Elder Scrolls Lore » Discussions

Elemental Metaphysics

  • October 5, 2015

    In the Elder Scrolls universe certain elements have a metaphysical manifestation. Water for instance is Memory, this is likely the reason why Herma-Mora is a  tentacle squid monster(1) and why Sotha Sil's domain was said to be the sea(2), since Memory is essentially Knowledge.

    Air on the other hand if often equated with souls, this is likely the reason why Kyne\Kynareth\Khenarthi is a wind goddess and is said to escort souls to the afterlife as well as gifting the Thu'um to mortals which is essentially weaponising souls via air. Vivec's domain is also said to be the "middle-air" and that does make some sense since he was definitely the most spiritual of the Tribunal with a lot of his teachings being about how to escape the mortal coil.

    But what about other elements like Earth and Fire? Do these have any manifestations?

  • Member
    October 5, 2015

    Well, if we wanna be literal, the Earthbones, the dead Ehlnofey who became the natural laws of Mundus, if I'm correct.

  • October 5, 2015

    It's true but it seems in ESO that the Earthbones seem to be the guardians of the natural laws and not the natural laws themselves.

  • Member
    October 6, 2015

    Maybe we've been too defining with our categories. Maybe it is a broad category, that some Ehlnofey became the Earthbones, some became the ancestors of mer and men, while others became guardian spirits. They are all et'Ada at the end of the day.

  • October 6, 2015

    So do you think then that Memory as a concept is an Ehlnofey?

  • Member
    October 6, 2015

    I keep an open mind on the whole water = memory thing. It was exciting back when I read it but since then there was the Zenimax AMA and the writer said this:

    I'm glad you liked that. It was a fun piece to write. Keep in mind, however, that fact was asserted by a Dremora Herma-Mora cultist. This is Elder Scrolls, so every "truth" is bounded by perspective.

    Of course he would say that, rarely is anything set in stone in TES  I don't think memory is an Ehlnofey, though. If once could somehow remove that Ehlnofey then would everyone lose their memory?

    Rather, I think it's a symbolism thing. We know how the Azure Plasm in the realms of Oblivion work, how it holds the identity of the Soul Shriven to some degree. The parallels between these two mechanisms, Daedric plasm and mortal water, are interesting. Yet do I think that when a character goes for a dip in the sea he is swimming through memory? Not nearly so literally.

  • October 6, 2015

    Aww but it's such a cool idea especially when considering how it's related to Sotha Sil and Herma Mora, as well as the idea that the Dreugh are litteral memories of a past Kalpa.

    So do you also think that wind doesn't = souls?

  • Tom
    October 6, 2015

    Fire is the element of power. The people of the Fire Nation have desire and will, and the energy and drive to achieve what they want.

    Earth is the element of substance. The people of the Earth Kingdom are diverse and strong. They are persistent and enduring.

    Air is the element of freedom. The Air Nomads detached themselves from worldly concerns, and they found peace and freedom.

    Water is the element of change. The people of the Water Tribes are capable of adapting to many things. They have a sense of community and love that holds them together through anything.

    - Iroh

    With that out of my system, I concur with Veloth on air and water.

    Earthbones are fairly obvious. Earth is the element of substance and stability. The Ehlnofey have become the substance of Mundus, laws, races, planets, etc.

    Fire is probably more tricky. Vivec is often shown with a halo of fire around his head, which is symbolic of enlightenment. Fire is also very prevalent with beings like Mehrunes, dragons, and Red Mountain. Great symbols of very powerful beings or locations.

    Fire is Power.

    Earth is Stability.

    Air is Spirit.

    Water is Memory.

  • Member
    October 6, 2015

    The way I see it is that if magicka = souls, souls = two parts, identity and energy, then water is the mechanism in which identity is transmitted. I know it's a minor distinction but in my mind it resonates nicely with Kyne's Tears. In that respect evaporation takes on a much more significant metaphysical role.

    As for souls = wind, as far as I know that is a purely Nordic viewpoint and for them it is true. I really like it.

  • Member
    October 6, 2015

    I'm not disagreeing but my viewpoint is more metaphorical than literal. Plus it also changes depending on cultural perspective. The Ayleids had light as their purest element and we know that light = magicka and magicka = souls/spirit. So is there room in Ayleid culture for air being spirit?