PaganSquare is a community blog space where Pagans can discuss topics relevant to the life and spiritual practice of all Pagans.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Tags
    Tags Displays a list of tags that have been used in the blog.
  • Bloggers
    Bloggers Search for your favorite blogger from this site.
  • Login
    Login Login form
Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in land spirits

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Animate World is the Normal World

I happened on a scientific paper saying that believing in or sensing the spirit in an "object" was abnormal. How sad it must be to live in a world full of dead things, where everything is inanimate. Worse to evangelize it and say animist religion and fairy tales are pathological.

Animist religion is not something from the dusty past. Many modern religions have animist components, not only modern revivals of pagan and heathen religions, but continuous religions too.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

 Life in the cosmos: JWST hints at lower number of habitable planets

Are there sidhe on other planets?

Call them what you will—sidhe, elves, land-wights—wherever humans go, we seem to discover Other Peoples in the Land, the Land's Older Children: not quite gods, perhaps, but of a kind with them, if perhaps a lesser kind.

Resources for answering this question are meager, since in few places does human memory extend to a time before there were humans in the Land. I can think of fewer than a handful of examples.

Still, the stories all agree. When the Norse reached Iceland, land-wights were already there to meet them.

Let me broaden the question. Are there land-wights in Antarctica?

Of course, by the time that humans first arrived in Antarctica, we had mostly ceased to “believe” in such beings, and so did not expect to encounter them. By analogy with Iceland, though, I would expect the answer to the question to be “yes.” Surely, if ever there was a land of trolls and frost-etins, it would be Antarctica.

There was, of course, life in Antarctica before humans got there. Does that make a difference?

Are there land-wights on a planet with sentient, but non-human, life?

Are there land-wights on a planet without sentient life?

Are there land-wights on a planet with no life at all?

Are there land-wights on the Moon?

We have no way to answer such questions.


Who, one might ask, are the land-wights? Are they not, if effect, Nature looking back?

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Blut, Boden und Bullshit

A great many Pagan cultures have emphasized the sacredness of place. Even when they have migrated thousands of miles, as did the Navajo, the sacredness of the new place they now lived became central to their identity.  Traditional Navajo today identify their home as between four sacred mountains, known in English as Mount Blanca, Mount Taylor, Mount Hesperus, and the San Francisco Peaks. Other tribes saw the matter differently, because the Navajo’s view of their land clashed with that of the Hopi and Paiute people who claimed some of these places as their own homes, and had been there first. But this tribal dispute is not what my column is about. Instead it is about the sacredness of place and people, that the Navajo, Hopi, and Paiute experienced, and for ourselves, how to experience it, and how to think clearly about it in today’s political climate.

It is also about the bullshit some Euro-Americans are spreading about this issue today.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Mark Green
    Mark Green says #
    Hear, hear! Great article, Gus.

Posted by on in Culture Blogs

b2ap3_thumbnail_praybeads1.jpgIn some ways, I’m glad I wasn’t in CT when Hurricane Sandy ripped through our lives. I have had enough stress in my life, that my adrenals are no longer high functioning. Too much, and I’m a wreck for days. But I’m almost sorry I missed seeing the land spirits save our house.

Gardening is one very effective way of connecting with land spirits, and I’ve been doing that since I moved to Connecticut. We don’t own the wooded lot behind our house, and because our own plot is tiny, we had lots of shade. I longed to grow vegetables, but made do with cherishing native shade perennials. Growing these is a slow process. They take years to spread, and I lost some of what I put in to slugs. My long term goal was to spread them into the woods where non-natives had taken over. I spent a lot of time outside talking to trees, and plants. As my spiritual practice became more defined, I set up a cupped stone as a place to leave libations for the land spirits.

Last modified on
Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda Smith says #
    I'm sorry that's what you hear because that's not what I'm saying.
  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda Smith says #
    In my practice I don't worship deities. When I cast I don't ask for anything. I don't demand anything. I work in tandem with th
  • Ian Phanes
    Ian Phanes says #
    Amanda, I both cast and pray, sometimes even at the same time, but frequently separately. I use the word prayer to describe any
  • Amanda Smith
    Amanda Smith says #
    This is a great post but I have a question. Over the last ten years I've noticed more and more witches using the term praying and
  • Selina Rifkin
    Selina Rifkin says #
    Well, not all Pagans describe themselves as witches, I don't. Wicca is a very specific tradition, and certainly the best known, bu

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
The Landwight

This land is home now. It's the place where the land spirit protects me, and where we exchange gifts and mutually grow stronger, and happier. It's the place where my neighbors' children swim in my pool and their dogs obey me. It's the place where I delight to see butterflies on the flowers with a simple joy that blots out all other thoughts. It's the place where I can go outside and harvest food and know that it's healthy and free of poisons and a product of my love of the land and the land's love for me. It's the place where my old cats are buried.

When I first moved from my old apartment in Las Vegas to our house in Henderson, I wanted to do an Asatru land-taking ritual when I moved in. I wanted to walk the boundaries of our land and mark out our property line as an innangarth (inner yard.) But, while moving, I had attempted to carry a couch down the stairs from my old walk-up apartment and injured my knee. As I sat in my room thinking about how to walk the boundary when I couldn't walk, I looked out the window and saw my cat Shadow walking the boundary for me.

Shadow understood territory, because she was a cat. So, I started out on this land by working with nature via nature, in the form of a cat and her territorial instincts.

Gradually, I became aware of the being of this place, the genius loci. I decided to contact the land spirit and see if I could communicate and start a formal gifting relationship with it. In Asatru we call the land spirits landvaettir or landwights, and there are traditions about what a landwight might like, but those traditions were developed in Europe, dealing with the beings native to that land. Since this land is in the Nevada portion of the Mojave Desert, I thought the local landwight might be used to dealing with humans within the traditions of the local Native American tribes, so I approached it by offering corn. It liked the corn. But it turned out the landwight wasn't particular; he just wanted some of whatever we were having, only plant matter, and only what would otherwise go to waste. The landwight here is a vegan and a freetarian. I began offering to the landwight by putting things in the compost pile, and the landwight accepted these gifts and returned gifts of rich, dark soil. Yes, this is how compost normally works -- I see the magic of the return of a gift for a gift operating and simultaneously understand that this process can be explained by science, for that is what nature is for me. It is both the science and the magic, both the logic and the joy.

The photo at the top of this post is my front yard in October 2011. I designed this garden, and went through the approval process to get the local water department rebate for replacing lawn with xeriscape. I grew both the squash in the foreground and the mimosa tree on the side of the house from seed. I started the lavender bushes and Australian racer in the middle ground of the photo from cuttings; the lavender cuttings came from the back yard lavender bush, which originally came from High Country Gardens, and the racer from my grandmother's garden in Arizona. The squash seeds came from Native Seed Search, an organization for the preservation of heritage Southwest Native American food crop seeds. It's a Tohono O'odham Ha:I which I have nicknamed "the squash that ate Las Vegas" because it is rampant.

After some years living here, as my relationship with the local landwight deepened, he decided he wanted to be represented by a garden gnome statue. He does not actually look like a gnome; he is a vast power, and his true form awes me. My mom chose the gnome statue. I positioned it in the garden near where I give the landwight the "Presents for the Gnome." I distribute the gnomic blessings into the planting beds-- that is, I shovel compost-- and the garden flourishes. The garden nourishes me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It takes care of me, I take care of it, and the cycle continues. The the mimosa and pine trees that I started from seeds in little pots in my apartment are big trees now. Their roots go down deep into the ground, and so do my psychic roots. This is my home.

Last modified on

Posted by on in Culture Blogs
New Years Resolutions

I hope that 2014 finds you and your loved ones well. I don't usually post New Years' resolutions because I find them silly, but to my surprise, this year I actually have one. I'm cutting as much plastic use out of my life as I can. I live in Florida, as y'all know, and it's a peninsula, so even inland, you're never really far from the ocean. And my vaettir care about what goes on there; Florida has been above and under water off and on over time as glaciers have risen and receded. I have white Florida beach sand in my yard, even this far inland. Plastics are polluting our oceans and killing animals.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Liza
    Liza says #
    This is one of the bottles I use. Easy to clean, they'll replace parts if needed... and insulated. While I don't live in 80bazill

Posted by on in Paths Blogs

In recent months, I've been lucky enough to witness some fairly ancient traditions replayed by modern folk in my local community. Rather than taking the cynical, culturally-superior, post-modern 21st-century approach, villagers across Derbyshire have delighted in the creation of Well Dressing ceremonies and presentations.


Well Dressing is thought to be pagan in origin, but now crosses social and faith boundaries in the simple act of creation. An offering is made from natural materials - such as petals, seeds and leaves - ostensibly to celebrate the local community and the various groups within it. But it is known that Well Dressing was also an act of thanks and celebration, to honour the spirit of the Well for providing clean water to that community, allowing it to nourish and thrive.

Last modified on
Recent comment in this post - Show all comments
  • Jamie
    Jamie says #
    That is very, very cool. Thanks for sharing.

Additional information