Elementals are nature spirits and they consist of various types of beings or spirits which inhabit Nature. The belief in their existence was universal in the ancient era of almost every religious practice. Elementals are the basic unit of fey and they come in four distinct groups, being earth, air, fire and water, which were the elements back in classical Greek and Roman times. Fey is a generic term used to refer to any creature associated with the fairy races, such as sprites, pixies, nymphs, etcetera. Fey are usually human-shaped magical creatures closely tied to the forces of nature, or to some other force or place. They dwell in twilight groves and misty forests. The original fey races were made up of Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Goblins and Giants.
Classification becomes difficult because certain elementals can be both air and earth spirits and the relationships between different ones seemed to be necessary for humans so that they could make sense of the world around them. There are fey tribes and groups that don’t fall into any of those categories above, like naiads and river gods, dryads and gnomes, although some people classify gnomes as earth elementals. The Greeks used the name “nymph” to cover certain female Elementals of both water and trees. The nymphs were usually associated with fertile, growing things, such as trees, or with water and tree nymphs are actually connected with water. The two most common types of nymphs are the naiad (water nymph) and the dryad (tree nymph.) A Dryad is a nymph or nature spirit who lives in trees and takes the form of a beautiful young woman. The Dryads belong to the group of elementals who dwell in that attenuated body of the earth along with the gnomes, pans, elves and brownies.
Dryads are said to be nature spirits that merged with small trees and through this joining, they are capable of assuming a human or elf form, as well as that of the tree that they possess. Others say that dryads were actually human and elf druids or a combination between a fairy and an elf and through a magical ritual that went wrong became dryads. The dryads probably started when some tree-fancying fey took the shape of a tree, and found that their true shape was a tree. Whatever the true lore is behind dryads it will most likely remain a mystery, but what is known is that all dryads are female and they can take on the shape of a human or a maiden elf. Dryads are tree spirits and they connect to all other trees within a given area. The Dryad is not a woodland sprite, who runs around the branches and skips amongst the leaves, they constitute the living spirit within a tree, a spirit which many people feel that it is possible for you to communicate with, if you choose to.
Dryads are known for being rather shy, speaking with soft voices, but they also enjoyed playing pranks. They were originally the attendants of Artemis goddess of the hunt, the moon, and chastity, and she protected them while they were in the trees, groves, and forests. To see them was considered unlucky, but this may be because as vigilant guardian spirits they most frequently made themselves visible when displeased and then they became intent on inflicting disciplinary action to anyone who messed around with their forests and woods which was their homes. The dryads should not be confused with hamadryads who are stationary spirits of individual trees and who die when their particular tree dies. Dryads were mobile, and they could move around quite easily. Most dryads are fans of a particular species of tree, the dryads were originally the spirits of oak trees, but the name was later applied to all tree nymphs, like the hamadryads who are most often connected with river-side trees like poplar trees, the meliads that have a connection with ash trees and fruit trees.