Water fae, earth fae, air fae, and fire fae galore! Check out these elemental faeries.
A long time ago, 1493 to be exact, in a town called Egg in the country of Germany, a nobleman's son was born into a world where myth and magic were still inextricably woven into the fabric of society (Hargrave, n.d.). This child was born with the name Theophrastus von Hohenheim. He became the renowned scholar known as Paracelsus ( para meaning "beyond" and celsus meaning "high or tall) ("Paracelsus," 2019).
Paracelsus became an alchemist, astrologer, physician, metallurgist, herbalist, and eventually the "Father of Toxicology" (Hargrave, n.d.). Despite these amazing accomplishments, Francis Bacon, the Father of the Scientific Method, took issue with the near-worship status Paracelsus gained among certain groups, including 17th century Rosacrusians ("Paracelsus," 2019). Bacon's objections may have come from the fact that Paracelsus felt that universities lacked knowledge that could be gained from sorcerers, old wives, gypsies, and others who held secrets beyond science (Hargrave, n.d.). So, Paracelsus traveled to gather this arcane knowledge.
In Paracelsus's strange and wonderful world, he believed there were many magical things, including beings that lived beyond human perception, half-spirit, half-physical, who were made of and could control the elements. He classified these elemental spirits as earth, fire, air, and water spirits, who later, though Paracelsus's would never know it, became the basis of all faerie people ("The four elemental beings of Earth according to Paracelsus," n.d.).
Earth Elementals: Gnomes
Paracelsus called earth elementals gnomes and referred to them as the people of the mountains ("Paracelsus," 2019). These beings lived as part of the earth and could affect the earth around them. The looked like and dressed as humans, but lived unseen by us, keeping the earth around them hospitable for us to live. Elves and many of the fae we are used to hearing about fall into this category. These elementals may be stubborn but also brave ("The four elemental beings of Earth according to Paracelsus," n.d.).
Water Elementals: Undines
Undines, as Paracelsus named them, included nymphs, mermaids, and any spirit beings who lived in the water ("Paracelsus," 2019). Today, all water fae are believed to not only control the oceans of the world, but to be capable of walking on land. There is an old belief that an undine who marries a human loses their elemental ability and can gain a soul and remain human forever. This is typically restrained to female undines, but it's 2019, so we'll say that the water fae have equal turning-into-human rights in our day and age.
Fire elementals: Salamanders
I'm not sure why the term "salamander" is used for fire elementals, but Paracelsus is clear that spirit-like lizards and amphibians belong in this category ("Paracelsus," 2019). These include magic newts and reptile-like beings that exist in some folklore, but not so often seen in Irish tales. These types of elementals may be temperamental and volatile - so it's best to leave them be ("The four elemental beings of Earth according to Paracelsus," n.d.).
Air Elementals: Sylphs
Flying, airy creatures, Paracelsus's sylphs may include the winged nature faeries and any fae who affect weather and the seasons ("Paracelsus," 2019). They are artful and intelligent, but may also be prideful and arrogant ("The four elemental beings of Earth according to Paracelsus," n.d.).
In The Faerie Apothecary Mysteries, while the fae still fall into these elemental categories, the elementals themselves are their own kind of faerie. They are spirits who change shape and never really take a full human form. Even the fae do not fully understand them. And, of course, the Tuatha de Danann as the ancestor race of all the fae, retain the powers of elementals as well as most of the faeries who fall in any category.
There will be plenty of elemental fae and faeries of all elements in the last two books of this fantasy cozy series. In Talismans and Turmoil, we'll meet many of the water fae who dwell in Earth's oceans. I won't give anything away, but these water faeries certainly make a splash in the series!
Hargrave, J. G. (n.d.). Paracelsus. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Paracelsus
Paracelsus. (2019, July 21). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paracelsus
The four elemental beings of Earth according to Paracelsus. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.faena.com/aleph/articles/the-four-elemental-beings-of-earth-according-to-paracelsus/