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Demons and Spirits of the Land


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Table of Contents

Foreword by Regis Boyer

Introduction: We Dwell in a Haunted Place

Part One

A Haunted Universe

1 Unusual Manifestations

2 The First Inhabitants of the Earth

3 Demons and Fallen Angels

4 Cult Remnants

5 The Local Land Spirits

6 The Underside of Idolatry

7 The Evidence of Place-Names

8 Silvanus and Company

9 The Metamorphoses of Spirits

10 A Provisional Assessment

Part Two

Conquering and Defending the Land

11 Encountering the Spirits of the Local Land

12 Taking Possession of a Piece of Land

13 Circumambulation: Appropriation, Expropriation, and Protection Rites

14 Boundaries and Their Markers

15 The Enclosed Space Is Sacred

16 The Contract with the Spirits

17 The Circular and the Rectangular: A Hypothesis

18 The Conquest of the Space

Part Three

Survivals and Transformations

19 Waters, Springs, and Fountains

20 The Forest

21 The Mountain and Its Spirits

22 The Problem of Paredrie

23 A Composite Site: The Dwelling of Grendel and His Mother

24 The Moor

25 The Hybridization of Myths

26 The Return of the Place Spirits





About the Author

Claude Lecouteux is a former professor of medieval literature and civilization at the Sorbonne. He is the author of numerous books on medieval and pagan beliefs and magic, including The Book of Grimoires, The Tradition of Household Spirits, A Lapidary of Sacred Stones, and The Secret History of Poltergeists and Haunted Houses. He lives in Paris.


"What are the ancient mysteries of earth and water? Guided by the sure hand of Claude Lecouteux in this erudite and accessible book, we find keys to the recovery and renewed understanding of indigenous European religious traditions concerning land and water. A valuable book--highly recommended." * Arthur Versluis, author of Sacred Earth and Religion of Light *
"Demons and Spirits of the Land is a scholarly investigation of the spirits present in the traditional landscape of Europe. Claude Lecouteux explains how humans are inseparable from our surroundings: we are not the only intelligent beings, for we cohabit the Earth with other sentient entities. Traditionally, these entities manifest as land spirits who take many forms: giants, dwarves, brownies, fairies, and dragons. Present in the land, they must be dealt with if humans are to live in harmony and well-being. This book details rites and ceremonies of coming to terms with the spirits of tree and forest, spring and mountain, taken from comprehensive documentary and folklore sources, including ancient authors, Arthurian legends, medieval romances, and Norse sagas. If you want to know about the nature of land spirits and how we relate to them, this is essential reading." * Nigel Pennick, author of The Book of Primal Signs: The High Magic of Symbols *
"A superbly written treatise on the folklore of place, showing how the church has demonized once revered and respected land spirits. The setting up of high crosses, statues of saints, and the ringing of bells has been done for two thousand years to repel and control the fairies, elves, dragons, dwarves, and giants our ancestors once placated and venerated. But are we better off for all the church's civilizing efforts?

"We are now at a turning point in human history where we need to come to terms with what we have wrought. The Earth Mother has given us food, healing, and shelter, and we have abused her in return. Reading these pages we learn that the dark path through the wilderness may once again lead us to a sacred space within the forest where in respectful company with the ancient deities, land wight's, and the fey, we may yet resume our ancient offerings, begin the healing, and return to harmony with all creation." * Ellen Evert Hopman, author of A Druid's Herbal of Sacred Tree Medicine and The Secret Medicine *

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