Some places have very distinct atmospheres, and sometimes this can include a feeling of presence. My understanding of this is cautious, but based on long term relationships with places that have very distinct atmospheres, and places that do not.
If I walk from my home along the nearby cycle path, there’s a gentle atmosphere, but nothing much. This is a place heavily used by people, bats, foxes and others. There are some very distinct individuals amongst the trees, and there are places other creatures frequent. When I walk this way, I experience a great host of individuals, including two springs and a stream, and all that lives amongst the trees.
Not far from the cycle path is an old cemetery built on the site of a Roman villa (look up the Orpheus mosaic in Woodchester if you’re curious). This is a place with a lot of history and ancestry in the soil and it has a distinct atmosphere. Again I experience this as the combined effect of a lot of individual presences.
However, there’s a lane I can follow from here up towards the top of the hill. There is a place on the lane where a stream crosses the path, and here there is a presence. There is something beyond the many individuals living on the land. I’m always keenly aware of this presence when I come to this spot and my guess is that it’s associated with the spring at the head of the stream. The only way to reach the spring would be to wade up the stream and I have a strong feeling that this would not be good or welcome.
Coming into contact with this presence is something I find powerful and affecting. I don’t bother it in any way because I have a strong sense that it wants nothing from me. This is often my experience when I have a sense of presence in a landscape. They don’t want anything from me and they don’t want to offer me anything. My sense of their existing is enough for me.
I’m wary of the urge to extract meaning from this kind of experience. It’s really important to me to go to these places where I feel presence and to remind myself of enchantment and possibility. I don’t ask for anything beyond that. I am not called upon to do anything. I actually like feeling that this is not a purposeful relationship. I am not being taught, or guided or otherwise improved by the experience – because this is simply a presence doing what it does. I am not needed or significant. I am not singled out for specialness by having a special relationship. I’m fortunate in having these experiences and that’s all there is to it for me.
I acknowledge that there were many times in my life when I longed to have something spiritual or supernatural single me out for attention in some way. I wanted to be important. I have a lot of personal issues around needing to feel like I matter. I’ve learned to be glad simply to have experiences, and I’m becoming more relaxed around not seeking significance. Increasingly, it is enough just to be and to feel.
October 14th, 2022 at 8:58 pm
Reblogged this on Calculus of Decay .