Re: Answer to Sally's Question: Elves, Neste
|From:||Sally Caves <scaves@...>|
|Date:||Saturday, March 29, 2003, 22:57|
Hi, Elliott! Yes, indeed, I did get your answer to my questions; I've been
away from CONLANG for two days, and had a pile up of 400 messages, so pardon
my tardiness in responding. I listened to a wonderful talk by Professor
Colin Firth Green, yesterday, all about fairies and incubi. He was our
Rossell Hope Robbins Invited Lecturer at the UR, and the samples he gave us
from various Middle English texts included the words "elvish" and "faerie,"
used interchangeably. He was primarily interested in the connection between
elves/fairies and incubi, which have a classical connection with the fauna
and other woodland figures associated with Pan. He was not as informative
about the Celtic tradition, but the terms fairy and elf come, of course,
from Latin and Scandinavian origins respectively, and have been applied, I
imagine, to Irish and Welsh concepts of their euhemerized gods. What he
emphasized was how this myth of the fairy lover became demonic only in the
later middle ages... demonic, but also diminished. So Launfal can take a
fairy lover in "The Lay of Launfal," but in later literature, such a union
is demonized (you see it in the later ballads). It's as if a force majeure
wanted not only to discourage belief in fairy lovers and elves, but to
deride them as well, and of course you get their diminishment (in size and
seriousness) in Drayton, Shakespeare, and so forth. The talk came at a
fortuitous time, because I've been asking you all what you meant by the
"Elvish." It does indeed seem to go back much further than Tolkien's use of
it, but Tolkien neatly removed his Elves from all taint of the sexually
dangerous, while restoring them to proper size and to an original
Otherworldliness. He turns them into almost angelic figures whom mortal
women cannot possibly fear or desire! This was one of the great
frustrations about LotR for me when I encountered it at fourteen.
Glorfindel was obviously off-limits... just too unavailable. Legolas was
too bonded with Gimli; Elrond had a mother and a daughter who looked no
older than he did. What interest would he have in a mortal woman?
Miscegeny was verboten (except in a few notable cases), and so, I imagine,
was anything less legal. LOL! (remember, this is my teenaged self
thinking.) I speak as a heterosexual FEMALE conlanger and conworlder, but
I wondered if the popularity of the concept of the Elf, and the word itself,
conjured up a people that were sexy because they were Other. And hieratic.
And noble. And mysterious. Tolkien didn't seem pitched to the naughty
imagine of girl readers, unless you went like Eowyn for Aragorn, and he was
promised to the unpromiseable. In inventing my early Teonim, I wanted them
to have an "otherness" to them, but I did NOT want to copy Tolkien. The
word that comes closest to meaning "fairy" or "demon lover" in Teonaht is
_felrreo_. But it can mean a number of other things. My Teonaht have their
felrreo, but they are themselves felrreois: six fingers instead of five on a
hand, eyes that change color with emotion, retreating always into a world
that melts back into another dimension, but very earthy, full of their
vices, full of their stories, and definitely not immortal.
What think you?
Here's Chaucer on the dreary loss of the elf-incubus:
For ther as wont to walken was an elf,
Ther walketh now the lymytour hymself
In undermeles and in morwenynges,
And seyth his matyns and his hooly thynges
As he gooth in his lymytacioun.
Wommen may go now saufly up and doun.
In every bussh or under every tree
Ther is noon oother incubus but he,
And he ne wol doon hem but dishonour. :)
Eskkoat ol ai sendran, rohsan nuehra celyil takrem bomai nakuo.
"My shadow follows me, putting strange, new roses into the world."
----- Original Message -----
From: "Elliott Lash" <erelion12@...>
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2003 11:47 AM
Subject: Answer to Sally's Question: Elves, Neste
> I dont know if this got through before, I'm sending it
> Here goes an attempt at answering Sally's questions
> The Neste and the "Elves" are the same. I don't call
> them Elves anymore, since I didn't like the
> Tolkienesque connotations. The website hasn't been
> updated. What I meant by "Elves" though was the
> They are extremely long lived, but are not immortal.
> They die around the time when they're 5,000 or so. In
> the first age of the Neste, the Age of the Moon, they
> lived for 2,000 to 3,000 years. As they're society
> developed and the next age of occured, the age called
> The Age of the Neste, their years increased to 5,000
> or 6,000. After this zenith their years decreased,
> I'll explain that in a second. The Age of the Sun saw
> them back down to around 2,000 or 3,000 whereas the
> Age of Ice was around 1,500 or 2,500. Finally in the
> Age of Man, their years were around 2,000.
> They are intimately connected with the Moon, which is
> called by many names in all Nestean languages. In
> Silindion, the moon is:
> Alarie 'the Moon-Goddes' Yariel 'the Lighter'
> Silma-vaurie 'Shining-Moon Spirit' Meulohyari
> 'Mother-of-Stars' Mielea 'Holy-Mother' Ima 'Moon' lare
> 'the moon as an object' nolma 'the white moon' (a
> religious amulet worn by priests and so forth, also
> called _nolima_) nona 'the waxing-moon' niva 'the
> full-moon' samma 'the waning-moon' (I'm not sure about
> this one..but anyways you get the point)
> When I say intimately connnected I mean intimately.
> They are strengthened when in the presence of the moon
> and they all have a 'third-eye' (so to speak) whose
> light depends directly on the amount of moon-present.
> Of course, this is all very sci-fi-esque..but, ah
> well, such is life :)
> Er..well, not really, but...moving on.
> This third-eye is called 'esil' which is an archaic
> word for 'star'. It is a faint light 'jewel-like'
> thing on the forhead which becomes brighter in the
> moon-light. It is their connection with the moon, and
> a source of most of their stamina and strength. You
> poke that thing out, you kill them basically.
> Physically, they're around 6 feet tall on average.
> They have slanted eyes black and brown eyes, and brown
> or black hair. No pointy-ears. Basically, they look
> vaguely 'Asian' although that term is not quite
> accurate..but, moving onward.
> They are extremely gifted in art, I suppose like
> Tolkien Elves... hmm..Well...let's see. Their art is
> based upon the precept that God has created
> everything, and what art they make is only an
> expression of God's creation. In away they are taking
> the divine they think (or know) is present in the
> world and giving it outward form, as a means of
> glorifying and worshipping God. They put much emphasis
> on Contemplation, and those who acheive total
> contemplation (in otherwords, those whose 'world-soul'
> merges in a way with the 'Divine-soul') are called
> _Nassande_, which is loosely translated as Druids,
> but...again, it's not exactly the same. Every Neste
> has a potential to become a Nassande and as they come
> closer to attaining that, their _esil_ becomes still
> Let's see, Neste are also connected with nature. They
> view nature as the immanent-God, that is, the God
> within the world, or what they term _Ildiva_ or
> 'Divinity'. They are part of this Divinity as God's
> creation, that is; they are part of the immanent-God,
> the inteligible world, just as much as they are part
> of the sensible world as well. When they die however,
> they are admitted into the society of the Angels, that
> is, they become fully divine, and part of the
> immanent-God only. There is no reincarnation. I'm not
> sure if I'm explaining it correctly....ask questions,
> and I'll figure it out more.
> The Neste are divided into several groups:
> Silindi, West Sili, South Sili, Nindi, South Nindi,
> Sulindori Mendi and various other wandering tribes.
> The other 'races' (although that term isn't right
> either), are "GOD", Angels, Humans, Half-Neste,
> Faerie, and Kalaqhai.
> Angels: They are those beings which are worshipped as
> the main representations of God's Will (Divinity) in
> the world. They are termed _gods_ in English or
> _vaure_ in Silindion. There are angels to cover The
> Moon, Stars, Trees, Waters, Winds etc. They are
> similar to Neste in most respects, except for the fact
> that they are purely Divine to begin with, and they
> are immortal.
> Humans: They are late comers in the world, just like
> in Tolkien. They aren't connected as closely with any
> particular entity, like the Neste. They are almost
> entirely located in the sensible world, however they
> too have some divinity. They live shorter than the
> Neste, somewhere around 50, to 70 years. They look
> like Humans in this world....and some even look
> Neste-ish..although usually they aren't as 'ethereal'
> or seemingly unconnected the physical realm. Their
> divinity lies more in Reason (as according to
> Neste-Philosophy at least) than in Art as the Neste's.
> They have less of a potential for reaching full
> Divinity during there life like the Neste's Nassande
> do. Perhaps that's merely since they dont have the
> life span too. But I know there's more separating them
> from Neste, I'll have to find out. If anyone got it,
> ignore the post about Humans not being 'divine',
> that's wrong...in my world at least.
> The major group is the Atalanteades, which, through
> various intermarriages with the Neste are the major
> source of Half-Neste.
> The second major group was the Lepontids, which were
> at an early time wholly mixed with the Sulindori
> Half-Neste: These are Humans who have Neste blood.
> They have all the potential of the Neste, however they
> must choose to fulfill that potential. If they do not,
> they are only disguished from other humans in their
> long life: they may live from 100 to 150 years or so.
> If however they do choose to fulfill their potential
> as descendants of the Neste, there are two courses
> that they might follow. Either they can be like the
> Atalanteades with Neste blood and become Nassande. As
> Nassande they continuously strive toward complete
> contemplation...but still they remain partly human and
> remember their roots as well. Or they can be like the
> Lepontids with Sulindori blood and lose completely
> their human identity...eventually becoming only
> spirits to human and Neste alike. These Half-Neste
> could not control their two heritages and faded. In
> either case, those who do fulfill their potential
> usually can live 200 to 300 or so years, give or take
> Faerie: These are spirits and demi-angels such as
> 'dwarves' (nothing at all like the dwarves of
> Tolkien), dragons, dryads, and other types 'faerie'.
> They were created in imitation of the Divine by
> Angels. They are not accounted as divine and just
> cease to exist when they die.
> Kalaqhai: Late comers to the world. They are read
> headed and slightly red skinned. They are extremely
> advanced technologically and are extremely gifted in
> Mathematics. They do not account Art as anything to be
> pursued. Rather they look for power. They are from
> another planet originally...and well, I can't speak
> more of them since their history and development is
> mostly the department of my codeveloper.
> Oh yeah, this whole Celtic thing is blown out of
> proportion...I just like the way it sounds and looks
> :) And also, the grammar is pretty cool. But,
> really...it wasn't Celtic 'culture' and myth wasn't a
> real direct influence. I suppose it's kind of there...
> I suppose that sort of answers the question. At least
> it's more in depth than I've shared here before.
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