Recently my best friend Julie and I were on a high altitude meadow at sunset where a herd of elk were grazing. I looked at the woodline and saw a gray face standing out in the darkness. I looked back at the elk, realizing it was looking at them. When I went to look back at the face and it wasn't there. It had moved about 20 feet closer up the forest's edge toward the elk.
Luckily, Julie was taking zoom photos of the forest and this face showed up in that area. Is it a face? Well, from the photo it is rather vague and in the shadows, but with the sun setting at the treeline, I was able to see it with my eyes first. So, whatever was in there, it wasn't just a blown up 72-pixel shot from a cell phone creating something that wasn't there.
Are we anthropomorphizing shapes in nature and projecting our own point of reference on what we see or are we seeing a subtle projection to remind us that spirit is everywhere?
It reminds me of ghost investigations. Members of the team who acknowledge they possess no "psychic" ability to see or hear ghosts, have an evening where they experience it and suddenly it opens a whole new world of focus they never had before. Now they know how to discern it.
Perhaps it is so with nature. Once we make a connection, we see life everywhere.
Most cultures acknowledge in some way the life force that is in everything and that forests have spirits, caves have spirits, and bodies of water have spirits.
Kirlian photography which captures coronal discharge has shown some interesting details about nature, such as a leaf that is cut showing its coronal discharge still where it was when it was whole.
Elementals is a common term to describe nature spirits. These legendary spirits represent the four elements - earth, air, fire, and water. Pagan religions have a strong focus on the four elements as the forces that create and destroy nature and deserve a certain degree of reverance.
Geomancy, or the belief that one can control the flow of energy in nature by placement, such as in the practice of Feng Shui is yet another example of nature spirits. In Feng Shui it is believed that the location and orientation of certain objects and pathways can guide good and bad energy toward and away from desired sectors, such as romance, business, fortune. If this is interesting to you, I suggest the book Confessions of a Feng Shui Ghost-Buster by Anna Maria Prezio.
If the concept of spirits in nature intrigues you, I suggest a documentary that is both fascinating and spine-tingling, Invasion of the Dark Stars. It will show you the world in a whole new way that opens a path of curiosity.
If you want to explore a channel on YouTube about this subject, try Elemental Encounters.
Nearly every culture has their nature spirits included in their mythos. European pagan cultures did a fine job of designing costuming and celebrations based on these elemental beings.
By reconnecting with seasons and nature, we find a balance in our souls as the outdoors always have a way of making us feel integrated with the world. Instead of being connected by a virtual internet world - we feel the wind and the rain, the day and the night, the seasons of the trees....
In fact, grounding has become a popular re-find among humans. The practice of walking barefoot on the ground has a way of feeling integrated with the life around us, the planet, nature, and the earth as a whole.
Might humans go back to their pagan ways? I suspect that every religion is based on the first concepts of the spirit realm which were considered a pagan method. Symbols and idols such as palm fronds, ash, Easter eggs, Christmas trees, have their fluid connection with spirituality over the times and forms that has taken to enlightenment.
Any time we feel bad about cutting down a tree, feel eyes upon us in the forest, marvel at a seed turned to flower, we are reconnecting with the energy of life in all its forms and possibilities.
No matter what one's religion is, a reverence for nature is always called for, as it was created alongside us and for us.
Interestingly, when I had this aura photo taken, the photographer and I waited for the Polaroid to develop. I let her know that I brought all the spirits I feel around me all the time into the photo. She smiled, thinking that was adorable. But, when the paper was peeled back, something unusual revealed itself.
The next time I went, I decided to look at the spot in space where I feel my psychic abilities come from - up high to the right slightly.
Such energies make themselves known all the time, whether it is expressed in the autumn colors, a sun dog in the sky, or the moan of wind through a canyon. Wherever there is energy, there is life and for life to remain present and with meaning, there must be spirit.
Next time you go to the forest, consider leaving a wee fairy house, hug a tree, run barefoot over the leaves....
Perhaps the true spirits in nature is the interconnected dependency of flora and fauna and humanity.