Elune

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For the realm, see Server:Elune US.
NeutralElune / Mu'sha
Image of Elune / Mu'sha
Title

The Moon Goddess, The Mother Moon, The Night Warrior

Gender

Female

Race(s)
Character class
Occupation

Personification of the White Lady, the Mother Moon, the Night Warrior

Status

Active, Eternal

Relative(s)

Cenarius (son), Malorne (lover), Remulos, Ordanus, Zaetar (grandsons), Several Grandchildren, Celebras (great grandson), Cavindra, (great granddaughter), An'she (brother in Tauren mythology)

Student(s)

Tyrande Whisperwind (High priestess and chosen)

Elune (or Mu'sha, as called by the tauren) is the major deity worshipped by the night elves. She is associated with the larger of Azeroth's two moons, the White Lady, and is widely considered to be the mother of Cenarius, the forest lord and patron god of all druids. Elune is one of the few true deities of Azeroth.[1] She nurtured and sheltered the earliest living beings of the world as they awaited the first dawn, giving them the chance to thrive and to grow into the present myriad of life, along with all the possibilities and promises that it entails.[citation needed]

In tauren mythology, Elune is revered as the left eye of the Earthmother, though she is not worshipped as a sentient deity by the tauren.[2]

Background

Facets of the Goddess

Strongly associated with healing, tranquillity and harmony, the moon goddess Elune has been revered by the night elves and several other races since the earliest ages in Azeroth's history. However, the Mother Moon is not a goddess who advocates peace at all costs. Indeed, one of Elune's aspects is the Night Warrior, who is said to lift the souls of the valiant fallen from the battlefield and set them riding as newborn stars across the eternal nightsky.

Long before the Great Sundering came to pass, a well-organized priesthood had devoted itself to the service of Elune. Known as the Sisterhood of Elune, this ancient night elven order remains in existence to this day and, as their name implies, entrance to its upper echelons is available exclusively 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.[1]

Before Goldrinn's noble sacrifice, the night elf goddess Elune was said to be disappointed in his feral insistence. It was his unwillingness to tame his savagery and bloodlust that overshadowed his noble heart. When Elune's great light 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.[3]

Woman and mother

Elune has never been observed in physical form on Azeroth. Indeed, she is as much a collection of ideals and principles as she is a personality in her own right. A powerful and spiritual deity, the goddess is fundamentally an incorporeal being. Nevertheless, Elune 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 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 dual ethos of 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.[1]

Devotion and worship

Main article: Sisterhood of Elune
The statue of Haidene, Elune's first high priestess, in the Temple of the Moon.

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 Zin-Azshari. The Sisterhood at one point relocated this temple to 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 have recently 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 night elven capital city of Darnassus. Elune's chosen, Tyrande Whisperwind, resides here both as high priestess and as head of the kaldorei government, and by her side stand 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.

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.[4] 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.[citation needed]

Divine interventions

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.[4] 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.[5]
  • The ability to heal or grant a follower the gift of healing.[6]
  • 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.[7]
  • Causing a rain of solid moonlight to fall when her priestesses face enemies.[8]
  • Night elves believe Elune created the wildkin to watch over sacred sites.[9][10]
  • Elune created the Gem of Elune to allow direct communication with her.[11]
  • Elune provides her Chosen High Priestess with psychic visions, warning her about a possible trouble or giving hope in times of despair.[12]
  • Elune appears to be capable of cleansing the deepest corruption from a living creature. Two very notable examples of this are her salvation of Avrus Illwhisper[13] and in particular her redemption of Eranikus.[14]
  • In Warcraft III, Tyrande states that she relies upon Elune's power to remain hidden during the night. This could imply that the night elf racial, [Shadowmeld], is a blessing of Elune upon the night elves.
  • Elune is depicted to have some power over the element of water, or at least over the tides, as seen in A [13] Power Over the Tides.
  • 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 it's corruption caused by N'Zoth, an Old God.
  • It is believed that Elune granted the Scythe of Elune to Velinde Starsong.[15]
  • Elune blessed the Ancient Guardian Omen with immortality.[16][17]
  • She granted a vision to Zamael Lunthistle to recognize the wrong he did.

Religious practice

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.[6] 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 worshipped 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.

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 refrain from making such outlandish claims when in Darnassus or in the presence of Elune's priesthood.[18]

Trivia

Elune is associated with the White Lady.
  • Elune's name almost certainly comes from the Latin root Luna, meaning Moon.
  • 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 appearance[citation needed], names, epithets, and their relationship to elves.
  • 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 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.[19]
  • Prior to patch 4.0.3, players could encounter the Voice of Elune upon completing A [59] Guardians of the Altar.
  • She is not likely to ever appear in physical, or even non-physical form (except perhaps in a hallucination). Worship of Elune is meant to grant peace and these occasional interventions — unlike the Aspects, Guardians, or even mortals, she is not meant to actively defend (the War of the Ancients and the Battle of Mt. Hyjal notwithstanding) — she is abstract and spiritual, a light in the darkness, hope in despair.
  • Elune is not an Old God.[20]
  • The ship Elune's Blessing is named after her.

Speculation and theories

Questionmark-medium.png
This article or section includes speculation, observations or opinions possibly supported by lore or by Blizzard officials. It should not be taken as representing official lore.

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."[21] 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.[18] 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. The moon goddess however has for countless ages empowered a night elven priesthood devoted to worshipping her as a divinity, and in every generation has anointed the most faithful of her worshippers 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.

Elune, once a mortal?

While proven by Brann Bronzebeard's archaeological research that night elves were descended from trolls (dark trolls are their closest ancestors), and Zanza the Restless, a mortal becoming a powerful Loa, it is highly possible that Elune was once a mortal that ascended into a deity by the Well of Eternity's magics, transforming her to become more closely akin to the Titans' own image since the Well was their creation. This would explain why the night elves bear resemblance to the dryads and keepers of the grove, who themselves have a biological link to Elune herself. In addition, Elune might not be her 'mortal name' as their language had changed over the ages (from Zandali to Darnassian), and since the night elves revered her as the mother of their race, Elune might have been a powerful matriarch of her tribe, which fits the claim of her being the Night Warrior. Night elves sometimes refer to Elune as "the Great Mother",[22] although this is possibly due to her parentage of the revered Cenarius.

Sphere of Influence Reaffirmed

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.[23]

RPG

The RPG Icon 16x36.png This section concerns content exclusive to the Warcraft RPG and is considered non-canon.

In the RPG Elune is listed as a Healer class and her alignment is Lawful Good.

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.

Just as Elune felt that 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.

Appearance

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 worshippers.[24]

Elune faiths

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.[25]

Combat

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.[24]

External links

References

  1. ^ a b c The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Elune
  2. ^ World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King. Tahu Sagewind: "The elves speak of a moon goddess, did you know? They put great stock in the light given by the moon." Aponi Brightmane: "Like Mu'sha." Tahu Sagewind: "Just like her. The parallels I've heard are interesting... Mu'sha is one of the Earthmother's eyes, and she watches over us."
  3. ^ Curse of the Worgen Issue 1, pg 28-29
  4. ^ a b The Warcraft Encyclopedia: Sisterhood of Elune
  5. ^ The Demon Soul, chapter 8
  6. ^ a b The Well of Eternity, chapter 8
  7. ^ The Sundering, chapter 4
  8. ^ The Sundering, chapter 19
  9. ^ A [59] Guardians of the Altar
  10. ^ Ultimate Visual Guide
  11. ^ Priestess of Elune#Cutscene at the Altar of Elune
  12. ^ Stormrage, chapter 5
  13. ^ A [23] In the Hands of the Perverse
  14. ^ Transcript of Eranikus' redemption
  15. ^ A [30] The Howling Vale
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ N [90] Elune's Blessing
  18. ^ a b Ask CDev Answers - Round 2
  19. ^ http://www.blizzplanet.com/blog/comments/elune
  20. ^ Loreology on Twitter
  21. ^ Ask CDev Answers - Round 3
  22. ^ Huntresses in Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos. Blizzard Entertainment
  23. ^ http://us.battle.net/wow/en/blog/8778639/Patch_52_Raid_Preview_Throne_of_Thunder-2_25_2013
  24. ^ a b Shadows & Light, pg. 80
  25. ^ Shadows & Light, pg. 81