Place Spirits, Wandering Spirits and Elementals Nomadic Herders – Part 3

Place spirits include spirits that inhabit the areas passed through by nomadic peoples.  The range of a nomadic group can cover a large area. Within that area in specific locations, such as river crossings, mountain passes, and desert oases are all locations where myth and legend have as settings for interaction with spirits; caves and lakes are also favorite locations.

Spirits in this group can manifest in a wide range of forms. One thing about these spirits: they are very protective of their domains. When traveling through a place spirit’s domain how you behave toward the area determines how the spirit responds. Place spirits will only be encountered within their domain. They appear in many forms, some may appear threatening, or be something seemingly innocuous. Do not be mislead by form, these are very powerful within their domain and should not be trifled with.

Often a gift is offered to the spirit to ensure safe passage or safety while staying in the spirit’s domain. These offerings, depending on culture, can simply be an acknowledgment or something personal to the individual. Attitude is the important thing. Take the spirit for granted and things can go terribly wrong: the river crossing gets mired; the camp is attacked by lions and tigers and bears – oh, my.

Then there are the wandering spirits. These spirits are not anchored to place or person, but travel the world freely in search of – well, no one knows what, exactly. Wandering spirits are encountered almost anywhere, and almost always deliver what was asked for, but always in a way the person deserves – not necessarily how they wanted it. As such, they appear to be instruments of cosmic justice enforcing the view that everyone gets what they deserve – eventually. The commonality is: those of moral character and modest ends get rewards; those who are greedy and lust for power are given all they want, just to make their inevitable loss that much more devastating. The Djinn (Genie) of Scheherazade’s Arabian Nights is a classic example of a wandering spirit. There are others, of course, and many have a specific purpose. These are the classic “be careful what you wish for” spirits. They are almost always willing to give you exactly what you wish for.

Elementals are a category all to themselves, and a pretty small one at that. There are four: earth, air, fire and water. If you are communicating with an elemental you are dealing with the core of the planet. They rule the planet.  Every natural event from wind and rain to earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunamis, and forest fires are the purview of the elementals. On the good side, they also rules controlled fires and other beneficial natural events.

On a more personal level elementals can teach you a lot. Many traditions place normal human interactions under the influence of one of the elements. Earth is about the material world; Air is all about ideas and communication; Fire relates to learning, knowledge and creativity; Water reflects emotional interactions. Each elemental can help or hinder the area of its influence: it can teach you to do it better, or make it more difficult. In general they always have a motive and if you can figure out why it is interfering with you, you can usually reason with it if you take it as a lesson learned.

Check back soon for part 4 of this blog.

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