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Seirei (精霊, also Shouryou, Shourai, Shourou) is a term that can mean:
- A mysterious vapor that is the origin of all things and forms.
- Supernatural beings that have mysterious powers, such as plants, animals, persons, and inanimated objects.
- A spirit that has been liberated from the body.
Even if saying 精霊 in one sentence, in case of using as Kango, if one has to guess the Kanji in yamato kotoba, there is times that it is, for example, translated as "elemental", "genie", and "spirit" in the Western language, although the meaning of each is different.
精霊 (the kanji 精怪, yōkai, is also used in agreement) in the sense of the original Kango (in the sense of the Kanji in culture), is used to represent either apparitions, fairies, the spirits of the dead, or demons.
Shouryou, Shourai, ShourouEdit
If refering to Japan's Koshintō, the reading "Shouryou", "Shourai", or "Shourou" refer to the "soul and spirit of the deceased", most precisely, "tokoyo" that went to the world of the dead. Thereto the "utsushiyo" refer to those that remained, such as "yūrei", "bourei", or "hitodama".
Except for Japan, it is refered in the folklore around the world as "spirit" (among the meanings for spirit, it is inappropriate in the context to translate it as "soul" in some cases, such as "the spirit of spring" or "the spirit of the lamp"). A few times the Kanji 精霊 is erroneously used for the Holy Spirit (聖霊 Seirei) from the Holy Trinity.
"Spirit" may also be used as translation for Elemental, the representation of an "element", the basis of everything, such as the four classic elements, the five elements from Japan, and the Wu Xing from Chinese culture.
Shi Seirei (Elementals)Edit
The Shi Seirei (四精霊, "Four Seirei") are, in the alchemical works of Paracelsus in the 16th century, are beings associated to the four elements of Earth, Water, Fire, and Wind. They often appear in fantasy works. The following is the archetypal spirit for each of the four elements:
- Undine, spirit of water
- Salamander, spirit of fire
- Sylph, spirit of wind
- Gnome, spirit of earth
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