How To | Spirit of Place

Lost in Pisa

June 9, 2015

This tale is actually the start of my Italian tour, so if you’re reading them in order, then this is first, but published last.

What was I thinking? I had landed in Pisa and according to my map I was about 2 miles from my hotel, Now of course you are thinking…”grab a cab” however, since it was only 3pm on a late April day, I figured a nice walk would be the right way to go about things. Plus my bag wasn’t that heavy.

So off I went. It began quite pleasantly. The streets of Pisa are lovely and pastel and the airport is literally right in the small city. The map I had printed off had various levels of detail and so I could see quite clearly where I was at and where I needed to go.

After a good 30 minutes walk I began to realise that the maps were a tad out of scale. But it didn’t put me off. All that country walking has got to come in use hasn’t it? Now I was out of the city and wandering down country lanes. There were no foot paths but there was no traffic either so it didn’t matter. On the map I was heading down a path that would take me across a railway line and then I would be moments away from my hotel.

As I approached the railway line, my heart sank. There was no way to cross it. Even though the map clearly said there was. Crap! I sighed and realised that the printed map didn’t extend beyond the scope that I needed to find an alternative route and so I thought of the long trek back to the airport and a taxi. I don’t know any Italian swear words but a few choice English ones came to mind as I turned around and began to navigate back.

After about 10 minutes walking a thought occurred to me and I shook my head. What had happened to asking permission of the Genius Loci of this City, Country? Again, I had forgotten the sacred protocol…introduce yourself, get to know the Genius and let it know you. Be open about intentions.

I stopped in the middle of a dirt track and rummaged around in my luggage for my dowsing rods. Was there a place where I could greet the Genius Loci of this place? I was rather vague with the “this place” What level did I go to? Field? Locale? City? State? Country? I didn’t know and so let the wisdom of the rods decide. They clinked and affirmative and led me down the path, the opposite way from the airport, terrific!

Some minutes later they took me into a field (not far fortunately) and slipped into a tight spiral. Here was the place that I could do a Greetings Ceremony. I didn’t need any preparation and so lit some incense and began a commune with the Spirit of the Place. I sang of how I had come on a quest to acquire the Element of Air. I sang that if there was anything I could do for this land I would. I sang of respect, honour and gratefulness.

According to the rods the Genius was pleased with my singing and was positively inclined towards my ventures. Fabulous. As I made to move away, I got the sense that IT could direct me towards my hotel. It was around 5pm now and I had been out and about for 2 hours. That bag had got heavier and heavier. However, I knew, geographically speaking that I was closer to my hotel than to the airport. But with no means of navigation.

I sighed…Go on then, I thought and grabbed a dowsing rod. Follow the leader, I said and it twitched off down the dirt track and off the printed map. Ten minutes later it was climbing the side of an embankment and then along it until it took me across a bridge and onto a reasonable main road. Now I was not only off the map. But was probably unable to get back on it. Still I carried on following IT via the rods.

After some 25 more minutes, I was wandering around an industrial estate. It was a Friday, however I later found out that it was also a holiday and thus the streets were deserted and shops closed I might add. Still, I had no option now, but to follow the rods and my guide.

Some more minutes later, I turned a couple of corners and in the distance saw a sign…Surely it wasn’t my hotel! It was! Absolutely unbelievably the rods had led me through back streets and estates to my hotel. Again, I just couldn’t believe it.

I profusely thanked the Genius and checked in to my hotel.


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