Encyclopedia > Tutelary

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A tutelary spirit is a god, usually a minor god, who serves as the guardian or watcher over a particular site, person, or nation. Belief in tutelary gods or spirits often reflects a tradition of animism.

The Roman religion had dozens of tutelary spirits, such as Diana of Aricia, who watched over a sacred grove at Aricia, or the goddess Levana, who watched over young children. The Lares and Penates were local tutelary deities, as was the genius loci, a spirit said to be present in certain places.

Shinto is also a religion whose many spirits, or kami, could be described as tutelary.

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