A tutelary (also tutelar) is a spirit or deity in the position of a guardian, patron or protector of a particular place, geographic feature, person, lineage, nation, culture or occupation in polytheistic or animist religion. Both tutelary and tutelar can be used as either a noun or an adjective. An analogous concept in Christianity is the patron saint, or to a lesser degree, guardian angel.
1 Tutelary genius, protecting spirit, familiar spirit
2 By culture
2.1 Near East and Mediterranean
2.1.1 Ancient Greece
2.1.2 Ancient Rome
3 See also
Tutelary genius, protecting spirit, familiar spirit
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Pierre A. Riffard defines a tutelary spirit as either a tutelary genius (present ever since birth) or a protecting spirit (that can help in times of trouble) or a familiar spirit (a mate, who is a double of self, even though totally different).
a) A tutelary genius is a strictly personal deity or demon who has presided over the destiny of every man or woman, ever since birth, until the time of his or her death, when the spirit eventually disappears. Since childhood Socrates had been hearing the voice of his personal spirit or daimonion, prohibiting him doing things. "You have often heard me speak of an oracle or sign which comes to me, and is the divinity which Meletus ridicules in the indictment. This sign I have had ever since I was a child. The sign is a voice which comes to me and always forbids me to do something which I am going to do, but never commands me to do anything, and this is what stands in the way of my being a politician" (Plato, Apology of Socrates, 40 b).
b) The protecting spirit (guardian spirit, spirit helper) is a force, a soul, or a deity that helps the shaman or the magician. It can be an animal, a plant, a mineral or the spirit of ancestors. It can either be collective or individual. According to Michael Harner (The Sound of Rushing Water, 1968), among the Jivaro (Shuar people), "the tsentsak, these spirit helpers, or darts, are the main supernatural forces believed to cause illness and death in daily life. To the non-shaman they are normally invisible, and even shamans can perceive them only under the influence of natema [a hallucinogenic drink]. Shamans send those spirit helpers into the victims bodies to make them ill or to kill them. At other times, they may suck spirits sent by enemy shamans from the bodies of tribesmen suffering from witchcraft induced illness. The spirit helpers also form shields that protect their shaman masters from attacks. According to Jivaro concepts, each tsentsak has a natural and supernatural aspect. The magical darts natural aspect is that of an ordinary material object as seen without drinking the drug natema. But the supernatural and true aspect of the tsentsak is revealed to the shaman by taking natema. When he does this, the magical darts appear in new forms as demons and with new names. In their supernatural aspects, the tsentsak are not simply objects but spirit helpers in various forms, such as giant butterflies, jaguars, or monkeys, who actively assist the shaman in his tasks."
c) A familiar spirit is the double, the alter-ego of an individual. It does not look like the individual concerned. Even though it may have an independent life of its own it remains closely linked to the individual. The familiar spirit can be an animal, also called "familiar pet". A witch can have a black cat, or a toad, an owl, with which she exchanges information and signs. The medicine-man, in Australian aboriginal societies, also has his familiar spirit (his personal totem), which can be a snake, for instance. "A usual method, or explanation, is that the medicine man sends his ‘familiar spirit’ (his assistant totem, spirit-dog, spirit-child or whatever the form may be) to gather the information. While this is occurring, the man himself is in a state of receptivity, in sleep or trance. In modern phraseology [spiritism], his ‘familiar spirit’ would be the control [control spirit]" (A. P. Elkin, Aboriginal men of high degree, 1945, 48).
Mircea Eliade : "The Goldi [Nanai people in Siberia] clearly distinguish between the tutelary spirit (ayami), which chooses the shaman, and the helping spirits (syven), which are subordinate to it and are granted to the shaman by the ayami itself. According to Sternberg the Goldi explain the relations between the shaman and his ayami by a complex sexual emotion. Here is the report of a Goldi shaman.
‘Once I was asleep on my sick-bed, when a spirit approached me. It was a very beautiful woman. Her figure was very slight, she was no more than half an arshin (71 cm.) tall. Her face and attire were quite as those of one of our Gold women… She said: ‘I am the ayami of your ancestors, the Shamans. I taught them shamaning. Now I am going to teach you… I love you, I have no husband now, you will be my husband and I shall be a wife unto you. I shall give you assistant spirits. You are to heal with their aid, and I shall teach and help you myself…’ Sometimes she comes under the aspect of an old woman, and sometimes under that of a wolf, so she is terrible to look at. Sometimes she comes as a winged tiger… She has given me three assistants-the jarga (the panther), the doonto (the bear) and the amba (the tiger). They come to me in my dreams, and appear whenever I summon them while shamaning. If one of them refuses to come, the ayami makes them obey, but, they say, there are some who do not obey even the ayami. When I am shamaning, the ayami and the assistant spirits are possessing me; whether big or small, they penetrate me, as smoke or vapour would. When the ayami is within me, it is she who speaks through my mouth, and she does everything herself’." 
Near East and Mediterranean
Further information: Cities of the Ancient Near East and É (temple)
See also: Twelve Olympians
In Greek polytheism, Athena was the patron goddess of the city of Athens.
The walls of the city she protects are represented by the crown of Cybele
Tutelary deities who guard and preserve a place or a person are fundamental to ancient Roman religion. The tutelary deity of an individual was his Genius, or that of a woman her Juno. In the Imperial era, the Genius of the Emperor was a focus of Imperial cult. An emperor might also adopt a major deity as his personal patron or tutelary, as Augustus did Apollo. Precedents for claiming the personal protection of a deity were established in the Republican era, when for instance the Roman dictator Sulla advertised the goddess Victory as his tutelary by holding public games (ludi) in her honor.
Each town or city had one or more tutelary deities, whose protection was considered particularly vital in time of war and siege. Rome itself was protected by a goddess whose name was to be kept ritually secret on pain of death (for a supposed case, see Quintus Valerius Soranus). The Capitoline Triad of Juno, Jupiter, and Minerva were also tutelaries of Rome. The Italic towns had their own tutelary deities. Juno often had this function, as at the Latin town of Lanuvium and the Etruscan city of Veii, and was often housed in an especially grand temple on the arx (citadel) or other prominent or central location. The tutelary deity of Praeneste was Fortuna, whose oracle was renowned. The Roman ritual of evocatio was premised on the belief that a town could be made vulnerable to military defeat if the power of the tutelary deity were diverted outside the city, perhaps by the offer of superior cult at Rome. The depiction of some goddesses such as the Magna Mater (Cybele) as "tower-crowned" represents their capacity to preserve the city. A town in the provinces might adopt a deity from within the Roman religious sphere to serve as its guardian, or syncretize its own tutelary with such; for instance, a community within the civitas of the Remi in Gaul adopted Apollo as its tutelary, and at the capital of the Remi (present-day Reims), the tutelary was Mars Camulus.
Lararium depicting tutelary deities of the house: the ancestral Genius (center) flanked by two Lares, with a guardian serpent below
Tutelary deities were also attached to sites of a much smaller scale, such as storerooms, crossroads, and granaries. Each Roman home had a set of protective deities: the Lar or Lares of the household or familia, whose shrine was a lararium; the Penates who guarded the storeroom (penus) of the innermost part of the house; Vesta, whose sacred site in each house was the hearth; and the Genius of the paterfamilias, the head of household. The poet Martial lists the tutelary deities who watch over various aspects of his farm. The architecture of a granary (horreum) featured niches for images of the tutelary deities, who might include the genius loci or guardian spirit of the site, Hercules, Silvanus, Fortuna Conservatrix ("Fortuna the Preserver") and in the Greek East Aphrodite and Agathe Tyche.
The Lares Compitales were the tutelary gods of a neighborhood (vicus), each of which had a compitum (shrine) devoted to these. During the Republic, the cult of local or neighborhood tutelaries sometimes became rallying points for political and social unrest.
Chinese folk religion, both past and present, includes a myriad of tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals may become deified after death. Guan Yu is a well-known tutelary from the Three Kingdoms period.
In Korean shamanism, jangseung and sotdae were placed at the edge of villages to frighten off demons. They were also worshiped as deities.
In Shinto, the spirits, or kami, which give life to human bodies come from nature and return to it after death. Ancestors are therefore themselves tutelaries to be worshiped.
In Hinduism, tutelary deities are known as ishta-devata and Kuldevi or Kuldevta. Devas can also be seen as tutelary. Shiva is patron of yogis and renunciants.
Thai provincial capitals have tutelary city pillars and palladiums.
Tibetan Buddhism has yidams as tutelary. Dakini is the patron of those who seek knowledge.
Native American religion, (see also Animism, Shamanism) has extensive and varied systems of zoomorphic tutelaries, (also known as power animals). In Mesoamerica these tutelary power animals are called Nagual in the Aztec language and Uay in the Maya language.
In many of the animistic African religions, tutelaries appear in a variety of forms. The Binou cult of the Dogon people of Mali have totems around their villages.
Look up tutelary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
Look up tutelar in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
^ Pierre A. Riffard, Nouveau dictionnaire de l’ésotérisme, Paris: Payot, 2008, 114-115, 136-137.
^ Mircea Eliade, Shamanism. Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy (1968), Princeton University Press, 2004, 72, quoting Leo Sternberg, Divine Election in Primitive Religion, Congrès International des Américanistes, 1924, 476 ff.
^ Nicole Belayche, "Religious Actors in Daily Life: Practices and Beliefs," in A Companion to Roman Religion (Blackwell, 2007), p. 279.
^ Ittai Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 104–105.
^ Michael Lipka, Roman Gods: A Conceptual Approach (Brill, 2009), pp. 20–21; Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion, p. 116.
^ Frank Bernstein, "Complex Rituals: Games and Processions in Republican Rome," in A Companion to Roman Religion, pp. 231ff.
^ Jörg Rüpke, Religion of the Romans (Polity Press, 2007, originally published in German 2001), pp. 132–133.
^ Lipka, Roman Gods, pp. 23–24.
^ Gary Forsythe, A Critical History of Early Rome: From Prehistory to the First Punic War (University of California Press, 2005, 2006), p. 128.
^ Rüpke, Religion of the Romans, p. 132, citing Macrobius Saturnalia 3.9.
^ P. G. P. Meyboom, The Nile Mosaic of Palestrina: Early Evidence of Egyptian Religion in Italy (Brill, 1995), preface (n.p. online) and p. 160.
^ Lipka, Roman Gods, pp. 126–127; Clifford Ando, "Exporting Roman Religion," in A Companion to Roman Religion (Blackwell, 2007), p. 441.
^ Lipka, Roman Gods, p. 123, citing Lucretius, De rerum natura 2.606–609.
^ Ton Derks, Gods, Temples, and Ritual Practices: The Transformation of Religious Ideas and Values in Roman Gaul (Amsterdam University Press, 1998), pp. 100, 105, 108–109, noting that "local elites … were well aware of the mythological tales connected with the various Roman gods, and in the choice of a tutelary god for their civitas or pagus opted deliberately for a deity who, in all his aspects, was most in keeping with their own perception of the world."
^ Valerie M. Warrior, Roman Religion (Cambridge University Press, 2006), pp. 28–29.
^ Martial, Epigrams 10.92, as cited by Warrior, Roman Religion, pp. 29–30.
^ Geoffrey Rickman, Roman Granaries and Store Buildings (Cambridge University Press, 1971), pp. 35, 52, 57, 313–314.
^ Gradel, Emperor Worship and Roman Religion, p. 11; Robert E.A. Palmer, The Archaic Community of the Romans (Cambridge University Press, 2009), p. 81 online.
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