Gnomes: Earth Elementals Symbolism
In the realm of elementals, gnomes are the governors of the Earth. A gnome is small spirit recognized throughout Renaissance magic and alchemy. It was first introduced the scientist Paracelsus in the 16th century, along with sylphs, undines, and salamanders, the beings of the other elementals. He could have chose this name from two separate derivatives: first, the Latin word gnoma, meaning “knowledge” or the Latin genomus, meaning “Earth-dweller”.
Paracelsus described them as two spans high (very small), able to move through the solid Earth, and reluctant to interact with humans. Because of their ability to move through the ground with ease, they were commonly believed to be the guardians of mines and underground treasures, especially in Germanic lore.
Later (and up to modern day) they were frequent characters in fantasy literature. Gnomes are characterized by their small, human-like physical stance. They are said to live underground and be vivid storytellers. Because of their chosen home, gnomes are believed to have a strong connection with the Earth element and all aspects and features of it.
Legends About Gnomes
Ancient legends speak of gnomes as the insurers of Earth’s stability, grounding, and rooting. They possess an insurmountable knowledge of Earth and, as such, have a massive amount of control over its properties. As protectors, they practiced a zero-tolerance policy for those who would disrespect the planet. They love Mother Earth and are in turn loved by her.
Ancient mystics and alchemists recognized this feature of gnomes and often invoked their wisdom in rituals. Apart from Germanic lore, these creatures also make their presence known in other mythologies. For example, the ancient Egyptian Earth god was called Geb. In Indian tradition, Kubera was the hoarder of diamonds, precious metals, and other sparkly materials found in the deep grounds of the Earth. Gnomes have also been equated to other mystical creatures, such as goblins, elves, and fairies.
Like the air elemental, sylphs, gnomes are mentioned by the French satirical writer, Alexander pope. In his, “The Rape of the Lock”, gnomes are presented as small, celestial beings who paralleled prudish women in their past lives. In his imagination, these women now spent eternity looking out for other prudish women – think guardian angels. It wasn’t until the 19th century that gnomes became major characters in literature. Around this time, they became synonymous with all other mystical forms of “mystical people”. In the 20th century, people began using the Disney film, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” version of this creature to decorate their lawns. These garden gnomes were believed to protect the owner’s gardens from the cruelties of nature in addition to unwanted intruders.
Energy Of The Gnome Elemental Meaning
When you want to channel the energies of the gnome, you would do well to include its directional associate: the North. In addition to the ideas of earthly grounding, stability, and protection, gnomes also offer a variety of other symbolic value. As guardians, they were highly concerned with the security of their possessions – some stories even paint them in a very greedy image. However, this sense of security also applied to the safety of the Earth, which we would all do well to think about in the modern day.
Gnomes fight back for the Earth that we have nearly destroyed with our pollution and overindulgence of natural resources. As such, they inspire all of us to act as environmentalists. Living underground meant that gnomes were somewhat isolated from the rest of the world. Because of this, we must infer that they lived their lives with a strong sense of solidarity, unity, and order. More literally, living underground signifies the gnomes rooting to the ground. Roots are the sustainers of trees, another vital aspect of the natural world. Overall, we must recognize and appreciate the miniature protectors of our dear Earth.