Surprise Encounters With the Spirits of the Land - Experiential Online Animism Class
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Surprise Encounters With the Spirits of the Land

spirits of the land

Surprise Encounters With the Spirits of the Land

As someone who is outside most days regardless of the weather, I absolutely adore meeting spirits of the land… USUALLY! Sometimes they take you unaware. Let me share four surprise encounters with the spirits of the land. Maybe you’ve had them too.

the silent wood

The first encounter happened at a property where we used to retreat prior to the Covid-19 lockdown.

There is something “different” about this place. It feels warded. It is way too quiet. It’s not like a “normal” wood at all.

 I live in the woods. There are all kinds of birds, crickets, frogs, and squirrels. It’s a noisy and busy place. No so here. I never see any life in the woods.

It always feels like I am being watched here. It doesn’t feel spooky or dangerous, just very odd. Like a bubble is around it that doesn’t let things in or out.

I was never there alone long enough to connect with the spirit of the land here, but I am sure it has an interesting story to tell.

The land was left to a church when the occupant of the house died. Perhaps her spirit watches over thing to make sure it all stays in order. The land also lies in the pathway of General Lee’s retreat during the Civil War. Perhaps old soldiers wander the woods searching for the way home.

the Faerie Garden

If you ever see a faerie garden, you just sort of know it. In the prettiest little B&B in Orkey, we did just that. As I passed through the hedge, I entered into another world, a realm of peace and playful light.

I didn’t have to be told to lower my voice here or quiet my mind. I just knew that in order to really enjoy all this place had to offer, I had to be still.

I can’t say that I “saw” anything, but there were definitely lots of moving energies and personalities here. They were very playful and curious. It felt as though they were watching and wanting to engage, but being a stranger here, I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. So, like shy teenagers, we just giggled and smiled at each other waiting for someone to make the first move.

the chanters

 Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy. It has a dark history of slavery, and there are many haunted hotels, warehouses, and homes in the downtown area. We were there holding a spiritual workshop in a former tobacco warehouse one weekend.

spirit of the land

The morning began with my favorite kirtan. It often brings tears to my face and makes me emotional. This morning was the same. As I chanted with my eyes closed, I could hear many more voices than I thought were present in the room with me. I could feel strong waves of love overcoming me. I can get lost in chanting though and didn’t think much of it.

When the chanting was done, I spoke with the woman who was next to me. She heard and felt the same things! It wasn’t just the kirtan. The landlord later told me that he shares his space with spirits of the land.

the drummers

This tale is a bit different. It takes place in a chapel on a ley line. I was with a group of people who came here to experience the energy of the ley line and walk the labyrinth. After doing that, we stopped at the chapel to do a little trance drumming.

I smudged the area with sage, closed my eyes, and began to drum. Within a few minutes, I could hear many more drums. I sometimes vocalize when I drum, but there were more voices than just mine. The smell of sage was also a lot stronger than it should have been. I smelled like it was still burning right next to me.

Many people had visions of Native Americans. Many of those stories overlapped. One person also smelled the strong sage. Several heard many drums. It felt like the spirits of the land heard us and joined our ceremony.

The spirits of the land are everywhere. It’s wise to be open to encountering them so that you are prepared. As long as you respect what you find there, it’s usually a peaceful experience for everyone. 

What are your stories of the land?


Laura grew up with animism. She is a co-founder of Pan Society, a licensed clinical social worker, author of Angel Whispering: How to Talk to Your Spiritual Guides and How To Be A Panist: A Guide to Creating a Modern Animist Lifestyle. She also facilitates spiritual pilgrimages. For more information about Laura Giles, see her websites at

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