Ehlonna has many aspects: hunter, ranger, woman of the woods, protector of elves and half-elves, or goddess of fertility. She is known to the elves as "Ehlenestra."
Ehlonna is an ancient deity of unknown origin, who is concerned with all aspects of life in the woodlands, which includes the protection of humans and half-humans of good alignment, and more specifically of elves and half elves. She is the patron saint of all those who make their living from the forest while ensuring respect for the flora and fauna it shelters. She teaches her followers to live in harmony with their woodland homes, taking only what they need. The bounty of the forest, Ehlonna teaches, is a gift to be cherished and appreciated, not a treasure to be coveted or looted.
Ehlonna is gentle and benevolent, but hard against the evil humanoids and the marauders who plunder the wooded regions.
Ehlonna is the patron of all good-aligned folk who love the forests. She is worshipped by hunters, trappers, foresters, rangers, woodcutters, and more. Brownies, elves, gnomes, and halflings are especially attuned to Ehlonna of the Forests, and will willingly aid her.
Many of Ehlonna's clerics (or Silvicoli, as they are known) live in forests and keep on friendly terms with the local rangers, druids, elves, and fae. They keep guard against encroachments by evil folk, loggers, and others who would exploit and ruin any woodland. When confronting anyone who would despoil a forest, they tend to be gentle but firm, at least at first. If the invaders persist, Ehlonna's clerics can be ruthless in driving them out. Many of Ehlonna's clerics take it upon themselves to teach woodcraft, plant trees, or both.
Each cleric of Ehlonna chooses a species of plant as their special ward. They must see to it that their species flourishes and that its properties are respected by common folk. Clerics of Ehlonna often carry the seeds of their chosen plant with them on journeys.
VestmentsThe Silvicoli usually wear practical clothes to roam the woods, women only wearing dresses for certain ceremonies. Whatever the outfit adopted, the dominant color is always light green.
HierarchyThe most experienced priests are content to supervise the youngest, while they really get to know the forest, and to coordinate large-scale actions.
TemplesEhlonna's places of worship often boil down to simple clearings with trees for walls and sky for the only roof. However, small chapels appear here and there in the forest villages, and cabins are camouflaged in the heart of the forest. There are healers and rangers ready to guide visitors safely through the woods. Small shrines often exist in villages near large forests.
RitualsThe religious services include a very simple meal (often consisting of fruit, berries and other foods gathered in the woods), during which one drinks wine and plays the flute, pipeau and lyre. If a bard is available to set the mood, it will be all the better. Typical prayers to Ehlonna feature at least two references to positive aspects of the forest. Her ceremonies take place in the forest where possible and involve the various aspects of fertility. Children take part in the more innocent ones.
FestivalsTurning Ceremony: This traditional festival is still popular in many rural communities. Children aged 7 are taken, separated from each other, blindfolded and barefoot, in the middle of the forest. Everyone must then find their way back to the village where a banquet has been set up, guided only by songs and a huge bonfire. On theur return, each child is brought before the fire, to which he must whisper his real name that he is supposed to have discovered during his journey. Rangers, Ehlonna priests, and sometimes elves, discreetly watch over the safety of children in the forest. When a child spots one of these protectors, it is a good omen.
Seasonal ceremonies are important religious holidays for the worship of Ehlonna.
Winter ceremonies (Winter Solstice): These ceremonies celebrate the force of nature that withstands the rigors of winter. It's lambing season, and milk offerings are a must. Like the lamb that has just been born, a new year begins as the sun recovers.
Spring ceremonies (Spring Equinox): These ceremonies celebrate the renewal and the power of the sun to give life. Large fires are lit, between which the common people parade in procession, leading their cattle in front of them and throwing grain. The blazing sun is associated with health and the destruction of disease, and the main purpose of these ceremonies is to provide protection against disease from herds.
Summer ceremonies (Summer Solstice): These ceremonies celebrate the life and beauty of nature. They are the most important of the year and give rise to festivities which mark the opening of large fairs; the common people wear garlands of flowers that will be given as an offering to the deities of nature.
Fall ceremonies (Fall Equinox): These ceremonies celebrate the harvests and give rise to great festivals. All the people come together to offer their first fruits to the Gods. Big bonfires are erected on the highest hills and people drink and dance until the end of the night. The abundance of harvests is supposed to ward off hunger during the winter.
OrdersEhlonna Druids: Druids share the affection of their goddess for the forests, and especially the fauna and flora which reside there, as well as her hatred towards the evil humanoids who ransack them. They ally themselves with the Sylvan creatures to protect the wooded regions from these invaders. Their alignment, although remaining neutral, shows a certain inclination towards the good (which some other druids frown upon).
Knotty Forest Prowlers: This group seeks first and foremost to protect the Knotty Forest. The organization of this group is anything but strict—there are no leaders, but some members meet every two or three months in order to exchange information they hold about concerning situations and potential dangers. They recruit and train new members and making them take an oath to defend the forest and to worship a deity of good alignment (usually Ehlonna).
Ehlonna teaches that the animals and plants of the forests are gifts, and are not to be stolen. She is often the goddess of rangers and druids and opposes those who hunt for sport, and anyone who would exploit the land for fun or profit.
Ehlonna is variously depicted as an elven or human woman, and often associates with unicorns and other sylvan creatures. When in human form, Ehlonna appears as a dark-haired human woman, but as Ehlenestra, she appears as a golden-haired elven maiden. Her eyes are deep blue or startling violet. Her garments may be the practical garb of a ranger or the rich gown of an elven princess. She carries a longbow that always hits its target.
Her human aspect has special powers over horses, while as Ehlenestra she has similar command over unicorns.
Ehlonna has an intense rivalry with Obad-Hai. Where the neutral good Ehlonna advocates the beauty and goodness of unspoiled nature, the true neutral Obad-Hai sees nature as brutal and uncompromising. She is an enemy of Karaan, who represents nature's dark side. She is friendly with the Seldarine and most good-aligned deities, and allied with Atroa. She is served by a planetar named Novalee.