Ancestors, Ancestral Magic, Animism, Bayou Witch, Cajun Conjure, Do It Your Way, Folk Magick, Guides, Inexplicable Things, Land Spirit, Land Wight, Louisiana Proud, Seidr, Spirits, Swamp Magick, Swamp Witch
Venerating and working with the land wights.
Any time I begin talking about land wights, or landvaettir, I am usually met with some confused looks. These spirits, in my traditional practice, are tied to the land, as well as the overall culture, of any given area. They are a part of the land, regardless of where you live and they have had significant roles in shaping the cultures, throughout history, that developed this land. So, in my eyes, this makes them an important part of the cultures that reflect them.
The term ‘wight’ basically means a spirit or sentient being that is a spiritual being, but neither a god, nor a human, which makes them rather interesting. So, let’s jump right to working with them, as this will maybe help you to understand them a bit more. First, acknowledge their very existence. Recognize that these spirits hold animistic properties or a spiritual essence. These spirits can be seen by their representation in the weather patterns and microecosystems for a particular region; the animals, rodents, birds and even insects that inhabit an area; native trees and plants; waterways, swamps, bayous or marshes; even the rocks hold some level of animistic spirit. Understand that these spirits provide powerful defense to an area – think of it as built in protection. They see to it that the land stays fertile, that more animals call a location home and that there is balance.
The land spirits where my family lives actually provide a great deal of protection – both to our lives, as well as to our property. We have had trees fall during nasty thunderstorms and hurricanes that could have easily taken out a portion of our home, and yet, for some reason, the trees fell away from the home. We know that animals are protected on our land. They act as though it is a haven. We have an abundance of raccoon, possum, honeybees, turtles, snakes, and a whole myriad of birds and corvids that call our little piece of the swamp home.
Integral parts of any folk magick or ancestral-based practice should include working with these spirits, respecting them and their space and leaving them offerings. In return, you will be able to ask them for support for a variety of needs in your life. Think of it this way – they were there from the beginning. So, your home is their home. Your land is their land. What is yours, is theirs. So be respectful. When you move into a new location, go outside, and spend some time around the area. If you have a piece of property, this will become super important to form that connection quickly. These spirits can see to it that the new shed you wish to build goes quickly and easily as planned – or they can burn it to the ground when you are not looking. Babies, I know you think I am kidding – but I am dead serious. I have seen this happen – on multiple occasions when folks forgot to form that connection and give the proper amount of respect. The amount of chaos and havoc they can create is phenomenal and they can hold a grudge for a very, very long time.
But do not let this completely frighten you off. The connection with them, when you are sincere, can be created so quickly. And, if you are in fact, sincere and open, that bond will become quite strong.
One of the best things you can do is to provide offerings. Share your food stores with them. Every week, when we do grocery shopping, we pick up a few things specifically for the land spirits. Fruit, milk, honey, meats, and bread are all great options. Chop the fruits up into smaller pieces – remember, the land spirits can appear in the form of critters that call your property home. Break the bread up into small chunks, place the milk and honey in small reusable containers that you can go back and collect later. Another thing that we do is provide a fresh water source, year-round. Even in the winter, I break the ice a few times a day, if need be. Everything from bats to honeybees have come along and drank from that water source. Another idea is to plant veggies and fruit trees, if you can. Or, allow your lawn to go to seed before you mow it. We allow our spring lawn to flower and bloom with wildflowers each year. Once those wildflowers have died and other areas have developed food for the bees, only then do we mow the lawn for the first time of the season. Just be mindful that you are not alone there. And be mindful of the food you choose to leave. For example, if you have possum, don’t leave out hot peppers or something that may hurt their digestion. Much like ancestors, do not leave out spoiled milk or turned meat. Be conscious. Be kind.
Other offerings can come in the form of music. Land spirits will absolutely show you their appreciation if you play them music – especially if you play an instrument. Walk around your property and play – you will be amazed at the reception you receive. Most mornings, as well as late evenings, we walk with hand drums and flutes ~ so it does not have to be an expensive instrument.
Keep your property picked up and free of debris and litter. Have pride in your area and the land. Think of it this way – how would you feel if someone moved into your home, without your consent, and immediately ate from your refrigerator, drank all your wine, chopped down your bushes outside, slept in your living room floor in their underwear and threw trash all over the house. This is basically what we do to the land spirits. So have a little pride, show them the respect and the gratitude they deserve.
I am always asked about folks that live in a city or heavily populated area. If you live in a city, an apartment building or something of that nature, you too, can still form that important bond with the land spirits. Spend as much time outside as you can. Be positive and open to them. Remember, land spirits are generally regional, if not continental. So, if there is a nearby park, spend time there. Leave offerings in a quiet spot. Leave food and water out for that stray cat you see every evening. Do not chase off the raccoon that gets into the garbage but offer better things for her to eat. Put out a small bowl of bird seed on your deck or balcony. Pick up any litter you see on your daily walks to and from work, etc. On the weekends, find a cemetery and spend some time cleaning up headstones or raking leaves. If you practice any type of conjure and can do it outside, invite the land spirits to watch or even participate. Plant trees or shrubs in your area in the spring. Donate time to a local charity that spends time outside such as Habitat for Humanity, or any conservation group.
Basically, babies – be aware that you are not alone in any space. Even if your space is covered in concrete and asphalt, there are still land spirits there. The lands, of every continent on this amazing planet, are inhabited by things we cannot always see and yet, they make their presence known. They ultimately OWN the land and were here long before we ever were. Always take this into consideration and always give respect and gratitude.
If you ever have any questions about anything I write, or comments/concerns or just simply wish to learn more – my door is always open. Feel free to contact me any time. And visit our website at www.inexplicablethings.com