Swiss alchemist Paracelsus (1493–24 September 1541) organized a system of elemental spirits. He named the elemental spirits of water Ondines. Ondines live in sources of fresh water (pools, springs, waterfalls, lakes) and may be composed of the element. They are described as having lovely voices. They are vague spirits, elemental beings, lacking true personalities. Hans Christian Andersen’s concept of mermaids—who lack souls and unless loved by a man are destined to dissolve into foam—is heavily based on Paracelsus. Ondines emerge from foam and dissolve back into foam.

There is also a theory that each human being is assigned a water elemental, an Ondine, at birth, who presides over the individual’s bodily fluids including blood, urine, and lymph. These spirits care for us, but we care for them, too. The Ondine is symbiotically attached to the human. If bodily fluids are abused, dangerous substances introduced into the bloodstream, let’s say, then the Ondine is weakened. If weakened, it can no longer protect the human’s health at its previous full capacity. This type of Ondine communicates with its host person via dreams.



Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses – Written by : Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.


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