It is said that when one of the People dies in Valindir, their soul is carried on the wings of sacred moths to the mists between the worlds, there to await reincarnation back into our world. These moths are known as the Vela, and they are drawn to the light of a freed soul like their mundane cousins are to flames. Vela are said to possess the power to take the form of beautiful men or women, naked save for tattered, lace capes. While in their moth form, they may be recognized by the lace-like pattern on their wings, which occurs in either gold or silver, and which has been echoed numerous times in funerary art. It is their mortal form that is given greater significance in art, however, appearing in everything from funeral shrouds to nursery rooms. In this form they shepherd and instruct souls who are either about to die or about to reincarnate, as well as guarding them from the sluagh that would otherwise attempt to devour the spirits. Far from being frightening harbingers of death, Vela are viewed as kindly creatures that comfort souls, in order that they know no fear and are never alone in their final (or first) hour.

There are many stories of Vela attaching themselves to one soul in particular, and following that soul through numerous incarnations, always being the first and last sight that the soul is privy to. Because of these stories, it has become custom to leave an offering dish of sweet nectar or sugar water outside during the evenings, especially after a birth or a death. This is seen as a token of thanks and remembrance in the hopes that the souls of the dearly departed will be looked after by the Vela and swiftly reincarnated to a loving family.

The poet Jycole wrote, following the death of his youngest child:

“Beautiful Ladies, draw close to my daughter.
Mark you how her light doth shine?
She is my Sun, and in your mists she wanders,
lost, and deeply dreaming.

Lend her your wings, that to new heights
she might soar, and when she wakes,
bring light once more to this darksome world.”

It may be that this urge to protect is what drove some Vela to ask to be given form and substance in our world, for certainly there are legends that the first Sidhe were Vela in mortal flesh. It is said that one of the Ladies was moved to great pity by the deaths of the pixies, and offered herself up to be a guardian for their kind and others who were wandering, lost, in Valindir. Others of her kind took up her cry, and the Elements, our gracious Grandparents, consented.


Posted March 5, 2012 by Evoru

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