Relations With The Ylfe/Ælfe

Woden, Willi, and Weoh set the world of men in order so the Germanic Folk (OE Folc) would have a place to live and thrive. When the sons of Borr (OE Bera) formed Midgard (OE Middengeard) from the body of Ymir (OE Wóma), the Alfar (OE Ylfe) became the indwelling craftsmen of the natural world. The Ylfe are the nature artists who craft the many plants and animals of humanity’s home. Heathen Folc should show them respect and gratitude as they are the spirit craftsmen of the world’s abundance. 

Since the first stirrings of the Germanic Folc of Northern Europe in Aurvalgarland (roughly Southern Sweden), we have shared the living world with these ethereal beings. The dwellers of the non-human realms haven’t changed significantly since the formation of the English (OE Englisċ) kingdoms either. They continue to live all around us. Therefore, Heathen relationships with the Ylfe continue to be a major concern for the Germanic peoples as they have been since the beginning of our Folc. 

The Elder Heathens lived in daily nearness to the unseen powers. Contemporary Heathens in our modern, mechanized times have lost this close relationship with the powers of the Ylfe cynn. Hall tells us in his seminal work, “Elves in Anglo-Saxon England”, that the Ylfe are found in the natural world as the Anglo-Saxon Folc held no distinction between a natural and supernatural world (Hall 11). 

For many hundred tides, the Germanic Folc have been incorrectly taught there is a strict separation of the natural world of humans and the “supernatural’ world of the spiritual realm. This is not the native worldview of the Anglo-Saxon Folc as this was brought in with the outlandish godlore of the Christ. The Germanic Folc experienced the many unseen powers everywhere, all the time. The Ylfe especially so. Now is the time to sweep away outlandish teachings and return to the native worldview of the Anglo-Saxon, and by extension, the Germanic Folc.

Of all the divine kindreds, the Ylfe are the most easily made wroth and can be quite vengeful. If our Folc are to regain our close relationship with the holy powers that hold together existence, we must relearn to honor them correctly. Our godlore tells of the Ylfe as fickle and ever-changing in mood, so a mindful Heathen would take heed (Jolly, K., (1996). 

The goodwill of the Ylfe was heavily sought after by our ancestors, perhaps even more so than the goodwill of the Gods (OE Godu). Daily proximity brings about this necessity as the Ylfe are the nearest to humans of all the divine cynn. As in the human world, being a good neighbor to the Ylfe is of utmost importance. When friendly relationships with the Ylfe have been established, their blessings can be made manifold. 

Through the Elder Heathens’ healthy interactions with the Ylfe, they found that the Ylfe would bestow “Ylfig” upon their favored human Folc. “Ylfig” is attested to in Folio 76 of the Harley Glossary as meaning experiencing prophetic visions or speech through divine inspiration and, in some cases, divine possession. Throughout history, foreknowledge of future happenings has always been highly prized among our Folc. While it is unclear about the kind or extent of these powers, it is clear that the Ylfe are known to bestow gifts upon those they deem worthy (Hall 151-153).  In the coming days, it would behoove the modern Anglofolc to secure such blessings through good relationships with Eorthe’s nature artists.

Blóting to establish and foster a good relationship with the Ylfe is attested in Old Norse Heathen Lore. We can see an example of this in Kormak’s Saga in The Sagas of the Icelanders. Kormak’s Saga reads “The spae-woman answered, there is a hill, not far away from here, where elves dwell. Now get the bull that Kormac killed, and redden the outer side of the hill with its blood, and make a feast for the elves with its flesh. Then you will be healed.” ( Through this attestation, we can see that the Ylfe can be propitiated in the traditional way of the Germanic Heathens, a blood sacrifice. The question is, for those uncomfortable with a blood sacrifice, can the Ylfe be propitiated in other ways as well?

Lore of a later time in the Englisċ Kingdom (OE Ríċe (pronounced (Reech-eh) or Cynedom) tells of such an instance. Weyland’s Smithy is a Neolithic tomb situated on the north scarp of the downs just above the White Horse of Uffington. Since at least the 10th century AD, our Folc have believed that this is the dwelling place of Weyland the Smith, the powerful Ylfe prince known as the finest blacksmith in all of the world (Whittle, A, et al). Weyland the Smith is the one fated to forge the sword used by Surtr in the Ragnarok (OE Godadómisċ).

Englisċ Folc belief holds that if you leave a coin on the rocks of the Ylfe prince’s barrow and leave a horse in need of being shod, the horse will be expertly shod by the morning. The exchange is made null and void if you stay at the smithy during the night or even look back towards the tomb after depositing the coin (Britannica). This enduring belief says two things. The first is that Heathen beliefs and customs endured long past the official conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. This also points to the ability to make non-blood sacrifices to promote good relations with Ylfe, and more specifically, the great blacksmith prince of the Ylfe, Weyland.  

If the Ylfe are displeased and made wroth, our lore tells of many ways that the Ylfe express this displeasure. This wrath can be felt as ælf-siden or nightmares brought on by Ylfe influence. This is a terrible reckoning indeed, as no one can escape the necessity for sleep and no one can truly control the happenings of their dreams. In addition to causing nightmares, displeased Ylfe inflict “ælf-sogoða” and “ælf-ádl”, which both describe various diseases caused by the influence of the Ylfe. A mindful Heathen would take heed and sustain good relations with the Ylfe clan.

The Heathen Folc should show proper respect and gratitude to the Ylfe as they are authors of the world’s abundance. This is done through the proper maintenance of traditional taboos and the regular exchange of gifts. The Ylfe and Humanity can foster good, strong relationships. The aforementioned blessings, as well as disasters, are both caused by the outcomes of how we interact with the unseen cynn of the living world. How we act towards the Ylfe and the rest of the unseen world is the only thing we have control over. The law of the gods is a gift for a gift so we must trust that the Ylfe will reciprocate.

~ Beræcer Lárġyfa, June 19, 2024


Hall, A. (2007). Elves in Anglo-Saxon England. 

The saga of cormac the skald – icelandic saga database. (n.d.). 

Karen Louise Jolly. Popular Religion in Late Saxon England: Elf Charms in Context. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. 1996. pp. X, 251 (1997). The American Historical Review. 

Whittle, A., Brothwell, D., Cullen, R., Gardner, N., & Kerney, M. P. (2014, February 18). Wayland’s Smithy, Oxfordshire: Excavations at the neolithic tomb in 1962–63 by R. J. C. Atkinson and S. Piggott: Proceedings of the prehistoric society. Cambridge Core. Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). Wayland the Smith. Encyclopædia Britannica.