THE ELEMENT OF EARTH

APPEARANCE - PHYSICAL EARTH -
SPIRITUAL EARTH - SYMBOLS
RELIGIOUS MEANINGS OF EARTH - MYTH/LORE

Earth, together with Wind, Water and Fire, is one of the four known basic elements, which represent the substance of the world - at least this is the common belief among many races and tribes throughout Caelereth. Most living beings are dependent on Earth for a place to live and for a chance to grow food. Earth is the first thing you need for almost everything to ensure consistency as it provides a ground, stability and endurance. Earth is a reliable element, peaceful and tranquil. It is an element busy with the day to day life and problems, and an element often seen as the great player in the eternal game of the world, counterpart to the lucidity and creativity of Wind. Earth is the most passive and strong element, although it can be destructive if one experiences its wrath. Most people rely on this element and what it produces or stands for, for it is familiar and doesn't change much. It is seen as the force within us where we build ourselves upon, the invulnerable force within us we can turn to in great misery. The race associated to the Element of Earth are the dwarves, who are not only known for their strength and unwavering convictions in the positive sense, but also for their intransigence and stubbornness.

The Earth Elemental

View picture in full size Picture description. The unwavering might of an Earth Elemental. Image by Quellion.

Appearance. While Wind is spirit, Earth is substance, the Wind's unwavering counterpart. And just as Water is seen as the mother of everything liquid, so is Earth the father of everything solid. Earth is more than the ground we stand on, the brown dirt we know with this name, it is stone as well in all it varities, including the most precious gems. It appears also in the form of wood and every object we shape - though endowed with a spirit to serve us as tools - is Earth in its realization. Much more than any other elements Earth therefore is defined mostly by its appearance, which also tell us about the monumental history this element concentrates in itself, be it in form of a mountain range, the strong mithril mineral, an item made by our forefathers - or in the incredible force of an earthquake. Return to the top

Physical Earth. Earth is rock, Earth is stone, Earth is sand, Earth is the place we live on. Earth is the flesh of Caelereth, and the flesh and bones we bear in us are seen as the earthen part of ourselves. Earth is stable, constant, solid, strong and unrelenting and is trusted without thoughts as it is what is there and remains. Also the treasures of the soil are often interpreted as equivalents of the Element of Earth, just in its different appearances, be these stones soft, hard or unbreakable as the famous uruyant, common or rare and precious - they form the tools in which the cultures put their trust to survive. The elven myth tells us that through these minerals the Children of the High Goddess learn to value might and wealth, principles the fleeting spirit of Wind cannot offer the Children to master the hardships of existence.

But even the peaceful Earth can become angry, and take many, many lives. For the worst thing that could happen is that the ground beneath your feet begins to shake, move and finally crumble, be it in the physical, spiritual or mental sense. For the Earth is the element we build our existence upon. It is the base of all. Earth keeps Caelereth in one piece as it is just that piece and it is that what defines ourselves in how we appear - also as persons.
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Spiritual Earth. Spirital Earth is in some way very much like physical Earth. It is the base on wich people build their personality, which keeps your mind together and lets you focus and helps to determine. People with a bad mental health are believed to have not enough of the Element of Earth, they are said to lack strength, will and endurance, all virtues, which are needed to give other elements their ground. Also, where Fire and Water stand for change, creation and destruction, Earth stands for existence and being itself - Fire and Water determine the becoming. Both forms of it, life and death, are balanced in Arvins, the Hunter-God, who stands between Queprur, Lady of the Sickle, and Urtengor, the Hammer-Lord and Stonefather of the Thergerim. The Earth stands for the coldness of the eternal frosty embrace of Queprur, and the warmth of life of Urtengor, the warmth that comes from below. Earth represents safety and balance, but over all constancy, the constancy of being within the confines of life and death. Earth is overall a practical element, so while the virtues of other elemental gods can be very abstract and vague, the teachings of the gods of the Earth are rather direct and have clearly predefined purposes. Return to the top

The Kurakim Dwarves
View picture in full size Image description. A Kurakim dwarf, member of the dwarven race, which is associated with the Element of Earth. Illustration by Faugar, used with permission from the game Magical Empire.

Symbols of Earth. The most common representatives of Earth are sand and rock. In their daily use both these archetypes of the element show how much Earth constitutes time, the essential category of existence. While people construct their homes with rock and stone to give their lives the face of permanence, the trickling of the sands in an hourglass on the other hand doesn't only measure the time left for the mortals on Caelereth, but also indicates that everything that lives must eventually come to the earthen standstill. But the tree and the forest, created by the Hunter-God Arvins, are also symbolic for the Element of Earth. Also headstrongness and determination are seen as a sign of earthen nature of a character.

Black (coal and so-called "stone oil"), brown (soil and wood) and red (bricks to build homes) are the main colours of this element. Alchemists often use signs like the square, a single horizontal line or a schematic tree - vertical line with two "arms" pointing upward on each side - to represent the various states or properties of Earth. While the square stands for the consistency and the strength of the element, the horizontal line marks the element's use as the basis for other alchemical reactions. The sign often signifies wood, the part of the Element of Earth, which can be identified with "living" and "growing".

The most famous mythical beast related to the Element of Earth probably is Denichanong (Thergerim-Thaal for "Holy Earth-Heart", short: Denishan or Denichan), one of the many symbols of power Trum'Baroll (Urtengor) is said to have forged in his mountain halls. While the dwarves claim that the mighty Denishan was created long before the races were forged, the humans claim that Urtengor created it only after he had seen the sea and the miraculous creatures of Baveras. From the myth of the serpent Denishan by the way also derives a liking of the Thergerim race for the dragon-kind as they see these serpents related to their holy giant-worm. Today not many giant serpents can be found at the Sarvonian mainland, except for the bloodworms perhaps, who seem to be distantly related to the earth eathers (behemoth worms) of Aeruillin. Their enormous body with the thick, protecting skin can 'swim' so easily through sand - some say they can swim through rocks also, but this is considered a fable even by those who have seen the beast - wonders many people. And it is even more astonishing to notice that the descriptions of Denishan the Sarvonian dwarves provide have truly remarkable similarities to this monstrous behemoth worm. - Pure coincidence?

A Stone Altar

View picture in full size Picture description. A simple stone altar, where sacrifices to the Gods are being performed. Image drawn by Faugar, used with permisson from Mystical Empire.

In the clerical sense Earth is most often represented in the form of an altar. The altar is an elevated place or structure usually made from wood or stone before which religious ceremonies may be enacted or upon which sacrifices are offered to the Gods. In doing so, the two basic elemental counterparts Earth and Wind (the altar and the spiritual meaning) are united. This symbol is a very old one and is said to have its origin in the practices of Arvins when he still roamed the Earth in the shape of a mortal. Return to the top

Religious Meanings of Earth. Like all other elements, Earth is represented by three gods in common Santharian religion: Urtengor, God of the Forge, Arvins, God of the Hunt and finally Queprur, Goddess of Death. The meaning of the Element of Earth in relation to these Gods can be described as follows - each God focusses on a certain aspect of the element:

Myth/Lore. Just like the other elements, Earth also plays an important mythical role in various human or elven myths. In many cultures Earth is a symbol of growth, but also of death, which shows for example in the practice of the interring of deceased bodies. This might have its origin in elven mythology, where Earth is often interpreted in a negative way (at least seen from a human's judging perspective).

Among the Sarvonian elves we read for example in Chapter II called Aér'aí'chanía ("Elements") of the books of the Cárpa'dosía, the legendary "Books of the Beginnings", that Earth is not only the opponent of the Element of Wind, but that it is actually the Wind's manifestation and therefore just another form of Wind, which denied its origins.

Cárpa’dosía, Of the Elements. II, 8. Thereafter arose from the windy prowess, só Avásh, the Earth, sá Mód. As in the Dream of Avá She saw Herself dreaming, and while she recognized Herself in the Dream as the Thought of Herself as she dreamt, there became out of the Dream from her mirror image the mirror image of Avá a reality. So it happened that the Earth became an element, which faced the Wind, in the same moment as the Wind arose. Sá Mód, the Earth: She is the only element, capable of resisting the Wind or which can show the Wind how far to go in the world of being - all that however only for a short glimpse of becoming and fugacity, as the Wind is untameable in his uncomparable almightiness. To outplay the Wind nevertheless, for that the Earth has no means, as she is child of the Wind herself being his Other and so she is only a necessity for the Wind's reign, the steady image of his incessantly swaying thoughts.

II, 9. With the Wind sá Mod came to the world and with the Earth came the permanence of being, time and transitoriness, Kára'mé as the elves named it, the manifestation of things, which is fundamentally different to the Eternal itself, as only through the Eternal Kára'mé that turned into what it is now, the essence of becoming. And just as the Wind is the perfection of the Aeloía [the Thoughts of Avá], but is naught in the world, so is Earth perfection, but perfection of substance, but the substance by itself itself means naught to the eternal spirit. As when Wind is innocence, easiness and freedom, so is Earth guilt, rigour and relentlessness ag rán [per definition]: If in the howling of the Wind there lies Bestowíng, Life and Growing, so the immobility of sá Mód only promises Death; even though there are many tales, especially from the dwarven race, which don't want to hear from that - but the stone, which the dwarves worship above all, is in truth only an image of the Wind, a single moment of  the everlasting changes in regard of the One.


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- "Cárpa'dosía. The Books of the Beginnings", Chapter II

These elements of Fire and Water consequently are described in complicated, at times seemingly esoteric lines as antagonistic, inseparable forces of nature, filling the gap between the principle of the eternal (Wind) and its realisation (Earth) with what appears as "life". The remaining chapter II of the Cárpa'dosía speaks of the beginning of the fierce fight between Wind and Earth, which began at the time of creation and lives on till this very day in more subtle forms.

From the
Cárpa'dosían myth we also learn that the dwarves sprang from this element, just like the elves sprang from Wind, an explanation perhaps for this often cited animosity between these two races. The dwarves for their part cherish their origin from the Element of Earth, though they believe that their God Trum'Baroll forged them out of stone. Staying within the mountainous confines therefore is only natural to a dwarf, while elves like the Maeverhim for example even have fear to touch the ground and get "EarthBurned" - two practical examples on how much ancient myth still has an influence on the behaviour and suspicions of today's tribes.
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