Can you guess which topic I get asked about more than anything else? The title of this post is probably a giveaway. Yup, people email me all the time asking for my tips on how to connect with nature sprits so I thought I’d write about it here.
First things first, why would you want to connect with nature spirits?
We have become dangerously disconnected from nature and we see symptoms of this disconnect everywhere.
We do things to the earth that are destructive, abusive and short-sighted. From pollution to logging to fracking, our misuse of the earth’s resources is widespread and worsening. And it impacts on us all. In Western society, we’ve become disconnected from nature’s rhythms by pursuing technological advance and we’ve lost sight of the fact that earth is our home. Most of us spend more time on Facebook than we spend outside in nature.
While indigenous cultures still respect and rely on nature spirits to guide them, we in the West have forgotten what we once knew and we’re paying the price for our amnesia.
Author Richard Louv, who coined the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder’ stated that the human cost of “alienation from nature” can be seen in “diminished use of the senses, attention difficulties and higher rates of physical and emotional illnesses”.
We are stressed, depressed and overwhelmed. We feel disconnected and unsupported.
And deep inside we know that something is missing. We yearn for something more. A simpler way of life, infused with kindness, gentleness, respect, reverence and meaningful connection.
Reawakening our connection with nature spirits helps us to live more harmoniously and consciously. We become kinder to the planet because we remember that we’re part of the whole.
By reawakening your connection with nature spirits, you can call upon a huge network of support, guidance, healing, inspiration and love. You realise that the entire universe not only has your back, but is a source of practical guidance for you. In my experience, nature spirits are wise, practical, funny, loving, playful, and delighted to co-create with us to serve the planet and all beings who live here.
I’m not going to give you a definitive list of types of nature spirits because I don’t have one. I can only speak from my personal experience and those I have a living relationship with. Everything is alive and has consciousness. There is Spirit in all things. I have a living relationship with stone spirits, flower spirits, tree spirits, water spirits, land spirits, devas who hold the blueprint for different places and different plants, and the elemental beings of earth, air, fire and water.
I hope this blog will give you ideas to play with in your own explorations of nature spirit connections. Maybe it will plant a seed. Maybe it will confirm something you’ve experienced yourself. Maybe it will open your mind and your heart to try new things.
Tips for connecting with nature spirits:
1. Be present and grounded.
2. Be willing and open-minded.
3. Be respectful and humble.
4. Go lightly. Be playful and have fun.
5. Listen to your heart.
6. Release expectations.
1. Be present and grounded. The more you deepen your connection with the earth, the more in tune you’ll feel with nature spirits. Some people imagine roots or magnets coming out of the soles of their feet. Being barefoot helps. Become aware of the earth beneath you, the sky above you, your heart in your centre and breathe – long, slow deep breaths. Notice your surroundings. Pay attention to where you are, the season, the time of day, the plant life, insects, birds, evidence of animals (droppings, feathers, bones etc.) Be here now.
2. Be willing and open-minded. Nature spirits are all around us even if we can’t see them, so meet them in the spirit of willingness and curiosity. Be open to the idea that there is a world beyond your everyday senses that you can tap into if you genuinely want to. Spend time in magical places at magical times of day (e.g. dawn and dusk) and you’ll be more likely to sense the subtle realms of nature spirits. Slow down to nature’s pace and be patient. It might take a while for nature spirits to appear to you but it’ll be worth it.
3. Be respectful and humble. Say hello, introduce yourself. It’s rude not to! If I’m outside and don’t acknowledge the nature spirits it would be like walking into your house, making myself a cup of tea, having a nosey in your cupboards and not even saying hello. Nature is the home of nature spirits so we need to remember that and be respectful when we’re outside. Ask what you can do for them, listen to any guidance you receive and then do it.
4. Go lightly. Be playful and have fun. I remember reading a book about connecting with tree spirits years ago in London and sitting seriously by the banks of our local river trying very hard to ‘connect’. Nothing. Nada. I’ve also read elaborate invocations to elemental beings and tried to learn about various orders of nature spirit and honestly? It left me cold and sucked all the joy out of it because I was trying too hard. Anything that requires a huge effort to learn takes us out of our hearts and into our heads. In my experience, connection with spirit happens organically when we stop taking ourselves seriously, lighten up and simply drop our awareness into our hearts, instead of our heads. Laugh, play, enjoy yourself and you’ll be much more in tune with nature spirits.
5. Listen to your heart. It will guide you by giving you inner promptings straight from your Higher Self. You might feel a prompting to take a particular path through the park and receive a message you needed. Or you might feel drawn to a particular flower because it has the energetic vibration you most need. Listen to your heart, follow it, trust it. By breathing through your heart, your vibration matches the vibration of nature spirits so communication becomes easier.
6. Release expectations. You probably won’t hear a booming voice like Morgan Freeman greeting you by name and giving you a wise sound-bite that stops you in your tracks. (You might of course, but generally I find that’s not the way it works). The messages tend to be more subtle and quiet than that, but if the nature spirits really want you to notice something they’ll let you know.
I was walking in the woods one day, when a song started playing on my phone in my pocket. N.B. I never listen to music on my phone, the only reason I even had music on my phone was because my son had been messing with it and synched tunes from my computer onto my phone. The track was called ‘Gnome Woods’ from Llewellyn’s Journey to the Faeries album.
It stopped me in my tracks. I looked up to see a huge rock about twice my height in front of me with a gnome’s face on it!
Sometimes you’ll see nature spirits visually with your eyes open but most of the time you’ll probably feel/sense their presence or see them in your inner eye when your physical eyes are closed instead. I’ve seen actual faeries with my eyes open twice. Both times here. I saw my first tree spirit diving out of a holly tree while I was making gem elixirs beneath the full moon last Samhain (meeting nature spirits seems to happen more easily at magical times e.g. Samhain, Beltane, at dawn and dusk when nature is most alive). I promptly jumped out of my skin, swore loudly and said something like ‘you may think I’m ready to see you but woahhhhhh I’m so not ready for this yet!’
I usually feel the presence of nature spirits as a subtle intangible shift in the atmosphere, as though the entire landscape is holding its breath wondering if I’ll notice. You know when you were a little kid playing hide and seek and you’d found that great hiding place and you hardly dared breathe because your friend was so close by she’d hear you? It feels like the whole landscape is doing that. As part of my devotion to deepening my connection with nature spirits I chat to them even if I don’t feel, see or sense them because I know they’re there anyway whether or not I can perceive their presence.
I talk to places, trees, plants, rivers, ponds and rocks. I tell them I love them. I tell them that they’re beautiful and I appreciate them. Often I’ll kiss stones, trees and flowers. I’ll stroke them, hug them and generally treat them like they’re my good friends.
Treat your relationship with nature spirits like you would any other relationship. Give it your love, attention, respect and presence. Like any relationship it becomes richer and deeper over time as trust develops between you and you get to know each other. Spend time together and listen to what they have to say. My practice is to ask the nature spirits what I can do for them and ask if there’s anything they want me to know. It links back to that idea of being respectful and humble. They were here way before I was.
When I’m talking to nature spirits (usually silently although it can also be out loud) my priority is to offer myself in service to them. You might be guided to pick up litter, leave an offering, send healing from your heart through your hands into a tree or any number of possibilities. The important thing is to keep the dialogue open at all times, listening more than you talk and asking what you can do to help them more than you ask them for guidance about your own life. They get ignored by humans most of the time so I feel there’s a real imbalance we need to put right by listening to them whenever we can.
Nature spirits seem to love music, and don’t mind if your singing voice is truly dreadful (as mine is). If you listen to your heart, you may be called to drum, play bells or singing bowls for nature spirits or to use your own voice to sing, chant and tone. The stone spirits in the woodland here invite me to tone into the hollow bowl shapes on their surface and the tones that come out of me feel deep and ancient. Two friends have recently felt guided to sing in the woodland behind our house. I could feel the entire woodland quivering with delight when Awen Clement of Wild Magpie sang this song one evening:
This song was given to Awen by the trees during her Shamanic training and she says it is to be shared, so do sing it to the nature spirits where you live. I’m learning the words so I can sing it every time I’m out in nature because I can feel how much the trees love it. It’s like when you tickle a cat under the chin and it closes its eyes in bliss; that’s the effect I sense it has on our tree friends.
There are nature spirits everywhere but generally it’s easier to connect with them in wild places away from the built-up environment. Places like Cae Mabon and Offshoots Permaculture (home to the flower and vibrational essence practitioner training diploma) where they have used natural building techniques and grow plants in harmony with nature. Places where nature’s energy has been respected are good places to meet nature spirits. When a group of us gathered in Cae Mabon a few years ago, we could hear the nature spirits singing in the forest as clear as day.
I share ways to connect with plant devas in this blog about making a flower essence, so that will give you ideas for how to develop the connection with nature spirits who are responsible for how plants grow.
There is so much to discover by connecting with nature spirits. The Elven elders first came to me during heartbreak and they have guided me on the journey from the emotional heart into the spiritual heart. I was excited to read Elen Tompkins’ wonderful Silver Wheel book recently where she also talks about the Elven Elders and the Lemurian connection I’d been experiencing. Always so affirming when someone else has similar experiences because communicating with the intangible can sometimes make you wonder if you’re just making it all up.
I’ve learnt that faeries have a particular affinity with inner child healing and the Inner Child Meditation Kit was essentially channelled from the faerie realm. It’s my most popular product and people experience great healing, shifts and insights from using it.
Boggarts are among my favourite nature spirits – swampy and Shrek-like, they are earth elementals who are so useful when you need common sense guidance. They may be mischievous and grumpy when they feel disrespected, but they become great allies offering supremely practical advice if you take the time to get to know them.
Before the first flower essence-making workshop I taught at Offshoots, a boggart showed up in my inner vision and told me he wanted a gift of red petals. I took some that had fallen from tulips in my garden and placed them in the part of the site where he’d shown me to leave offerings for the nature spirits.
A couple of years later when I was due to run another essence-making workshop I was talking to the nature spirits the night before. 100% rain was forecast all day for the day of the workshop. Exactly the opposite of what you want for a flower essence-making workshop where participants will be outside for most of the day receiving messages from nature. I didn’t know whether or not to cancel the workshop and asked the nature spirits for guidance. I was shown red petals again, specifically the red poppies growing in the polytunnel. At first I wasn’t sure what this meant but then I realised they were showing me that if the weather was really bad, people could make their essences inside the polytunnel and therefore be protected from the bad weather. Genius! No need to cancel it after all. I love the practicality of the messages we receive when we ask nature spirits to guide us.
As we develop our relationship with nature spirits, we are supported, guided, inspired and healed, and we also have the opportunity to give back. Giving and receiving, it’s what makes the world go round.
When this valley was flooded in the Boxing Day floods I asked the deva of the Calder Valley what it needed for wholeness. It told me that it needed the qualities of hope, resilience, comfort and light. These qualities correspond to particular Bach Flower Remedies so I took the appropriate remedies (gorse, oak, Star of Bethlehem and sweet chestnut) and asked to channel their energy through my body into the earth. I also set up a healing grid using Bach Flower Remedies and crystals devoted to restoring these qualities in the valley.
A few days later I talked to the dragon who guards the hillside behind our house and asked what he needed us to know. He told me that we need to respect his might and his majesty. This is something that us humans need to remember. We need to get more humble. We weren’t here first, we won’t be here last. We’re part of a living infrastructure that we depend on more than it depends on us. We can play our part in contributing positively to the world we live in or we can continue to destroy it. The choice lies in our hands (and our hearts).
By opening up to messages from nature spirits we can use the information they give us to enact positive change, and transform the world we live in. What an exciting time to be alive!
The wonderful Karina Ladet has created a meditation to Connect with Nature and Nature Spirits that you can download here. I find that doing processes like this help us to experience what the energy of nature spirits feels like so we recognise it more easily in our everyday lives.
I hope this post inspires you to get outside and start chatting to the nature spirits where you live or to deepen your connection even more. Do share your stories of nature spirit connections with me in the comments, I love to hear about them!