The next time someone says you’re not a genius, don’t be insulted. The original definition of that word has nothing to do with intelligence. Genius literally means “spirit” and is a Roman name for a type of spirit being. To say that one possessed a genius for something, perhaps making candy or designing dresses, wasn’t synonymous with having a natural talent. It meant that you possessed a guardian spirit offering assistance in that particular department.
Countless genii protect objects, areas, and organizations. For example, the Genius Loci, meaning the Spirit of the Place, guards specific locations. Genii tend to be anonymous, at least to those who don’t know them personally. Whether Genii display individual personalities or bear individual names is now unknown. If names exist, they were kept secret. For example, inscriptions are simply dedicated to the Genius Loci.
See also: Genie
From the Encyclopedia of Spirits: The Ultimate Guide to the Magic of Fairies, Genies, Demons, Ghosts, Gods & Goddesses– Written by Judika Illes Copyright © 2009 by Judika Illes.