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Post by walkerofsorrow on Nov 19, 2017 12:28:39 GMT -5
Excellent! I wanted to see what people thought. When studying the mythological creatures from numerous cultures, I kept running into similar results. Regardless of how different they are or how far apart their origins may be, most sources tend to describe creatures as "elf, fairy, goblin, or demon." Almost like the labels are the same. Something has to be really different than them to be labeled another way. In my mind though, elves/fairies and angels are quite different despite their similarities, and goblins and different than demons, etc.
Angel - "a spiritual being believed to act as an attendant, agent, or messenger of God, conventionally represented in human form with wings and a long robe." Comes from the term "mal'akh" meaning messenger, and bears similarity to Zoroastrian figures like the Amesha Spentas and Fravashi, as emanations of the "Principle/Force of Creation."
Elf - "a supernatural creature of folk tales, typically represented as a small, elusive figure in human form with pointed ears, magical powers, and a capricious nature." The Germanic root is agreed by several sources to be cognate with the Latin word for "matte white," Old Irish for "flock," Albanian for "barley," and Germanic words for "swan." These all come from the Indo-European base *albh-, and seem connected by the idea of "whiteness." Jakob Grimm thought this indicated they were pure, divine beings of light, but others say it simply means they were beautiful, as Scandinavian texts often regarded white as symbolic of beauty. The origins of Elves in Scandinavian lore seem to suggest they are synonymous with the Aesir (Norse gods of consciousness, fire, air, war, power, and passion), the Vanir (Norse gods of earth, water, nature, fertility, joy, and peace) or their lesser servants.
Fairy - "a small imaginary being of human form that has magical powers, especially a female one." According to writer Thomas Keightley, it derives from the Latin fata and is from the Old French faerie meaning "enchantment." Possibly synonymous with the Tuatha De Danann (descendants of the Mother Goddess and the world tree), or the descendants of these Tuatha De. Not unlike humans superficially, but different in nature. May be synonymous with Elves, given the above, or may be of separate origins.
Goblin - "a mischievous, ugly, dwarflike creature of folklore." May derive from the name of a daemon in Orderic Vitalis, or from German kobold and/or Medieval Latin cabalus, meaning "rogue." Kobold derives from "hollow in the earth." May be a less pretty version of the other Fairy folk, may be the same people in an angry or malevolent state, could be an entirely different group, or might be indistinguishable from humans (with ogres being "big bad humans" and goblins being "little bad humans.") It is possible more than one of these are true of different goblin groups.
Demon - "an evil spirit or devil, especially one thought to possess a person or act as a tormentor in hell." The Ancient Greek daimon denotes a spirit or divine power, but not necessarily a negative one. That connotation tends to come from the Koine (daimonion), but has become synonymous with daimon itself. Homer's use of theoi and daimones suggests they are similar to, yet distinct from gods. The Hellenistic Greeks believed in agathodaimon (good) and kakodaimon (bad), and draw similarities to the jinn of Arab lore. Plato suggested in the symposium that "noesis noeseos" or thinking of thinking itself, is the highest and purest form of all, which may as well be called the god. Mankind, in their limited attempts to attain this godhood of pure form and energy, in something more accessible than the stars and metaphysical principles; the name that emerged to represent this "incomprehensible presence" was daimon.
So, what do you all think of angels, elves, fairies, goblins, and demons?
I've actually been reading a book on this sort of thing recently and it's interesting that you've brought it up for discussion. I'll give my two cents on it.
I think that the reason similar creatures are encountered in dissimilar cultures is because there is an objective reality to these creatures, even if it is not a physical reality. Take for instance the hag phenomenon that is described by various means in far flung cultures (both geographically and temporally). This being the case I'll give my opinion on each of the entities you've mentioned, most likely colored a little with my own experience.
Angels are messengers of a sort, seemingly intrinsic to how the universe works. In rabbinical lore, Jewish mysticism, and the Enochian tradition there are angels for everything. Angels for making sure the planets keep orbit, angels for letting out the rain, angels for holding up the throne of the Almighty, etc. The general impression is that they are the "behind the curtain" folks keeping creation going. They also do the talking when Creation wants to have a word with itself.
Looking at the evidence I lump elves in with the fae and other fair folk. The common theme with the fae is glamour and enchantment and there always seems to be an underlying current of trickery, either for fun or for malice. I think of the fae as a race parallel to ours, similar to the djinn of Arab mythology. The only thing predictable about them is how unpredictable they are. It should also be noted that the phenomena of fairy lore and the phenomena of modern UFO lore are strikingly similar with even the appearances of fae and ETs having correspondences. Compare and contrast the lore involving abductions, lights, strange creatures, and how utterly baffling it all is and it's my opinion that UFOs and aliens are just the fae appearing in new guises for our technological world.
Demons are something I regard as being similar to angels in that they seem to be part of the intrinsic stuff of creation but they are more base entities. Western magical tradition and Kabala hold that demons are shells left over from the universe that came before this one and they are severely unbalanced beings (which goes to explain their erratic destructive behavior and their classical devotions to one subject or another). I don't see all demons as inherently evil; some are merely neutral. I think it would be hard to categorize any of them as wholly benevolent though. The consensus seems to be that they only have as much power over us as we give them. Exorcising someone that "needs" the possession likely won't have an effect. This is trailing off in another direction though.
Last Edit: Nov 26, 2017 21:00:42 GMT -5 by Obscurus