Phrastus of Elinhir shares some of his lore expertise with a new book and answers to your questions.
In this installment of the Loremaster’s Archive, we take a look at the Aedra and Daedra, focusing primarily on the former. Read on to find a new lore book as well as a Q&A with Phrastus of Elinhir, renowned scholar of the Second Era.
Next time, Abbot Crassius Viria of the Order of the Ancestor Moth will answer your questions on death and the fate of souls. Send your questions on this topic (or any other lore-related topic) to firstname.lastname@example.org and you may see them answered in an upcoming entry!
Introduction to Aedric Studies
Syllabus for Lectures by Phrastus of Elinhir
This lecture series will provide you with thorough edification on the nature and history of Aedric forces, their manifestations and influence on the Mundus, and an overview of prevalent modern theories with regard to controversial topics related thereunto. Provided you complete the required reading prior to each session, you will acquire a clear understanding of these mythogenic forces that will serve as a sufficient base for deeper study in a number of disciplines, from historical inquiry to theoretical aetheroplanar manipulation.
Your cultural and personal preconceptions will be challenged. Common myths will be dispelled, from crude misinterpretations of the Aedra as powerful creator-beings of “good” looking down upon and tinkering with Nirn to the supposition of Aedra and Daedra as locked in perpetual extra-Mundic war. The explorations presented in this course have, in the past, offended certain dogmatic students (especially in regards to the Divines), but I urge you to approach these topics as a scholar and not as a priest.
Understanding the Aedra beyond creation mythology and the convention of the Divines will allow you to grow as a scholar. The very approach this series demands will instruct you in the proper methodology of scholarly pursuits: we will study rare and obscure texts, unravel complex symbolic structures, and approach each topic from a critical standpoint.
The five primary lecture topics are as follows:
Lecture One: Survey of Origination Myths
Lecture Two: Anuic-Padomaic Interplay
Lecture Three: Aedra v. Daedra
Lecture Four: Aedric Energies and Influence
Lecture Five: Beyond Mere Divines
Outside reading and sedulous note-taking are necessary for full understanding of the lectures. All required outside texts referenced can be found in the fine library on the grounds. Do not wait to the last possible moment to prepare for a lecture; only a few copies of certain ancient and obscure texts will be available.
Naturally, you will be inclined to explore some of the subjects presented further. Your newfound knowledge of Aedric beings, their involvement in creation, a broader understanding of their relationship to the Eight Divines, and exposure to current debates will propel you to additional studies. For additional reading, I recommend works by Brother Hetchfeld, Brother Mikhael Karkuxor, and Aicantar of Shimmerene (beyond those we will reference through the series). Be ever vigilant in your studies, however, and avoid biased or poorly-researched works, such as those scribbled by Cinnabar of Taneth. Always seek refutations and take no one scholar’s words for absolute truth.
Phrastus of Elinhir answers your questions:
“I have acquired a strong interest in Altmeri religious perspectives. It would be of great interest to me to hear your thoughts on the role Anui-El plays in the Altmeri pantheon. An acolyte of the Temple of Auri-El tells me Anui-El is the Soul of Anu the Everything and the 'soul-father' of Auri-El. She says the temple was built in Anui-El's honor, not Auri-El's, and is one of many. I have also read that the Altmer aim to advocate the ‘will of Anuiel.’ Is Anui-El, then, a kind of high king, supreme above even Auri-El? Or is there a conflation of roles going on within Altmeri religion? Does this perception travel across into the Breton faith, given that it contains Elven influences?” – Aythan Uthywyr
Phrastus of Elinhir says, “It is a cardinal error to personify Anuiel, the essence of order, just as it is to personify Sithis, the essence of chaos. It is more useful to think of them as cosmic principles that pervade the Aurbis. Insofar as Anuiel is the orderly essence of all the Aedra, it is fair to say that every Elven temple is dedicated to Anuiel. When a High Elf says that she ‘advocates the will of Anuiel,’ this is just a flowery Elvish way of saying that she wants to make up new rules for others to follow.”
“I still get a little confused by the whole Aedra vs. Daedra thing. Why are there ‘good’ Daedra like Azura and Meridia, etc? They seem to be a lot more complicated than just ‘demons.’" – Rick
Phrastus of Elinhir says, “Insofar as the Daedra are the et’Ada of chaos, complexity is part of their very nature. They refused to participate in the creation of the Mundus, and most of them are deliberately or casually inimical to mortals, but the Daedric Princes are beyond such simple categorizations as ‘good’ or ‘evil’—with the notable exception of Molag Bal and Mehrunes Dagon, who are especially abominable.”
Do minor Aedric spirits exist? Can they be summoned/contacted? Like the opposite of summoning a minor Daedra. Also, if Aedra are all dead and/or currently disabled due to partaking in the creation of Nirn, could someone summon a spirit from Aetherius, perhaps a Magna-Ge? – Fimmp
Phrastus of Elinhir says, “Minor Aedric spirits definitely exist, but they are rarely encountered, as Mundus is considered off-limits since Magnus withdrew from it at the moment of creation. I know of no successful attempts to contact such spirits, probably because Aedric entities simply do not respond to mortals—at least not since the ages of myth.”
OK, so I know when Mundus was being created that the Aedra sacrificed a large amount of power to solidify the creation of the plane and now they are essentially shells of their original selves. But my question is whether their loss of power is permanent or if they are slowly regaining their power over time. – Captain_P
Phrastus of Elinhir says, “It seems unlikely, inasmuch as we abide within the reality created by that sacrifice, and restoration of the Aedra would seem to imply a diminishment or weakening of the Mundus. No such diminution has been detected.”
Daedra Worship: The Chimer
By Phrastus of Elinhir
The history of Daedra worship by the Elves once known as the Chimer provides a
valuable object lesson in the dangers of traffic with the so-called Lords of
Oblivion. It's a tale of peril that modern-day apologists for Daedric worship,
such as Lady Cinnabar, would do well to heed.
Let's begin with a few facts that not even the Shrew of Taneth could deny. The Aedra (the Gods, the Divines) created Nirn out of the chaos of Oblivion. They assumed physical form within the mortal plane—the Mundus—and according to Elven myth were the direct ancestors of the Aldmeri. The Aedra were the natural objects of holy reverence for the Elves of the Dawn Era, and the first organized religions venerated these Divines.
However, after Nirn was born the Aedra withdrew from their creation, becoming distant, aloof, and disinterested in the affairs of mortals. But beyond the Mundus, in the infinite variation of Oblivion, there were other godlike entities of great power known as the Daedra (literally the "not-Aedra"), who began to take a malign interest in the realm the Aedra had created. Some of the more powerful of these entities, the so-called Daedric Princes, who ruled entire Oblivion planes of their own, were nonetheless jealous of the mortals of Nirn—for they had inherited the Aedric capacity of creation. This ability was beyond the Daedra who, though masters of change and metamorphosis, create nothing new that has not been before.
However, one quality the Daedric Princes shared with the young mortals of Nirn was a lust for power in all its forms. This corrupting desire is the foundation of all mortal worship of the Daedra: the Princes offer power in return for service and worship. Most often this power comes in the form of knowledge, the most seductive and least perilous-seeming of the Daedric temptations.
To show how seductive this temptation can be, reflect upon the early Aldmer of Summerset. Though in their arrogance they considered themselves the lineal descendants of the Aedra, nonetheless the first large-scale religious sect espousing Daedra-worship was born in the heart of Summerset itself. There, in the rainbow shadow of the Crystal Tower, the so-called Prophet Veloth communed with the Daedric Prince Boethiah and agreed to accept her gifts. He inscribed the Velothi Prophecies, which expounded the doctrine of worship of the "Good Daedra" (Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala), along with ways to propitiate and negotiate with the "Bad Daedra" (Molag Bal, Malacath, Sheogorath, and Mehrunes Dagon).
To the more foolish of the Summerset Aldmeri, the arts and skills the Good Daedra offered to teach them seemed more useful than the maxims and platitudes of the priests of the Aedra, and a number of Elven clans accepted Veloth as their prophet and guide. When the Sapiarchs of Alinor rightfully prohibited this schism, Veloth led the clans loyal to him out of the Isles and across the seas to the far side of Tamriel, where they colonized the domain now known as Morrowind. The followers of Saint Veloth, who became known as the Chimer, were willing to trade the paradise of golden Summerset for the purgatory of ashen Morrowind, all in return for the illusory "gifts" of the Daedra. The Chimer built mighty temples to Boethiah, Azura, and Mephala, and established the traditions of worship in Morrowind that were later co-opted by the Tribunal.
As even the beginning student of history knows, this large-scale dabbling with Daedra led inevitably to warfare and catastrophe. Chimer civilization fell at the Battle of Red Mountain, and the curse of Azura, their erstwhile mistress, transformed the brilliant Chimer into the sullen and haunted Dunmer. After that time Morrowind, under the Tribunal, turned its back on worship of the Daedra — but by then the damage had been done.
Today, the Daedra are feared and abhorred across the length and breadth of Tamriel — and rightly so. Yet, despite the clear lessons of history, some misguided souls still insist that traffic with Daedra Lords can be tolerated, even accepted. To those such as you, Lady Cinnabar, I say: beware. What pact with the Daedra ever ended well?