The Mysterious Gnome
Whilst sunshine sparkles on streams that babble over smooth grey stones, hidden close nearby will most likely be the most important of the earth spirits, the mysterious gnomes that guard buried treasure and hoard secret knowledge and move through earth and rock as easily as a man walks upon it or as a fish swims in water.
The Gnome originates from the legends of central, northern and Eastern Europe, featured often in Germanic fairy tales including the fairy stories of brothers Grimm, he is likened to a dwarf like a wrinkled and wizened old man who cannot stand the light of the sun of which just one ray would turn him to stone. Some say gnomes are all male and when they have a need for a son they carve one from a special stone that has a hidden power in them. It is also rumoured that those same gnomes have fallen in love with the fairies and the over the years the female gnomes look a little more rounded and plump having wings to fly and join the fairies.
Johann Wolfgang Goethe 1749-1832 was one of the key figures of German literature his works were a primary source of inspiration in music drama and poetry. Goethe depicts Erdgeist in his great work 'Faust' as a timeless being in life and death. In the German language 'Erdgeist' means literally Spirit of the Earth and in the context of Germanic folklore specifically refers to a gnome as the quintessential earth elemental a name invented by the Theophrast von Hohenheim 1493-1541 the astrologer and alchemist and occultist who took the name and is better known as Paracelsus.
In Greek Kallikantzaros is also used for every short, ugly and usually mischievous beings, it seems to express the collective sense for the English words to describe a leprechaun, gnome, or goblin.
Garden Gnomes were first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1847 by Sir Charles Isham, when he brought twenty one terracotta figures back from a visit to Germany and placed them as ornaments in the gardens of his home, Lamport Hall in Northamptonshire. Only one of the original gnomes survives 'Lampy' as he is known is now extremely valuable and is on display at Lamport Hall.
Although not loved by everyone garden gnomes have become a popular sight many gardens, they are often made in many amusing poses.
Since these elementary beings are earth spirits, they preferably work the soil and tree roots, to which they grant power. They look like funny little old men, as they belong to a race coming from the beginning of times. It is said that they inhabited the lost Atlantis. These tiny creatures build their homes under aging trees. They only go out at night and their home is lively after sunset. They are friends of animals, they speak their same language and protect them from danger. The best feasts are when the freezing winds blow over the woods dancing and playing, they start to run and some prefer rain for their dances.
Swiss Bankers are referred to as the Gnomes of Zurich probably because they have a lot of hidden gold to look after in the Earth.