Elune

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For the realm, see Server:Elune US.
NeutralElune / Mu'sha
Image of Elune / Mu'sha
Title The Moon Goddess,
The Mother Moon,
The Night Warrior
Gender Female
Race(s) Goddess
Character class Healer, Warrior
Occupation Personification of the White Lady, the Mother Moon, the Night Warrior
Status Active, Eternal
Relative(s) Cenarius (son), Malorne (lover), Remulos, Ordanus, Zaetar (grandsons), Lunara (granddaughter), keepers of the grove, dryads, magnataur (grandchildren), centaur (great grandchildren), Celebras (great grandson), Cavindra, (great granddaughter), An'she (brother in tauren mythology)
Student(s) Tyrande Whisperwind (High priestess and chosen)

Elune (or Mu'sha, as she is called by the tauren) is the primary goddess of the night elf pantheon. She is associated with the larger of Azeroth's two moons, the White Lady, and is widely considered to be the mother of Cenarius, the forest lord and patron god of all druids. Elune is one of the few true deities of Azeroth.[1]

In tauren mythology, Elune is revered as the left eye of the Earthmother, though she is not worshipped as a sentient deity by the tauren.[2]

Background

Facets of the Goddess

Strongly associated with healing, tranquility and harmony, the moon goddess Elune has been revered by the night elves and several other races since the earliest ages in Azeroth's history. While she is a goddess of peace, she is not a pacifist. One of her aspects is the Night Warrior, who takes the valiant among the dead and sets them riding across the sky as stars.[3]

Khadgar believes that Elune created the prime naaru, among them Xe'ra.[4] On the other hand, the markings on the Crumbling Ceremonial Vestments resemble both the sign of Elune and those of several loa, implying a connection to the Wild Gods.[5] Lastly, Elune's connection to the Well of Eternity and that she taught the dark trolls titan words such as "Kalimdor" imply that she is connected to the titans.[6]

Long before the Great Sundering came to pass, a well-organized priesthood had devoted itself to the service of Elune. Known as the Sisterhood of Elune, this ancient night elven order remains in existence to this day and, as their name implies, entrance to its upper echelons is available exclusively to women, on the belief that Elune's deepest mysteries can only be understood by a woman's heart. The war chants of the Sisters can call down the Night Warrior's wrath to smite their foes, and their prayers to the Mother Moon can nurture even the gravely wounded back to health.[1]

Before Goldrinn's noble sacrifice, the night elf goddess Elune was said to be disappointed in his feral insistence. It was his unwillingness to tame his savagery and bloodlust that overshadowed his noble heart. When Elune's great moonlight illuminated the dark during the full moons, it was as if her eyes glared down upon him in judgement. His anger at her conviction caused Goldrinn to become even more bloodthirsty and indomitable than ever.[7]

Woman and mother

Elune has never been observed in physical form on Azeroth. Indeed, she is as much a collection of ideals and principles as she is a personality in her own right. A powerful and spiritual deity, the goddess is fundamentally an incorporeal being. Nevertheless, Elune has often been depicted as a kaldorei woman of transcending beauty and perfection, crowned with a simple platinum circlet and surrounded by a dazzling luminescence. Night elven artisans have traditionally portrayed her in their works as having long and silvery hair, alabaster skin, and eyes of pure moonlight.

To the best of anyone's knowledge, Elune only has had one lover: the stag demigod Malorne. They conceived a child named Cenarius, who inherited a powerful blend of his mother's unconditional love for Azeroth's living beings and his father's mystic ties to the Emerald Dream. The natural world is intimately connected to the moon goddess as a result, and for more than ten thousand years, the night elves have reflected this by arranging their society according to a harmonious balance between the dual ethos of druids and priestesses, which is embodied in the present age by the union of Malfurion Stormrage and Tyrande Whisperwind.

The tauren too have a myth that purportedly relates the story of Cenarius' conception.[1]

Devotion and worship

Main article: Sisterhood of Elune
The statue of Haidene, Elune's first high priestess, in the Temple of the Moon.

Originally, the people that would become known as night elves were a tribe of dark trolls who migrated to the heart of ancient Kalimdor and settled upon the shores of the Well of Eternity. The energies of the Well transformed their bodies, elevating their stature and granting the trolls great intelligence and virtual immortality. It was then that the tribe's mystics first began worshipping the moon goddess, "Elune", whom they believed slumbered in the Well's depths during daylight hours.[8][9]

Recorded night elven history shows that formal worship of Elune dates back to at least 14,000 years. However, it is certain that the moon goddess was being revered through more primitive and decentralized methods long before this. The first known center of devotion to Elune was established by the Sisters of Elune within the ancient kaldorei capital Zin-Azshari. The Sisterhood at one point relocated this temple to the city of Suramar after it became evident Queen Azshara and the Highborne increasingly distanced themselves from the tenets of the moon goddess. After Suramar itself had fallen to the onslaught of the Burning Legion, Elune became a profound source of hope and humility to all night elves as they witnessed the Ancient Guardians of Azeroth rally under the blazing moon to come to the defense of a world being put to the flame over their civilization's mistakes.

In the era between the War of the Ancients and the Third War, a period known as the Long Vigil, devotion to Elune had essentially become universal among the kaldorei but was practiced without centralized places of worship, much like in ages past. The Sisters of Elune have recently founded a new temple for the moon goddess however, the first of its kind since the complex at Suramar itself: the Temple of the Moon within the night elven capital city of Darnassus. Elune's chosen, Tyrande Whisperwind, resides here both as high priestess and as head of the kaldorei government, and by her side stand many priestesses (and for the first time, several male night elven priests) ready to venture out and soothe a war-weary Azeroth with the Mother Moon's healing light.

Elune's aspect known as the Mother Moon emphasizes tranquillity and harmony to allow for the greatest nurturing of Azeroth's creatures. However, Elune does not advocate pacifism in the face of threats to her harmony and tranquillity; novices in the Sisters of Elune are trained extensively in tactics and combat under the moon goddess' aspect of the Night Warrior.[10] Elune expects devotion from her priestesses, but never demands they give her every waking moment — the Mother Moon is experienced by her daughters as a nurturing, loving matriarch whose expectations are not oppressive in nature. Whereas Elune is the center of reverence for the Sisters of Elune and the sentinels, the kaldorei druids have devoted themselves to the teachings of Elune's only child; the demigod Cenarius. As such, there exists a deep and intimate link between the spirituality of the night elven druids and priestesses, on which their entire society has been based for over ten thousand years.[citation needed]

In the area now known as Sargeron in Desolace, there were once four shrines known as Elune's Cathedral, Elune's Temple, Elune's Sanctuary and Elune's Palace. Each shrine housed a relic of Elune commonly used by the ancient elves in rituals to their goddess.

  • One could expect special power from washing one's face in the waters of the Cup of Elune, allowing one to see the spirits of ancient elves as part of the Cleansing Ritual.[11]
  • The legends surrounding Elune's Handmaiden has it that in ancient time, after battle, the enemies' weapons were to be cast upon the basin in exchange for a divine gift as part of the Ritual of War.[12]
  • According to ancient legend, Elune's Brazier was placed for the performing of sacrifices. A blessing is bestowed upon the being who places the flesh of Elune's enemies on the brazier's burning embers as part of a sacrificial offering.[13]
  • The ancient elves revered the gems created by the Ancient Vortex Runestone, claiming that they were gifts from the goddess herself. It was believed that they were weapons capable of delivering them from any enemy.[14] The momument's gemstones were imbued with the power to summon a firestorm. The storm could grow to be a mighty weapon either through sustained worship of Elune, or charged by spiritual energies of the fallen.[15]

At one point, a piece of one of Draenor's moons fell into a pool on the far side of the Shadowmoon Valley woods. Such a thing is perfect for use in the dedication of a moonwell to Elune.[16]

Divine interventions

When the night elves rode into battle, the Sisters of Elune fought side by side with the sentinels, singing to Elune and calling upon her power. Oftentimes the lunar goddess responded by visiting her wrath upon the night elves' enemies. It was even said that the priestesses could bring a semblance of the moon into the noonday sky, lending some of Elune's strength to the nocturnal night elves. After the battle was won, the priestesses prayed over the wounded and brought them healing.[10] Other divine interventions were granted by her including:

  • The ability of calming races engaged in battle by singing a song of peace at night, until sunrise.[17]
  • The ability to heal or grant a follower the gift of healing.[18]
  • She also created a physical shield around Tyrande to prevent her from coming to harm in Azshara's palace, defending her from the likes of the jealous Lady Vashj.[19]
  • Causing a rain of solid moonlight to fall when her priestesses face enemies.[20]
  • Elune created the wildkin to watch over sacred sites.[21][22]
  • She made nightsabers silver and black so they could meld into the shadows on a moonlit night.[23]
  • Elune created the Gem of Elune to allow direct communication with her.[24]
  • Elune provides her chosen High Priestess with psychic visions, warning her about a possible trouble or giving hope in times of despair.[25]
  • Elune appears to be capable of cleansing the deepest corruption from a living creature. Two very notable examples of this are her salvation of Avrus Illwhisper[26] and in particular her redemption of Eranikus.[27]
  • In Warcraft III, Tyrande states that she relies upon Elune's power to remain hidden during the night. This could imply that the night elf racial, [Shadowmeld], is a blessing of Elune upon the night elves.
  • Elune is depicted to have some power over the element of water, or at least over the tides, as seen in A [13] Power Over the Tides.
  • It is believed that Elune granted the  [Scythe of Elune] to Velinde Starsong.[28]
  • Elune blessed the Ancient Guardian Omen with immortality.[29][30]
  • She granted a vision to Zamael Lunthistle to recognize the wrong he did.
  • After worgen arrived to Darnassus, Elune granted Tyrande a vision of Goldrinn being killed by demons during their first invasion, and of a spectral wolf, indicating the coming of King Wrynn to the city and Garrosh's assault on Ashenvale.[31]

Religious practice

The night elves use the word "god" in plural ("Gods help us all"; "May the gods have mercy"), and the Temple of the Moon in Suramar had frescoes and murals depicting Elune and many other gods (actual gods, not demigods) shaping the world.[18] We infer that the night elf religion, though centered around Elune, is actually polytheistic (the druids' reverence of certain demigods supports this). Elune's worship therefore is more like a dominant mystery cult than a monotheism, similar to the religions of Ancient Egypt or Ancient Greece on Earth.

The tauren and the earthen were also known to honor, if not outright worship Elune. The earthen were aware that it was she who gave birth to Cenarius, and were surprised to hear that Ysera was regarded as his mother. It's unknown if this means that the earthen worshiped her, or were merely better-informed about the origins of Kalimdor's demigods.

A tauren myth, the White Stag and the Moon, relates how Apa'ro (Malorne) fled the Shu'halo (Tauren) by escaping into the sky, but was entangled by the stars. Mu'sha saw him and fell in love with him, and agreed to free him if he loved her. Mu'sha's actions appear slightly out of character with Elune as understood by the night elves and the earthen, but it might be helpful to interpret it as a "just-so" story that the tauren used to explain the origin of Cenarius.

Velen's visit to Darnassus

During a visit to Darnassus by the draenei prophet Velen, he explained that the kaldorei's description of Elune, as well as the demonstrated powers of the goddess, matched his experiences with powerful naaru. He began to offer advice regarding how to commune with powerful naaru, but Tyrande thanked him for his opinion, then cordially requested that he refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.[32]

In the RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

In the RPG Elune is listed as a Healer class and her alignment is Lawful Good.

She nurtured and sheltered the earliest living beings of the world as they awaited the first dawn, giving them the chance to thrive and to grow into the present myriad of life, along with all the possibilities and promises that it entails.[33]

Thus, it was for many centuries, until arcane energy began to leak into the world through the Well of Eternity. Despite her attempts to guide them away, she watched in horror as her spiritual children among the kaldorei were drawn to the Well and seduced by its power. Though her companion Malorne and their child Cenarius joined her faithful among the kaldorei in an attempt to stave off the arrival of the Burning Legion, the demons spilled across the land in a wave of death and destruction that even she could not prevent.

Just as Elune felt that she had once again accomplished her task and brought Azeroth toward a new era of peace, the human kingdoms fell under the corrupting influence of high elven magic, and crumbled into chaos. Shortly thereafter, the orcish Horde came to Azeroth and sparked a new era of warfare that threatens to consume the world like the War of the Ancients did so long ago. Though her kaldorei followers have returned from their time in the Emerald Dream, it has yet to be seen if the moon goddess will take any direct action during this time of trouble.

Appearance

It's difficult to make the goddess out through the luminescence that surrounds her, only catching glimpses of alabaster skin and long, pale hair, graceful gossamer robes and a platinum circlet upon her brow. Her eyes are brilliant orbs of pure moonlight, and she smiles peacefully upon her worshippers.[33]

Elune faiths

Elune is revered by those who worship her as the mother of the world, a scion of peace and a protector of all living things. The majority of the kaldorei strive to follow in her footsteps, though most rationalize their need to resort to violence as the shortcoming of a mortal existence. Even those who worship other powers respect Elune for the unconditional love she gives to all creatures regardless of their beliefs or actions. Though she has never shown herself in physical form on the Material Plane, all the creatures of Azeroth know that were she to do so, it would herald the arrival of a long awaited era of peace.[34]

Combat

Elune never engages in combat of any kind, nor does she allow it to occur in her presence. Though she never physically manifests in the world of mortals, when she involves herself in a violent situation, she arrives invisibly and undetected using her song of peace to calm the combatants until sunrise.[33]

Trivia

Elune is associated with the White Lady.
  • One of the Pillars of Creation artifacts are named after her - Tears of Elune, hinting some connections between her and the Titans.
  • The wedding of Tyrande and Malfurion took place when the White Lady was at its zenith.[35]
  • In an alternate timeline where Deathwing had successfully brought about the Hour of Twilight the time-twisted fragment of Tyrande was still able to call upon the powers of Elune.
  • Elune is not an Old God.[36]
  • The ship Elune's Blessing is named after her.
  • The spider Lady Sathrah was her favorite.[37]
  • Prior to patch 4.0.3, players could encounter the Voice of Elune upon completing A [59] Guardians of the Altar.
  • She is not likely to ever appear in physical, or even non-physical form (except perhaps in a hallucination). Worship of Elune is meant to grant peace and these occasional interventions — unlike the Aspects, Guardians, or even mortals, she is not meant to actively defend (the War of the Ancients and the Battle of Mt. Hyjal notwithstanding) — she is abstract and spiritual, a light in the darkness, hope in despair.
  • Elune's name almost certainly comes from the Latin root Luna, meaning Moon.
  • In modern mythological studies, Elune can be considered a "Great Goddess" figure. As with many lunar fantasy goddesses, aspects of Elune's character are likely drawn from the Greek lunar goddesses Artemis (Roman Diana, goddess of the moon and the hunt) and Selene (Roman Luna, the personification of the moon). Another possible inspiration is Elbereth, the Goddess of Stars and patron deity of the elves in J.R.R. Tolkien's Legendarium. Elune and Elbereth share many similarities, including names, epithets, and their relationship to elves and place in their culture.
  • Given the influence Dungeons & Dragons has had on Warcraft, Elune may also be loosely based upon the default goddess Sehanine, goddess of elves and autumn or the Forgotten Realms goddess Selûne (notice the similar name, though different pronunciation), the generic personification of the moon. Elune and Sehanine share a particular habit of rarely, if ever, manifesting themselves, communicating with their Chosen through dreams and moonlight. It is revealed in the fourth edition of D&D that Sehanine is in fact an aspect of Selûne. More so, Elune may be be based on Ehlonna, goddess of the elves, forests, woodlands, flora, fauna and fertility from the Greyhawk setting.
  • Many fans theorized that Elune and Ysera are the same being, since they are both described as the mother of Cenarius and show great compassion for the lesser races. However, writer Richard A. Knaak has confirmed that they are NOT the same.[38]
  • Maiev Shadowsong's ability to use [Blink] comes from Elune.[39]

Sphere of influence reaffirmed

In the Patch 5.2 Raid Preview, Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas talked about how they originally planned for the Twin Consorts of Lei Shen, Lu'lin and Suen, to be the imprisoned spirits of the sun and moon but scrapped the idea because it didn't feel right. He goes on to state the only true spirit of the Moon is Elune and she was clearly not locked away by the Thunder King.[40]

Speculation

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.
  • It is hinted that it was Elune who transformed Kalecgos into an Aspect of Magic. Given that the ritual was done during the Embrace and involved the presence of the White Lady and the Blue Child, and the White Lady is associated with Elune, then it is possible this was the case. This is supported by the following texts: "His was now the ultimate mastery of arcane magic, given willingly, with love and hope and trust, by his flight, by the Mother and Child, by the echo of what the titans had willed, long ago".
  • It is possible that Elune's power are on par with, if not rival, the Old Gods. Tyrande were able to call upon Elune's blessed power in the Emerald Dream at the other plane of existence to cleanse it's corruption caused by N'Zoth, an Old God.
  • There are possibility that Elune aided the Titans in creating Azeroth. In the Temple of Elune in Suramar, there were murals on the ceiling depicting Elune creating Azeroth alongside gods whose faces were undepicted.

Does Elune have a connection to the Void/Shadow?

Elune may have a connection to the shadow. Elune may be the Goddess of the Moon, but even the Moon has a dark side[41] and even the grace of Elune cannot keep all her daughters from the shadow.[42] Elune, being the moon, would represent the light that is present in the darkness, but even the light of the moon casts a shadow.[43]

Elune, a naaru?

In the third round of Ask CDev, Blizzard remarked that "Velen has been a prophet of the naaru for many thousands of years, and it’s unlikely that he would propose such a theory without significant evidence and consideration."[44] Community manager Kaivax fueled the mystery a bit further by tweeting "whether or not [Elune being a naaru] is anything other than talk is anyone's guess."

Tyrande Whisperwind, Elune's chosen high priestess, has dismissed Velen's opinion on the matter out of hand.[32] Tyrande's rejection of Velen's claim seems to tie into a notable difference between the naaru and Elune--the naaru reject being objects of worship by mortals,[citation needed] although some may revere them. The moon goddess however has for countless ages empowered a night elven priesthood devoted to worshiping her as a divinity, and in every generation has anointed the most faithful of her worshipers as high priestess of a religion dedicated to her name.

With Elune's mortal avatar dismissing the assertion that the mother moon can be identified as a naaru of major prominence, no certainty exists either way. This does not preclude connections between the naaru and Elune, but it suggests the moon goddess might not merely be one of them.

Elune, once a mortal?

While proven by Brann Bronzebeard's archaeological research that night elves were descended from trolls (dark trolls are their closest ancestors), and Zanza the Restless, a mortal becoming a powerful Loa, it is highly possible that Elune was once a mortal that ascended into a deity by the Well of Eternity's magics, transforming her to become more closely akin to the Titans' own image since the Well was their creation. This would explain why the night elves bear resemblance to the dryads and keepers of the grove, who themselves have a biological link to Elune herself. In addition, Elune might not be her 'mortal name' as their language had changed over the ages (from Zandali to Darnassian), and since the night elves revered her as the mother of their race, Elune might have been a powerful matriarch of her tribe, which fits the claim of her being the Night Warrior. Night elves sometimes refer to Elune as "the Great Mother",[45] although this is possibly due to her parentage of the revered Cenarius.

Elune, a Titan?

Elune appears to have some sort of connection to the titans. Some fans theorise that "Elune" is the name given by the night elves to Azeroth's world-soul. This is supported by the name of the Tears of Elune, one of the Pillars of Creation, as all the other Pillars are named after members of the Pantheon, the ruling sect of the titans. It is also supported by Elune's close connection to the Well of Eternity, which was formed from the life-blood of Azeroth's world-soul when Y'Shaarj was ripped from the surface of the world, as the early night elves believed Elune to be a nocturnal deity who slept in the Well's depths during the day. Furthermore, her powers were able to penetrate into the Emerald Dream and cleansed it's corruption by the Old God N'Zoth. Kalecgos became a new Aspect of Magic under the White Lady who is Elune herself, and the Aspects were empowered by the Titans gives credence to this theory.

Furthermore, when Magni Bronzebeard revealed Azeroth to be a titan, he used the pronoun "she", presumably indicating that Azeroth is a female titan.[46] Alternatively, Azeroth's world-soul could be the Earth Mother.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Elune
  2. ^ Tahu Sagewind says: The elves speak of a moon goddess, did you know? They put great stock in the light given by the moon.
    Aponi Brightmane says: Like Mu'sha.
    Tahu Sagewind says: Just like her. The parallels I've heard are interesting... Mu'sha is one of the Earthmother's eyes, and she watches over us.
  3. ^  [Necklace with Elune Pendant]
  4. ^ Quest:Goddess Watch Over You
  5. ^ Crumbling Ceremonial Vestments
  6. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
  7. ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 1, pg 28-29
  8. ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Night Elves
  9. ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
  10. ^ a b The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Sisterhood of Elune
  11. ^ H [30] Nothing a Couple of Melons Won't Fix
  12. ^ B [31] To the Hilt!
  13. ^ B [31] Ten Pounds of Flesh
  14. ^ H [31] All Becoming Clearer
  15. ^ H [31] Firestarter
  16. ^ A [91] Shadowmoonwell
  17. ^ The Demon Soul, chapter 8
  18. ^ a b The Well of Eternity, chapter 8
  19. ^ The Sundering, chapter 4
  20. ^ The Sundering, chapter 19
  21. ^ A [59] Guardians of the Altar
  22. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  23. ^  [Nightsaber Cub]
  24. ^ Priestess of Elune#Cutscene at the Altar of Elune
  25. ^ Stormrage, chapter 5
  26. ^ A [23] In the Hands of the Perverse
  27. ^ Transcript of Eranikus' redemption
  28. ^ A [30] The Howling Vale
  29. ^ Moons + Explosives = Lunar Festival!. Archived from the original on 2012-02-08. “Driven mad by the Burning Legion’s tainted magics during the War of the Ancients, Elune's blessing of immortality means that [Omen] will forever be cursed to return in his maddened state at the advent of a new year.
  30. ^ N [100] Elune's Blessing
  31. ^ Wolfheart
  32. ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
  33. ^ a b c Shadows & Light, pg. 80
  34. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 81
  35. ^ Stormrage, chapter 30
  36. ^ Loreology on Twitter (dead link)
  37. ^ A [10] Tears of the Moon
  38. ^ http://www.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/elune
  39. ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 300
  40. ^ Patch 5.2 Raid Preview: Throne of Thunder
  41. ^ Scourgewar/126
  42. ^ Heroes of Azeroth/196
  43. ^ March of the Legion/8
  44. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
  45. ^ Huntresses in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment
  46. ^ N [100] The Diamond King