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Elven Symbols
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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Tuesday, 6th March, 2012 - 4:13 pm
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I’m sure everyone reading this is already familiar with the “elvenstar”, the septegram so often used as a symbol for elves, sometimes fairies, and which has more or less been adopted by some segments of the otherkin community as a group symbol for all of us.

I recently came across another symbol purporting to be connected with elves: 

System ElfiqueImage Enlarger

This is from an elven magical system that was apparently created or channeled in 1988 by a Dr. David B. Shirt.  I haven’t been able to find very much about it in English, but here is a link to a french page translated via google translate on the subject: System Elfique

While looking for english-language sources that mentioned it, I also found these pages:

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/…..agram.html

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/…../star.html

http://www.angelfire.com/folk/…..star2.html

Overall, not really sure what to make of it yet, but I’m intrigued by the continued association of elves and the number 7 which is found in both symbols.  The use of the name Oberon puts me off a bit, I’d be more comfortable with the original germanic Alberich (meaning elf-king) that it was derived from, but it’s not a deal breaker.  I’d like to see a more complete listing of the “elven lords” associated with these seven points in this system, the only three that were mentioned were Oberon, Flora, and Fauna.

Ultimately, it seems more made-up than genuine to me, but I do find the parallels with the sevenstar interesting. And I wonder why I haven’t seen mention of it in the otherkin community before now.

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Arethinn
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Friday, 9th March, 2012 - 2:44 am
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And I wonder why I haven’t seen mention of it in the otherkin community before now.

Possibly because of the language barrier and no one’s ever heard of it? This is certainly new to me.

edit: I find it interesting that the directional associations (which the “elven harper” angelfire person seems to possibly have adopted; I say this because of some specific similarities of phrasing) are the same as the ones I “came up with” (in quotes because I know I didn’t really in the sense of originality, but maybe “decided to use”) – North/Stars, East/Sun, South/Earth, West/Moon.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Friday, 9th March, 2012 - 3:23 am
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Arethinn said:

Possibly because of the language barrier and no one's ever heard of it? This is certainly new to me.

edit: I find it interesting that the directional associations (which the “elven harper” angelfire person seems to possibly have adopted; I say this because of some specific similarities of phrasing) are the same as the ones I “came up with” (in quotes because I know I didn't really in the sense of originality, but maybe “decided to use”) – North/Stars, East/Sun, South/Earth, West/Moon.

Could be.  Though whoever this elven harper guy is, he seems to have been aware of both communities. At least enough to connect this symbol and the elvenstar.

There are elements of the system that I definitely find interesting. For instance, the four basic elements of fire, earth, water, and air (though fire is renamed “light”… which is an interesting substitution, but not a big change in meaning). To them are added the animal kingdom, the plant kingdom, and the “elven kingdom”. Forming the three vertexes of the central triangle. Each of the elements and the plant and animal kingdoms are conceived as having male and female aspects, but the elven kingdom is conceived as being hermaphroditic… “both and neither”. I resonate with that formulation a lot more than the other elemental formulations which have been attributed to the sevenstar in otherkin writings:

1. earth, air, fire, water, life, light, magick
2. sun, wood, sea, magic, moon, wind, connection
3. the one, wisdom or intelligence, the unseen world/spiritual existence, the goddess, the god, the seen world/physical existence, magic
4. the sun, tree spirits, water spirits, magic, the gateway, wind spirits, success.
5. earth, air, fire, water, heaven, earth and self

None of these quite feels right to me. I’m not sure the new formulation does either, but it’s closer.

Overall, there’s something very alchemical about the symbol from the System Elfique, which also interests me as the septegram itself is an old alchemical symbol for the seven planets.

It’s also interesting to me how closely it maps with the seven elements in some variations of the Huna system: fire, water, wind, stone, plants, animals, and human beings.

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Arethinn
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Friday, 9th March, 2012 - 2:42 pm
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The first one there seems the most complete to me. Some of the others have bits that sound quite odd to me; symbolic attributions perhaps but I have a hard time thinking of “gateway” as an “element”, for example. Similarly with what you say there about Huna… to me animals, plants, people are kindreds of life, not “elements” as such (although “life” could perhaps be considered one).

My own set of seven attributions is woods, winds, waters, sun, moon, stars, and majik (an affected, personally archaic spelling I hang on to for certain purposes). Although this is not the same as what I think of as “currents”… heh… I know this is something you and I kind of disagree on 😉 although I am not talking about any sort of “racial” or “species” flows here, rather sort of categorical divisions of the natural world: the current of day/sun/light, that of winds/storms, that of night/moon/shadows, that of the living green world of plants and animals, that of rivers/rain/fresh waters, that of the stars, that of stone and caverns and the deep places of the earth… actually this is not an idea I have really worked with a lot in practice, so to tell you the truth I can’t even recall them all at the moment. My magical development has been um, rather stagnant over the past ten years or so.

What do you think of Celtic duile systems with nine elements? (Stone, earth, plants, sea, wind, moon, sun, cloud, heaven is the most common I see)

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Friday, 9th March, 2012 - 3:43 pm
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Arethinn said:

The first one there seems the most complete to me. Some of the others have bits that sound quite odd to me; symbolic attributions perhaps but I have a hard time thinking of “gateway” as an “element”, for example.

I have a similar problem thinking of “magic” as an element unless we're referring to it in the sense of quintessence; a sum of the other elements that is greater than its parts.

Similarly with what you say there about Huna… to me animals, plants, people are kindreds of life, not “elements” as such (although “life” could perhaps be considered one).

I can see the argument either way.  I mean, from one perspective, fire and water and earth and air are kindreds of elementals.  But they also describe the elements themselves.

My own set of seven attributions is woods, winds, waters, sun, moon, stars, and majik (an affected, personally archaic spelling I hang on to for certain purposes).

I have difficulty with “woods” as an element, and with having the sun as a separate element from the stars.  And see previous comment about magic.

Although this is not the same as what I think of as “currents”… heh… I know this is something you and I kind of disagree on 😉 although I am not talking about any sort of “racial” or “species” flows here, rather sort of categorical divisions of the natural world: the current of day/sun/light, that of winds/storms, that of night/moon/shadows, that of the living green world of plants and animals, that of rivers/rain/fresh waters, that of the stars, that of stone and caverns and the deep places of the earth… actually this is not an idea I have really worked with a lot in practice, so to tell you the truth I can't even recall them all at the moment. My magical development has been um, rather stagnant over the past ten years or so.

I think I disagree with you more on racial or species flows/currents than I do on the general concept of flows/currents.  What you've said here seems fine to me.

What do you think of Celtic duile systems with nine elements? (Stone, earth, plants, sea, wind, moon, sun, cloud, heaven is the most common I see)

Frankly it seems somehow contrived to me, and I don't believe I've ever seen it mentioned in a scholarly work which cited its sources.  Could be I just haven't read the right works, but my gut feeling is that it may have been born in the Celtic Revival era rather than originally being part of Celtic culture.  Probably connected with Iolo Morganwygs forgeries, I'd guess.  The closest thing I know of to nine elements used to create the body of a living being in celtic tradition is found in the Cad Goddeu

Not from mother or father
Was I engendered
My blood, my creation
from the nine elemental forms
from fruit from fruition
from the first fruit-formation of god
from primroses and highland flowers
from the flowers of trees and shrubs
from soil and earth
was I made
from the flowers of nettles
from the water of the ninth wave
was I charmed [into being] by Math
before I became the gifted one

This passage is often quoted by the sites, like imbas.org, which talk about the Duile but the list given here is *quite* different from what they commonly claim the Duile are.  Ditto with things like the Song of Amergin which they try to stretch to fit their conception of the Duile, rather than the other way around.

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Thursday, 2nd May, 2013 - 12:12 am
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Thought I would mention another elven symbol here that I’ve never seen discussed in the otherkin community – the “Cross-Seal of Elphame” from Daniel Schulke’s work Viridarium Umbris:

xsr3pOo.jpgImage Enlarger

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Arethinn
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Thursday, 2nd May, 2013 - 2:08 pm
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I imagine few of us have read the book in the first place due to its scarcity and cost. How many otherkin have heard of Schulke, Chumbley etc. in the first place? I have a copy, but have never yet actually read through it (the length of my to-read list, oy). The book being published in 2005 and thus somewhat after the heyday of active discussion in anything even vaguely resembling a centralized place probably would affect things too.

I dunno how I feel about the symbol as such. Somehow it doesn’t read terribly “Elven” to me. “Elphame” is kind of something specific in my mind, though, associated with traditional witchcraft and secondly ballads and not just a synonym for Faerie or Underhill, even though I know it’s just a Scottish word for same. I dunno, it’s like it’s tuned to a slightly different flavor or “race” of spirit…?

How about the Great Glyph of the Sidhe:

glyph2.jpgImage Enlarger

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Sunday, 5th May, 2013 - 2:05 am
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*shrugs* Honestly, the “Great Glyph” has always just reminded me of the Cho Ku Rei.

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Arethinn
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Monday, 6th May, 2013 - 1:52 pm
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testing – the board seems to have eaten my reply to this thread…?

(eta: ok, well, that was bizarre. let’s see if I can remember what I wrote. :P )

Visually there is a similarity, yes, and oddly enough when I was searching for an image file of it to attach, I ran across an old post in Helen’s journal from 2003 or 2004 where a few others had the same initial reaction to it (I think someone speculated if it might be usable as an amped-up version that was also more fae-ish at the same time). But to me the energies they express are different. For one thing, Cho Ku Rei seems to go inward while the Great Glyph radiates outward. Shortly after I had read The Sidhe I tried printing out a larger copy of it and hung it next to my bedroom altar. It seemed like a sort of portal that was emanating energies from Somewhere Else. I don’t know if I could say that it’s uniquely and characteristically sidhe-ish, but the energies seem germane at least.

Have you worked with that Cross-Seal of Elphame?

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Jarandhel Dreamsinger
Arlington, VA

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Monday, 6th May, 2013 - 10:45 pm
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Hmm, I hadn’t thought of it as expanding outward because if I view it that way then the downward slash seems to be a negation of the spiral, and/or a grounding out of the energies being raised.  I saw it more as rising from the ground towards the sky, and then the inward spiral as a symbol of distillation/refinement.

I’ve worked a little with it, and I’m still not entirely sure what I’m getting from it.  My own use is flavored by the fact that one of the alternate names for Alorya that was used for a while was Elphame.  With that exact spelling.  As such, I’m not sure if I’m getting a pure sense of the symbol, or mentally associating it with Alorya and drawing on my memories of Home.

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