Entities and mythological creature

A deity is a supernatural being considered divine or sacred. The Oxford Dictionary of English defines deity as “a god or goddess “, or anything revered as divine. C. Scott Littleton defines a deity as “a being with powers greater than those of ordinary humans, but who interacts with humans, positively or negatively, in ways that carry humans to new levels of consciousness, beyond the grounded preoccupations of ordinary life”. In the English language, a male deity is referred to as a god, while a female deity is referred to as a goddess.

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An elemental is a mythic being that is described in occult and alchemical works from around the time of the European Renaissance, and particularly elaborated in the 16th century works of Paracelsus. According to Paracelsus and his subsequent followers, there are four categories of elementals, which are gnomes, undines, sylphs, and salamanders. These correspond to the four Empedoclean elements of antiquity: earth, water, air, and fire, respectively. Terms employed for beings associated with alchemical elements vary by source and gloss.

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Yōkai (妖怪ghost, phantom, strange apparition) are a class of supernatural monsters, spirits, and demons in Japanese folklore. The word yōkai is made up of the kanji for “bewitching; attractive; calamity”; and “spectre; apparition; mystery; suspicious”.[1] They can also be called ayakashi (あやかし), mononoke (物の怪), or mamono (魔物). Yōkai range diversely from the malevolent to the mischievous, or occasionally bring good fortune to those who encounter them.

Yōkai often possess animal features (such as the kappa, which looks similar to a turtle, or the tengu which has wings), yet others appear mostly human. Some yōkai look like inanimate objects (such as tsukumogami), while others have no discernible shape.

Yōkai usually have spiritual or supernatural abilities, with shapeshifting being the most common. Yōkai that shapeshift are called bakemono (化物) / obake (お化け).

Japanese folklorists and historians explain yōkai as personifications of “supernatural or unaccountable phenomena to their informants”.

In the Edo period, many artists, such as Toriyama Sekien, invented new yōkai taking inspiration from folk tales or purely from their own imagination. Today, several such fabricated yōkai (e.g. Kameosa and Amikiri, see below) are commonly mistaken to originate in more traditional folklore.[2] Yurei are called yuree in Okinawa, yokai are called majimun マジムン, evil spirits are called yanamun

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The wechuge (pronounced “way-chu-gay”) is a man-eating creature or evil spirit appearing in the legends of the Athabaskan people.[1]In Beaver (Dane-zaa) mythology, it is said to be a person who has been possessed or overwhelmed by the power of one of the ancient giant spirit animals—related to becoming “too strong”. These giant animals were crafty, intelligent, powerful and somehow retained their power despite being transformed into the normal-sized animals of the present day.[2]

Professor Robin Ridington came across stories of the wechuge while speaking with the Dane-zaa of the Peace River region in western Canada. The Dane-zaa believed that one could become wechuge by breaking a taboo and becoming “too strong”. Examples of these taboos include a person having a photo taken with a flash, listening to music made with a stretched string or hide (hence guitar music), or eating meat with fly eggs in it. Like the wendigo, the wechuge seeks to eat people, attempting to lure them away from their fellows by cunning. The wechuge is said to be stronger than the wendigo, also more intelligent and cunning. In one folktale, it is made of ice and very strong, and is only killed by being thrown on a campfire and kept there overnight until it has melted.[2] Wechuge is considered a curse and a punishment, they’re destructive and cannibalistic creatures.

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Death, due to its prominent place in human culture, is frequently imagined as a personified force, also known as the Grim Reaper. In some mythologies, the Grim Reaper causes the victim’s death by coming to collect that person. In turn, people in some stories try to hold on to life by avoiding Death’s visit, or by fending Death off with bribery or tricks. Other beliefs hold that the Spectre of Death is only a psychopomp, serving to sever the last ties between the soul and the body, and to guide the deceased to the afterlife, without having any control over when or how the victim dies. Death is most often personified in male form, although in certain cultures Death is perceived as female.

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In Algonquian folklore, the wendigo or windigo is a mythical man-eating creature or evil spirit native to the northern forests of the Atlantic Coast and Great Lakes Region of the United States and Canada. The wendigo may appear as a monster with some characteristics of a human or as a spirit who has possessed a human being and made them become monstrous. It is historically associated with murder, insatiable greed, and the cultural taboos against such behaviours.

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A nymph (Greek: νύμφη nýmphē, Ancient: [nýmpʰɛː] Modern: [nífi]) in Greek mythology is a supernatural being associated with many other minor female deities that are often associated with the air, seas or water, or particular locations or landforms. Different from Greek goddesses, nymphs are more generally regarded as divine spirits who animate or maintain Nature for the environments where they live, and are usually depicted as beautiful, young graceful maidens. They are often divided into various broad subgroups, such as Aurai (winds), Hesperides (evening and sunsets), Nereides (seas), Naiades (rivers and streams) and Dryades(trees and forests.)

A bluecap is a mythical fairy or ghost in English folklore that inhabits mines and appears as a small blue flame. If miners treat them with respect, the bluecaps lead them to rich deposits of minerals.[1] Like knockers or kobolds, bluecaps can also forewarn miners of cave-ins. They are mostly associated with the Anglo-Scottish borders.[2] They were hard workers and expected to be paid a working man’s wages, equal to those of an average putter (a mine worker who pushes the wagons). Their payment was left in a solitary corner of the mine, and they would not accept any more or less than they were owed. The miners would sometimes see the flickering bluecap settle on a full tub of coal, transporting it as though “impelled by the sturdiest sinews”.[3] Another being of the same type (though less helpful in nature) was called Cutty Soames[4] or Old Cutty Soames[5] who was known to cut the rope-traces or soams by which the assistant putter was yoked to the tub

The Cherufe is a large man-eating mythical creature found in the Mapuche mythology of the indigenous Mapuche people of south-central Chile.

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A dragon is a large, serpent-like legendary creature that appears in the folklore of many cultures around the world. Beliefs about dragons vary drastically by region, but dragons in western cultures since the High Middle Ages have often been depicted as winged, horned, four-legged, and capable of breathing fireDragons in eastern cultures are usually depicted as wingless, four-legged, serpentine creatures with above-average intelligence.

The earliest attested dragons resemble giant snakes. Dragon-like creatures are first described in the mythologies of the ancient Near East and appear in ancient Mesopotamian art and literature. Stories about storm-gods slaying giant serpents occur throughout nearly all Indo-European and Near Eastern mythologies. Famous prototypical dragons include the mušḫuššu of ancient MesopotamiaApep in Egyptian mythologyVṛtra in the Rigveda; the Leviathan in the Hebrew BiblePythonLadonWyvern, and the Lernaean Hydra in Greek mythologyJörmungandrNíðhöggr, and Fafnir in Norse mythology; and the dragonfrom Beowulf.

The popular western image of a dragon as winged, four-legged, and capable of breathing fire is an invention of the High Middle Ages based on a conflation of earlier dragons from different traditions. In western cultures, dragons are portrayed as monsters to be tamed or overcome, usually by saints or culture heroes, as in the popular legend of Saint George and the Dragon. They are often said to have ravenous appetites and to live in caves, where they hoard treasure. These dragons appear frequently in western fantasy literature, including The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling, and A Song of Ice and Fire by George R. R. Martin.

The word “dragon” has also come to be applied to the Chinese lung (Pinyin long), which are associated with good fortune and are thought to have power over rain. Dragons and their associations with rain are the source of the Chinese customs of dragon dancing and dragon boat racing. Many East Asian deities and demigods have dragons as their personal mounts or companions. Dragons were also identified with the Emperor of China, who, during later Chinese imperial history, was the only one permitted to have dragons on his house, clothing, or personal articles.

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“Afrit” and “Efreet” redirect here. For the compiler of crossword “puzzles of Afrit”, see Alistair Ferguson Ritchie. For the Dungeons & Dragons creature, see Efreeti (Dungeons & Dragons).

Ifrit
An Ifrit named Arghan Div brings the chest of armor to Hamza
Grouping Jinn
Sub grouping Shaitan / Ghost
Region Middle EastSouth Asia[1]Southeast Asia[2]

Ifrit, also spelled as efreet, efrite, ifreet, afreet, afrite and afrit (Arabic: ʻIfrīt: عفريتpl ʻAfārīt: عفاريت) are supernatural creatures in some Middle Eastern stories. In Islamic culture, they are usually a powerful type of jinn or identified with death-spirits.

Description

The Chief-Ifrit sitting on the right listening to the complaints of jinn; Al-Malik al-Aswad, from the late 14th century Book of Wonders[3]

The Afarit are a class of infernal djinn and also held to be a death spirit drawn to the life-force (or blood) of a murdered victim seeking revenge on the murderer.[4][5] As with ordinary djinn, an Ifrit may be either a believer or an unbeliever (good or evil)[6] but it is most often depicted as an evil being; a powerful Shaitan.[7] Afarit are believed to inhabit the levels of the underworld[8][9] or desolated places on the surface, such as in ruins or caves.

Ottoman Turkish sources describe the Ifrit with a fiery appearance and flames leaping from his mouth. It may be a danger to people, but can be destroyed if someone recites a Du’a (Islamic prayer) near it.[10]

In folklore, they are commonly thought to take the shape of the deceased at the moment of death, or the appearance of the Shaitan. In the Islamic Indonesian traditions of Cirebon, the Afarit are known as Mrekayangan, a subcategory of demons. But their origin is different from the other demons, since the Mrekayangan appear after someone died improperly, while the demons are descendants of Iblis.[11]

Etymology[edit]

Makhan embraced by an Ifrit. Illustration to Nizami‘s poem Hamsa. Bukhara, 1648.

The word Ifrit seems to be of Arabic origin. Traditionally, Arab philologists trace the derivation of the word to عفر (ʻafara, “to rub with dust”).[12]It further describes sly, malicious, wicked and cunning characteristics.[13] Some Western philologists, such as Johann Jakob Hess and Karl Vollers, attribute it to Middle Persian afritan which corresponds to Modern Persian آفريدن (to create).

Islam[edit]

An Ifrit is mentioned one time in the holy Qur’anSura An-Naml (27:38-40):

[Solomon] said, “O assembly [of jinn], which of you will bring me her [the Queen of Sheba’s] throne before they come to me in submission?” An Ifrit (strong one) from the jinn said: “I will bring it to you before you rise from your place. And verily, I am indeed strong, and trustworthy for such work.” One with whom was knowledge of the Scripture said: “I will bring it to you within the twinkling of an eye!” Then when Solomon saw it placed before him, he said: “This is by the Grace of my Lord – to test me whether I am grateful or ungrateful! And whoever is grateful, truly, his gratitude is for (the good of) his own self; and whoever is ungrateful, (he is ungrateful only for the loss of his own self). Certainly, my Lord is Rich (Free of all needs), Bountiful.”

According to a hadith from Bukhari, an Ifrit tried to interrupt the prayers of the prophet Muhammed. Muhammed overpowered the Ifrit and wanted to fasten him to a pillar so that everyone can see him in the morning. Then, he remembered the statement of Solomon and he dismissed the Ifrit.[14][15]

According to a narration about Muhammeds Night Journey, an Ifrit sought Muhammed with a fiery torch. To get rid of him, he asked Jibraʾil for help. Jibraʾil then taught him how to seek refuge from God, whereupon the Ifrit get away from him.[16]

An Ifrit, meeting Imam Ali, is mentioned in different Shi’i accounts. According to the Shabak community, Imam Ali became incensed against an Ifrit for his unbelieving. Consequently, he bound the Ifrit in chains. The Ifrit appealed to all prophets since Adam for his release. But no one was able to free him, until Muhammed found him and took the Ifrit to Imam Ali. He freed him on the condition that he would profess his faith for Islam.[17]

In the Qisas Al-Anbiya (Stories of the Prophets), Afarit perform the orders of Iblis to plague Job. Each of these Afarit is endowed with specific abilities such as turning into a fiery storm or killing by shouting out.[18]

Arabic literature[edit]

In One Thousand and One Nights, in a tale called “The Porter and the Young Girls”, there is a narrative about a prince who is attacked by pirates and takes refuge with a woodcutter. The prince finds an underground chamber in the forest leading to a beautiful woman who has been kidnapped by an Ifrit. The prince sleeps with the woman and both are attacked by the jealous Ifrit, who changes the prince into an ape. Later a princess restores the prince and fights a pitched battle with the Ifrit, who changes shape into various animals, fruit, and fire until being reduced to cinders. In the book, the word is used interchangeably with genie and the spirit is malevolent but easily tricked by the protagonist.[19]

The blind poet Al-Maʿarri mentioned in his narrations, a paradise for Afarit with “narrow straits” and “dark valleys”.[20]

In early folklore, the Ifrit is said to be formed from the blood of a murder victim. Driving an unused nail into the blood was supposed to stop their formation. The creatures were reported as being able to take the form of Satan, the murder victim, or even a sandstorm.[21]

In modern popular culture[edit]

An Ifrit plays a major role as a story element in the Bollywood film Pari where the lead character played by Anushka Sharma is the progeny of an Ifrit and human, due to a cult practice. The film was based on a book series called An Ember in the Ashes.

The trading card game Magic: The Gathering has featured several “efreet” since the earliest expansion sets.[22]

Ifrit is a prominent Summon to fight within the Final Fantasy video game series. Like their mythological counterparts, Ifrits are spirits of fire and destruction, almost always appearing as a devilish monster that uses either fire, earth, or both to do damage to either the monster the player is fighting or as a boss against the player himself.

Ifrit is also a new fiction thriller written by Javaid Laghari and published by Austin Macaulay that is a fast-paced plot of terrorists and the jinn Ifrit teaming up to steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, and leading to a possible nuclear war between Pakistan and India.

Ifrit is a spirit within the anime That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime when he was given to a summoned girl, Izawa Shizue from the Demon Lord Leon Cromwell. The girl was forced to give home to Ifrit in her inner body. In the seventh episode of the series, Ifrit gained control from Shizu (the name Shizue used in the different world) and rampaged throughout the goblin village. Rimuru defeated Ifrit, swallowing him to its inner body, when he met the Storm Dragon, Veldora Tempest, telling Ifrit that “no one would defeat my brother”.

An ifrit was featured in season 5 of True Blood as a fiery, vengeful spirit hunting down Terry Bellefleur and his former platoon squadmates for murdering numerous innocent locals during their tour in Iraq. It most frequently featured as a gigantic burning cloud of smoke and could set anything on fire.

MMORPG Wizard101 features “efreet” as a fire spell and pet in the game. [23]

In Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus Sequence series, afrits are the second most powerful type of demons summoned by magicians.

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