When I think of spirits (disclaimer: as a very “soft” polytheist, my view of supernatural entities in general is very loose), I tend to think of wild locations: the spirit of a river, a particular woods, etc. But can there also be spirits for things that wouldn’t exist but for human effort?
For example: Is there a spirit of Hoover Dam? Of the cities some of us live in?
I tend to think the answer is yes, but I’m unsure of the permanence of such spirits, or how they “rank” relative to the spirits of natural phenomena. (On the other hand, what happens to the spirit of a West Virginia hollow destroyed by the strip mining of the mountaintop above it?) I guess a lot depends on your definition of spirit.
I’m so convinced my garden in the middle of Manhattan has a spirit that I’ve named him (Verdanus), his focal point being the green man plaque perched on the ivy-covered chimney, from which he peers out and keeps protective watch on his domain, a tiny patch of roof bounded by the corners of the building, and no further. The fact that he may be nothing more than the manifestation of my own dedication to this oasis of green in a concrete jungle matters not at all.
What I find fascinating is that Verdanus didn’t exist until 13 years ago, when I moved in and grew this garden on the bare rooftop.
On a larger scale in terms of time and space occupied, I think the city I live in, New York, has a spirit. A cranky one, but magnificent nonetheless. But again, unlike natural phenomena like rivers and mountains, NYC is the resultant accumulation of the activity of people (lots of them), and it hasn’t always been here.
(But then, mountains and rivers haven’t *always* been here either; just on the time scale of humanity’s brief perspective, they’ve “always” been here.)
I’m rambling a bit, but I’m curious what other people’s takes are on man-made spirits and their viability.
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