The Moon Goddess,|
The Mother Moon,
The Night Warrior
|Occupation||Personification of the White Lady, the Mother Moon, the Night Warrior|
|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 is the primary goddess of the night elven pantheon. She is associated with the larger of Azeroth's two moons, the White Lady, and is considered to be the mother of Cenarius, the forest lord and patron god of all druids. Elune is one of the few full deities of Azeroth.
- 1 Description
- 2 Background
- 3 Devotion and worship
- 4 In the RPG
- 5 Notes and trivia
- 6 Speculation
- 7 Videos
- 8 See also
- 9 References
The moon goddess Elune has been revered by the night elves and several other races since the earliest ages in Azeroth's history. The markings on the resemble both the sign of Elune and those of several loa, likely dating back from the night elves or dark trolls' early days. The tauren know Elune as Mu'sha, one of the Earth Mother's eyes along with An'she, the sun. According to tauren legend, as the tauren roamed the newly created fields, they fell prey to dark whispers of the earth that taught them of war and deceit. With her heart heavy with her children's fall from grace, the Earth Mother tore out her eyes and set them spinning across the skies.
Elune also seems to have a connection to the titans. Indeed, she taught the dark trolls words in Titan such as "Kalimdor". The early night elves also believed that Elune slept within the Well of Eternity during the day. The titan Eonar also took refuge on a planet named Elunaria. Finally, one of the Pillars of Creation, created by the Pantheon, the Tears of Elune, is named after. Khadgar also believes that the prime naaru may have been created by Elune during the great ordering of Light and Shadow.
A well-organized priesthood devotes itself to the service of Elune. The highest echelon of this order is known as the Sisters of Elune, and as the name implies, membership in this echelon is open only 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.
Elune has never been observed in physical form on Azeroth, but she 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 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.
The Night Warrior
Strongly associated with healing, tranquility and harmony, Elune is a goddess of peace, but she is not always a pacifist, as she does not advocate peace at all costs. One of her aspects is the Night Warrior, who takes the valiant among the dead and sets them riding across the sky as stars. The Night Warrior is the incarnation of Elune's wrath. The ritual to become the avatar of the Night Warrior is extremely dangerous, and even witnessing it puts you in danger. Legend says that long ago, the Night Warrior was used by the night elves to carve out their empire. None who have attempted the ritual since then have survived, for Elune's raw power tears them apart.
During the Blood War, Tyrande Whisperwind survived the ascension to become the Night Warrior. Not only was she empowered, but many other night elves were as well, forming the Army of the Black Moon. Elune's power shrouded Darkshore in an unnatural, seemingly eternal, night.
The description of the Night Warrior taking spirits of the departed into the sky as stars resembles what happened to Ysera upon her death.
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.
The night elf goddess Elune was said to be disappointed in the Wild God Goldrinn's 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.
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 of Zin-Azshari. The Sisterhood at one point relocated this temple to the Temple of Elune in 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 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 recent night elven capital city of Darnassus. Elune's chosen, Tyrande Whisperwind, resided here both as high priestess and as head of the kaldorei government, and by her side stood 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.
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 was perfect for use in the dedication of a moonwell to Elune in Starfall Outpost.
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 refrained from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.
Devotion and worship
- Main article: Sisterhood of Elune
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. 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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. The monument'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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
- The ability to heal or grant a follower the gift of healing.
- 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.
- Causing a rain of solid moonlight to fall when her priestesses face enemies.
- Elune created the wildkin to watch over sacred sites.
- She made nightsabers silver and black so they could meld into the shadows on a moonlit night.
- Elune created the Gem of Elune to allow direct communication with her.
- Elune provides her chosen High Priestess with psychic visions, warning her about a possible trouble or giving hope in times of despair.
- Elune appears to be capable of cleansing the deepest corruption from a living creature. Notable examples of this are her salvation of Avrus Illwhisper, redeeming the Fallen Priestess into her original form, and in particular her redemption of Eranikus.
- In Warcraft III, Tyrande states that she relies upon Elune's power to remain hidden during the night. The night elf racial, , is a blessing of Elune upon the night elves.
- The night elf racial provides all night elves with a special passive benefit at all times, slightly increasing their Haste and Critical Strike during the night and day, respectively.
- The talent allows balance druids to directly call upon the power of Elune, calling down "a beam of pure celestial energy" to inflict Astral damage against enemies.
- Elune is depicted to have some power over the element of water, or at least over the tides, as seen in .
- It is believed that Elune granted the Scythe of Elune to Velinde Starsong.
- Elune blessed the Ancient Guardian Omen with immortality.
- 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.
- Guided the spirit of Shalasyr from her remains and allowed her husband, Jarod Shadowsong, to relive all the tender moments of their marriage. Meant to be a private experience, Elune showed only Jarod what she did, even excluding Tyrande who was officiating the funeral.
- When Ysera was corrupted by the Emerald Nightmare and mournfully killed by Tyrande. Tendrils of moonlight reached down from an eclipse and cleansed both Ysera and the Tears of Elune from the Nightmare's taint. Vegetation also grew where Ysera's corpse stood.
- When Broxigar's hand was burned by Illidan Stormrage, Tyrande prayed to Elune, and a stream of silver light encompassed the priestess and wrapped around Brox's hand. As the moonlight touched his fingers, in a few seconds the burned flesh healed, the gaps where bone showed through regrew, and the horrific injury utterly vanished.
- When Tyrande was captured by Queen Azshara's men, she was locked up in a cell. Elune protected her from all physical and magical harm while she was imprisoned, making her immune to torture. The Highborne thus tried to starve her, but Elune had also greatly diminished her need for sustenance.
- Blessed kaldorei banners.
In the RPG
In the world's infancy, she protected all living things and allowed them the chance to grow and thrive. Whenever she found violence, she would cast her calming influence across the land so that peace and healing might be given another chance to thrive.
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.
After the Kaldorei went into seclusion following the War of the Ancients, Elune spent thousands of years nurturing the world back to life. Saddened by the fall of so many Eternals in the war, she pursued her task alone with only occasional visits to her son.
Just as she felt 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.
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 worshipers.
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.
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.
Notes and trivia
- One of the Pillars of Creation, the Tears of Elune, is named after her, hinting at some connection between Elune and the titans. Though unrelated, there are also several items named after her tears, such as the and .
- The denizens of the deep sea at the very least acknowledge Elune, as referenced by the description of the Tablet of the Balancing Tides, obtained in Nazjatar.
- is said to be blessed by her.
- The wedding of Tyrande and Malfurion took place when the White Lady was at its zenith.
- In ancient times Elune blessed a Fountain of Health in Stonetalon Mountains.
- 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.
- Anduin Wrynn considers Elune to be another expression of the Holy Light.
- The ship Elune's Blessing is named after her.
- The spider Lady Sathrah was her favorite.
- Prior to patch 4.0.3, players could encounter the Voice of Elune upon completing .
- It is heavily implied that the Lun'alai worship Elune.
- Elune's name almost certainly comes from the Latin root Luna, meaning Moon.
- During the early development of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, Elune was originally named "Lunathris".
- 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 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.
- Maiev Shadowsong's ability to use comes from Elune.
- 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.
- The gems are named after her.
- The world of Elunaria may be related to Elune.
- The server Elune US is named after her.
- 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 its 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 not depicted.
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." 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. 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, 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. However, she could in fact be some form of naaru not yet witnessed, perhaps an incredibly powerful one.
Since then, it's been revealed that an object linked to Elune, the Tears of Elune, were capable of unlocking a piece of a naaru; Light's Heart. It was even speculated by Khadgar that Elune created the first naaru.
Elune, a Titan?
Elune has some sort of connection to the titans. 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. The blue dragon Kalecgos became a new Aspect of Magic under the White Lady who is said to be Elune herself, and the rest of Aspects were empowered by the titans, giving credence to this theory. She also taught the dark trolls (before they became night elves) words in Titan such as "Kalimdor".
Some fans theorize that "Elune" is the name given by the night elves to Azeroth's world-soul. This is 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.
When Magni Bronzebeard revealed Azeroth to be a titan, he used the pronoun "she", presumably indicating that Azeroth is a female titan. Alternatively, Azeroth's world-soul could be the Earth Mother.
Elune, a "Light lord"?
Another possibility is that Elune is perhaps a Light equivalent to the void lords, a "Light lord". As the Light and the Void are equals and opposites, there would presumably be entities who rule the Light just as the void lords rule the Void. If such entities exist, then Elune could be one of them, and the one responsible for creating the naaru. While highly speculative, it nonetheless remains a possibility in light of the recent discoveries concerning her and the naaru.
- ^ a b c d e The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Elune
- ^ Tahu Sagewind#Quotes
- ^ Crumbling Ceremonial Vestments
- ^ Sorrow of the Earthmother
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
- ^ The Demon Soul, pg. ??
- ^ Necklace with Elune Pendant#Description
- ^ a b
- ^ The Warcraft Encyclopedia/Night Elves
- ^ World of Warcraft: Chronicle Volume 1, pg. 93
- ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 1, pg 28 - 29
- ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
- ^ a b The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Sisterhood of Elune
- ^ a b The Well of Eternity, chapter 8
- ^ Knaak, Richard A.. The Sundering, 15. ISBN 978-0-7434-2898-9.
- ^ The Demon Soul, chapter 8
- ^ The Sundering, chapter 4
- ^ The Sundering, chapter 19
- ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
- ^ Priestess of Elune#Cutscene at the Altar of Elune
- ^ Stormrage, chapter 5
- ^ Transcript of Eranikus' redemption
- ^ Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos Game Manual
- ^ 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.”
- ^ Wolfheart
- ^ Wolfheart, chapter ??
- ^ War of the Ancients Archive, pg. 70
- ^ War of the Ancients Archive
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 80
- ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 80 - 81
- ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 81
- ^ Stormrage, chapter 30
- ^ Where Wyverns Dare
- ^ Loreology on Twitter (dead link)
- ^ Before the Storm, chapter 13: "[Anduin's] mind went back to the Netherlight Temple. The Light finds us, he thought. All of us. It chooses the story, or the face, or the name, or the song that resonates the most with each of us. We may call it Elune, or An'she, or just the Light, but it doesn't matter. We can turn away from it if we desire, but it's always there."
- ^ Warcraft III.Net - Night Elves Units. Archived from the original on 2001-06-06.
- ^ http://www.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/elune
- ^ World of Warcraft: Illidan, pg. 300
- ^ Patch 5.2 Raid Preview: Throne of Thunder
- ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 3