what is a water spirit called

what is a water spirit called

Which water creatures are known as water spirits and what are their water spirit names? I requested myself this query as a result of I’ve examine them time and again in connection to mermaids. That’s why I did some analysis to search out out.

There are two various kinds of water spirits. On the one hand the fundamental spirits (Undine) and moreover there are a lot of legendary water spirits like Germanic/Nordic (e.g. Nixe/Neck), Greek (e.g. water nymphs), Celtic (e.g. Kelpie), Slavic (e.g. Rusalka) in addition to some water spirits from different locations on this planet.

You're reading: what is a water spirit called

A few of the legendary spirits, particularly the European ones, are comparable, others are very completely different. Which Germanic, Slavic and different water spirits there are intimately and what the fundamental spirits are then again, I present you within the following.

Which sorts of water spirits are there and what are their names?

There are two methods to categorise water spirits. As soon as you possibly can describe the water spirits as elemental spirits in line with Paracelsus and his teachings of pure philosophy. Right here the water spirits are known as Undine.

Then again, water spirits can be understood as beings from people tales and myths from all over the world who’re related to water in sure methods. The entire water spirits right here have completely different names.

Within the desk beneath you possibly can see an summary of among the most well-known of them, what they’re known as and the place they arrive from.

Along with the fundamental spirit Undine, created by Paracelsus, there are additionally, as talked about, many folks tales and myths about water creatures, which as we speak are additionally known as water spirits.

“Water spirits” at this level serves as a collective time period to incorporate all these beings which can be related to water in a sure manner.

Due to this fact, I current beneath a couple of of probably the most well-known spirits from people tales and myths from Europe and all over the world.

Nevertheless, I can’t go additional into the fundamental spirits of Paracelsus at this level, as these solely describe a sure subspecies of water spirit and will not be rooted in people perception anyway.

What are not any water spirits?

Moreover, water spirits needs to be distinguished from higher-level water gods and goddesses and different water creatures like monsters.

Some water gods are associated to spiritual beliefs and will not be water spirits in that sense.

As well as, water spirits can nonetheless be distinguished from water creatures, akin to mermaids and sirens. Typically they’re additionally known as spirits, however largely they’re understood extra as animal-like or human and never a lot as spirits. That’s why I didn’t embody them right here.

I wrote extra concerning the distinction between mermaids, sirens, nixies and nymphs right here.

Within the following, I’ll clarify the person spirits from the above desk in additional element.

Germanic water spirits / Nordic water spirits

Nixie and Neck

Essentially the most well-known Germanic water spirits are the feminine Nixe and the male Nix/Neck/Nöck. These spirits exist in a number of Germanic languages and have very comparable names there. In Denmark, for instance, the Nix known as Nøkke, in Norway Nøck and in Sweden Näck(en)/Nick.

The Nixie and particularly the Neck are often described as evil or harmful.

They stay on the backside of lakes or rivers. Typically the Nixie daughters come out of the water, the place they tackle a human kind, and mingle with folks to have some enjoyable. They are often acknowledged solely by their moist skirts.

Typically they drown folks, however typically they’re pleasant. The Neck continues to be typically described as a baby terrier and is especially harmful.

Strömkarlen / Fossegrim

Find out: what is the difference between greek yogurt and regular yogurt

As well as, in Sweden there’s nonetheless the Strömkarlen (English “The river man”) and in Norway the Fossegrim (“grim waterfall” in English). These are male spirits that carefully resemble the Neck. They often stay by waterfalls or water mills, the place they play music on a harp or violin.


One other Germanic spirit is the Melusine. She comes from a medieval legend by which she transforms right into a mermaid with a fish or snake tail each time she bathes herself in water.

Greek water spirits

Among the many historical Greek water spirits are primarily the nymphs of the water and sea.

The nymphs are nature spirits, which additionally correspond extra to the thought of a nature spirit. For they every stay in a physique of water that they guard and are thus related to that physique of water.

Water Nymphs

The water nymphs (Oceanids and Naiads) every stay in a river, stream, lake, pond, or spring.

If their spring dries up or their river dries up, they die. Thus, they will stay for a really very long time, however haven’t any soul themselves. They’re pleasant and sometimes assist folks they meet.

Sea Nymphs

The ocean nymphs (Nereids), then again, stay within the sea.

They shield shipwrecked folks and entertain sailors. In creative representations, they’re typically depicted on the backs of dolphins or hippocamps (blended creatures of horse and fish).

Celtic water spirits


Kelpies are Scottish water spirits that stay in Scottish lochs and rivers and might change their look. They often take the shape of a big, black water horse, however they will additionally remodel into folks.

Most frequently, kelpies in human kind are described as male. Nevertheless, typically they’re feminine.

When hikers need to cross the river the place they stay, they often present themselves to them and promise to hold them throughout. But when the wanderer agrees and sits on the horse’s again, then the horse takes him down into the depths of the river and eats him up.

However it’s also doable to tame a kelpie. To do that, you must handle to place a bridle or veil round his head.

Slavic water spirits


The Rusalkas are Russian water spirits who seem within the type of younger women or girls. It’s stated that they died early and now stay on as water spirits.

They solely seem after the week following Pentecost, often called Rusalka week. Principally, they’re described as evil. Thus, they steal newborns, drown males or lead folks astray. Nevertheless, typically they’re described as serving to folks.


The Vodyanoy (additionally known as Vodnik within the Czech Republic) is a male water spirit similar to the German Neck. The title means in Russian as a lot as “the one from the water” or “watery”.

He additionally lives in lakes, ponds and rivers and is as much as no good. In look, he resembles an previous man with a frog face, greenish beard and lengthy hair, and black fish scales on his fish tail.

His physique can also be largely lined in algae and dirt. He lives on his river and might typically be seen floating by on a tree stump.

Just like the rusalkas, he’s blamed for drowning folks. It’s stated that he makes the folks he has dragged into the depths work for him as slaves.

Water spirits from different components of the world

African water spirits

Find out: what is the difference between naltrexone and naloxone

Mami Wata is a water spirit West South and Central Africa. The title is Pidgin English and means “mom of water”. Principally this water spirit is feminine seems like a mermaid, so half human and half fish.

As well as, typically she is benign, however she will additionally deliver catastrophe and symbolize the harmful energy of water. Typically she additionally deliberately attracts folks to then make them sick or the like.

Oceanic water spirits

Adaro is a male water spirit from the Solomon Islands northeast of Australia. He lives within the Pacific Ocean close to these islands and arises when the great a part of an individual’s soul dies and the evil half will get the higher hand.

He has fairly a menacing look. His ft are fins and he a shark again fin and a sort of horn like a swordfish on his head.

As well as, they often journey in tornadoes on the water. If fishermen will not be cautious and get too near the Adaro, it might kill them by firing fish at them.

The Undine as an elemental spirit

The time period water spirits comes from pure philosophy and elemental spirit principle.

The elementals or elemental beings had been described primarily by Paracelsus, a sixteenth century Swiss doctor and pure thinker. He referred to the four-element doctrine, in line with which there are 4 primary parts.

Based on Paracelsus, every of the 4 parts is claimed to have a sort of elemental being that lives in that factor.

The 4 elemental spirits and their parts.

Within the water stay the undines (or nymphs), within the air the woodsmen (or sylphs), within the earth the gnomes (or pygmies) and within the hearth the salamanders.

So, if water spirits are understood as elemental spirits in line with the doctrine of pure philosophy, then the undines are meant.

Based on Paracelsus, the fundamental spirits do have a physique, however it isn’t precisely like a human physique. Quite, they’re ethereal, which implies their our bodies are product of a barely completely different materials than people.

This permits them to exist each within the human world and of their factor, which is water. For instance, the undines can even movement like water.

Paracelsus additionally describes the fundamental spirits as soulless. Since they can’t have a soul themselves, the Undines should marry a human man. Solely on this manner can they be redeemed.

That is, in fact, a relatively outdated picture of ladies, for on the time of Paracelsus it was nonetheless thought that males had been extra godlike and thus may most likely assist these soulless, feminine spirits to get a soul.

Elemental spirits within the literature of the Romantic interval

This concept of the necessity for redemption can also be the idea of most literary works written considerably later within the literary epoch of Romanticism, which had been influenced by the concepts of pure philosophy.

For instance, in Faust, Goethe describes how he conjures up the undines and the opposite elemental spirits.

The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen can also be primarily based on the concept the undines are spirits with out souls in want of redemption.

One of the crucial well-known German literature on water spirits is the story of Undine by writer Friedrich de la Motte Fouqué.

The fundamental spirits had been, as stated, primarily an concept of the pure philosophers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and will function a proof for pure phenomena. It was solely by way of the literature of Romanticism within the nineteenth century that the thought then turned extra broadly identified.

As a result of elemental spirits arose from pure philosophical explanations, nevertheless, there isn’t any actual connection to the folks beliefs and myths that arose among the many inhabitants about water spirits over centuries.

Read: what is a ship in a bottle called