I just left this comment on another blog, and figured I’d share it here, cos I’ve been meaning to say it or something similar for a while, but just couldn’t think of the best way to dedicate a whole post:
Just to pick a nit, but cutting a tree to a stump doesn’t necessarily kill it; most species of deciduous tree will naturally (often very quickly) re-sprout new branches that continue on, because the root system is still alive. Cutting certain trees is more like amputating a regenerating limb from the nymph they’re aligned with –it’s not like cutting a person in half across the waist, it’s like pulling an arm off a sea star. Also, the “living stump” phenomenon can happen if the roots of a tree that doesn’t typically re-sprout naturally end up grafted to a nearby living tree of the same species.
To continue with that:
Thinking of cutting down a tree as necessarily “killing its nymph” is erroneously thinking of the theoi and daimones in ways that correspond with humans. While I do believe that the theoi and daimones do share traits with humans (or rather, we share some of Their traits), they’re still inherently different, even mortal nymphai are not mortal in the same way that humans are. So much of a tree’s life is below the surface of the soil, and just cos we cannot see it doesn’t mean it ceases to be; cutting a tree to a stump does not necessarily kill it —in my own experiences, more often than not, the tree is still alive. Therefore, cutting a tree alone cannot necessarily kill its nymph.