In his remarkable work on the little people Thomas Keighley makes mention of the dark elves who live below the ground. From this has grown a mythology of mischievous, and worse, elementals whose sole purpose is to torment human beings. All kinds of creepy stories have been invented to feed this desire for shock and horror that the human mind seems to thrive upon.
However there is a different interpretation that needs to be examined regarding the ‘Alfar’, mentioned in the Edda, who live in great cities below the horizon, including the dark Alfar.
The early sea farers came from Mesopotamia, they are recorded in oral tradition under the names of ‘Fir Bolg’, the Fair Folk, the Picts and many another name from different traditions. In the Icelandic traditions they are called Alfar – which can be taken to mean ‘First’, ‘Spirited’ and, as has become common, ‘Elves’.
When the interpretation of ‘beneath the Earth’ is understood to mean not ‘underground’ but ‘below the horizon’, we come to different conclusions concerning these beings. Looking out to sea, to the rim of the horizon, it is reasonable to call it the ‘rim of earth’, and to speak of coming from below it. It comes as no surprise that they lived in ‘great cities’. These are travellers and traders. They bring exotic gifts, gifts that are unobtainable elsewhere for they have already mastered smelting, kiln and metal productions. Being sea-faring men they explored the coasts of Africa long before setting sail into the Atlantic Ocean.
Mariners always like a good tale, and to see the surprise and disbelief on the faces of their listeners. Their tales of black skinned people will have scandalised the Icelanders. Could this be true? People with black skins.
Perhaps the term Alfar, means simply ‘human beings’ and the dark Alfar nothing more than black skinned human beings. But such is the arrogance of the scholar that he or she will determine that the oral tradition is merely hearsay and, therefore, not reliable. So they relegate everything that is not written down to the realms of fantasy and call it mythology.
Here I hasten to add that Mythology belongs to the realm of the Imagination, not to the realms of fantasy. Advertising plays on fantasy -picture yourself with this hair do, that dress, those shoes, it says, asking the watcher to indulge in the imagery being presented, at the same time denigrating their sense of personal well-being since they are not wearing these fashions and so are made to feel inferior. But Mythology does not denigrate the individual, neither does it belong to that realm of fantasy, nor even to the realm of heroic idols. Superman does not figure in Mythology but is an exptrap0olation of the need for a hero in a world that is corrupt. A figure that stands for Justice in a world that is prejudiced and founded on possessions and wealth.
Mythology belongs to the world of the Imagination, which is itself the instrument within the human mind that allows access to those subtle levels of being we call Soul and the Divine. Something beyond the level of the personality. Through the Imagination we access those parts of ourselves which truly ‘dwell in heaven’ and are of themselves Eternal and Immortal.
Through the Imagination also, we can access the worlds of the elementals, of fairies and gnomes, elves and spirits. We can access the world of the discarnates, so often lost and wandering in a darkness, trying to return to the world of the living by taking possession of others, and feeding on their food and their fears. When we eat a meal and do not feel satisfied it may be due to a discarnate having latched on to us and drawing the sustenance from the food as we (unconsciously) go on chewing and swallowing a plate full of what can even taste like dust to us. The discarnate has drawn the nourishment from the food leaving us with the husks and a sense of dissatisfaction.
It is only through self-knowledge, knowing ourselves as a Soul Incarnate that we can identify the hankerings within us which belong to and originate with another. A sudden hankering for a pint of beer or a cigarette when we neither drink nor smoke is a giveaway example of the presence of another latching on to our awareness and trying to satisfy themselves through our bodies. This is not a rare occurrence though most are unaware of any such thing. It is the true meaning of the term vampire.
We have been encouraged, firstly by the Church, and then by science, to close down our imaginations and to rest solely on the dictates of the written word and the testimony of ‘experts’ with a poverty of argument. Perhaps Stephen King is doing us a service by writing the horror stories that he does, in this way forcing open the imagination of locked minds.
Before leaving this it is imperative that I say a word for the elementals. These beings who work directly with the energy of the world are not vindictive, spiteful creatures at all. They are friendly asnd serviceable if we choose to acknowledge and to thank them. They are ready to offer their help and, if ever you have lost something and in searching for it give thanks when you find it, it is the elementals who receive these thanks, since they have been instrumental in helping to reveal its whereabouts to you. The more you give thanks and sing their praises the more they will assist you, even when you forget to thank them.
But if you spurn them or insult them, like any other being they will take umbrage and are likely to retaliate in like kind. They will never do this first since they live by the simple laws of creation, give unto the whole that all may be given to you, but if they receive such treatment from an individual they are liable to return that same energy to that person since it is in this way they shield themselves from hurt.
Dark Elves are, in short, those of a swarthy skin.