Elven deities real-world counterparts

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Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Shyanekh » 14 Jun 2014, 19:00

As we all know a lot of the folklore and background in Warhammer draws inspiration from various myths, tales and armies from our world. After reading some of the fluff behind the elven pantheon I started trying to work out where the ideas behind them might have come from. I've not thought through all of them but here are my ideas so far. I wondered if anybody here with a bit of knowledge of mythology fancied chipping in and adding their ideas? I've not looked into every one of the gods, only the ones that immediately jumped out at me.

Khaine - The Biblical Cain.
Khaine is the god of murder, Cain is the biblical first murderer. Given the similarity behind their names and the idea behind them I think this one's pretty clear cut.

Isha and Kurnous - The Wiccan mother and horned god.
Wicca (a form of Neopaganism) often revolves around the worship of two figures, the mother and the horned god (sometimes called Cernunnos, a somewhat mysterious Celtic deity). A lot of the duality in the Wood elf lore regarding light/dark, masculine/feminine reflects some of the duotheism found in Wicca and other Neopagan religions.

Lileath, Isha, Morai-Heg - Maiden, Mother, Crone
Another concept found in some veins of Neopaganism is the idea of a triple goddess representing a maiden, a mother and a crone. This also parallels the importance of the cycle of seasons and of life, death and rebirth found in the Wood Elves' religion.

Hekarti - Hecate
Another one where the name is a big clue as to the inspiration. Hecate was a Greek goddess associated with witchcraft, while Hekarti is the elven goddess of dark magic.

Ereth Khial - Ereshkigal
Ereshkigal was a Mesopotamian goddess of the underworld and married to a plague god named Nergal ;)

Anath Raema - Diana/Kali
Diana wasn't so vicious a huntress as Anath Raema, but there's certainly a parallel. I don't have the dark elf book with me, but if I remember rightly she's described as wearing a necklace of heads and hands, not unlike the Hindu Kali.

Loec - Loki
Both trickster gods with similar sounding names.

Vaul - Vulcan
Both crippled forge gods.

*edit* just a quick one for the mods. I wasn't 100% sure where this should go, so if it's in the wrong place by all means move it :)
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Coyle_Ravane » 14 Jun 2014, 21:38

Mathlann - Manannan mac Lir, Celtic sea deity.

Hoeth - Thoth, Egyptian god of wisdom and knowledge.

Anath Raema - the most similarly named deity I can think of is Ananta Shesha, the Hindu snake which encircles the universe, and one of the manifestations of Vishnu, but there is no similarity beyond name.

Atharti sounds like a combination of Athene and Astarte, but again no further similarities as far as I can see.
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby SpanielBear » 14 Jun 2014, 22:45

Shyanekh wrote:
Lileath, Isha, Morai-Heg - Maiden, Mother, Crone



I thought the correct designation was Maiden, Mother and "The Other One"... :wink:

On topic:

Isha-Ishtar, Babylonian Goddess of fertility, war and sex. Along with the mother goddess connotations, she also has a consort called Tammuz, who spends a lot of time in the underworld requiring Ishtar to release him. Furthermore, when Ishtar goes into the underworld to release him, her descent into darkness leads to a loss of fertility in the world above, which is an interesting parralel to Ariel's Dark Magic escapades.

Also

Kurnous and Isha- Frey and Freya. Norse God and Goddess, these were twins rather than consorts. Frey was god of fair weather and sunlight (equivalent to Kurnous' relationship with Midsummer), and was also the God of the Alfar (Norse Elves...). Freya is another fertility goddess (I sense a theme...), and she has her own battalion of Valkyries, in which one could draw parallels with the Sisters of the Thorn.

And Finally

The Ancients-Oaks. Druidic worship was hugely focused on sacred groves and trees. There are also menhirs and dolmens, which could be connected to the Waystones around Athel Loren and the Wildwood.
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Gwill_of_the_Woods » 14 Jun 2014, 23:17

This is such an awesome topic.

Well done everyone for your contributions, I have really enjoyed reading this. I think I'm going to do a bit of exploring of my own.

:D
Long live the King in the Woods!!!
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Electric Puha » 15 Jun 2014, 03:43

Another concept found in some veins of Neopaganism is the idea of a triple goddess representing a maiden, a mother and a crone.


If I may be pedantic for a second, triple aspect gods/goddesses have been around for a long time. Long before there was such a thing as neopaganisim. :p
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Coyle_Ravane » 15 Jun 2014, 11:40

Electric Puha wrote:
Another concept found in some veins of Neopaganism is the idea of a triple goddess representing a maiden, a mother and a crone.


If I may be pedantic for a second, triple aspect gods/goddesses have been around for a long time. Long before there was such a thing as neopaganisim. :p


So has nearly everything else in neopaganism. That's pretty much the whole point of a revivalist/reconstructionist religious movement.
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Beithir Seun » 16 Jun 2014, 00:49

To throw another name into the Isha comparisons - Isis, Egyptian mother goddess, patron of nature and magic. Resurrected her husband (Osiris; although she only had to resurrect him once, rather than every spring...)
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Re: Elven deities real-world counterparts

Postby Shyanekh » 17 Jun 2014, 18:09

Coyle_Ravane wrote:Atharti sounds like a combination of Athene and Astarte, but again no further similarities as far as I can see.


Just had a quick look at Astarte and it seems one of the things she presided over was sexuality so there's a definite link with Atharti who presides over desire. Also the names are similar enough that Astarte is a strong contender for the inspiration behind Atharti. Good shout :)
I'd also throw Aphrodite in the mix too on that one.
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