He is a god with no name. Humans worship him as “Eldar”, though this probably a bastardization of the high Elven word “Ëdah” (typically pronounced with a final R, as in “Ëdar” or “Ëdahr”), an honorific that means roughly “revered father.” They apply it not only to their “divine father,” but also to the revered elders of their race, who rule them.1 Likewise, what the elves and dwarves and other ancient peoples believe about their god Ëdah, or even if they think of him/her/it as a god, is largely unknown. Pretty much everything that is known about Eldar comes from the human perspective. from His priests and followers, most of which are either agrarian folk or frontiersmen.
While the elves and dwarves may or may not think of Eldar as their “divine father,” it is important to distinguish between that presumed title and the “Father God” referred to by theologians. The latter is the creator of everything, “whose essence is spread throughout all creation.” The former is the maintainer of everything, the oldest of the gods, the big brother of the Menelon pantheon, and the father of the child god, Valïa.
The God of Nature
More than any other god, Eldar can be said to be the god of natural processes. In that sense, He shares some views with His sister Urilia, for nature is a very amoral. The strong survive, the weak die. Strong species flourish, those who cannot compete become extinct, and like every other planet in the universe, more species have died out on Menelon than live today. It is the way of things. Eldar understands that, as do His followers.
On the one hand, Eldarians are nearly as pacifistic as the Valïans. They don’t kill without cause, and then only if necessary. Spiders are welcome in their houses unless they’re poisonous. Then they’ll be set outside the house, not squashed. Mice and rats are encouraged to live elsewhere by natural means; they’re not caught in torturous traps where they suffer in agony for hours on end before succumbing to starvation, dehydration, or internal bleeding. Live stock is tended with loving care throughout its life. If it must be killed, for food or health reasons, it is killed quickly and painlessly, with prayers given for its life and sacrifice. Plants are treated with the same loving care, and are thanked for their produce when harvested. All life is sacred to an Eldarian, no matter how primitive or advanced, no matter its origin; but that doesn’t mean that an Eldarian will sit quietly by while an orc raid destroys them, or a herd of bison run them over. If life is a competitive business, the Eldarians are some of the best at wining that competition, be it on the farm, or in the wild, where humans are as much a part of the food chain as the animal trying to kill them.
You, earthling, have probably been in one, or at least heard of one, without knowing it. On Earth, they go by names such as “gravity hill,” “spook hill,” and “crooked house.” They’re places where the laws of nature seem to go… Well, weird in ways the science can’t yet explain. The walls look trapezoidal, but the framing square says they’re square. You think you’re walking uphill, but the bubble level says the floor is level. The tree is growing sideways out of the earth, but the plumb line shows it’s growing straight up.
On Menelon, they are called “faerie circles” (or “færie circles,” if you like the olde spelling). They are considered places where “the veil between the worlds is thin.” Proof is the evidence of faerie folk around the faerie circle. Pixies, sprites, nymphs, fauns, and more… All are said to found only around faerie circles—but they never appear to humans, even Eldarians, unless that human has either been blessed and named “an elf friend,” or is a druid, a “priest” of Eldar.
When they find them, Eldarians mark these circles with sticks or stones. Every farming village that has an Eldarian population will have such a circle nearby, that will be used for worship at each full moon and each new moon (either moon!), and during each high festival week. The moon rituals are are considered times of worship. Eldarians gather in the light or dark of the moon to worship Eldar and to perform the rituals necessary to keep the local community healthy and safe. Healing riturals, and rituals for fertility or bounty are performed when the moon(s) are full; rituals of banishment and communion with the spirits are performed when the moon(s) are new. “High moon” rituals occur when both Thoran and Sylvana are full; “low moon” rituals are performed with both moons are new. Both are considered particularly auspicious occasions. The quarterly festival weeks are times of celebration, rather than worship. Each carries the flavor of its season: Spring planting is a time of hope and renewal. It is said that more babies are conceived by Eldarians during SpringFest than at any other time of the year. SummerFest is also the time of first harvest in many parts of the world, and so is a festival of first fruits—and of marriages, when the young couples who conceived their first child during SpringFest will marry. HarvestFest is, of course, the time of plenty and is much about giving thanks for the bountiful harvest. Dancing and feasting are the order of the week. Work is usually prohibited. And then, of course, there is WinterFest, which marks “the return of the sun.” A pyre will be built of dried corn stalks and burned on New Years night; a plea to Eldar to renew the light for another bountiful harvest in the year to come. It is also a time of birthing for new mothers; all the children conceived during SpringFest will be born on and around WinterFest.
The human Eldarian religion has no formal priesthood. It owns no property, it has no holy texts, and it has no internal hierarchy. To most of the human population on Menelon, the Eldarian religion doesn’t really exist because it lacks all the forms, structures, and theological perturbations humans expect in their religion. There is no priesthood that presides over the moon rituals or festivals. Those functions are served by whomever the village selects, or the head of the family, or by the lone mountaineer, hundreds of kilometers from civilization.
Then there are the druids. Men and women who are especially attuned to “the mind of Eldar.” They are not chosen by man (hence the lack of perturbation), but by Eldar Himself. They are invariably wanderers who spend more time with nature than they do with their fellow man. They are both magician and priest, able to both interpret divine will and access magical power with ease. Thus, though rare, druids can be formidable opponents if attacked. It is said that they can speak with the animals and that dragons don’t attack them. It is also said that they can call forth a plague, or stop one in its tracks. The truth is probably more prosaic than the stories, since like all other human endeavors, there can be no doubt that some druids can probably do all those things and more; but others may possess little to no power at all.
But whether they possess little actual power or a lot, they are always welcome in Eldarian households and villages when they appear, which they do, infrequently. For, another thing often said of druids is that they know when to appear, and when to disappear. When a family or village is in need, they know that a druid is likely soon to appear. When the crisis has passed, they know that they will soon wake up one morning to find the druid gone. When the moon(s) again turn full, they will thank Eldar for his or her coming and ask for His blessing on His beloved priest. If s/he is to die, may s/he find death quickly; if s/he is to live, may she live well, in health and with good grace. For that is the Eldarian way.
For everything there is a beginning and and ending. For the Eldarins, the meaning of life is found between those two points.
- The low Elvish, every day word for father is “Ëda.” ↵