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The Elves, who are they?

The Elves are in our minds majestic beings, imbued with magic, mystery and immortality (or at least of an astonishing longevity). But what is really happening? Where does their myth begin? Especially: are they really what we believe?

Hello my Marmosets!

I know, I know, I was sooooooooo long absent … but I reassure you: “Here I am!” So you have the choice: either I tell you what I did during my half-holidays (I have a lot to tell you!), Or I speak to you about something else … then? Okay, OK… I’ll tell you about fantastic creatures … (pfff you’re really not friendly with me!).

Creature of the day, hello!

The Elves: Guardians of Nature

In fact, I realize that the word “Elf” is often used in the plural. Would it be a distortion of our imagination to perceive them thus? I think so. Try. Close your eyes and try to project an Elf into your mind. They are always imagined as a great family: “to many, we are better! “Great? Pointy ears ? With arcs perhaps? Fine? Almost immortal? Links with magic? Nature too? Do you see it ? A beautiful “Legolas” stands before you. (Do not babe too much, girls!) Is that it? Are you there? Good. If I told you that all these facts about them are not quite true? That our “literary” imagination has distorted the real image of these beings?

First of all, we must know that the origin of the Elvish myth is northern, even if they are also found in Celtic mythology.

This myth is still deeply rooted in Scandinavian folklore. Initially, they were minor divinities, linked to nature, but also to fertility.

That is, I think (this is still my personal opinion), which undoubtedly gave birth to their legendary longevity, but of course I can be wrong.

A human appearance

An elf is an anthropomorphic creature (whose appearance is human) that originally lived close to nature, was small in size and had pointed ears. The Norwegian term “Huldrefolk” refers to the “hidden people” or “vetter” a kind of earth-related “goblins”, approaching the dwarfs of northern mythology more than elves.
Their figure will be taken up again in fantasy, especially in the mythical writings of Tolkien, who then made them great characters, incredibly beautiful, imprinted with nobility and wisdom.

(Légolaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaas !)

Their attachment to nature persists, since they often live in forests. They are also given amazing magic powers and incredible longevity. In fact, humans perceive them as immortal. They will also keep their ears long and pointed. They would be incredibly agile, fast, gifted in the handling of bows and would have a piercing view. This makes them formidable hunters and warriors.
J. R. R. Tolkien, in parallel to the writing of the accounts of Middle-earth, invented a series of elvish languages ​​whose existence is not reduced to their mention in narrative; with other non elven languages ​​placed in the same imaginary world, they form the set of languages ​​of Middle-earth.
Once adults, the Elves no longer age, they never get sick. Only a serious wound (or deep grief) can cause them to die. Their astonishing longevity gives them a totally different view of the world (and life) from that of humans. In fact, they tend to view short-term adventures with disdain and indifference, as they necessarily project themselves on the “longer term”. Nevertheless, when they have a well-defined purpose, they are tenacious, with a determined determination. If they bind little friendship, it is always perennial.

It would seem that the Elves themselves would choose their first name in adulthood (about 100 years).

The Elves are generally more intelligent than humans (no, no, I will not comment), or at least endowed with greater wisdom. They possess ancestral knowledge, especially in the field of trees, plants … They live indeed very close to nature. This concept is probably derived from the Nordic and Germanic mythologies. I do not want to pass for a rambler, nevertheless, it seems to me to have said above that the Elves were minor divinities of nature. Their senses, mainly sight and hearing, are particularly refined and far superior to those of men.

The voice of the Elves is sometimes compared to the murmur of the water. In some stories, their song has a relationship to magic.

At the beginning…

In ancient texts in Norse (ancient Icelandic) the Elves are named “álfar” in the singular “álfr”. And in modern Scandinavian languages:

  • Icelandic: “álfur” – plural “álfar”, “álfafólk”;
  • Danish: “elver”, “elverfolk”, sometimes “ellefolk”, or “alf” – plural “alfer”;
  • Norwegian: “alv” – plural “alver”, “alvefolk”;
  • Swedish: ‘alv’ – plural ‘alver’, in the female ‘älva’ – plural ‘älvor’;
  • Scots: “elfen”.

Moreover, this first word “álfar” would have a proto-Indo-European origin, a prehistoric language that gave rise to the Indo-European languages. (What? I’m cheating it to death? No, not even true!). In fact, the word “alb” meaning “white” is found, for example, in Latin: “albus” which means the same thing. This linguistic “root” is found in ancient Germanic languages, but also modern: English (and Old English), Dutch (and Dutch), German (as well as Old High German and Middle High (without the letter “H” is a dead language spoken by the Goths in the Middle Ages).

Northern Mythology

Freyr, god of fertility in Nordic mythology, would be the lord of the “Alfes (Elves)”.

This leaves us immediately to think that if the myth relates “elves of light” and therefore “benevolent” there must also exist “black elves”, therefore “dark”. Be that as it may, Elves appear in various ways in northern mythology (but also in Germanic mythology). They are generally described as semi-divine beings associated with fertility (thank God Freyr) and ancestor worship.
The concept of “Elf” thus seems similar to the animist beliefs: everything is provided with soul, with spirit, even objects like a stone, or an element like the wind. The belief of the “fylgjur”: “the spirit totem” and the “vörðar”: “the protective spirit” is identical in Nordic mythology. The Elves are frequently compared to the nymphs of Greek and Roman mythology, to Vili (the northern god, brother of Odin) and to the Roussalki (close beings of the naiads, sirens, fairies or Greco-Roman wonders) of Slav mythology .
Many Germanic first names are taken from the name of the elf: Ælfric, Ælfwine, Ælfréd (modern Alfred), Alberich. It is also the case of some ancient French names of Germanic origin, such as Auberon and Aubry.
The mythologist and mythographer (Mythographer, not to be confused with mythomaniacs!) Seriously, mythography is studying … myths, not even funny, I know) Icelandic. Snorri Sturluson sometimes refers to the Nordic Dwarves as “Dark Elves”: “dökkálfar” or “black elves”: “svartálfar”. They would be blacksmiths and guardians of treasures. But this is a mistake. For Dwarves and Elves are two types of different creatures, not remaining, and moreover, in the same place. The “Dark Elves” would live in Svartalfheim while the Dwarfs would be in Nidavellir. It would therefore be a belated belief. The distinction between light Alfes (from the sky) and black Alfes (subterranean) influences the vision of these creatures. Since then, Men have been suspicious of the Black Alves, while the Clear Alves remain beneficial.
The Elves would be as closely linked to the “Æsir” (or Ases), the main gods of northern mythology, as to the “Vanir” fertility gods, but each “group” would have its own translations of words which would mark the difference of their status.

European Folklore

From the beginning of Christianization of the Germano-Scandinavians, belief in the Elves is assimilated to paganism (those who are not considered Christian or Jewish). In fact, this belief is severely opposed. The Elf then becomes a kind of demonic creature. An important amalgam is set up between Dwarves and Elves.
The British “pixies”, little winged fairies, are assimilated to “älvor” in modern Swedish or “alfer” in Danish.
The original myth of the Elves was perpetuated in European folklore as predominantly female beings who established their dwellings in hills, mounds (mounds only consisting of earth, covering a burial) or tumuli (mounds of earth and stones ). However, belief in the common people is rare in France, unlike the Scandinavian countries.

Folklore of the Germanic regions

The “dark side” is what remains most of the Elves in German folklore. Their nature would have “evolved”. They would be mischievous, mischievous. They would be the cause of diseases of cattle and people, bad dreams.

The German word for nightmare, “Albtraum or Alptraum” literally means “dream of Elf” and its archaic form “Albdruck” means “Elf pressure”.

This aspect of the Germanic Elvish belief comes from the Scandinavian belief of the “mara“: this evil spirit that provokes nightmares.

It could also come from legends about incubus (demons that take male form to abuse women in their sleep) and succubus (demons that take feminine form to seduce men during their sleep and their dream).
We find a posterity for the Elves of Germanic folklore in the tetralogy of the “Ring of the Nibelung” by the German composer Richard Wagner.Il serait rapporté que les Elfes danseraient dans les prés, surtout les nuits et les matins où la brume est dense. Ils laisseraient alors derrière eux des sortes de cercles, à l’emplacement même de leur danse ; on les appelle « älvdanser » : « danses d’elfes » ou « älvringar » : « cercle d’elfes ».

This is how many legends in the Middle Ages would have been born: nymphs, dryads, elves and gnomes would be responsible. Urinating in one of these circles is believed to cause venereal disease. Typically, these circles are traced by a multitude of small mushrooms, but they can also be traced by drawing grass stripped against the ground.
There would be several Elf peoples, such as the High Elves (Elves of Light), Elves of the Woods (Elves of the Woods), Gray Eves (or Moon Elves), Elves of Water (or Undines) … The Dark Elves, or drows, are most often the obscure counterpart of the Elves.

Some literary works …

(Incomplete list)

  • The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien;
  • The Forgotten Realms, R-A Salvatore;
  • The Annals of World Records, Terry Pratchett;
  • The Legacy, Christopher Paolini;
  • Tara Duncan, Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian;
  • The Chronicles of the Lodoss War, Ry? Mizuno (MANGA);
  • The Knights of Emerald, The Heirs of Enkidiev, Anne Robillard;
  • Aïnako, Ariane Charland;
  • Amos Daragon, Bryan Perro (comic);
  • Merry Gentry, L.K. Hamilton;
  • The legendary Patrick Sobral (comic)

Video Games

  • Warcraft;
  • The Elder Scrolls;
  • The Legend of Zelda (called Hyliens);
  • Final Fantasy;
  • Dragon Age;
  • Magic, the assembly;
  • Naheulbeuk Dungeon;
  • Dungeons and Dragons;
  • Warhammer;
  • Warhammer 40,000;
  • The world of Palladium;
  • Shadowrun;
  • Heroes of Might and Magic;
  • The Witcher.

Whether they provoke us nightmares or make us dream, the Elves will always be assimilated, for me, to allies or representations of Nature, those beings who remind men that Mother Nature also has a say and that it will not let anyone deteriorate without flinching or replying. The Elves are the spirits of this Nature that we love so much and that makes us well … provided we take care of her so that she continues to protect us and bring us her blessings.

Article written by S-P Decroix, author of The Princess of the deepest Times, from Lysons editions.

The Princess of the deepest Times

Today…

The Princess of the deepest Times was rewarded with the CEPAL Anticipation Award in 2004

Summary

Here you are propelled into a strange place where mysterious horsemen attack a village. Fortunately, you save a little girl in their hands.

The next day, when you wake up, you are at home, breathless, of course, but in your bed. While you enjoy your Sunday rest, you take a book that, to your surprise, traces the outline of your dream.

A question arises to you as Sokorie’s story takes you to the kingdom of Aldamar: “Was this a dream? “

There is only one way of knowing it: to shut up in a double turn and devour this story.

You will be a reader, actor … maybe dreamer? Now that you’ve started reading, it’s time for you to find out!

Order your copy!

Format STANDARD, 23,5×15,5cm, Black and White, Pages inside cream, shiny cover, 128 pages.

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The Phoenix: the Immortal Firebird

Many myths, fantastic creatures have gone through centuries of history and thus mark our memories almost immutably. It is an animal whose myth is as old as its legendary longevity: the Phoenix.

The Phoenix: the Immortal Firebird

Hello my Marmosets!

I hope I missed you? Yes ? No ? Never mind ! I am still incrusted! Today, I come to make you a little “chat” about this animal that fascinates me as much as the dragon.

The phoenix is a legendary bird, resembling the heron, which has a long longevity that is characterized by its ability to reborn after consuming its own flames. It thus symbolizes the cycles of death, resurrection, but also of nobility. For the latter, I suppose, but as usual, it is only my humble opinion, that this is due to its majestic, almost imperial aspect.

The phoenix, or phoenix, comes from the ancient Greek φοῖνιξ / phoînix, meaning: “purple red”.

This fabulous bird was originally from Arabia and attached to the cult of the Sun in ancient Egypt, where it was also venerated. The narratives describe the phoenix as a sort of eagle adorned with a plumage of brilliant colors. Certainly because of this attachment to the worship of the sun. It is also probably the reason why, it remains in our minds like “the bird of fire” par excellence. When we think “phoenix” do we not immediately think of “immortal” and “fire“?

The phoenix can live for a long time, for centuries (the poor, it must be bored firmly); no tradition mentions an existence of less than five hundred years (nothing but that!). Whereas the shock for him is that suddenly our friend the phoenix reproduces himself: when he feels his end arrive, he builds a nest of aromatic branches and incense (he has the taste … or ought I to say smell), sets it on fire and burns itself in its flames. From the ashes of this pyre arises the new phoenix.

Georges Cuvier (anatomist and paleontologist) saw in him the golden pheasant. It has also been identified with birds of paradise and flamingos.

As with any mystical and fabulous creature, the phoenix has crossed several civilizations, and thus several myths. It is for this reason that we find birds similar to the one that is anchored in our current imagination in the mythologies: Persian under the name of “Simurgh” or “Rokh”, Chinese under the name of “Fenghuang” which means “immortal bird”, Native American with “Thunderbird” or aboriginal in Australia with “Minka bird”.

Through myths

As for the Persian phoenix, the bird has a connotation of lightness, the quintessence of things and beings. Here the animal incarnates the thought opposed to matter, the inner search for man, his “deep self, his spirit.

The Egyptian phoenix (the bénou) and the Greek are the oldest.

Herodotus (Greek historian and geographer) describes it thus:

“It is only in their country that every five hundred years […] its wings are partly golden and partly red, and it is entirely in conformity with the eagle as to the figure and the detailed description …”

However, the point of view of Herodotus contains several inconsistencies. Notably the burial of the father, knowing that there would be only one at a time.

The Moderns (who thought that literary creation consisted of innovating and militating for literature adapted to contemporary times and new artistic forms) saw it more like the Egyptian benou: a heron perched on the benben stone, the sacred stone of the temple solar of Heliopolis on which the first rays of the sun fall. The bird would then be the incarnation of the soul of Re or also the manifestation of Osiris.

As for the Roman phoenix for Ovidus, Pliny and Tacitus, the phoenix decomposes to be reborn, whereas in Martial and Stace the theme of the pyre and its spices appears analogous to the funerary practices of the Romans.

The effigy of the phoenix appears on the coins of Trajan to Constantine I (Roman emperors) and his sons.

Whatever the myths, the legendary phoenix is intimately linked to fire, either by solar attachment or by its own flames.

And religion in all that?

The Midrash Rabbah (set of ten aggadic midrashim collections on the five Torah Books and the five Rolls) reports that when Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge all the animals also ate fruit forbidden, and that death was decreed for them all, except one bird called Khôlעוף החול” who did not eat it. That is why the phoenix lives forever. And Rabbi Yannai (or Rabbi Jannai, a wise Jew who lived in the third century) explains that his life takes place as follows: he lives a period of a thousand years at the end of which a fire bursts from his nest and consumes him an egg, and from this egg it grows again.

The phoenix is ​​also one of the most widespread Christian symbols. Numerous literary sources, profane and Christian, evoke the legend of the phoenix. Its symbolism is probably Stoic inspiration: the eternal fire destroys everything and brings it all back to life. It is the symbol of the Resurrection. The Christians have brought to light all that in nature could prepare the acceptance of this mystery. The legend of the phoenix contributes to it, as does the cock that announces the new day: a metaphor for the Christian who awaits the day when Christ returns. From that moment he occupied a prominent position on the bell-tower of the churches.

Whether in myths, religion, or even literature, the phoenix fuels our imagination in a marked way. He is, with the dragon, one of the few fantastic creatures to have not undergone any real physical change. It remains over the years as we imagine it: a kind of flaming eagle that is reborn from its ashes.

Its traces even go back to genesis, you are entitled, my Marmosets, to ask me these questions: has it really existed? Does he exist today? Obviously, I can not answer you. But, as for many of you, I remain passionate about all these wonderful creatures. I do not care if they are real or not, what matters to me is that they make us live our imagination, and that, along with the sirens and all the others, makes them , in my opinion, truly immortal.


The Phoenix in the manga

  • “Phoenix, the bird of fire”, by Osamu Tezuka

  • Ikki, character of “Saint Seya”

  • Marco, character of “One Piece”

  • “The Wings of the Phoenix”, Lim Jin Ju

  • “Phoenix”, Osamu Tezuka


The Phoenix in Music

  • PHÉNIX, the French Heavy Metal band


The Phoenix in Science

  • Phénix (nuclear), the fast breeder reactor located in Marcoule (Gard).

  • Phoenix is a constellation of the southern hemisphere.


The Phoenix in Literature

  • “The Order of the Phoenix”, (Harry Potter) JK Rowling, [NB: Fumesck, the Phoenix of Dumbledore, however appears before this volume.]

  • “The Metamorphoses of the Phoenix in Ancient Christianity,” in Folia Electronica Classica No. 8, Paul-Augustin Deproost.

  • The Bestiary of Christ, Milano, Arche, Louis Charbonneau-Lassay.

  • “The colorful phoenix (from Herodotus to Ambrose of Milan)”, Bulletin of the Association Guillaume Budé vol. 1, Laurence Gosserez

  • “The creation of the world and the phoenix”, Laurence Gosserez.

  • “The Birds Conference,” (Persian tale of the thirteenth century), Sufi Farid al-Din Attar of Nishapur (poet).

  • “The Phoenix Trilogy”, Bernard Simonay

  • “Cycle of the Phoenix”, Sébastien Pennes

  • “The Phoenix Guards”, Steven Brust


See you soon for new discoveries always more fabulous …

S-P Decroix, Author of The Princess Of The Deepest Times.

The dragon: a symbol of life and power!

Hello everyone,

First of all, let me introduce myself. I am S-P Decroix, author of “The Princess of the ends of Time” which will be released at the beginning of Lysons Éditions. When my publisher (Leandro De Carvalho) asked his authors if they wanted to participate in the blog of the publishing house to speak literature, I immediately accepted. But suddenly, my little brain got overheated … once again. For it is not ideas that are lacking to discuss literature. I have therefore cooled my neurons (it is necessary if I want to continue writing) and thought of all the creatures that populate our imaginary adult and child. But where do you start? There are so many and so many! So I said to myself:

“What could be more noble, more dangerous, such attractive as frightening as THE DRAGON?”

A symbol of life and power in China, protector in Indonesia, protector of treasures in Ancient Greece or even evil and a ravisher of princesses in medieval Europe, this legendary creature is often represented as a gigantic animal, winged, provided with claws Lion and a snake tail.

Its Latin etymology “draco” is derived from the Greek “drakeîn” itself coming from the verb “dérkomai” meaning “to see clear”.

Several myths and legends about this fabulous animal have mingled with one another to finally grant him his form that we all know him today.

Indeed, it is necessary to know that the western dragons are different from the Asian dragons. Among the Westerners, especially in the Greco-Roman, Norse or Celtic myths, the dragon is above all an animal of reptilian form (winged of course), but above all spitting fire, which binds it to the earth element. It is for this reason that he is often attached to more “basic” things, more “down to earth”: he is then the fierce guardian of fabulous treasures. In the Western mind, the dragon is also an evil creature, and because of its specific form, it also embodies evil. This is why the archangel Michael fights it.

Asian dragons are also related to the forces of nature, but not specifically to fire. How many accounts, and more precisely of mangas, show them associated with the other elements: water, air, ice, wood, metal? In reality, here (in Europe), it is above all, linked to water. In Asian beliefs, dragons are not hostile creatures either. They do not necessarily have wings.

It is the fifth animal of Chinese astrology (and by the way, this is my sign), where it is the symbol of luck. Many emperors are of this sign and great festivities are given the years of the dragon. The nickname of the very famous Bruce Lee is “Little Dragon”.

The symbolism of its horns would come from astrology and its place in the ranking of the calendar, carried out during a race under the aegis of either the Jade Emperor or Buddha.

In any case, the pig (or the pig according to the divergences of the calendars), mu in arbiter, has sown the zizanie among the animals (that is why it is relegated to the last place) and to calm the dragon, Offered him his horns as a crown for the king of aquatic animals.

In any case, they are incredible fantastic animals, of an extraordinary intelligence, endowed with thoughts, sometimes speech and often linked to magic. It would also seem that the scales (or the skin according to legends), the blood and sometimes the claws (even the teeth) of dragons are provided with incredible properties.

Where to find dragons?

(List incomplete because too, too long !!!)

Books / mangas:


The Endless Story, Michael Ende

The Hobbit, J. R. R. Tolkien

Harry Potter of J. K. Rowling

Tara Duncan by Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian

Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth

The Iron Throne of George R. R. Martin

The Royal Assassin, The Adventurers of the Sea and The Cities of the Ancients by Robin Hobb

The Legend of Drizzt by R. A. Salvatore

Fairy Tail by Hiro Mashima

Dragon Ball, Dragon Ball Z by Akira Toryama

Games


Dungeon and Dragon (board game and movies)

Dream of Dragon (role-playing)

Drakkhen (video game)

Warcraft (video game)

Dragon Age (video game)

And many others…

Movies


Excalibur (1981)

The Endless Story (1984)

Heart of the Dragon (1996)

Dungeons & Dragons (2000) and Dungeons & Dragons, the Supreme Power (2006): Inspired by role play.

Dragons, Dragons 2 (2014): 3D animation movies.

Me, Arthur, 12 years old, dragon hunter [] (2010)


I hope you enjoyed this article.

See you soon !

Article written by S-P DECROIX.