The elven pantheon comprises five gods and four goddesses, whom the modern Dalish elves refer to as "the Creators." The pantheon is led by Elgar'nan the All-Father, god of fatherhood and vengeance, and Mythal the Protector, goddess of motherhood and justice. There are also references in elven mythology to another race of gods, called "The Forgotten Ones," the enemies of the elven pantheon. It is said that Fen'Harel was the only one able to walk freely between the two groups, and they both thought of him as one of their own.
- See also: Elven History
The elven pantheon was revered in the time of Elvhenan, before the humans came to Thedas. Little is known about how the gods were worshiped at this time except that the gods had temples with guards in specially made armor, the elves worshiped their gods for months at a time, and that worship may have included rituals involving water and kneeling and praying before altars.
Once the elves found that the very presence of the humans, or "quicklings," caused the once immortal elves to age and die, they attempted to isolate themselves. Many believed that the gods had judged them unworthy of their long lives and cast them down among the quicklings. The elves retreated within Elvhenan but were ultimately conquered and enslaved by the Tevinter Imperium. During their centuries of slavery, the elves lost most of their language and history and the worship of the old elven pantheon declined. However, the elves, led by Shartan, stood beside Andraste in her fight against the Imperium, and their reward was a new home in The Dales, where the worship of the elven pantheon could be revived. The elves left Tevinter for their new homeland in 1025 TE.
The elves' new homeland was to be short-lived by the standards of Elvhenan, however. Over the next 270 years or so, relations between the elves and their human neighbours deteriorated, and in the early Glory Age there were numerous border skirmishes between The Dales and Orlais which soon escalated into war. When it appeared that the elves might actually capture Val Royeaux, the Chantry called for a holy war, resulting in a new Exalted March against The Dales that completely crushed the elves by 2:20 Glory. The lands of the Dales were appropriated by Orlais, with elven settlements being uprooted and worship of the elven gods forbidden. Elves who accepted the Chantry's offered truce were required to accept the Maker and live in ghettos, known as Alienages within human settlements. Some elves, however, refused to give up their worship or their dream of their own homeland, and they became the Dalish.
Elgar'nan: God of Vengeance Edit
—From Codex entry: Elgar'nan: God of Vengeance
Elgarn'nan, the All-Father, represents fatherhood and vengeance, and leads the pantheon with the goddess Mythal. He was the first of the elven gods, born of the sun and the earth. According to elven legend, the sun grew jealous of the favour shown by Elgar'nan for the things of the earth, and so burned them to ashes. In retaliation, Elgar'nan threw the sun down from the sky, and only later relented because of Mythal's intervention. Most elves will invoke Elgar'nan's name when they need to destroy something.
Mythal: the Great Protector Edit
—From Codex entry: Mythal: the Great Protector
Mythal, the Protector, is the patron of motherhood and justice and leads the pantheon with her male counterpart, Elgar'nan. In elven legend, when Elgar'nan threw the sun out of the sky in vengeance for burning the earth to ashes, Mythal calmed him and helped him see that he was wrong. Elgar'nan freed the sun on condition that it would be gentle and return to the earth each night. On the first night after the sun was released, Mythal created the moon from the glowing earth round its bed to be placed in the sky, a pale reflection of the sun's true glory. Elves will invoke Mythal's name when they require protection.
Falon'Din: Friend of the Dead, the Guide Edit
—From Codex entry: Falon'Din: Friend of the Dead, the Guide
Falon'Din is the elven God of Death and Fortune and guides the dead to the Beyond. He and his twin brother, Dirthamen, are the eldest children of Elgar'nan the All-Father and Mythal the Protector and were inseparable from birth. Their first separation came when Falon'Din found an old and sickly deer in the forest and gathered her up into his arms and carried her to her rest beyond the Veil, where Dirthamen could not follow.
Dirthamen: Keeper of Secrets Edit
—From Codex entry: Dirthamen: Keeper of Secrets
Dirthamen is the twin brother of Falon'Din, the elven god of secrets and master of the ravens Fear and Deceit. Another elven legend says that he gave each creature a secret to keep, however the hares shouted their secret to the treetops, the birds sold theirs for gold and the foxes traded their secret for wings. Only the bears kept Dirthamen's secret, so the bear is considered beloved of Dirthamen.
Andruil: Goddess of the Hunt Edit
Hear me, sons and daughters of the People--
I am Sister of the Moon, Mother of Hares,
Lady of the Hunt: Andruil.
Remember the Ways of the Hunter
And I shall be with you.
—From Codex entry: Andruil: Goddess of the Hunt
Andruil is the elven goddess of the hunt, creator of the Vir Tanadahl or Way of Three Trees. First, the Vir Assan, or Way of the Arrow: fly straight and do not waver. Second, the Vir Bor'assan, or Way of the Bow: bend but never break. Third, the Vir Adahlen, or Way of the Forest: together we are stronger than the one. The hawk and the hare in particular are beloved of Andruil.
Sylaise: the Hearthkeeper Edit
—From Codex entry: Sylaise: the Hearthkeeper
Sylaise, the Hearthkeeper, is seen as the sister of Andruil the Huntress. Sylvaise gave the elves fire and taught them how to weave and to use herbs and magic for healing purposes.
June: God of the Craft Edit
—From Codex entry: June: God of the Craft
June is the elven god of crafts: it is he who taught the elves how to make bows, arrows, and knives. Elven legend tells how, before Sylaise came to teach them the use of fire, and June to teach them to fashion bows and knives, the elves wandered the forests without purpose, eating only the berries and nuts they could find and shivering naked through cold nights.
Ghilan'nain: Mother of the Halla Edit
—From Codex entry: Ghilan'nain: Mother of the Halla
Ghilan'nain, goddess of guide and navigation, Mother of the Halla, was once a mortal woman and beloved of Andruil. Halla are white deer-like creatures revered by the Dalish, and used to pull their aravel, or "landships."
Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf Edit
—From Codex entry: Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf
Fen'Harel is also known as the Dread Wolf, Lord of Tricksters, Roamer of the Beyond and bringer of nightmares. His supposed betrayal of the gods of both good and evil by sealing them away in their respective realms, never again to interact with the mortal world, is sometimes used to explain why the elven gods did not intervene to prevent the fall of Arlathan. This deceit is sometimes described as a sort of truce suggested by Fen'Harel, and other times as a hunt by the Creators and Forgotten Ones in the Heavens and the Abyss, respectively, for a blade Fen'harel promised would stop a war. Statues of Fen'Harel are set aside from any Dalish camp and facing away, as a reminder that the Dalish must always be wary.
The Forgotten Ones Edit
--From Codex entry: Fen'Harel: The Dread Wolf
There are references in elven mythology to another race of gods: gods of evil, with whom the gods of the elven pantheon fought an endless war. These gods are now known as the Forgotten Ones, and for good reason as even the hahrens, or elven elders, know little to nothing about them. According to legend they, along with the elven pantheon, were trapped away from the world at around the time of the fall of Arlathan.
Vallaslin: Blood writing Edit
- Main article: Blood writing
--From Codex entry: Vallaslin: Blood Writing
When a Dalish Elf comes of age, they are marked with intricate tattoos representing one of the elven gods. The tattooing is preceded by meditation on the gods and the ways of the Dalish, and by purifying the body and the skin. It is not known whether this practice was part of the worship of elven gods in ancient Elvhenan or is a more recent development.
- It is interesting to note that both elves and humans have legends of imprisoned gods. However, there is no known link between the stories of the Old Gods and those of either the elven pantheon or the Forgotten Ones.
- Having a pantheon led by a father god and mother goddess is a feature elven religion shares with some real-world polytheistic religions such as that of Ancient Greece, which was led by Zeus and his wife/sister Hera.
- Andruil also has echoes of Greek mythology, which features the goddess of the hunt, Artemis, whose Roman counterpart is Diana.
- Fen'Harel, on the other hand, has suggestions of Norse mythology, which features the trickster god Loki who is father to the wolf Fenrir.
- ↑ Codex entry: Ancient Elven Armor
- ↑ Codex entry: Arlathan: Part One
- ↑ Codex entry: A Carved Elven Tablet. This last is known only from a tablet discovered in ruins that post-date the fall of Arlathan, from a period when elves and humans from the Tevinter Imperium lived side by side
- ↑ Codex entry: Arlathan: Part One
- ↑ Much of the historical information in this article is extracted from the Ages article
- ↑ Codex entry: Bear - the story of why the bear is beloved of Dirthamen
- ↑ Codex entry: Ghilan'nain: Mother of the Halla
- ↑ Codex entry: Arlathan: Part Two
- ↑ See Codex entry: The Old Gods and Old Gods for information about the human legends
- ↑ Wikipedia - Zeus
- ↑ Wikipedia - Hera
- ↑ Wikipedia - Artemis
- ↑ Wikipedia - Diana
- ↑ Wikipedia - Loki
- ↑ Wikipedia - Fenrir