Posted by Byron Pendason on , in Heathen worldview, Heathen worship, Heathenry
In Heathenry, a wight is a term generally used for spiritual beings that don’t fall under the categories of gods (and goddesses) or ancestors. Originally, it had the meaning of any sentient being (including humans), but that’s generally not how its used today.
When Heathens speak of wights today, they are generally either referring to the land wights (known as landvættir in Norse Heathenry) or house wights. The land wights are those spirits that live in nature and are often seen as tending it like a gardener tends to her garden. A house wight is a spirit that lives in a person’s home. Many Heathens will form relationships with these spirits by engaging in the gifting cycle with them.
I had a thought several months ago. Are there wights in the workplace? To my knowledge, our lore doesn’t mention them, but I think that’s mainly because workplaces didn’t really exist back then independent of the home. Farmers lived on the land that they farmed. Craftsmen often worked out their home. Their workplace wights would have been their home wights.
In our modern culture, things are much different. While there are people who work from home, the majority of non-farmers have a place away from their homes that they go to for their employment. Offices, restaurants, stores, factories, etc.
Do these places have wights? I don’t see why they couldn’t. Polytheism often goes hand in hand with animism- the belief that objects, places, and creatures possess spirits. These spirits can be interacted with, and rituals are developed that does just that. So animism would allow for wights of computers, machines, tools, and anything else, really.
So where would workplace wights come from? Since there is no lore (to my knowledge) of workplace wights, there is no way that we can say for sure. It could be that they are land wights that decided to move into the building when it was built. They could be the wights of the trees, metal ores, etc. that decided to stay with the materials when humans harvested them from nature. They could be wights that followed an employee to work and decided to move in. Or they could be any combination of the above. There could be be other reasons as well, of course. We just don’t know.
I’m gonna switch gears now and go from speaking about theory to speaking about my experience. I decided a while back to start a gifting cycle with my workplace wights. I work third shift at a factory that makes automotive parts. Every day, I get a Mountain Dew at the start of my shift, and I have started offering my workplace wights the first sip of it. I fill a small plastic pop bottle lid with some of my Mountain Dew, and I’ll usually say something along the lines of:
To the wights who live in my workplace, I ask for an easy night. Please help my machine run smoothly. I offer this to you as a sign of the peace and friendship between us. A gift for a gift!
I’m not saying that I never have a rough night anymore, but it seems to me that I have far fewer of them. And when I do have a bad night at work, it seems to not be as bad a night as I used to have.
So what do you think of the idea of workplace wights? Do you have any experiences with any wights in your workplace? I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences in the comments!