Although perhaps technically an agnostic, I’m an agnostic of the atheistic sort—I long ago looked pretty hard for evidence of a god or gods, and found none.

Even so, I find the idea of gods appealing and possibly useful, in just the way that Dora is talking about here:

It would be helpful, I think, if we still had gods of various disciplines. It’s easier, in a sense, to serve Asklepios than to serve medicine, or even health, which seems so abstract.Theodora Goss

It appeals to me to imagine that there are genii loci for every place—at least, every place that’s worth anything. It appeals to me to imagine a correspondence between allegorical figures—Liberty and Justice are the two most immediately recognizable, but there are many others like Industry or Science—and some deity.

Basically, I like the idea of these small gods—household gods, local gods, and (as Dora suggests) gods of crafts and trades.

I just don’t believe in them.

But maybe they’re of value anyway, without believing in them.

I didn’t have an imaginary friend as a child, because I figured it wouldn’t count unless you actually believed in your imaginary friend. Maybe I’m making the same error here with gods. For all I know maybe most people don’t actually believe in their gods. I’d much prefer that to the idea that half the population is delusional (although I fear the latter is closer to the truth).

I think maybe I’ll give that a bit of a try.

Who could look at this land and not feel the presence of a genius loci?

Clifty Creek near Shades State Park