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Author Topic: Can a city become an egregore?  (Read 922 times)

Draupadi

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Can a city become an egregore?
« on: September 23, 2015, 02:12:27 am »
I was musing on how to move to a certain city that is my dream city - we'll call it City X - and the thought came to me that maybe a city can become an egregore. An egregore is "the spirit of the thing", so a city's egregore would be the sum of the city's identity, the beliefs about the city, the essence of the city. It can happen when the city takes on a life of its own, and almost all big cities do this and the City X I want definitely does as well.

Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?

I'm kind of just wondering out loud since I'm not very experienced and would love any feedback on this idea. Thanks!

RandallS

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2015, 07:37:28 am »
Quote from: Waterbender;180301
Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?

Assuming the City has an egregore -- and I think that would be more a function of the city's age and "cohesiveness" (for lack of a better term) than anything else -- I don't see why you could not work with it. As to whether doing so would help you move there, I think that would depend on it city, if it is welcoming to newcomers, the working with its egregore for that purpose would be a good thing. If, however, the city's people have an insular "if you weren't born here or lived here a very long time, you should just go home" attitude, trying to work with that city's egregore for that purpose could hurt more than help.
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Jenett

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #2 on: September 23, 2015, 08:57:00 am »
Quote from: Waterbender;180301
An egregore is "the spirit of the thing", so a city's egregore would be the sum of the city's identity, the beliefs about the city, the essence of the city.


That's a different definition of egregore than the ones I've usually seen, and I want to poke at it for a moment, because I think it's highly relevant to your actual question.

For me, an egregore is a group mind, a collective summation of the desires of the people in it, with some common purpose. I think it's not *impossible* for a city to have one of those, but it's unlikely in a city of any degree of diversity to be very coherent.

What I think is more common is 'spirit of place' or 'genius loci' - the accumulated energies and history and geography of a location becoming an (at least somewhat) independent entity

(If you see the distinction, an egregore is more commonly thought to be in service to the group of people who create it, while a genius loci is its own being.)

Quote

Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?


Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes, but think through it.

I've done three long distance moves in my life: one was from the Boston area (where I grew up) to Minnesota after falling in love with the state on a visit, one was to Maine (because job), and the most recent is back to Boston. All three moves involved some degree of interaction with the relevant genius loci, and with some other essential spirits (I have an ongoing conversation with the Upper Mississippi, for example.)

I think it's very tempting for a lot of people to idealise a particular place, especially if they don't live there. This is totally normal, but if you're actually trying to connect with that place, it may not serve your purposes, because you'd be trying to connect to the image of the thing, and not the thing itself, y'know? And if you're looking for very practically rooted outcomes like a job and a place to live, that could be a problem (or at least not very effective.)

My most recent job hunt, I really *wanted* to end up in Boston again, for a variety of reasons, but I was also very realistic about the fact that while there's a lot of potential opportunities (I'm a librarian, and tons of collections and schools and town libraries mean lots of theoretically possible jobs) there are also a lot of librarians who want to live here, and a library school with lots of graduates, and so on.

But I'd also had a very visceral response in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing of "That is MY CITY and I AM NOT THERE." that - well, I recognised as a thing. (as I said, I grew up in the Boston suburbs and was here through college, so it's a substantial chunk of my life, not a brand new place I'd never lived.)

With all of those different things in play, I focused my magical and ritual working on finding the right job for me, but also, whenever I was in Boston (for interviews, to see my mother or friends in the area) did a bit of reaching out to the genius loci to say "Hey, I'm here, I'd love to move back."

It was not a rapid process (I was job hunting for over a year, in the end) and only about half my interviews were in the greater Boston metro, but when I actually hit the right job, everything fell into place very quickly (job details, finding a place to live, getting the move to go smoothly, all of it.) It's not a relationship one can force, in my experience, but when it's there, it's like everything flows down hill, very naturally.

Sometimes, though, it doesn't work out: when I was at the tail end of living in Minneapolis, unemployed and hoping to find a job there, I had several experiences of driving home from interviews, and having moments with the genius loci and the Mississippi going "I really want you to stay" and yet none of the actual jobs working out.

In terms of building that kind of relationship:
- Visiting. And not just the kind of tourist visiting, but spending time like you would if you lived there.

- Understanding the history, and not just the parts you're instinctively attracted to.

- Listening/reading and taking in comments from people who actually live in that place, without necessarily responding, over a period of time. (I think one of the things that was a big shift for me in wanting to come home was a thread on Metafilter after the Marathon bombings, with people who had very different experiences of the city than I do, but who loved her just as much. Browsing things like "I'm visiting/moving there, what should I see/where should I live"? can get you interesting perspectives.)
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Draupadi

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2015, 09:06:44 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;180308
That's a different definition of egregore than the ones I've usually seen, and I want to poke at it for a moment, because I think it's highly relevant to your actual question.

For me, an egregore is a group mind, a collective summation of the desires of the people in it, with some common purpose. I think it's not *impossible* for a city to have one of those, but it's unlikely in a city of any degree of diversity to be very coherent.

What I think is more common is 'spirit of place' or 'genius loci' - the accumulated energies and history and geography of a location becoming an (at least somewhat) independent entity

(If you see the distinction, an egregore is more commonly thought to be in service to the group of people who create it, while a genius loci is its own being.)



Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: Yes, but think through it.

I've done three long distance moves in my life: one was from the Boston area (where I grew up) to Minnesota after falling in love with the state on a visit, one was to Maine (because job), and the most recent is back to Boston. All three moves involved some degree of interaction with the relevant genius loci, and with some other essential spirits (I have an ongoing conversation with the Upper Mississippi, for example.)

I think it's very tempting for a lot of people to idealise a particular place, especially if they don't live there. This is totally normal, but if you're actually trying to connect with that place, it may not serve your purposes, because you'd be trying to connect to the image of the thing, and not the thing itself, y'know? And if you're looking for very practically rooted outcomes like a job and a place to live, that could be a problem (or at least not very effective.)

My most recent job hunt, I really *wanted* to end up in Boston again, for a variety of reasons, but I was also very realistic about the fact that while there's a lot of potential opportunities (I'm a librarian, and tons of collections and schools and town libraries mean lots of theoretically possible jobs) there are also a lot of librarians who want to live here, and a library school with lots of graduates, and so on.

But I'd also had a very visceral response in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing of "That is MY CITY and I AM NOT THERE." that - well, I recognised as a thing. (as I said, I grew up in the Boston suburbs and was here through college, so it's a substantial chunk of my life, not a brand new place I'd never lived.)

With all of those different things in play, I focused my magical and ritual working on finding the right job for me, but also, whenever I was in Boston (for interviews, to see my mother or friends in the area) did a bit of reaching out to the genius loci to say "Hey, I'm here, I'd love to move back."

It was not a rapid process (I was job hunting for over a year, in the end) and only about half my interviews were in the greater Boston metro, but when I actually hit the right job, everything fell into place very quickly (job details, finding a place to live, getting the move to go smoothly, all of it.) It's not a relationship one can force, in my experience, but when it's there, it's like everything flows down hill, very naturally.

Sometimes, though, it doesn't work out: when I was at the tail end of living in Minneapolis, unemployed and hoping to find a job there, I had several experiences of driving home from interviews, and having moments with the genius loci and the Mississippi going "I really want you to stay" and yet none of the actual jobs working out.

In terms of building that kind of relationship:
- Visiting. And not just the kind of tourist visiting, but spending time like you would if you lived there.

- Understanding the history, and not just the parts you're instinctively attracted to.

- Listening/reading and taking in comments from people who actually live in that place, without necessarily responding, over a period of time. (I think one of the things that was a big shift for me in wanting to come home was a thread on Metafilter after the Marathon bombings, with people who had very different experiences of the city than I do, but who loved her just as much. Browsing things like "I'm visiting/moving there, what should I see/where should I live"? can get you interesting perspectives.)

 
 These replies are both great but I especially loved this explanation. Lots to think about. That's really cool that you actually did develop a relationship with an entire part of a state and also Boston! And I definitely see the importance of actually developing a relationship with the entirety of what the city is, not just what you idealize it to be.

HarpingHawke

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2015, 12:05:30 pm »
Quote from: Waterbender;180301
I was musing on how to move to a certain city that is my dream city - we'll call it City X - and the thought came to me that maybe a city can become an egregore. An egregore is "the spirit of the thing", so a city's egregore would be the sum of the city's identity, the beliefs about the city, the essence of the city. It can happen when the city takes on a life of its own, and almost all big cities do this and the City X I want definitely does as well.

Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?

I'm kind of just wondering out loud since I'm not very experienced and would love any feedback on this idea. Thanks!

 
Firstly, what Jenett said about egregores vs genii loci. And also just generally what Jenett said.

Continuing from that, I am of the opinion that a city can certainly be *a* genius loci, but at the same time is a conglomeration of genii. Within a city, you don't simply have a *city*, but also individual buildings that may have genii or at least something that has the potential to become a genius. You have roads, which, if well-traveled enough, also will have genii connected to them. A large part of my religious practice (the 'Road Witch' in my religion field) is connected to working with and for road genii and other entities that pop up along the roads.

This brings me to another point: something else that could also influence the genius of the city is the variety of spirits that reside there. There could be people who passed away who don't want to leave, there are going to be spirits that can only be classified as Urban, ones that live in smoke and metal and litter, in Dumpsters and libraries and coffee shops. There are spirits who were created from tragedy and spirits created from security and satisfaction.

Depending on how animistic you are/aren't, you could have some form of conversation or do a working with a pile of melted rubber.

The city's genius itself obviously depends on an abundance of factors, such as who lives there, the history, the general vibe when you spend time there and let the city soak into you.

So yes, you could do a working with City X, and taking in the context of everything within it will help you out.

And once again, what Jenett said.

Hope this helps.
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RandallS

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2015, 02:32:40 pm »
Quote from: Jenett;180308
For me, an egregore is a group mind, a collective summation of the desires of the people in it, with some common purpose. I think it's not *impossible* for a city to have one of those, but it's unlikely in a city of any degree of diversity to be very coherent.

What I think is more common is 'spirit of place' or 'genius loci' - the accumulated energies and history and geography of a location becoming an (at least somewhat) independent entity

(If you see the distinction, an egregore is more commonly thought to be in service to the group of people who create it, while a genius loci is its own being.)

In magical groups, an egregore is generally created by an act of magic and deliberately focused, however, I've seen groups develop one without any conscious, let alone magical, effort. The former are far more focused in their purpose than the latter in my experience. I see a genus loci as being a spirit of a location that is independent of humans.  The way I see things the egregore of a city (if it has one) is something created by the thoughts and activities of the humans who live (or lived there) while the genus loci of a city would be a spirit of the location where the city grew -- something that existed before people made their city.
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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2015, 06:19:34 pm »
Quote from: Waterbender;180301

Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?


 
I don't have much to add to this, except that seems apropos.

PetitAlbert

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Re: Can a city become an egregore?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2015, 01:46:39 pm »
Quote from: Waterbender;180301
I was musing on how to move to a certain city that is my dream city - we'll call it City X - and the thought came to me that maybe a city can become an egregore. An egregore is "the spirit of the thing", so a city's egregore would be the sum of the city's identity, the beliefs about the city, the essence of the city. It can happen when the city takes on a life of its own, and almost all big cities do this and the City X I want definitely does as well.

Could I do workings with City X's egregore and find a way to attract opportunities that will take me to City X?

I'm kind of just wondering out loud since I'm not very experienced and would love any feedback on this idea. Thanks!

 
City mage here, and this is the coolest question I've seen all week ^_^

It's certainly plausible that cities are like Slenderman - so many people focused on the concept of the city and their hopes and dreams around it that an identity is sort of formed out of nowhere. So if you're into the chaotic/"people believe in it therefore it is real" sort of magic, then yes definitely go for it. This is, I think, what you are describing.

The ritual would be to get stuff together to summon it, but that may be hard to do as a non-resident - a postcard likely won't cut it. You need a curry, an Underground map, some pigeon feathers, a free newspaper, etc - the everyday streetgrot of wherever it is you want to be.

As for there being a *real* city spirit/core/creature/whatever...I think they do. But they are huge, they're unfathomable. I think this is a function of living in my dream city, and desperate to hear it speak in whatever way it can. It's like the story where Semele asks to see Zeus as he really is, and is blinded and burnt by the immensity of it all. I've spoken to aspects of it, but they are faces and masks.

The other thing is that London doesn't care.

(I guess you'd have to be in your dream city a while to pick up on a thing like that, but London is *especially* indifferent. It's filled with little people trying to be impressive, do you think it's impressed by you? It wasn't impressed by Christopher Wren, Jack the Ripper, Samuel Pepys, Dickens or Queen Liz the first. It's not impressed by the new cupcake boutique. It's not impressed by its Rothko room.)

Thank you for a fun question. Let us know how it goes?
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