tutelary adj : providing protective supervision; watching over or safeguarding; "daycare that is educational and not just custodial"; "a guardian angel"; "tutelary gods" [syn: custodial, guardian, tutelar]
A tutelary spirit or patron deity serves as the guardian of, or an entity to watch over and protect, a particular site, person, culture, or nation. For example, in Greek polytheism, Athena was the patron goddess (or "matron goddess") of the city of Athens. Some of the deities are attributed with strong powers, others slight. Sometimes the deity is a minor aspect in a pantheon such as in Roman polytheism, where Janus was the patron god of doors, gates, time, and the like. Belief in tutelary deities 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. A person's own individual guardian spirit was a genius.
Shinto also is a religion whose many spirits, or kami, could be described as tutelary, similar to the Islamic djinns, or "genies". It is notable, however, that the Arabic word is of a completely different origin, although it has similarities with genius both phonetically and by meaning.
Catholicism and Orthodox Christianities each have many tutelaries, most of which are shared. For example, there is Saint Christopher who is said to have carried Jesus across a stream, although Christopher lived a full three centuries after the Resurrection had taken place; and there is Fiacre, patron saint of gardeners and haemorrhoid sufferers http://www.catholic-forum.com/saintS/saintf13.htm. Occasionally, patron saints are called tutelary saints and so reflect their origin.
Chinese folk religion, both past and present, includes a myriad of tutelary deities. Exceptional individuals may become deified after death; a well-known example is the general Guan Yu from the Three Kingdoms period.
In animistic and shamanic worldviews, tutelary deities, if zoomorphic, may take the form of power animals.
In modern Paganism many adherents worship patron gods or goddesses.
tutelary in Swedish: rådare
ancestral spirits, angel, attendant godling, control, covering, custodial, daemon, defensive, demon, fairy godmother, familiar, familiar spirit, fostering, genius, genius domus, genius loci, good angel, good genius, guardian, guardian angel, guardian spirit, guarding, guide, household gods, immunizing, invisible helper, lares and penates, lares compitales, lares familiaris, lares permarini, lares praestites, lares viales, manes, ministering angel, numen, parental, penates, preventive, prophylactic, protecting, protective, safeguarding, screening, sheltering, shielding, special providence, totem, tutelar god, vigilant, watchful