Posts Tagged ‘gnome’

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Wendi Friend

Gnomes, with their jubilant faces, bushy beards, and pointed red hats, are no strangers to modern human culture. Through home and garden decor (most notably as the Lawn Gnome); video, card, and board games; popularized cartoons for kids – and even by becoming mainstream advertising icons, Gnomes have been integrated into our lives and are recognized around the globe.

The Danish and Norwegians know them as the Nisse; Swedes call them Nissen. In Brittany they’re recognized as Nains. Gnomes are known in Iceland as Soddenskmaend, and in Finland they’ve been named Tontti. Germans know them as Erdmanleins, except in the alpine areas where Gnomes are called Heinzemannchens. Western Russians know the Gnomes as Domovi Djedoes, which means “Earth Faeries”; in Switzerland and Luxembourg the “little men” are Kleinmannken. To the Polish they are Gnom, in Bulgaria and Albania Gnomes are called the Djube. The Dutch have named them Kabouter; Belgians call them Skritek. In Hungary, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia, Gnomes are known as Mano. A creature of many names, the Gnome has paved its way into the collective consciousness of the human race, but is far from being just a figment of anyone’s imagination.

In the United States, these Earth-dwelling Elemental Faeries are known as Gnomes, although the origin of the word is open to speculation. The word Gnome may have come from the Greek verb gnosis, which translated means “to know”. Then again, it maybe an offshoot of ge-nomes, meaning “Earth-dwellers”. Another consideration for the origin of the word is gnomon, the pointer on a sundial – “knower of time”. Because Gnomes are Earth Elementals, extremely wise, and gifted with the ability to see into the future, any of these word origins would be fitting.

Though the concept of Earth Faeries has existed for ages, it was a 16th century alchemist, Paracelsus, who introduced us to Gnomes as we know them today. Referring to them as pygmies or gnomus, he described these Elemental beings as having the ability to move through Earth as fish move through water. As Earth Elementals, the primary function of Gnomes is to nurture and protect the planet’s physical properties, such as rocks, crystals, minerals, trees, flowers, and all physical bodies of Earth, including animals and humans.

Gnomes are of the Faerie Realm, but being Elementals places them among the higher ranks in Faeryland. Not only are Gnomes set apart from other Faeries by their Elemental status and heightened magickal powers, they also differ in that they do not have wings and they do not fly. Contrary to what some may think, Gnomes are not eternal beings. They age much like humans do, albeit more slowly. They can also be harmed or killed by fire. Gnomes generally live up to a thousand years, maturing around the age of a hundred.

While most Gnomes are depicted as males with white beards, there are female Gnomes, as well as Gnome children. Similar to tradition of the Jewish and Amish, it is the married male Gnome who grows a beard, while married females keep their hair covered. Most adult Gnomes grow to be anywhere between four and twelve inches tall. As a family unit, Gnomes prefer to live together at the base of oak trees, nestling in the deep, intricate root systems – although they can also inhabit rock clusters, bushes, and other domains well guarded by nature. Regardless of where Gnomes choose to establish their homes, structures that will inevitably be constructed with several exits, they will also reserve additional nooks and crannies in nature where they’ll spend ample time, or use as hidden places for extra storage.

Assiduous workers and meticulous craftsmen, Gnomes weave their clothing – most often from the hair of animals, making clever use of sheep’s wool caught on bushes – and have also been known to recycle certain plants for clothing. The women, whether married or single, prefer skirts with aprons. Although the base of their clothing is almost always blue or green, males and females alike enjoy donning vibrant, multi-colored rainbow stockings as well as the familiar cone-shaped cap of red.

Weaving and woodworking are the Gnomes’ favorite domestic tasks, but they are also adept at harvesting crops and occasionally brewing ale. They’re often recognized as being beneficial to the human home garden as care takers or guardians – and as Earth Elementals, much of their energy is applied to creating and maintaining the planet’s physical properties. Gnomes are also musically talented, excelling in playing the fiddle. In addition, Gnomes love to dance – and since that is how they raise their energy and magickal powers, they dance well for both pleasure and purpose. However, the Gnomes’ most prominent magickal attribute is their inherent ability to heal. Gnomes use their charms, enchantments, and earthy wisdom to heal plants, animals, and even human beings on occasion.

Gnomes, by nature, are compassionate creatures who extend their friendliness and courtesies to all life forms. Their only known enemies are Martens, some owls, and humans who set out to harm them or their homes. It has been said that Gnomes have been responsible for damaging equipment or lashing out at humans in defense of their families and their environment. In fact, since human equipment has been responsible for severe damage to the environment, it should come as no surprise that Gnomes are not fond of modern technology at all!

Though it has been said that Gnomes are attracted to humans who appreciate and aid animals, or who have respect and appreciation for the Earth, Ted Andrews, author of Enchantment Of The Faerie Realm, believes each of us has a ‘personal Gnome’ to guide us through our lives.

Much like the idea of guardian angels, Ted Andrews promotes the theory that humans are each assigned four Elemental beings of the Faerie Realm. Sylphs are the Air Faeries who guide us in thought, inspiration, scent and sound. Undines are the Water Faeries who assist us with emotion, planning, and our spiritual being. Salamanders are the Fire Faeries, fueling our passions and guiding us through transformation, as well as prompting us into action. To guide our physical well being, our health, and our ability to sustain physical form on this planet, we have been blessed with the Gnome.

According to Andrews, too little connection with our personal Gnomes could lead to ill health, flighty existence, and a lack of ability to remain grounded. A lacking relationship with a guardian Gnome may result in a person’s negligence of their body’s basic needs, such as proper diet, exercise, or getting enough rest. On the contrary, too much contact with our personal Gnomes may lead to stunned creativity, skepticism, cynicism, narrow mindedness, and a lack of imagination.

In his book entitled Good Faeries/Bad Faeries, author Brain Froud states: “Gnomes live in the ground and are famous for their stubbornness and their wisdom. Gnomes are practical, down-to-Earth, deeply rooted in reality, and disapprove of anything airy-fairy. Unfortunately, a Gnome is also prone to being a stick-in-the-mud and can get bogged down with inertia. The thoughts of the Gnome tend to be very precise…but also very slow. A sentence might take a whole year to speak (or in the case of certain Gnomes, an entire century). Gnome jokes are not very funny because they never get to the punch line.”

Many people regard Gnomes as fictional characters spawning from a world of imagination and make believe. But there are those who choose to believe that Gnomes, in addition to other Faerie Folk, are real – existing in other dimensions, beyond the veil of human perception, on the astral plane. For those who believe, it’s possible to build lasting and working relationships with these enchanting creatures. Because Gnomes are benevolent beings who are wise and kind in their essence, all that’s required to draw them to you is a pure heart, an open mind, and a simple invitation. “Cead mile failte” say the Gnomes: “A hundred – thousand welcomes.”

Those who believe in Faeries and magick often choose to work with Gnomes, making use of Gnome magick through music and dance to raise energy, for healing, divining the future, and in appreciation and protection of Earth and it’s plentiful resources. In ceremonial magick, where the Four Directions are honored and called forth, it is the Gnome who answers the call, representing the North. Gnomes have been called upon to aid wounded animals, to assist ailing humans, to uncover the riches of the Earth, and to share their timeless wisdom in spiritual guidance. Gnomes are willing to share their knowledge of herbs, minerals, crystals, and other natural resources of our planet – if we’re willing to listen.

There’s more to the Gnomes than being a lawn ornament. Though much of what we know about Gnomes comes from European legend and lore, the stories being passed down through the ages, permeating myriad cultures world-wide maybe much more than simple fairy tales. There’s magick in the air for those who choose to know the Gnomes.

Do you believe?


Title: A Witch’s Guide to Faery Folk
Author: Edain McCoy
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Pub. Date: March 1994
ISBN-13: 9780875427331

Title: Enchantment of the Faerie Realm
Author: Ted Andrews
Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Pub. Date: April 1993
ISBN-13: 9780875420028

Title: Good Faeries, Bad Faeries
Author: Brian Froud
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: October 1998
ISBN-13: 9780684847818

Title: The Ancient Art of Faery Magick
Author: D.J. Conway
Publisher: Crossing Press, Inc., The
Pub. Date: September 2005
ISBN-13: 9781580911573

Title: The Great Encyclopedia of Faeries
Author: Pierre Dubois
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Pub. Date: April 2000
ISBN-13: 9780684869575

Title: The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Faeries
Author: Anna Franklin
Publisher: Paper Tiger
Pub. Date: June 2005
ISBN-13: 9781843402404

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