I’m trying to not use my car as much, what with it being a cantankerous ’99 Neon and with gas prices ever increasing. Plus, with the weather sufficiently nice enough (for this area, hot and humid forever), it’s a good reason to get outside once in a while. This all got me walking more to local stores for what I need, and so I took a short trip to the local grocer. It’s only a 20 or 25 minute walk through a neighborhood and a small trail, so it’s still nearby, and also in a shopping center with a kabob place I like (if you’re ever in the downtown Fairfax, VA area, Kabob Corner is spectacular). I got my groceries there, but also a few pastries from the bakery inside the shop.
The trail I mentioned walking through was through this small young forest between a church and a neighborhood, and running through the wood and along the gravel path was a small stream. It was really nice, and I was surprised that such a place was even near where I live in the middle of a fairly urban area. As I was walking through, I felt the forest and had a brief chat with it. It was young and curious, and seemed fairly happy and awake. I talked to it and felt how it was, gave it my name, and was on my way. As I was walking through, I decided to leave one of the pastries on a raised concrete platform at a bend in the path, and declared that it was for the local spirits, or genii loci, by whatever name they used, whatever form they used, as a symbol of my thanks, honor, and love. I circumambulated it clockwise once, then went on my way.
As I was walking home through the forest, I noticed a change in the feel around me. It was much more curious, like in a really pleasantly surprised way. It hadn’t been treated like that before, where someone left it an offering, so it was all like “dude, what? Thanks!” I didn’t dwell there for long, since I had milk in my backpack that needed to get into my fridge, but I just said that it was a symbol of my gratitude that the forest was there and that I could discover it. I plan on using that path instead of other roads nearby, so I may as well make friends with it.
Of course, there were other spirits I bought pastries for. One of them was another genius loci closer to my own home: behind my apartment complex is a large park with a forest, and between my complex and the park is a small clearing where there was once a house (now a grassy field with a driveway, some cinder blocks sticking out of the ground, and some unkempt decorative plants in a row). I leave offerings there once in a while whenever I make bread, yoghurt, or other things with a bit of wine and fresh water, and since I made an offering to one genius loci nearby, I felt that I owed this one as well. I left another pastry by a large plant-y mound well-hidden from the road, said a similar thing as I did earlier, circumambulated the mound, and left. This wood was a little sleepier and doesn’t react as much as the earlier one did, but it felt at peace and a little more active all the same. Besides, I never see any remnant of my offerings that I leave when I return, so I assume the local fauna have their way with it.
Then, once I got home, I left another pastry out to the spirits of my own home. This was the first such offering I’ve made, since I didn’t know what to address (Hestia/Vesta? Janus? The Lares and Penates? My own genius? Zeus Ktesios?), but I addressed them by all names of all such spirits and by their function and asked for their blessing as I returned a bit of my labors to them as a gift. A simple offering, but it’s the first, so I’m sure they’ll get more elaborate as I go on living here. Considering how fortunate I am where I live and how nice it is, I figure an offering like this is long overdue.
Plus, I was able to get all this done in about an hour and a half, which includes waiting for and returning with some delicious kabobs before they got cold. Not a bad walk around at all. Now to get off my ass and get to the cleaning and cooking I left myself from the weekend vacation.