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Please the Genius if you Can

Akasha (ākāśa आकाश) is the Sanskrit word for "aether", "sky", or "atmosphere".

The Akashic Field is like an immense memory, storing all the desires and earth experiences of our planet.

Practical persons, successful in their business and wordly affairs, may please skip right away all this esoteric bla-bla, and move on, without further ado. This note is not for you. Bye bye.

Instead, those who are at a time in their life when they are ready and open, those who seek and listen, those who are willing to dig deeper, may perceive the energy field wherever they are, feel the awe, and rise above. Some of us often feel such a grip strongly, and must somehow deal with it.

All is there. The life experiences of every human being since time began, the reactions to experience of the entire animal kingdom, the wilderness, the landscapes, the winds and the seas, the flowers and the fruits, the primordial scream of creation, the aggregation of all thought-forms of every human family constellation throughout time. Primary forces of motivation. Prime behavioral movers.

Beware, friend. Herein lies the great deception. If one has been meeting oneself enough times, one would distinguish between the actual experience, the energy of the field, and the lunacy of those fake pictures created by one's own imagination and keen desire.

To communicate among us humans - in all politeness and rationality - the experience of such energy field, we all require words. Every place, every culture has words for this. Such words, however are often buried under layers of mundanities.

In several places in Asia, the numinous spirits of a location are honored, with ancestors, at the present time as centuries ago. They are honored in city pillar icons, outdoor spirit houses, and indoor household and business shrines.

In China, the knowledge of Feng Shui is a practice of looking at our living spaces and working environment and striking a balance with the natural world. Feng Shui seeks to promote prosperity, good health, and general well being by examining how life energy, Qi, flows through a particular room, house, building, or garden.

In other cultures, such energy is called Ki, Prana, Mana, and in a plurality of other manners with a variety of similar meanings.

All around the Mediterranean Sea, the sea that the ancient Romans called Mare Nostrum, the expression to use is Genius Loci.

Should you meet a traveller, ask straight away the question: What brings you here? What do you see? Then look and listen.

As for myself, I am often out and about to meet the Genius Loci. After that, it takes me time to explain what I see.

In classical Roman religion, a Genius Loci was the protective spirit of a place. It was often depicted in religious iconography as a figure holding attributes such as a cornucopia, or a snake. 

In contemporary usage, Genius Loci usually refers to a location's distinctive atmosphere, its etheric character, or a "spirit of the place", rather than necessarily a guardian spirit.

About such invisible entities, Carl Gustav Jung writes, in his book "Dreams of the Individuation Process":

There is nothing to be afraid of, but please be polite to the invisible presences. It is that politeness which has great importance for primitive peoples. When the Romans came to a new place they put a little stone there, an altar, to the unknown genius or god of this place. They did not know who the presence was in that place but felt they had better do something about it and be polite and greet it. So they dedicated a stone or altar to the invisible genius of that place. That is the primitive politeness to the existence of the invisible unconscious.”

Oh, yes. The invisible and elusive collective unconscious...

When the Genius Loci is acknowledged, strong and respected, it increases the reputation of a location. Functional and business minds use this concept to stand out from the mass, and call it "branding".

If you are travelling, you sooner or later will entertain a conversation with the Genius Loci. Yet, if you set out like me to bring your contribution, to operate upon a place, to build, to host, to leave your mark or legacy, then you have no workaround. You must seek and interrogate the Genius Loci.

Every place has its own unique qualities, not only in terms of its physical makeup, but of how it is perceived and of how its Akashic Field is layered. So, it ought to be (but far too often is unfortunately not) the responsibility of the architect, of the urbanist, of the landscape-designer, or - as in my case - of the peace-time strategist - to be sensitive to those unique qualities, to enhance them rather than to destroy them.

Beauty and harmony have not to be forced upon a place, but have to result from it. They emerge interrogating and pleasing the Genius Loci.

At this moment in time, devastation is advancing everywhere. Sorry. Bad news. Safeguarding beauty is a very hard job.

Italy, with her many layers of history, is a formidable place to entertain conversations about the correct balance to strike between tradition and innovation, between old and new.

Such a call is even stronger in Basilicata and Calabria. Here beauty struggles to stay afloat. It needs strong and brave souls to spring forth. Decisions have to be taken about what to preserve, and what to renew.

Sunday, 16 August 2020

Italy | Rossano Calabro

Le Colline del Gelso | Masseria Mazzei


Christian Norberg-Schulz. Genius Loci, Towards a Phenomenology of Architecture. Rizzoli, New York. 1980.

Barry Patterson. The Art of Conversation with the Genius Loci. Capall Bann Publishing, 2005.

Francesco Bevilacqua. Genius Loci, il dio dei luoghi perduti, Rubbettino, Soveria Mannelli, 2010.

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