"O Gods of Hallownest, show Us your might! We shall attune Ourselves to thee and ascend ever higher!"
Higher beings are god-like creatures in the world of Hallownest that exist above all others. They have certain abilities and powers that regular bugs do not have; although, these abilities are generally different for each higher being. In addition to this, some higher beings were deified; worshipped as gods by other bugs.
Pale Being is a term which refers to two higher beings, the Pale King and the White Lady. The Kingsoul, a holy charm containing limitless Soul within, is a symbol of their union. The rare metal Pale Ore shares some connection with these pale beings as well.
The Pale King is a Wyrm who transformed from his Wyrm form into his current form in order to match the bugs of Hallownest; the corpse of this Wyrm can still be found in Kingdom's Edge. He is described as being a "light". He is able to expand the minds of bugs, giving them sapience. Like all Wyrms, he also has the ability of foresight. The Pale King was the monarch of Hallownest but disappeared sometime after the Infection returned. The Pale King’s corpse can be found in the White Palace. The Godseeker notes that he was completely erased but that his power still lingers.
The White Lady is a Root who was the Queen of Hallownest. She has an insatiable desire to spread her seeds and to propagate herself, which resulted in the process of Vessels being born. She suggests that she can create flora comparable to the Delicate Flower. The White Lady bound herself in the Queen's Gardens to stop herself from having more offspring. Whether purposely or not, the White Lady seems to be evading attunement by the Godseeker due to her diminishing her power.
The Radiance is a higher being who created the moth tribe and ruled over parts of Hallownest before the Pale King arrived. She is described as being a light brighter than Essence, which is the substance that dreams are made of. She seems to hold the most power over the dream realm; it is unclear if she has a physical form or only exists in that realm. After she was almost entirely forgotten, she started exerting her power through the dreams of bugs, leading, somewhat by accident, to the Infection. In response to this, the Pale King sealed her into the Hollow Knight, but ultimately it was not enough and the kingdom of Hallownest was razed by the plague.
The Nightmare's Heart is the deepest power of the Nightmare Realm which exists at the heart of the Grimm Troupe. Nightmare King Grimm is likely a direct incarnation of the Heart's power. In the past, the nightmare realm became separated from the rest of the dream realm. The Ritual of the Grimm Troupe exists in order to provide the Heart with a vessel, which it needs to sustain itself. This vessel takes the physical form of Troupe Master Grimm or the Grimmchild.
Unn is a slug-like being who made the Mosskin and the vegetation of Greenpath from her dream. She was worshipped as a deity in Greenpath, but over time her strength faded. She sleeps in an area to the west of the Lake of Unn where she is calling to the Mosskin. The Mosskin also speak of a "Law of Unn" that is enforced onto wanderers who stray too far off the pilgrim’s way into Greenpath.
Stated by Godseeker to be the God of Gods and thus the most probable strongest being known. The Knight becomes the Lord of Shades after acquiring Void Heart and unifying the Void under their will. During the Embrace the Void ending, they become the focal point of the Void. It is unknown what kind of abilities they have other than being able to unify the Void and defeat the Radiance. During the cutscene after the Void Entity has killed Absolute Radiance in Godhome, it is shown to wreak destruction on Godhome by consuming the Godseeker using Void Tendrils in the dream and then infecting and bursting out of the Godseeker in Junk Pit. Its motives are unknown even if it has underlying hints of malevolence portrayed in its actions.
Other Powerful Beings
It is not certain whether these beings are higher beings, although they do appear to have powers beyond that of most ordinary bugs.
Seen in both the Abyss in the area containing Lifeblood Core and in Godhome. It is connected to both Lifeblood and Dreams, but it is unclear in what way. The Lifeblood plant when struck with the Dream Nail in Godhome also spreads the influence of Lifeblood all over the area, possibly suggesting at some sort of ability that this creature has.
Pure Vessel is the Hollow Knight in their prime before they became infected. Being the progeny of two Pale Beings and trained to their prime by one of the Pale Beings, it is undetermined whether Pure Vessel did achieve a Higher Being state. However in their arena in Godhome, the Godseeker sits alone for their fight- a distinction given only to two other true Higher Beings: Absolute Radiance and Nightmare King Grimm. If the Pure Vessel is indeed a Higher Being, it is unknown if the other Vessels share the same trait.
Gods of Thunder, Gods of Rain
Little is known about these beings that come from the homeland of the Godseeker, the Land of Storms. It is presumed that they were dead when the Godseeker came to be as their silence was the catalyst to the Godseeker arriving in Hallownest to find other gods as well as the Land of Storms itself being referred to as a "godless land". Huge corpses can be found in the background of the Land of Storms- particularly two major ones found in the room with the Weathered Mask. These are known as "Old Gods" in the game's files and are possibly the Gods of Thunder and Rain. It can be noted that the Godseeker indirectly calls the Old Gods "pretender Gods", though it is unknown if she is actually referring to the Gods of Thunder and the Gods of Rain with this statement.
↑Pre-Godmaster developer note: <entry name="God">perhaps in special instance? though usually the god-like creatures are higher beings.</entry>
↑Bardoon: "This ashen place is grave of Wyrm. Once told, it came to die. But what is death for that ancient being? More transformation methinks. This failed kingdom is product of the being spawned from that event."
↑The Godseeker: "God-king, you reduced your form to match Our meagre shells... "
↑White Palace lore tablet: "No blazing kin. Only one light shall shine against the dark."
↑White Palace lore tablet: "The Wyrm becomes beacon, minds expanded,"
↑Bardoon: "Don't mistake. I am not a wyrm... Ohrm... Too small, I am. Too many limbs. No foresight like those old things."
↑Official manual:"As Hallownest fell to ruin, its reclusive king abandoned his subjects and went into hiding."
↑ The Godseeker: "Even long departed, We feel the afterglow of the God-power that sat this throne... [..] A God so strong... Yet erased so completely."
↑White Lady: "I still feel that urge you see. I always will. A voracious desire to spread seeds upon the land, to propogate myself, to breed."
↑White Lady: "Not of me that flower, nor of this kingdom."
↑White Lady: "These bindings about me, I've chosen to erect."
↑ The Godseeker: "Why does she frustrate Us? How does she hide from Us? Does she diminish herself by choice?"
↑Seer: "The folk of my tribe were born from a light."
↑Seer: "Light similar to Essence, similar to that powerful blade, though much brighter still." "Essence... the precious fragments of light that dreams are made of."
↑Seer: "How fickle my ancestors must have been. They forsook the light that spawned them. Turned their backs to it... Forgot it even. And so this kingdom was born from that betrayal. But the memories of that ancient light still lingered, hush whispers of faith... Until all of Hallownest began to dream of that forgotten light."
↑Moss Prophet: "To stifle that light is to suppress nature. Nature suppressed distorts, plagues us."