Nature Spirits: Guardians of the Earth by Rose Greenwood
The traditions and lore of fairies has existed in highly diverse cultures around the world for centuries or even millennia. In some cultures, fairies have been viewed as mischievous little sprites, whereas in other cultures they have been given god-like stature. Fairies are said to appear to humans in ways that meet their own cultural expectations. Fairies and fairy-like beings are also known as nature spirits, house spirits, dwarves, elves, gnomes, mermaids and leprechauns.
Fairies can be divided into four basic types based on their primary association with the aspects of the four esoteric elements: earth, fire, air and water. Earth fairies include gnomes and trolls. The symbol of the earth element and gnomes is the stone.
The word gnome is believed to have originally derived from the New Latin gnomus and the Greek genomus or earth-dweller. Gnomes are often thought to live underground or in subterranean passageways. Gnomes are known by many different names. Germans call them erdmanleins. In Denmark and Norway they are called nisse. In Britain they are called nains.
Gnomes are usually depicted as small, bearded men who care for plants, trees and other aspects of the earth. Garden gnomes are the most well-known type of gnomes. They are believed to assist in the healthy growth of plants of all types. The use of representational statues of gnomes in gardens began in the mid-1800s. Garden gnome statues are most prevalent today in England, Germany and France.
Other types of legendary gnomes are forest gnomes, house gnomes and dune gnomes. In some cultures, the terms gnomes and trolls are used interchangeably. Unfortunately, gnomes are often misunderstood and portrayed as mischievous or bad-tempered. The true nature of gnomes is that of guardians of the earth. Gnomes try to counterbalance hazardous conditions in the earth. For example, gnomes work closely with other nature spirits and angelic hierarchs to mitigate cataclysmic events such as earthquakes.
Fire fairies are known as salamanders or dragons. The symbol of the fire fairies is the spear. Descriptions of their appearances differ widely, but most are centered around a lizard-like shape a foot or more in length. Fiery salamanders are said to associate with all forms of fire from volcanoes to candle flames.
Fiery salamanders are considered to be the strongest and most powerful of all the elementals. Fiery salamanders have often invoked fear among men. Their destructive powers are truly legendary. For this reason, many alchemists in the middle ages sought to exert influence over fiery salamanders and other nature spirits to gain power themselves over weather patterns and other forces of nature.
Salamanders, along with other nature spirits, are guardians of the earth. Salamanders play an important role in the spiritual world and in the maintenance of the balance of the earth as a physical platform for mankind’s evolution.
Air fairies are known as sylphs. The symbol of air fairies is the sword. According to folklore, sylphs transform clouds into create artistic renderings in the sky. Sylphs are also responsible for wind, certain types of storms and weather patterns. From the tiniest of breezes to the most powerful hurricane, sylphs are a part of every natural phenomenon involving the air.
Since we are completely dependent on air and can last only a few minutes without breath, the work of the sylphs is critical to our survival. Sylphs work closely with our own bodies to ensure that oxygen is properly absorbed in our lungs. Sylphs are also said to have specialized functions such as integrating new knowledge and mental development.
The crossover between sylphs and angels becomes blurred. There may be a connection between young sylphs and small cherubs. Angel devas are in charge of the activities of sylphs. Sylphs may also serve as messengers for both angels and other elementals.
Sylphs are regal in manner and bearing, much like eagles. Sylphs have a very broad wingspan and live in the high mountains of the earth. Sylphs are immortal, non-physical beings. In modern times, the term sylph has also come to mean a lithe, graceful woman.
Finally, water fairies are known as undines or mermaids. The symbol of the water fairies is the cup or cauldron. Undines can be found in any type of body of water, particularly forest pools and waterfalls. They are said to have beautiful voices, which are sometimes heard over the sound of the water. In Scotland, undines are referred to as wraiths of the water.
According to some folklore traditions, undines can take human form, thereby losing their immortality but gaining a soul. This misleading notion has led them to be a popular motif in romantic and tragic literature. Undines are sometimes referred to as nixes, nasty water sprites with mean temperaments. This is another unfortunate characterization of undines. Likewise, undines are often confused with mermaids and sea goddesses.
Paracelsus, a Swiss philosopher of the 15th century, believed that undines and other nature spirits occupied a realm between that of humans and spirit. Although they resemble man in physical form, they are more akin to the spirit realm in their abilities.
Since water is critical for human life and all life on the earth, undines understandably play a significant role in mythology and esoteric traditions. Undines are particularly involved in clearing bodies of water of pollution and other chemical hazards.
Some traditions claim that certain types of fairies or nature spirits have a group consciousness while other types of fairies are individual, exalted beings very close to the angelic kingdom. The fairies with a group consciousness, or trooping fairies, have a fairy queen that serves as their spokesperson.
Other traditions emphasize the immortality of fairies. Due to this immortality, the fairies have a different perception of time than humans. Another common fairy tradition is that the fairies are rarely seen in modern times because they have left the earth due to the negative consciousness and wars among men. Fortunately, the tradition continues that fairies and nature spirits will later return to the earth to aid mankind in times of cataclysm and spiritual crisis.
Rose Greenwood specializes in spirituality and natural health. For more information, please see http://www.theheartscenter.org. The Hearts Center offers seekers up-to-date inspiration from the ascended masters. To purchase related products, please visit http://store.heartscenter.org or find our new products at http://store.heartscenter.org/newprods.aspx.