At first glance, “Nature Spirits” seems to only imply the birds, trees, and perhaps stones. But the world is full of spirits. The wind spirits dance and play with leaves. Dragons, sit on the top of mountains, sunning themselves. Lares of the house guard the door against the Manes, spirits that would do the family harm.
Everything is alive with a mind and spirit of their own. Walking along a small stream near my building, I encounter different kinds of Nature Spirits. At one mossy dip between the maple trees, the fairies dance. Further along behind several houses, the stream meanders to a dark place. Among the roots of a dark tree on the stream bank lives a spirit that wishes no contact with people. (I generally avoid that place.)
When I was little, my mother loved to go into the woods and look for birds. On our treks, she taught me the names of trees, flowers, and of course birds. From our forays into the forests, I became attuned to the Nature Spirits. From my mother, I learned the importance of learning the name of each one. Names give a deeper understanding of each spirit.
When I teach at a new school, I offer salt to the Lares of the parking lot. Then, I offer gemstones to the School Lares. This is to ensure a parking spot, and help in teaching the children. I have discovered that the Lares remember me when I return to a school.
In the Roman Hearth culture, the family has a guardian spirit called the Lar Familaris. They made daily offerings to Them to watch over the house. Several of the Dii Familaris are charged with specific responsibilities – the Penates guard the food stores, Forculus the door, Limentinus the threshold, and Cardea the hinges. Meanwhile every male-family member has their Genius, female their Juno watching over them.
Oh, Nature Spirits who inhabit the world
Look upon us with kind eyes.
Help us care for Your world.
Dii Familaris guard the home –
Forculus, the door
Limentinus, the threshold
Cardea, the hinges
God Janus, the comings and goings.
So many protecting the family
So many the family honors
We give, They give, we give…..
Round, round, round,
A circle of hospitality
How good knowing the door is protected.