Our Spiritual Nature: An Exploration into Nature Experiences, Spirituality and Environmental Responsibility

Annick de Witt


In this autobiographical essay, I reflect on the healing and transformational power of ritual. Here, ritual is perceived as a holistic form of communication that incorporates and unites the material human body, the physical earth, and the non-tangible realms of emotion, intuition, spirit, and thought. The processes of ritual rebalance the flow of energy between and within these diverse elements, and act as a catalyst for change in the participant’s consciousness. Thus, a ritualised act can change the very order of the world itself. The performance of the personal ritual described in this essay was sparked by my grief over the death of someone I loved very much – my mother.  The symptoms of my grief were a physical expression of my lack of knowledge about how to live after her death, and did not diminish until I had turned myself over fully to the practice of the ritual. The ritual itself was a simple one: a daily walk up a mountain path to sit in a particular tree. Indeed, at the time, I did not think of this daily act as ritual. Nonetheless, the performance of the ritual honoured and reconnected me to early childhood memories of my mother, and to the earth’s body, and also permitted me to recognise and engage with the anima locus, or place soul, of the mountain tree.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18357/illumine2120031571

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ISSN (Print): 1705-2947
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