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Somewhere ‘out there’ is a world called; the ‘Otherworld’. It is a place where amazing magical beings known as ‘Otherworldly Beings’ dwell. Every culture in the world has its own version of Otherworldly Beings, such as Wish Granters, Fairy Folk and Elementals. The timeless myth and mystery of these magical creatures still continues to bring intrigue and wonder today.
Some of these beings are part of nature and live within nature in the trees or rivers. Others enjoy contact with humanity, working to help or hinder the ‘Big Folk’ they encounter. Despite the diversity of these beings, there is one attribute they all share; they are all – magical.
The belief in ‘nature spirits’ is of ancient origin. It is also universal, and there are many different names and descriptions. The famous 16th century Swiss physician, alchemist and mystic Paracelsus first defined these ‘nature spirits’ as ‘Elementals’, classifying them according to the element of nature they inhibit.
The four main groups of Elementals are derived from earth, air, fire and water, although there are also those that exist in animal life and vegetation. Elementals are usually benevolent guardian beings or spirits that look after nature’s secrets and treasures in the natural realm they occupy.
Paracelsus described these Elementals as each having a body composed of one element which may be of flesh (blood and bone), but is made of ‘flesh not from Adam’ (that can pass through solids). He believed that they could speak, eat, drink, mix with humans and even bear children. According to Paracelsus; ‘Elementals are unlike pure spirits for they are mortal, but they are not like man for they have no soul’.
Water Elementals - Undines are usually beautiful female nymph-like beings that live in water environments. They are eager to tempt; like to associate with humans, and often marry humans. The ‘Lady of The Lake’ is an example of a water Elemental who features in the legends of King Arthur.
Earth Elementals - Gnomes are a race of small, misshapen, dwarf-like creatures that often protect secret treasures in the underground earth. They cannot stand the light of day, which would turn them into stone. To retrieve any of the guarded treasure you must first appease the gnomes, or they will cause you mischief.
Air Elementals – Sylphs are fairy-like spirits that inhibit the air. They are always active, quick of movement and speech, and are known to be highly intelligent as they can accumulate vast amounts of information in an incredibly short period of time. They are often called for help in the resolution of issues involving the mind.
Fire Elementals – Salamanders are thin, red and dry skinned beings. Sometimes they are visible as small balls of fire or the tongues of fire. They are explosive and highly unstable. Paracelsus described Fauns as Elementals that guarded animal life, and Dryads that inhabited trees and fields.
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