits (and perhaps also elementaries) are long-dead spirits transformed by time. Personally I favour the first of these theories.
There are numerous stories of friendship between human beings and natural spirits. There are also many tales about sexual relations and intermarriage. Sometimes those relations are said to have produced hybrid offspring. Even today, in Europe, there are some old families that, according to legend, are the descendants of such mixed couples.
This was just some thoughts, ideas, believes and questions about elementaries and natural spirits. Now I'm very curious about what you have to contribue with...! What are your experience of working with these kinds of spirits? Have you views and theories different from mine? Do you want to speculate? Or do you just have some other thing to say about this subject?
Feel free to join!