Establishing A Relationship with the Spirit of a City

The Divine Mr. R. By The Divine Mr. R., 6th Dec 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Religion>Mysticism

Every city tends to have its share of parapsychological happenings, from psychic readers to haunted homes. But did you know that a city could have its own spirit? Here is a brief explanation of the concept, along with my advice for establishing a working relationship from my experience as an urban shaman.

Spirit of a City?

To some of you reading this, the idea of a city having its own spirit is absurd. I mean, we have all heard of ghosts, angels and demons, maybe even elemental spirits and djinn, but a city's spirit might be a bit much. The idea of a city having its own spirit actually goes back to the ancient Romans and their Genius loci, as well as the ancient Scandinavians and the landvaettir, or land wights. Both of these may be found on Google or Wikipedia for the curious.

In both cultures, an area was believed to have a sort of god or guardian spirit watching over it. To the Romans, this was typically a spirit of a city or a crossroads, while to the ancient Norse, this could be a small rock or a large chunk of a nation. Either way, where there was a place, there was a spirit charged with protecting it. This could be offered sacrifice or even grant omens to those who asked, just like other gods could.

Just a quick note before we start

Quick note: I am going to use "it" here because gender is kind of a tricky thing with beings that lack a body. Even if my city comes across to me as female, to another person she might be perceived as a he. It gets really iffy and falls ultimately on whoever is doing to listening.

Getting to Know the Place

The way I go about this is in a time-honored tradition of all mankind: Shameless bribery!

I swear that was a joke! Seriously, I promise! But there is a tiny grain of truth to it.

You see, spirits are roughly like people, and every other living thing: They like it when nice stuff happens to them (and don't like bad stuff happening to them,) and even in a limited capacity, they are able to acknowledge and respond to communication. So, logically, if you want a spirit to speak with you and like you, it's a good idea to be nice to it. Generally, in the case of a city's spirit, this means going out and getting to know it. And in this case, "getting to know it" means taking a walk.

It's as simple as that. Go out and explore the cityscape, really make a weekend out of this. Take a trip around all of the areas (yes, all of them) and get to know the place. Eventually, you might notice stuff you had never expected to see in your city. Sometimes you will end up getting a really rough trip, other times you will have a fantastic day out. Chalk all of this up to a learning experience.

Be sure to hit the library (or libraries) and learn everything you can about your city, as well. A working knowledge of your environment is always a plus, given that this history essentially shaped it and its spirit into the place it became today (or the other way around, depending on how you look at it.)

Don't forget, though: The concrete's just as important as the grass, and vice versa! It's all there, and has probably been there for a while, give it a good, hard look and learn whatever you can.

Shameless Bribery or... Establishing Contact

Now we come to the shameless bribery!

Well, it's actually closer to a heartfelt gift to the very spirit that protects the city in which you live, work, presumably play, possibly raise a family and any of the other really important things that happen in an urban (or suburban) area. But it still probably counts as bribery to someone. In this particular case, it's more of an act to show the city's spirit that you appreciate it being there and providing guidance and protection to the place where you lay your head at night and go out and make a go of it every day (or the reverse if you are nocturnal.)

Now, this does not to be some grand, expensive thing, nobody is asking for gold and jewels. Now this doesn't mean be a cheapskate, but just be reasonable for what you can actually afford. If your offering (that's what we're calling this, since bribery is kind of objectionable) is an "economically priced" foodstuff, and an equivalent beverage... So be it, nobody will fault you. That's the great thing about spirits: Intent matters.

You will need:
+ A foodstuff/foodstuffs of some kind, preferably non-perishables (ramen, canned veggies and soups, etc.)
+ A beverage of some kind, again, bottles or cans (go for things like the packs of bottled water, or soda-pop.)
+ Incense. Again, do your best with this, something that smells nice. If the best you can do is sticks from a head-shop, then that is fine.
+ A candle. This can be of any color that you feel fits, but I would avoid black unless you feel like you're being pulled in that direction. I typically use a white candle.

+ A photo of your city, either printed out from online or one you may have taken during your walks around the place.

Now, make sure you have privacy, for peace and quiet's sake if nothing else, and get everything ready. Gather the foodstuffs and the beverages and set them down in front of the candle and the incense burner (use a ceramic bowl with some sand and a charcoal briquette if you have to.) The candle and the incense burner should, in turn, be in front of the picture of your city. Light the candle, then the incense, and sit down in front of everything gathered and just take a moment to gaze at the picture.

Meditate on everything you have learned so far, how you felt while traveling through streets, parks, nicer neighborhoods and slums. Getting stuck in traffic and hitting every green light. Everything. All of it. Let it flow through your head and fill yourself with the feelings you had then. Place one hand on the food you have chosen and, with respect, state your intention to offer it to the spirit of your city. Do the same for the beverages chosen, stating your intention to offer it to the spirit. You may do so however you like, although I usually keep it to the point without much flowery language, but I always do so respectfully. After all, this is a major terrestrial intelligence, and it would not do to be rude.

Once this is done, conclude by meditating upon the city itself as you did at the start of your ritual. Do this until the incense is burnt out, if it is not already. You should still have quite a bit of candle left. If that is the case, snuff it out with either a candle snuffer or a bit of wet cloth and keep it around for another repetition of this ritual. This will not be your last contact, after all.

What To Do With Your Offering Plus Extra Advice

Once you have performed the above rite, there remains a simple question; "What am I going to do with all of this food?"

Don't worry, I had you do all of this for a reason. Every city has at least one food drive or soup kitchen, and they are always in need of donations. The food you have sacrificed to the city will go to the city through one of these charitable organizations (your pick!) By providing a hand for its less fortunate citizens, you are performing a service for it, and I assure you, it is appreciated.

This is not the only way you can offer to your city and its Genius, however. Everything from urban clean-up efforts to helping plant a community garden are viable alternatives. Basically, anything that benefits your city and demands time, energy, effort, or even all three at once are perfectly legitimate methods.

In a later article, I will provide a method or two for communication with the Genius of your city. Until then, be sure to nurture the blossoming relationship between you and the spirit of your city, and have fun with it.


City, Elementals, Ghosts, Shaman, Spirits

Meet the author

author avatar The Divine Mr. R.
The Divine Mr. R. is an intuitive reader, writer, and Urban Shaman from the Ohio Valley. He will be writing about divination, the paranormal, and chiming in with advice.

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