Rune for the Aeldari species in the Aeldari Lexicon.

The Aeldari Pantheon, known in earlier sources as the Eldar Pantheon, are a collection of ancient gods of the alien Aeldari, most of whom were consumed by the creation of the Chaos God Slaanesh at the moment of its birth during the Fall of the Aeldari.

The Aeldari still revere all the gods of the pantheon and preserve their stories within the Aeldari mythic cycles and epics which bind the entire Aeldari species together and forms a basis for much of their way of thinking when it comes to their ancient past.

Yet the Aeldari of the present do not call upon their gods for aid or hope for their intervention any longer. Sadly, all but three of the Aeldari Pantheon -- Khaine, Cegorach and Isha -- were destroyed during the Fall of the Aeldari.

However, a new god, Ynnead, the Aeldari god of death, who is not a part of the old myth cycles, was long said to be forming from the souls of the Aeldari dead within the Infinity Circuits of the Asuryani craftworlds. Ynnead's awakening was dramatically accelerated during the Battle of Port Demesnus in 999.M41 by a ritual undertaken by the Farseer Eldrad Ulthran.

Partially awakened within the Immaterium, Ynnead reached out across the galaxy and chose the former Aeldari corsair and Commorrite arena gladiator Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades, to serve as his prophet and high priestess. She founded a new Aeldari religious group, the Ynnari, who in the Era Indomitus seek to unite all the Aeldari factions across the galaxy to destroy Slaanesh and restore the Aeldari's lost glory.

Living Aeldari Gods

Kaela Mensha Khaine, God of War

Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody-Handed God.

Kaela Mensha Khaine is one of the only two surviving gods of the Aeldari before the recent awakening of Ynnead. In the old Aeldari pantheon, he was second only to Asuryan himself in power, and was often shown as the enemy of Vaul. He is also the most violent and reckless of the gods.

Asuryan was so appalled by his murder of Eldanesh, a mortal Aeldari, that he cursed Khaine and made his hands drip eternally with the blood of Eldanesh so that everyone would remember what he had done.

The Aeldari say that when Slaanesh awoke, She Who Thirsts consumed each of the other Aeldari gods in the Warp in turn. While his counterparts were all devoured, Khaine took up his great sword and did battle with Slaanesh instead.

Khaine was not strong enough to destroy Slaanesh, but he was too powerful to be defeated. Instead his psychic signature in the Warp was broken, and scattered into fragments. These frgamnets were driven from the Warp where they had done battle and came to rest in the heart of the Infinity Circuit of each Asuryani craftworld.

These fragments of the god became the Avatars of Kaela Mensha Khaine. In times of war the Aeldari can awaken one of these Avatars to lead them into battle. But the price is the sacrifice of an Exarch's life, for the Avatar needs to possess a physical body to enter the material universe.

The Avatars of Khaine are towering monsters with skin of iron and molten cores, hands permanently dripping with blood as Khaine's did.

Cegorach, God of the Harlequins

Cegorach, the Laughing God.

The only other god of the Aeldari Pantheon to survive the birth of Slaanesh, Cegorach, also known as the "Laughing God," the "Great Harlequin," the "Great Fool" and the "First Fool," was a consummate trickster and artist of the Aeldari gods.

While most of the Aeldari gods were destroyed by Slaanesh during the Fall of the Aeldari, according to legend this deity survived because his mocking nature distanced him from the collective psychic corruption and amoral decadence of the ancient Aeldari Empire that birthed the Chaos God. Other legends tell that when all the other gods were destroyed, Cegorach fled before Slaanesh until Khaine rose to do battle with her.

It is said that during the fight between Slaanesh and Khaine the Laughing God hid behind Khaine for protection, and in the aftermath of the struggle Cegorach fled into the Webway where Slaanesh could not find him. He still resides there, and is the only being in the universe who knows exactly where every door in the Webway leads.

As the master and patron god of the mysterious Harlequins, Cegorach is the only Aeldari god that still remains in his original form. The Harlequins are protected from Slaanesh in a different way from their craftworld brethren.

While craftworld Aeldari wear Spirit Stones which absorb their souls when they die to prevent them from being devoured by Slaanesh in the Warp, the Aeldari Harlequins are directly protected by their faith in their god's power, becoming one with his Warp emanation upon their death. The only exception to this are the Harlequin Solitaires whose souls must be won from Slaanesh after their deaths by the Laughing God.

Isha, Goddess of the Harvest

The Great Mother of the Aeldari race, Isha is a fertility goddess in many respects. She was imprisoned by Khaine for a period of time, until Vaul paid her ransom. She is often depicted crying, and her symbol is a teared eye, symbolic of her sorrow in being separated from her mortal children. Her tears are said to have solidified to form the Spirit Stones which keep the Aeldari safe from Slaanesh after their death.

It is rumoured that the Chaos God Nurgle coveted the Aeldari fertility goddess, and rescued her from consumption by Slaanesh only to imprison her in his decaying mansion that lies within his foul realm in the Warp. Nurgle "cares" for Isha by feeding her the various diseases he concocts, only for her to whisper the cures for each one to mortals when his back is turned.

Ynnead, God of the Dead

The Yncarne, the Avatar of Ynnead, the Whispering God, surrounded by the souls of departed Aeldari.

Ynnead, called the "Whispering God," is a dream, the embodiment of a possibility that has yet to be fully realized. Some Aeldari Seers long believed that when the last Aeldari died during the Rhana Dandra, the Final Battle with Chaos, Ynnead would be born from the Warp with the strength of all the Aeldari souls stored in the Infinity Circuits of the craftworlds and the World Spirits of the Exodites.

Ynnead would then have the power to destroy Slaanesh forever in a final battle, thus correcting the mistakes which led to the Fall of the Aeldari and allowing the Aeldari species to be reincarnated from the Warp as of old into a universe free of the taint of Chaos.

Or at least that is what the Aeldari believed would happen for almost ten thousand standard years. Then, in 999.M41, during the Battle of Port Demesnus on the moon of Coheria, the High Farseer Eldrad Ulthran partially completed a ritual intended to awaken Ynnead using the power of the souls found in the Infinity Circuits of every Craftworld in the galaxy.

While the intervention of the Imperial Deathwatch interrupted the ritual before it could be completed, the god of the dead was partially awakened, and sought out a champion to complete his rise in the form of Yvraine, the Daughter of Shades. Yvraine founded a new Aeldari faction dedicated to the Whispering God's resurrection known as the Ynnari.

The Ynnari, with members drawn from the Craftworld Asuryani, the Harlequins, and the Drukhari of Commorragh, seek the restoration of the ancient Aeldari race by collecting the artefacts known as the Croneswords from across the galaxy.

Their combined ritualistic use at a single focused point in realspace will allow Ynnead to fully manifest his power in the Warp, where he will combat Slaanesh, hopefully destroying the Prince of Chaos and freeing the Aeldari from the soul-devouring curse of She Who Thirsts forever.

Only then will the Aeldari people, restored to the unity of the ancient Aeldari, seek to rebuild a new and better interstellar empire.

Destroyed Aeldari Gods

Asuryan, King of the Aeldari Gods

Sometimes known as the Phoenix King, Asuryan was the king of the pantheon of Aeldari gods. While the ancient Aeldari myth cycles seem to indicate that he held sway over all other gods, Asuryan was nevertheless consumed by the Chaos God Slaanesh.

He is often depicted in relation to fire and light, his chief symbols. Asuryan is a key player in many of the legendary cycles of Aeldari Mythology. Asuryan's brother is the god of war, Kaela Mensha Khaine. The goddess Gea is said to have held both Asuryan and Khaine as her twin consorts.

Before the Fall of the Aeldari, Asuryan was the third primary contributor of knowledge to the Aeldari, after Kurnous and Isha. Among Asuryan's gifts to the early Aeldari was the ability to manipulate psychic energy. During the Fall of the Aeldari, Asuryan was the last of the Aeldari deities to be consumed by Slaanesh.

Before his comatose imprisonment in Slaanesh's heart, Asuryan performed one of his greatest acts -- binding his psychic might to the Aeldari, preventing Slaanesh from absorbing all of his power.

The psychic power bound into the Aeldari by Asuryan brought both boon and bane. Though the Aeldari's lifespan and already potent mastery over psychic energies increased following Asuryan's gift, it also decreased their fertility, leading the species to begin a slow decline.

Vaul, God of the Forges

The artificer of the Aeldari Gods, Vaul is one of the central gods of the Aeldari Pantheon, and an enemy to Khaine. In order to purchase the freedom of Kurnous and Isha, Khaine demanded one hundred blades from the Smith God.

Vaul was unable to finish the last blade in time, and so hid a simple, mortal-forged blade amid the others of divine craftsmanship. This fooled Khaine long enough to get Isha and Kurnous to freedom, but when he realised he had been tricked, he cried out for vengeance.

Vaul finished the final blade, Anaris the Dawnlight, and took it to do battle with Khaine. Though it was the greatest sword ever forged, Khaine was the better warrior and crippled Vaul. The smith is often shown chained to his anvil, the punishment that Khaine set upon him.

Kurnous, God of the Hunt

Kurnous was the Father of the Aeldari race and the companion and consort of Isha. He is often shown in conjunction with hounds, hawks, and other trappings of the hunt. Along with Isha, the goddess of the harvest, he too was imprisoned by Khaine, initiating the event that marked the start of the Aeldari myth known as the War in Heaven.

Gea

Gea was a female Aeldari god that existed within the pantheon of the Aeldari race. She is notable for being the consort of the twin deities Khaine the Bloody Handed God and Asuryan the Phoenix King.

Hoec

Revered amongst the near-invisible assassins known as Aeldari Pathfinders, the mysterious wandering Aeldari divinity known as Hoec is said to be one with the Webway, and has walked the paths between planets since the stars themselves were young.

Lileath the Maiden

Lileath, also known as Lilcarth, was the goddess of dreams and fortune. She is the daughter of Isha and was the youngest of the Aeldari gods in the main pantheon.

Morai-Heg, the Crone, Goddess of Fate and Souls

The Crone-Goddess Morai-Heg is the consort of Khaine and the third in a trinity of female Aeldari goddesses who appears as an ancient and withered creature who holds the fate of mortals inside a skin rune pouch.

In Aeldari myth she sought to partake of the wisdom contained in her divine blood. She manipulated Khaela Mensha Khaine to cut off her hand so that she might drink deep of her own vitae. It was the fingers of this lost hand that were fashioned into the Croneswords that now offer hope of an Aeldari resurgence to the Ynnari.

With this deed Morai-Heg gained the knowledge that she sought, and in return, Khaine gained the aspect of the banshee.

The original homeworlds of the Aeldari Empire that were lost to the Eye of Terror after the Fall became known as Crone Worlds, a reference to the Crone Goddess.

The inhabitants of Craftworld Iybraesil are noted for being followers of Morai-Heg.

Cobra-God

The Cobra-God is an animistic creature of destruction who does not care who is caught in his wake; he is venerated by the Exodites.

Scorpion-God

The Scorpion-God is an animistic spirit of defence, brother of Cobra; he is also a spirit deity venerated by the Exodites.

Serpent-God

The Serpent-God is an animistic creature of secrets who knows all there is to know in the universe; he is the third major spirit deity venerated by the Exodites.

Trivia

There are many similarities between the mythology surrounding the Aeldari pantheon and aspects of the ancient mythologies of the Greek, Celtic and Norse cultures of Old Earth.

It is assumed that the Warhammer 40,000 writers drew heavily on these existing sources of real world mythology when creating the Eldar race and the defining mythic stories of their culture.

Sources

  • Codex: Chaos Daemons (6th Edition), pp. 17, 20
  • Codex: Chaos Daemons (4th Edition), pg. 82
  • Codex: Craftworlds (8th Edition), pp. 8-9, 26, 35
  • Codex: Craftworld Eldar (3rd Edition) by Gav Thorpe
  • Codex: Eldar Craftworlds (7th Edition), pg. 14
  • Codex: Eldar (6th Edition), pp. 7-9, 20
  • Codex: Eldar (4th Edition), pp. 5-6, 9
  • Codex: Eldar (2nd Edition) by Rick Priestley, pp. 12, 14-15
  • Codex: Harlequins (8th Edition), pp. 7-8, 28, 31
  • Codex: Harlequins (7th Edition), pp. 3, 9
  • Codex: Titanicus (2nd Edition), pg. 35
  • Warhammer 40,000 Compilation (2nd Edition), pp. 35-36, 42
  • Path of the Warrior (Novel) by Gav Thorpe
  • Games Workshop Website - Dawn of the C'tan: Translations of Pertinent Eldar Mythic Cycles
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