Timeless Mythical Beings Of Nordic Folklore: Sinister Dark Elves And Light Elves And Their Magical Ship ‘Skidbladnir’

Elves are beings that can be traced back to Norse, Celtic and Germanic mythology, but they are also known from folklore and literary writing. According to popular belief, they have a special magical power, which is very strong.

In the very distant past, it was believed that witches got their power from the fairy people.

Elves can change shape. They may appear in the shape of animals or that beautiful little girls or little boys. They can also become invisible or fly through the air.

The Old Norse work ‘Prose Edda’ describes ‘Light Elves’ as beautiful, luminous and noble minor gods of nature and fertility. They are dressed in delicate, transparent garments, love the light and bring inspiration in the spheres of art and music.

Their habitat is Alfheimr, located between Earth and the Heavens, and ruled by god Freyr, the horned god of sun, rain, harvests, prosperity, fertility as well as the protector of ships. Freyr is also twin brother to Freya, the primary goddess of the Vanir, a tribe of earth-based deities described in Norse mythology.

Using their skills, sorcery and ingenuity, the Light Elves built a magical ship ‘Skidbladnir’ possessing several amazing attributes.

The ship was capable to sail on the sea, travel across the land and fly in the air and always easily reached its place of destination.

It was also huge enough to accommodate all the Æsir gods, with their weapons and war stores and it never became lost at sea.

According to mythological stories, ‘Skidbladnir’ was made of so many pieces, and with so much skill, that when she is not wanted for a voyage Freyr may fold her together like a piece of cloth, and put the magical ‘Skidbladnir’ in his pocket.

Skilled in music and art, the Light Elves have a special relation to humans.

It was important not to offend the Elves, because these powerful creatures could easily cause human illnesses or heal people if necessary.

By interbreeding with humans, the Elves can produce half-human, half-elfin children that look like humans but possess magical powers.

A different kind of supernatural beings described in the ‘Prose Edda’ are the Dark Elves. They may be either malevolent or benevolent and their subterranean world is known as Svartalfheim (in Old Norse ‘Svartálfr’).

These ugly beings were enemies of the sun’s beams of light that turn them instantly to stone. Therefore, they thrived in the gloomy underground, surrounded by darkness and appeared only at night.

In ancient beliefs of our forefathers, the dark elves – described as being darker than the starless night – were nothing but trouble; they threatened people by giving them disturbing nightmares and annoyed animals, particularly horses.

Despite their bad reputation for being evil creatures, the Dark Elves were known as highly skilled smiths, creating magical weapons and armor.

Written by – A. Sutherland AncientPages.com Staff Writer

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