What is the Green Spirit? - green spirit

Green spirit encounter

What is the Green Spirit?

A Green Spirit encounter consists of sudden feelings of awe and wonder, of unspeakable happiness, breath-taking beauty, a feeling of a place in nature being sacred, a feeling of being reconnected to all that is, feelings of relief, of no longer being alone, feelings of being related, feelings of being solaced and comforted, feelings of inner peace. The Green Spirit is like a mist that is within, over and around everything in moving quantities. There are times and places where its concentration is so high that you can walk into it like walking into a wall and there are other places that seem to be completely devoid of it, like a shopping mall. Many authors, poets and songwriters have grasped some of the feelings of such encounters. One description of a Green Spirit encounter can be found below:

Grass and Bellflowers

When I was 13 years old our family moved to a small town called Sky’s Hollow. Our house was the last on Rowan Street and looked out onto an old disused gravel pit area. I loved that place. There was a small birch wood, some ruins covered to the brim in ivy and the pit with a large clear lake at its bottom where half the town went swimming on hot weekends.

More recently an area between the lake and the railroads had been fenced off. The industrial style metal fence showed no gates and was very high and very strong. As the area inside looked no different from the area outside – birch trees - my teenage curiosity was limited.

One summer night during a storm a massive oak broke apart and fell onto the fence. One fence element ripped and bent. The next afternoon I found that the fallen tree provided a perfect bridge into unknown territory. Of course, I could not resist.

Inside the breach was a steep slope. When I came to the top my eyes fell on a large, softly sloping meadow dotted with sea-buckthorn, patches of moss and patches of long grass freckled with Carthusian pinks and bellflowers. I was surrounded by thousands of different wildflowers. I was stunned. There was no wind. A large silence spread out and swallowed me. It was totally peaceful and quiet.

When I could move again I tiptoed from mossy patch to mossy patch until I was surrounded on all sides by grass, flowers and sea-buckthorn. There I sat down. Everything felt right. Perfect. In its place. All my troubles fell away. The great circle of life reached out and allowed me in. Time stopped in a most beautiful way and I became one with the grass, the flowers, the moss, the sky. Although the memory faded I never forgot that large, beautiful silence. It was like a Great Spirit in the air above and around the meadow. It was a life-changing experience.

Kate M. Elsner

Further beautiful examples of
Green Spirit encounters can be found in

Many more examples are shown at the end of the page.

Positive feelings and negative feelings:

Whereas a Green Spirit encounter always results in
positive feelings, nature experiences and Green Spirit
experiences are not the same

Nature can be beautiful and joyful but it can also be very harsh. Nature usually tolerates neither weakness nor mistakes nor bad luck. In nature, mistakes and weaknesses are usually deadly. An experience of nature can be freezing to death in a cold spell if you are a freshly hatched little bird. This is no fun. Experiencing nature and experiencing the Green Spirit therefore are not necessarily one and the same.

Whereas a Green Spirit experience is always positive, a nature experience can be ecstatic but it can also be frightening, painful and deadly. Nature is never “evil” but it has its own set of rules. You cannot have a discussion with a blizzard or a parasite about the morality of their action(s). But Green Spirit encounters and nature are intricately related. Green Spirit experiences happen mainly in wilderness but hardly ever in a mall, an underground car park or your office. 

Eight qualities of encounter 

We have found eight emotional qualities of a Green Spirit encounter or connection

Sometimes the encounter is as sudden and intense as if you were walking into a wall. Sometimes the encounter is very gentle and only gradual, e.g. when you are seeking comfort and solace during a walk in the woods and you feel "somehow better" afterwards. Here is a (very incomplete) list of authors, poets and songwriters describing Green Spirit encounters and connections. Most are in English, some are in German:

1. Intense happiness / bliss / love / joy / gratitude

Quote: ” for the love that over and around us lies

From the hymn „For the beauty of the earth”, hymn by F. S. PIERPOINT 1864

» en.wikipedia.org

Quote: Vom hohen Himmel ein leuchtendes Schweigen erfüllt die Herzen mit Selingkeit……“
translation: From the high sky a shining silence fills the hearts with bliss…..

From the lyrics “Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen” old German folk song, new text version by Paul Hermann in 1939

» www.volksliedsammlung.de

Quote: “…. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden sprung in completeness….” [Song about the beauty of the natural world and gratitude for the experience of it; mixed with Christian influence]

From the hymn “Morning has broken” by Eleanor Farjeon 1931

» www.songtexte.com/songtext/cat-stevens/morning-has-broken-13da7969.html  

Quote: „Plötzlich hüllte mich ein Gefühl vollkommenen Glücks ein. Es schien keine Trennung mehr zwischen mir und dem sanft wogenden Gras oder den anderen Dingen um mich her zu geben.“

text by DOLORES LACHAPELLE from her book Sacred Land, Sacred Sex, Finn Hills Arts, Silverton, 1988, translation Neue Erde GmbH 1999 

Quote: …” feel her worth, open up for divine” ……

From the lyrics “Mother Earth is a great big ship” by the Rainbow Camp movement

» www.rainbowcircle.co.uk/

2. Inner peace

Quote: “Climb the mountains to get their good tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like autumn leaves.”

Statement by John Muir (found in New Philosopher Nov 2016-Jan 2017, p. 16)

Quote: “…. a dry, peaceful curling at the edges of the heart. “

From the poem “The quality of the light is changing” by DEBORAH W. A. FOULKES

3. Awe and wonder

Quote: ….pufferfish circles….” it almost defies belief….” From the BBC Series „Life Story”
» www.bbc.co.uk/

For a slightly longer version you could try to google “Blue Water Art”.

Quote”… And I know that I am honored to be witness of so much majesty….” From the poem “Stars” by Sara Teasdale 1920

» allpoetry.com/poem/

Quote: “…. Was it humility, to feel so honoured? I felt so honoured. ….”

From the poem “Snake” by D. H. Lawrence

» www.poetsgraves.co.uk/

The earth was small, light blue and so touchingly alone, our home that must be defended like a holy relic. “

Statement by Aleksei Leonov, Cosmonaut (found in New Philosopher Nov 2016-Jan 2017, p. 62)

Quote: “…. Not quite empty. The casket of jewels still there…”

From the poem “For Phil (Time Machine)” by Deborah W. A. Foulkes, 26.07.2010

Quote: “So wunderschön, dafür reichen Worte nicht ...“

From the lyrics “Sein” by ANDREAS BOURANI

» www.songtexte.com/songtext/

Quote: an encounter leading to …” a tiny radiance in a dark place “

From the poem “Toad” by NORMAN MacCAIG. See also The Sunday Herald online:

» www.youtube.com/

Quote: “…The trees are all the better for its passing….” [A feeling of improvement of the world following an encounter with a kingfisher.]

From the poem “Kingfisher “by NORMAN MacCAIG. See also:

» books.google.de

Quote by NICOLE HEESTERS, WDR online  „Von diesem Augenblick zehre ich noch heute ...“ (Deutschland im Wahl-Wahn; abgerufen am 30.09.2007): 

[Description of an encounter found in the book “Bitte sag dass das nicht wahr ist, ich liebe dich doch” by Andrea and Metthias Oppermann, p. 248, Verlag Wortmacht 2010]

Translation: The actress remembered that “the tree-lined road was full of people. We had been waiting for hours for the whale to show itself.” Suddenly everyone shouted, a wave of cries surged through the crowd, and for four seconds she saw its white back breaking through the surface of the water. “The experience of this brief moment has nourished and sustained me ever since. “

4. An intrinsic sense of rightness, everything being in its right place

Quote: “…. I felt I had discovered the missing centre of things, the key to rightness itself, ...”

From the book The Continuum Concept – In Search of Happiness Lost” by JEAN LIEDLOFF, pp. 19-23 in; Penguin Books 2004

» www.penguin.co.uk/books/17778/the-continuum-concept/

Quote: “Sod you, it seemed they were saying, to the foresters and tidy-uppers of woods, the plank producers, the fence producers, the administrators of the forestiness. Sod you, they said, ...” [Text about the natural order in contrast to human order.]

From the text “Crinkly Brook” by DEBORAH W. A. FOULKES

Quote: “……A magic moment, this experience gave to my life something, I know not what, that seems to explain my life at a more profound level than almost any other experience I can remember……” [The one page text shows a wonderful description of a Great Spirit encounter.]

From the book “The Great Work”, chapter The Meadow Across the Creek by THOMAS BERRY, Bell Tower 1999

Quote: “Aber die Natur versteht gar keinen Spaß, sie ist immer wahr, immer ernst, inmmer strenge, sie hat immer Recht, und die Fehler und Irrtümer sind immer des Menschen.“ Translated: "But nature is not funny, it is always true, always serious, always strict, it is always right, and the mistakes and errors are always man's."

Statement by JOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE found on a wall in a museum
5. Being a part of the whole / connection / interconnectedness / wholeness

Quote: “Die Berge ziehen am Horizont, wie Wellen übers Land. Sie nehmen mich bei sich auf so als wären wir verwandt. ...“ Translated: "The mountains move across the horizon like waves across the land. They take me in as if we were related. ..."

From the lyrics “Sein” by ANDREAS BOURANI

» www.songtexte.com/songtext/andreas-bourani/sein-534573a1.html 

Quote: “…. Around me, overhead, underfoot, everything was right, being born, living, dying and being replaced without a break in the order of it all. I ran my hands lovingly over the great roots that held me like an armchair and began to ...”

From the book “The Continuum Concept – In Search of Happiness Lost” by JEAN LIEDLOFF, pp. 19-23 in; Penguin Books 2004

Quote: “…. It’s about the remarkable connectivity, on this small and spherical planet, of living processes. …I promised whale poo, and whale poo you shall have. …..”

From the text “Everything is connected” by GEORGE MONBIOT, published on the Guardian’s website, 12 December 2014.

» www.monbiot.com/2014/12/12/everything-is-connected/

Quote: "…. They blended religion and art and science because, at base, science is no more than an investigation of a miracle …. and art is an interpretation of that miracle. They never let science crush the aesthetic and the beautiful."

From the book The Martian Chronicles by RAY BRADBURY by Doubleday 1950

Quote: “…. For …. I worship in my way. For this is done by fixing espresso and watching the….”  [A mixture of humorous and scientific sun ‘worship’.]

From the poem “I will consider my Star Sol” by SIMON BARRACLOUGH in his poetry collection Sunspots, published in April 2015. On his website you can download a free sample.

» www.pennedinthemargins.co.uk/index.php/2015/01/sunspots/
» poetrysociety.org.uk/poems/from-sunspots/

Poem “Sleepy Moth” by Deborah W. A. Foulkes

6. Solace

Quote: “I took a walk last night. I looked up at the stars to try and find an answer in my life. …. Something made me smile. Something seemed to ease the pain. Something about the universe and how it´s all connected….”

From the lyrics to “I´m so happy that I can´t stop crying” by STING:


Quote „Die Seele wird vom Pflastertreten krumm. ... Die Wälder schweigen. Doch sie sind nicht stumm. Und wer auch kommen mag, sie trösten jeden.“ Translated: "The soul gets deformed from treading the pavement. ... The forests are silent. But they are not mute. And whoever may come, they comfort everyone."

From the poem „Die Wälder schweigen“ by ERICH KÄSTNER 1936

7. Relaxation

Quote: “…. Where the frown on my face disappears. Take me down to my boat on the river And I won't cry out anymore….”

From the lyrics of “Boat on the river” by STYX

» www.songtexte.com/songtext

Quote: “….and saved some part of a day I had rued.”

From the poem “Dust of Snow “by ROBERT FROST, published 1923 in his collection of poems, called “New Hampshire”

» www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173526

Quote:”An einem Sommermorgen, da nimm den Wanderstab, es fallen deine Sorgen wie Nebel von dir ab.” Translated: "On a summer morning, take the walking stick and your worries will fall away like mist."

Deutsches Sprichwort / German saying found in LUISA FRANCIAs book: “Wer nicht alt werden will muss vorher sterben”, 2016 Nümphenburger Verlag, p. 111

Quote: ….Ich sehn’ mich so nach einem Land der Ruhe und Geborgenheit Ich glaub’, ich hab’s einmal gekannt, als ich den Sternenhimmel weit und klar vor meinen Augen sah,…“ [The author starts with the original encounter but later fuses this with Christian belief.] Translated: "....I long for a land of peace and security I think I once knew, when I saw the starry sky wide and clear before my eyes,..."

From the poem „Weihnachten “; Unknown Author, who wrongfully signed his poem with Hermann Hesse. 

» www.derweg.org/feste/weihnachten/weihnachtsgedichte4/#weihnachten

» www.hermann-hesse.de

Quote:”....Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wilderness is a necessity; ....”

From “Our National Parks” p. 1 by John Muir, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, New York 1901 ">

8. Pain witnessing the destruction of nature / desperation / anger / wanting to protect nature

Quote: “…. There’s a war on Nature and we can all choose what to do……. I’m a Warrior, nature soldier, Fighting' for the earth….”
From the lyrics of “Earth Warrior” by OMNIA

» www.songtexte.com/songtext/omnia/earth-warrior-4344676b.html

Quote: “…What I respect you just can't see………. I’ve got a Chaos Hand and it's pointing right at you….”

From the lyrics of “Crazy Man” by OMNIA

» www.songtexte.com/songtext/omnia/crazy-man-5b44676c.html

Quote: „….Ihr rührt sie an: sie sind starr und stumm. Ihr bringt mir alle die Dinge um.“

From the poem “Ich fürchte mich so vor der Menschen Wort” by RAINER MARIA RILKE, Berlin Meyer 1899

» www.uni-due.de/lyriktheorie/texte/1899_rilke5.html

Quote: “....Only thirty years ago, the great Central Valley of California, five hundred miles long and fifty miles wide, was one bed of golden and purple flowers. Now it is ploughed and pastured out of existence, gone forever, - ....”

From “Our National Parks” p. 5 by John Muir, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston, New York 1901 

For the Beauty of the Earth

For the beauty of the earth
for the beauty of the skies
for the love, which from our birth
over and around us lies.

For the beauty of each hour
for the day and for the night
hill and vale and tree and flower
sun and moon and stars so bright.

(Two verses from a Hymn “For the Beauty of the Earth” by F. S. Pierpoint 1864,
slightly altered version from an old hymn book under the title “The Sacrifice of Praise”)

A shining silence from the sky
fills the hearts with bliss and joy.
Over glittering fields of snow
we are wandering, we are wandering
through the wide white world below.

(Translation of a verse from an old German folk song
“Es ist für uns eine Zeit angekommen”;
new text version by Paul Hermann in 1939)