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Guide to Nature Spirits – Paracelsus – For Fantasy Writers

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Guide to Nature Spirits - ParacelsusGuide to Nature Spirits – Paracelsus – For Fantasy Writers
By Patricia de Hemricourt
Special treat for fantasy writers ahead of the Hebrew New Year. As it has fantastically nothing to do with the New Year, Hebrew or other, here below is a short guide to nature spirits as identified a few centuries ago by Paracelsus.
Fantasy is whimsical and pops up in the most unlikely places, including here, amidst post related to book promotion and publishing industry statistic, which are, these days also quite fantastic actually.
So, without further ado, lets move on the a short guide to nature spirits that will enable you to recognise them if they ever cross your path or the pages of the book you read or write.

Paracelsus, a 16th century alchemist and philosopher, defined nature spirits by breaking them down by the natural elements with which they were associated. Most of the names he used, like faun, were already popular names associated with the types of creatures he was attempting to describe. He claimed “The names have been given by people who did not understand them.”

According to Paracelsus, the elementals or nature spirits, were half spirit and half man who were capable of traveling like spirits but still subject to the needs and diseases of the body. There are many different kinds of spirit beings, but Paracelsus divided them into four main groups–undines, sylphs, gnomes, and salamanders. Among these groups were also creatures known as fauns, and dryads.

Nature Spirits

Guide to Nature Spirits - sylphSylphs

 

Spirits of the air and wind, Sylphs are taller and stronger than humans. They have a volatile and unreliable nature. They are often considered to be the transformed souls of those who died as virgins.

 

The occultist Elephas Levi named their emperor Paralda.

Guide to Nature Spirits - gnome

Gnomes

 

Little old men who posses the ability to shift into giants. They are the nature spirits associate with earth, and are usually portrayed as malicious, greedy, and miserable.

 

Levi, attributed the role of Gnome emperor to Cob.

Guide to Nature Spirits - salamander

Salamanders

 

Thin, red, and dry-skinned spirits, associated with fire. They typically have a temperamental and wrathful character.

 

Djin is the name given by Levi as the “emperor” of the Salamanders.

Guide to Nature Spirits - undines

Undines

 

Humanoid spirits of the water, they can take the shape of fish or snakes. They are often described with soft, cold skin, and a sluggish, unreliable nature.

 

Levi named their emperor Hicks.

Guide to Nature Spirits - faun

Fauns

 

Spirits of animal life and dwell in woods and forests, acting as guardian spirits of animals (not to be confused with the nature spirits of classical Greek mythology, who were the offspring of the demigod Faunus).

Guide to Nature Spirits - dryADS

Dryads

 

Guardian spirits of vegetation, Dryads inhabit trees and fields.

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