Gnomes, elves, nixies, … a world-wide knowledge
Gnomes, elves, nixies, the great “lords of the elements” and the gods of antiquity: are these beings from our childhood fairy tales and legends merely a product of our imagination, or do they actually exist? If we were to lay aside all of the exaggerations and distortions that may have crept into transmissions during the course of time, could there in fact be a kernel of truth in them after all? Is it possible that “elemental beings” or “nature beings” really exist?
To some people, questions such as this may nowadays seem somewhat naïve or irrelevant. According to the scientific, rational spirit of our age, it no longer seems worthwhile to occupy oneself with this issue. Gods and gnomes belong to the realm of fairy tales and legends; they certainly cannot serve as a subject for serious research!
However, by simply dismissing it, we do not do justice to the matter since our conclusions are not the result of honest investigation, but of prejudice. The hypothesis that such beings exist, if considered in detail, does not stand in opposition to either scientific findings or religious considerations. In addition to this, numerous occurrences, such as sightings by clairvoyants, suggest that many beings which we know only from fairy tales and legends actually exist.
It is the aim of this book to contribute to this comprehensive subject matter from diverse perspectives with a view to representing different fields of knowledge. For this purpose, reference will be made to a number of religious, historical and mythological publications and reports. Especially the work “In the Light of Truth – Grail Message” by Abd-ru-shin which was of central importance in enabling us to gain an understanding of this subject matter.
Gnomes, elves, nixies, … a world-wide knowledge
In fairy tales and legends we often find descriptions of encounters between humans and elemental beings. For example, there are stories about shepherds who have been helped by elemental beings to tend and care for their flocks; about people who have been caught in heavy thunderstorms, and suddenly happened upon a protective shelter, or who have been guided home by elemental beings, having lost their way in the fog. There are stories about shepherds who were given clear signals indicating when they should drive their cattle into the mountains, and bring them back down again into the valley. Hints have also been given as to where they should build cabins and animal shelters that are safe from avalanches, or how to escape landslides. We learn about farmers who have been given signs as to the most favourable time for sowing, harvesting, or the carrying out of various farming activities; about fishermen who are shown where they should cast their nets, and about miners who have received assistance with their work, to name but a few examples.
These fairy tales and legends also frequently contain accounts illustrating how the elemental beings show humans new ways of using what nature provides for us. For instance, they are shown how to forge metals, which clay is most suitable for producing solid pottery, what plant fibres should be chosen for weaving, how to improve the quality of cheese, where to dig for a spring, or which medicinal plants to use for the treatment of specific illnesses.
There are a vast number of such stories, which can be found in all European countries. From this fact one could infer that such stories are particular to European culture. However, similar descriptions are to be found in fairy tales and legends all over the world: from the Eskimos in the far north, the indigenous tribes of Southern Oceania, in African countries, in India, China and Japan, to the Indian tribes of North and South America.
Records and reports about contact with nature beings can be derived from peoples of every conceivable natural background. Those living in high, remote mountain valleys know them, as do those living on islands, in the desert, the tropics or the jungle. And it is not only small tribes living particularly close to nature who bear witness to the existence of elemental beings, through personal experience or tradition. The knowledge of the elemental forces of nature was also alive in those great cultures which had an extensive impact upon the world: in the advanced civilisations of the Mesopotamians, of the Greeks and Romans, of the Chinese, as well as the Egyptians and the Incas.
Hence, one can confidently assert that the knowledge of the elemental beings is a universal phenomenon.
The different kinds of elemental beings
Gnomes, for example, are called bhutas or pretas in India; the Muslims know them as geniesor djinn. In the Talmud, the holy book of the Jews, the gnomes are described as the guardians of the earth and the subterrestrial worlds, while the Aztecs named them Tepictoto, those beingswho, according to the Aztec tradition, concern themselves mainly with the mountains. Brazilian traditions mention a gnome named Kurupira who protects the woods; Egyptian traditions talk of Bes, a bearded, misshapen gnome, who is very popular since he is said to grant protection to the people. The Iroquois Indians identify three main types of “gnomes”, depending on whether they concern themselves with the rocks and the water, the plants and the streams or the ground and the caves. Irrespective of the specific characteristics handed down as a result of cultural traditions, all these beings prove upon closer inspection to be distant relatives of “our” gnomes; and it is striking how uniformly these nature beings feature in the traditions of the most diverse cultures.
Water beings (thoseelemental beings associated with the element of water) were also known all over the world. In ancient Greece and Rome, people assumed that every river, stream, brook, pond, lake, every source and naturally also the sea was inhabited by nixies, mermaids, nymphs or similar creatures. The same applies to Africa as well as to the Indians of North America, to the inhabitants of Oceania or to the Eskimos, who, due to their environment, mainly spoke of the elemental beings which are associated with the sea, the bays, tides and waves etc.
Many traditions around the world also make reference to gigantic beings that were mainly active at a very early stage of development, while our planet was being formed. The Indians knew them as Asouras, the Greeks called them titans, and in the Nordic/Scandinavian traditions they are referred to as giants. Their enormous dimensions and tremendous power were indicative of their participation in the forming of the earth’s surface: of the valleys, hills, mountains, rock faces and precipices.
Descriptions of elemental beings always indicate that their size and figure corresponds exactly to their activity. The giants are huge, because they occupy themselves with objects of great size. Those elves that assist with the growth of delicate flowers are small, whilst those caring for trees, for example, are bigger and stronger. The gnomes appear to be as “dense” as the rocks and the earth, whilst the mermaids are as flowing and mobile as the fluid they belong to. The spirits of the air, on the other hand, appear as light as their element. In all cases, the characteristics of the non-material, ethereal bodies of the nature beings correspond to the task they have to perform. Form and activity coincide; a logic which is repeated throughout nature as a whole.
The “gods” of antiquity
When speaking of the elemental beings, we do not only consider all those hitherto mentioned who are closely connected with the world of matter, which they form, animate and control with their power. According to tradition, there exists a proper hierarchy in which the manifold “workers” are guided and coordinated by other, higher-ranking elemental beings. Right at the top of this hierarchy there are “leaders” who wield an enormous amount of power. Those peoples who knew about them, adored them as “gods”. They are well known as the gods of Greek and Roman antiquity: Zeus, the ruler of the heavens and of meteorological phenomena in general; Poseidon, the god of the sea; Artemis, the goddess of wilderness (woods and meadows); Demeter, the goddess of agriculture and fertility, and Hephaistos, the god of fire and volcanoes, to name but a few.
Such “principal gods” of Greek, Roman and Germanic mythology, who were spoken of in Europe, are also to be found in African, Asian and American mythology, although with a few differences.
All these examples demonstrate that in former times, peoples and civilisations did not see nature as matter only, but believed its working to be dependent upon personalised forces to whom certain qualities were attributed, varying according to the specific task. All over the world, the same uniform picture presents itself: the animistic activity is structured hierarchically, with a group of supreme gods working jointly at the top of the hierarchy. Such a uniform picture of the world may appear surprising. In fact, apart from just a few differences (which result from different cultural and social backgrounds) the descriptions of the elemental beings and the Lords of the Elements (gods) are in principle amazingly similar all over the world. How is such a thing possible? How can this uniformity be explained?
Where does this knowledge stem from?
There are two hypotheses, which oppose each other. The first one declares the entire knowledge about the elementals to be a human “invention”, which was spread around the globe by oral or written tradition. According to this view, at a certain point in history the idea emerged that nature is animated by personalised forces, and this assumption then slowly spread around the entire globe.
In contrast to this, the second hypothesis is based on something far more obvious: the reason why so many different peoples of the earth are convinced of the existence of elemental beings and describe them very similarly, is because these beings have really been seen everywhere. Hence, what was handed down was not based on fantasy; the peoples merely assimilated a knowledge that was originally based on personal experiences.
These experiences must have been totally convincing in order for the resulting traditions to be so similar. Had they merely arisen from a flight of fancy, fantasy or speculation, the descriptions from the various parts of the world would surely differ significantly. But, as we have seen, they coincide to a large extent; a fact that would provide support for the second hypothesis.
Incidentally, the fact that someone’s imaginings should ultimately spread around the whole world unchanged, as the first hypothesis suggests, is in principle highly unlikely. For it is well known that any information passed on orally via a number of people is always changed, and the more people involved, the more embellishments are added. Soon parts of the original information are left out, distorted and complemented by additions. What comes out of it in the end has nothing, or at least very little to do with the original information. Besides, the hypothesis that the idea has spread, conflicts with logistical considerations. At the time when these traditions supposedly spread worldwide, oceans, high mountain ranges, as well as deserts etc. presented almost insurmountable barriers. And yet, the knowledge about the elemental beings can be found on either side of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, in Asia as well as in Australia, on either side of the Alps and the Himalayas, to the north and south of the Sahara…
In addition to this; beginning from the assumption that the knowledge about the elemental beings was spread uniformly, the fact that it presents itself so distinctly and almost identically throughout the world implies that a true “missionary spirit” would have been needed to preserve this knowledge, as was the case with the Gospel of Christ.
Was such a missionary zeal to be found among the peoples in question? Not according to historians and ethnologists. They assert that it was precisely the lack of missionary efforts that was a particularly typical feature of those peoples with a strong belief in the elemental beings. As these peoples endeavoured to cultivate an intimate relationship with certain “nature spirits”, it suited them just fine if their neighbours tried to connect with different beings.
Therefore, the reason why this knowledge has endured throughout the history of mankind, sinking into oblivion in one place, resurfacing in another, is not only because it has been handed down from one generation to the next in an extraordinary manner, but because it could have been rediscovered at any time. As a matter of fact, the elemental beings are forces of nature that are vital for any process of development, and form an inseparable, essential part of nature itself. To gain access to this living reality has always been, and will always remain possible.