Spirit of Place

The spirit of a place

Each special place has its own spirit, its own presence, its own consciousness. This is the spirit of the place. In each special feeling place in nature, there is a feeling of a particular presence here, a unique spirit presence. This is the natural spirit-presence of the place; which emanates its energies and qualities, for us to recognize and receive from. The 'spirit of place' also includes the smaller nature spirits within that space, and this spirit/place is within the larger encompassing Spirit of the greater area.

In Earth-centered cultures people felt the spirit of a place. They would give a name to this spirit and describe the special qualities or powers of this particular spirit. This place would also become respected as sacred, where people would pray or meditate. So each special place would be known for its particular spirit present there.

What is special about sensing and feeling the spirit of a place is that this gives us an opportunity to actually communicate with nature and to make a relationship. For now one is in the very presence of an actual being – a being with consciousness, feelings, and energies. And one is actually in the very home of this being; though really, the whole place is the embodiment of this spirit. Thus, with respect we can be open to what this spirit/place is sharing with us. So now we have an opportunity to be conscious in this presence and awake to the energies and beauty present. As well, this is an opportunity to feel and express gratefulness for this wonderful spirit of nature, the spirit of this place.

Energies of the spirit

Each spirit of place shares four main kinds of energy. These are: the vital energy (also known as prana or chi), emotional energy (which will have a particular emotive quality, such as love or peace or something else), and a consciousness energy (which includes its intelligence). The fourth kind of energy of a place is its kind of beauty.

One aspect of the 'spirit of place' is the natural consciousness of the place. This is the spirit-consciousness (the consciousness of this spirit), which is also the presence of this spirit. If a place has a strong spirit-presence, it will often give us a sense of awakening, whereby we awaken more in consciousness, intuition, and wisdom. These can be good places for spiritual visions. This spirit-presence can be felt when we are sufficiently sensitive and receptive. We also have to be quiet enough and clear enough in our own mind, and also open in our heart. Then we can begin real noticing, real seeing, and real feeling.

There is an awareness within the land, or within the area, that knows when we are there. Realize this and learn to make a relationship with this consciousness of the land, this spirit of the land. The land, or place, this spirit, also has its own particular intelligence. It has an intelligence of what is around, and of what is in harmony and what is not. And it has an intelligence of what best to do; so we need to learn how to listen to this intelligence, to hear its special wisdom. Each part of nature and each place in nature has its own special intelligence, as an aspect of its consciousness, so each place has a special wisdom to share with us if we are sensitive and able to hear it.

The emotional quality of a place

The spirit-presence also has an emotional component, or we can understand the land as having an emotional energy. The emotional energy of a place is the felt quality of a place. This is the emotive radiance of the spirit, as each spirit of place will have its own particular emotional quality, or 'quality of feeling'. We could also understand this as the particular 'personality of the place'. It is the quality that this particular place feels to be expressing. Each place is somewhat unique, but we could categorize particular places as having general emotive qualities such as love, peace, quietude, solitude, happiness, joy, excitement, mystery, etc. This can be understood as one of the radiant qualities of this spirit presence, as felt in our own receptive being.

However, any quality we attribute to a place is somewhat general and limited by our own experience and also by our vocabulary of expressive words. Thus, often we will realize that a particular place has a unique emotional quality that cannot really be encapsulated by one general word. But what really matters is our own experience, not our description.

The emotional qualities of a place resonate all through that area, like a sound would resonate in us, which affects us emotionally, much like music affects our emotions. The quality resonates through our emotional body. So a peaceful quality gives us a feeling of peace, a joy quality resonates joy, etc. Emotional qualities of a place are very important in our experience of the place, and they also have significant effects in us.

Some places can have very positive effects on us emotionally, especially if we are sensitive in our feelings and come into meditative rapport with them. What we call 'sacred sites', or special places in nature, are these special places where the quality of energy, or quality of presence, is profoundly positive, healing and integratively balancing for our inner being.

One very special quality of certain places is beauty. In some ways, the beauty of a place can be considered an emotional quality, for beauty is emotionally felt, yet beauty could be considered as an energy category in its own right. So whether beauty is really a fourth kind of energy, rather than a quality of the emotional category, could be debatable.

All natural places on Earth have some sense of beauty, or some degree of beauty, even if this might sometimes be an unusual beauty; for as long as it is truly a natural place, there will be some kind of beauty there. Yet certain places simply blow us away with their beauty; so beauty does evidently have an objective power to it.

Beauty is obviously related to both perception and emotional feeling. That is, we see beauty and we even discuss the perceptual features of beauty, but we also feel beauty and the ultimate judgment of beauty seems to be an emotional judgment. So beauty is recognized both in perception and in feeling. Beauty also has its own special enchantment, which feels to be spiritual, or we could even say spiritually powerful. People make life searches for beauty, as they would love.

Experiencing the four energies

Be conscious and sensitive of the presence of spirit. Be consciously sensitive of the Earth below, as we stand or walk or sit. Through our feet we can actually sense the living energy of Earth. Conscious breath is also very important.

First, be sensitive to the vital energy of the place, also known as prana, chi, earth energy, or life energy. Our main receptive centre for this is called the hara centre, just below the belly button, yet our whole body can be sensitive to the energy, especially our hands and the soles of our feet. The soles of our feet are especially significant, because they receptively connect us to the earth below. Thus, we can consciously sense the earth energy rising up through our feet, and we can also sensitively ground ourselves through our feet to the earth below.

We can immerse ourselves in and receive the vital energies of a place. Included in this are trees, because many trees have particularly powerful vital energies, which we can receive through touch, or some kind of connection, or by literally hugging a tree. Groups or communities of plants and flowers can also give us vital energies. Even the air has vital energies that we can receive.

Vital energies give us energy-vitality, health and healing. Receive whatever you need. Take as much as you need, just as you can breathe in the vital air as much as you need. Receive what you need from the Mother Earth, because you are loved. Receive the vitality you need and the health you need, for these energies of Earth contain the pattern of health.

Next, it is possible to feel the emotional quality of a place. This is the feeling of a place. Each place will have particular qualities, usually a mixture of qualities but often one quality will be more apparent. Yet don't complicate this with thinking; just feel whatever you feel in the presence of this place. We can feel qualities such as love, joy, peace, and emotional strength.

Third, we can be sensitively open to the spirit-consciousness of this place. This could be thought of as the mind or intelligence of the spirit of this place. Each spirit-of-place has consciousness. So allow yourself to be 'seen', and also be open to hearing any natural wisdom offered by the spirit-of-place, for we can receive nature's intelligence if we listen.

Treat the spirit of a place with dignity and respect, then the spirit will give something back. But most people don't even know there are spirits of nature, so they fail to even bother noticing. Yet if we open up our mind and consciousness to the spirit presence, then at least we'll have a chance at this experience; otherwise, if one already has a preconceived disbelief, or if one is simply not wakefully noticing, then there is no chance to feel or perceive the spirit. The best attitude to have is the best attitude we would have with meeting any new person. If we have an attitude of respect and openness, then the spirit will know this and respond accordingly.

Finally, be conscious of the unique beauty of the place you are in. Open your heart to this beauty, as well as seeing it. Next, actually breathe-in this beauty, and let this energy of beauty fill every part of you. Especially, let the energies of beauty feed your innermost being, your soul. Because natural beauty nourishes our soul. First, it awakens our soul, because through natural beauty our soul recognizes itself as a reflection of this natural beauty.

Beauty can be a very significant influence in our lives. But many people walk by beauty without even noticing it, or sit in a natural place and neglect to see the beauty. This, beauty itself misses out on its recognition and appreciation. But we each miss out, so much of the time, by neglecting to notice and appreciate the beauty around us. If only people realized how important natural beauty is for the soul. Beauty nourishes our human soul. This can be verified by honest experiment. Find what feels to be beautiful, then feel the influence of this within. Beauty touches us in a special place – in our heart, in our soul.

More about the vital energies

More can be said about the vital energy of natural places. Each place has its own degree of vital energy; also called prana, chi, mana, etheric energy, and often this is what is mostly meant by earth energies. This vital energy is a subtle kind of electro-magnetism which has a vitalizing and formative power in relation to physical elements. This is also the hidden causative energy behind biological life. Every living form and even every place on Earth has this etheric-vital energy and cannot exist without it. In certain esoteric teachings this was called the essential fire of life; for it is the subtle secret energy necessary in all living things.

So this vital energy can also be understood as life-energy, vitalizing the natural world. But even the land and the rocks have this energy, and they give out this energy, so it is not just about biological things. The land has this vital energy and gives out this vital energy; and some places of land have and give out more of this energy than other places.

In addition, this etheric-vital energy has a patterning power, a power to pattern the natural world with its subtle electro-magnetic field, which why many things of nature have similar geometric proportions in their inner structures. But behind this patterning power is a higher intelligence of nature. Intelligence precedes natural pattern. And remember that each place has a natural intelligence, which is one aspect of its spirit-presence. The vital energy of place could then be understood as the vital energy of the conscious spirit present there.