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Elune 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 the mother of Cenarius. In tauren mythology, she is known as Mu'sha, and is the left eye of the Earthmother.
Elune is one of the few true deities in the world, and the most powerful Eternal. In the world's infancy, she protected all living things and allowed them the chance to grow and thrive. Whenever she found violence, she would cast her calming influence across the land so that peace and healing might be given another chance to thrive.
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 the moon goddess could not prevent. With the Great Sundering and the terrible loss of life that came with it, the demons were defeated.
Just as she felt she had once again 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.
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.
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.
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.
Formal worship of Elune dates back about 14,000 years, before the rise of Azshara and the Highborne, though she was certainly worshipped long before that, probably by the most primitive of kaldorei. Her original cult center was near Zin-Azshari, but the Sisters of Elune moved the temple to Suramar when it was clear Azshara cared more for the luxury of herself and the Highborne than anyone else. After Suramar fell, Elune was the main source of hope for the millions of refugees fleeing the Burning Legion. Elune's worship was essentially universal (no cult centers) for the night elves in the ten thousand years between the War of the Ancients and the Third War (the Long Vigil).
Elune expected dedication from her priestesses, but she did not demand that they give her every waking moment — the Mother Moon was a kind, loving mistress. One of these dedications was called the Ritual of the High Moon.
The center of her worship is now the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus. Tyrande Whisperwind is her high priestess, but many priestesses, and for the first time, male priests, are found throughout the world, ready to heal war-weary Azeroth with her light.
Night elf beliefs
Elune is the central focus of worship for the Sentinels and the Sisters of Elune in night elf culture, while the druids tend to focus more on nature and Elune's son Cenarius, though they believe in her power.
Elune has never made herself known to any living creature in the physical plane in a physical form, though she is sometimes depicted as a night elf female with a skin that glows with intensity, eyes of pure silver moonlight, and her clothing adorned with silvery jewelry.
The night elves have various beliefs regarding her powers, including, but by no means limited to:
- The ability of calming races engaged in battle by singing a song of peace at night, until sunrise.
- The ability to heal or grant a follower the gift of healing.
- A powerful personal shield to defend her Chosen
- The ability to resurrect a dead creature.
- Causing a rain of solid moonlight to fall when her priestesses face enemies (Priestess of the Moon spell: Starfall,
Night elf priest spell: Starshards)-- All priests now have the same spells, regardless of race.
(Note that these powers are described in a variety of sources, and some may never actually appear in WoW)
The night elves believe that Elune protects all living beings and let them grow and thrive, casting her calming influence over many races to avoid conflicts. With Malorne and Cenarius, Elune helped the primitive night elves evolve without becoming corrupted by the arcane magic of the Well of Eternity for many centuries. Despite their vigil over the elves, Queen Azshara and the highborne were corrupted by the magic of the Well.
As the Night Warrior, Elune is said to have gathered the souls of the righteous fallen from the battlefield and spread them across the sky as stars.
- Elune is credited in mythology with transforming Aviana into a Demigoddess as a reward for being a good messenger
- Elune enabled the Sisters to communicate over long distances despite the loss of power from the Well of Eternity.
- Elune granted Tyrande the power to heal any wound she attempted to.
- 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.
- Elune's strength aided Tyrande and the sentinels during the Long Vigil.
- Starshards; Starfall
- Elune created the Moonkin to watch over sacred sites.
- Elune created the Gem of Elune to allow direct communication with her.
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.
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. 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.
In World of Warcraft
Players can encounter the Voice of Elune upon the completion of  .
The player character makes contact with the Prime Naaru, Xe'ra. She confirms that she and the other Naaru were made by Elune in the great ordering of Light and Shadow. This connects Elune to The Light, the same power that humans revere.
When Ysera is killed, Elune turns her into a constellation, turns her body into a glade and purifies the corrupted Tear of Elune, a Pillar of Creation.
Ysera and Elune
- See also: Cenarius#Birth and children
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.
The Warcraft encyclopedia also confirms that they are separate entities, Elune being Cenarius's mother and Ysera being his teacher.
Elune as mother of the night elves
While one legend states that night elves descended from trolls (a theory created by the trolls but fiercely disputed by the elves), other legends imply that night elves originated from Elune or one of her offspring, or at least changed into her likeness. If that is so then it would explain why they share resemblance to both dryads, keepers of the grove, and the biological mother of Cenarius.
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 (or the parallel of the Roman goddess Diana - the personification of the moon and hunt) or Selene (or roman Luna). Another possible inspiration is Elbereth (Varda), 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, 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, or perhaps Eilistraee, the good dark elven goddess of dance, song and moonlight. 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.
Some have speculated, based on a conversation Tyrande Whisperwind and Prophet Velen in which Velen cautiously introduces the theory that Elune is in fact one of the Naaru, a race of beings made of pure light and capable of bestowing great holy power to those it deems worthy. This would also explain the so called "Voice of Elune" due to the fact that the Naaru communicate through impressions and telepathy.
Trolls and Elune
It is possible elements of both stories are true: The night elves may have been shaped from the trolls who found the Well of Eternity in Elune's own image. This would explain the resemblance to dryads and keepers, who have a biological link to Elune herself.
Following this though: If elves really have descended from trolls, it is possible that before that transition Elune was worshiped as a powerful Loa, different from other bloodthirsty trolls gods. While most Loas are animalistic in nature in rare situation a powerful tribe member rises to the level of demi-god (Zanza the Restless is such example).
If this is true she would have changed Dark Trolls into Dark elves. A tribe of nocturnal Humanoids was summoned to the Well of Eternity who made them strong wise and virtually immortal and was further transformed inte the Night elves. Dark Trolls + Elune = Dark elves, Dark elves + Well of Eternity = Night Elves
Elune, the Old Goddess?
It has been widely speculated that Elune may actually be an Old God of some sort. Theories range from her being just as evil as the others (using the Night Elves as C'Thun and Yogg-Saron have used the Qiraji and the Faceless Ones) to her being the only "good" Old God. Common Night Elf phrases like "I heed the voice of Elune," may refer to the same sort of "whispers" used by the Old Gods, albeit benevolent one. Similarly, some speculate that the transformation of trolls into night elves (if that tale is true) is similar to the biological changes wrought by the Old Gods upon the Qiraji (originally Aqir), Naga (originally night elves) and Faceless Ones. If she is an Old God, it is possible that she is the one trapped beneath the Maelstrom, given that Elune was believed by early Kaldorei to sleep beneath the original Well of Eternity.
Elune and the Old Gods usually described as the only actual "gods" in the Warcraft setting, making it possible there is some kind of connection. Besides that, during the war between the Titans and the Old Gods, it is unknown whether she participates. If so, she is likely sided with the Titans and the only Old God to do so. But, it seems unlikely given her omnibenevolent and pacific personality. It can also be assumed that she aided the Titans in shaping Azeroth as the mural in the Temple of Elune depicting Elune shaping the world with "other gods". The "other gods" could be the Titans, but this is not confirmed yet.
On the other hand, Elune, through Tyrande, assisted the brothers Stormrage in destroying the Well (preventing both the arrival of Sargeras and the release of the Old Gods) and her followers have routinely disrupted the plans of the Qiraji and Naga, two of the Old Gods' servant races. Elune also gave Tyrande the power to free Eranikus from the Emerald Nightmare (widely speculated to be the work of an Old God). Additionally, several materials indicate that Elune is fundamentally non-corporeal, while the Old Gods clearly have physical bodies of some sort. It should be noted the evidence presented above is circumstantial, and no official source draws a connection between Elune and the Old Gods.