Genii Loci II – Spirit of Place

Ancestral Voices

Our land is sacred, as the Native Americans taught us and the ancient Britons believed. Once it was peppered with holy places: hills, caves, groves, pits and shafts, but the most common were watery places such as wells, springs, rivers and lakes. The presiding deity varied from place to place. I don’t think the ancient Britons equated one with another as the Romans did, saying ‘What you call Minerva we call Sulis.’ Instead they respected each genius as unique to that place.

In this year of exploring southern Britain, mostly sites along the Fosse Way but also further afield, I’ve been to the wells and streams, baths and springs of Sulis, Coventina, Cuda and many others now nameless.

Now I’m not a full-blown Romantic who can sit down in a sublime landscape and commune with the spirits. At least half of me is of a sceptical bent (it leads to…

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