Genius Loci, occasionally Genii locorum (the plural form of Genius loci, or locorum). Literally, “The spirit of a place”; most commonly River Gods and Godesses or River Spirits, who are also referred to as Orisa. Other places, such as forests, can also have a Genius Loci (called Leshy).
The Genii locorum of the River Thames and its tributaries are bound by an Agreement with the human authorities which compels them to keep the Queen’s peace. Special permission is needed from an officer of the law if they are to practice their magic on land, in London.
Genius Loci of rivers, are (sometimes or always?) incarnations of actual people who have died in the river they represent.
It isn't necessary for a river to have a genius loci, the River Lugg for instance had no spirit. The rivers Misbourne and Chess were not believed to have any spirits either. Later it turned out that Rives Chess indeed has a Genius loci, a very young boy called Chess.
The powers of the river spirits seems to be weaker when they are far away from their river.
River Spirits thrive on symbolism, ritual and ceremony. Many genius loci seems to have character traits from the places their rivers run through. For instance:
- River Crane runs in the outskirts of Heathrow Airport, and Crane is mostly abroad.
- River Tyburn passes Downing Street, and Lady Ty has strong political connections.
- River Ash runs past Shepparton Studios, and Ash is said to have film star good looks.
- River Fleet runs along Fleet Street, a street known for its history of newspapers and printing. Fleet is the one of Mother Thames' daughters who handles the media.
River Thames Edit
Regarding the spirits who rule the Thames, everything upstream of Teddington Lock is controlled by Old Father Thames, while everything downsream (the tideway) is the territory of the younger Mother Thames. There are multiple other minor river spirits associated with the many tributaries of the Thames.
Below Teddington Lock the spirits are colourful, female, and usually of African origin, embodying the cosmopolitan vibrancy and vigour of international trade through the Port of London. Upstream the spirits are generally male, with the appearence of “showmen” (travelling, fairground folk), more stolid in nature and white. They are much older, being associated with ancient Britain, as far back as before the Roman occupation. These older spirits used to occupy the whole of the Thames and its tributaries, from sea to source, but moved out of the city regions or even died as a result of the massive water pollution of the 19th century, particularly the Great Stink of 1858. As the pollution reduced from the middle of the 20th century the older spirits failed to return and the vacated rivers became occupied by the current court of Mother Thames, founded in 1957.
Mother Thames' court Edit
aka Mama Thames. The Goddess of the River Thames.
aka Ty, Lady Ty. The strong minded goddess of the River Tyburn.
A tributary of the river Thames whose original genius locorum, one of the sons of Father Thames, was killed as a result of sewage and water pollution in the nineteenth century. The vacant river was eventually occupied by one of Mother Thames’s court. The present day spirit is in her early thirties, stocky, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, dark-skinned and built like a sprinter.
The oldest member of Mother Thames’s court, the spirit of the River Lea didn’t vacate her river in the nineteenth century as it was spared the lethal pollution which affected the rest of the city tributaries by virtue of it being the least urbanised. She is therefore of the same generation as the older river spirits, such as Oxley. Her appearence is that of a thin, white woman who dresses conservatively in cashmere or a twin-set and pearls.
A confident, spirited, intelligent teenage girl.
A plump, smiley River Spirit in the court of Mother Thames.
Appears in the form of a nursery-age child.
A river spirit of Mother Thames’s court she is usually out of the country, travelling widely throughout the world and consorting with other rivers abroad.
Originally one of Father Thames’s sons, he died as a result of the overwhelming amounts of pollution affecting his river during the Victorian age. Effra is now a river spirit of Mother Thames's Court, with the form of an amazingly tall, slender woman with a fox-face and brightly coloured hair and nails.
The genius loci of the river Neckinger. She has the appearance of a small girl.
The river spirits of the rivers Counter's Creek and Westbourne, respectively. They have the appearance of two teenage girls, slightly younger than Beverley.
Father Thames' court Edit
aka Old Man of the River or Baba Thames. Ruling the Thames inland from Teddington Lock (from 1957), he is a peripatetic spirit inhabiting the Thames Valley. Before the Great Stink he inhabited the entire river.
A son of Colne. He has filmstar good looks but is somewhat empty-headed. He and Beverley Brook were the two hostages exchanged in order to ensure peace between Mother and Father Thames. His river runs near Shepperton Film Studios.
Father of Colne Brook and Ash.
The son of Colne.
Tall and thick set, he is the most senior of Father Thames’s court, the chief adviser to Father Thames. Isis is his common-law wife; they met at the Old Theatre Royal, on Drury Lane. His original human form was a monk.
Other rivers Edit
River Chess Edit
River Teme Edit
The daughter of Miss Tefeidiad
The daughter of Miss Tefeidiad
River Severn Edit
Grand Union CanalEdit
The Genius loci of Grand Union Canal, was believed to once have been an orangutan living in London Zoo. An ape woman had attacked Fleet and Lady Ty, when they had walked along the tow path. She apparently had a dispute with Mama Thames, but the sisters didn't know what about.
Beverley Brook spoke about sitting too close to Grand Union Canal, without asking for the permission from a Mrs. Canal, when being near the canal with Peter Grant. Peter, having met the genius loci of the canal, thought she wasn't that fussy provided you brought her a banana.
She might reside in a four-storey Georgian terrace on St Mark's Crescent, near Regent's Park.
It is unknown if the Russian myth of the Leshy and the English traditions of the Green Man are about related creatures, but Varvara Sidorovna said that long ago the vast forests stretched from St. David's in Wales to Vladivostok in Russia and that the trees still remember that time.
One creature is known as Leshy, which is a Russian term meaning He of the Forest. Some claimed that the Leshy are evil kidnapping wood demons, while others claim that they are just very tempramental. During WWII the NKVD incite the Leshy into great rage, and then drive them towards the German army.
When going through old records from County Practitioners Peter Grant found several reports of sightings of what appears to be a Green Man, many of them in Kent (such as near Sutton Valance and Egerton Woods). An unknown County Practitioner wrote a report about being called out in the night of January the 6th (year unknown) to a parish the help find a missing child. Some of the parishioners claimed to have seen a Green Man.