What is a soul place and how do you know when you’re in one?
Historically, people have understood that there are some places with which we have a spiritual connection.
In Great Britain, one of the last European countries to become Christian under the Holy Roman Empire, the sacred sites of the native pagan tradition of druidism were gradually converted into churches. The sanctity of these spaces was granted by both the old and new traditions.
It didn’t matter that the world view had changed. The geographical location was a sacred space. You can see evidence this by looking at any British churchyard and seeing if you can find the ancient yew tree, the sacred tree of the druids – the last living remnant of a forgotten spirituality.
There are 2450 ancient yew locations in the British Isles. All of them are protected by law. What is thought to be Europe’s oldest tree is a yew tree in a churchyard in Wales. It’s 60 ft. wide and it’s more than 5000 years old.
These soul places are communal. They’re the places where the community as a whole can go and feel a sense of presence in a spiritual space.
The sad thing is, with the over-organization of people’s spiritual life that we see in religions – the turning of spiritual experiences solely into regulated social and moral experiences, that spiritual spaces have been cut off from the people who need them most, unless they visit them at specific times and follow specific guidelines as to how one should behave in that space.
Otherwise, they become museums, where people traipse through and let out stifled exclamations of ‘um’ and ‘ah’. They undeniably sense the power of the place, but they’re not permitted by authorities and social convention, to actually experience it.
This defeats the purpose of a soul place in many ways. The need to be in a soul place, and to have our own connection with it, in order to benefit from the sense of peace and comfort it can offer us is personal. It can’t be dictated to us by a priest or anyone else.
Fortunately, the earth is covered in soul places, and they haven’t all been cordoned off by the various religious organizations. Also, particular places aren’t always felt as spiritual by two people. People resonate with different places and react differently to them.
People often express spiritual connections to particular types of places:
‘I need to be by the sea to feel whole again‘;
‘I feel one with the whole of creation on a mountain‘;
‘I feel the presence of spirits in the forest, in the trees, and in the brook.’
Indeed, for some people, the city is their soul place, some people find god in the back streets at night, in the inside of a club, where they find unity in darkness and chaos.
How do you know if you’ve found your soul place?
1. You have a strong emotional reaction to your senses
It could be what you see, it could be a smell, but something in the place provokes a strong and positive emotional reaction in you. There are places, of course, that bring out strong negative reactions in us, and they also may have a certain spiritual significance, but here we’re talking of a different type of space.
The reaction could be one of an intense longing to remain in the place, you might even be moved to tears by the idea of having to leave it. While you’re there you might feel a profound feeling of belonging and oneness with all of the creation.
2. You feel inspired
Your soul place will make you feel inspired. You might suddenly find yourself producing poetry or philosophizing spontaneously, or even just remembering the words of poems or songs that you know, and feeling that they take on a deeper significance. You may feel the need to start doing something creative to express the feelings inside you that you’ve connected with by coming to your soul place. The purpose of your life will seem clearer to you, and all of the things that distract and derail you from that purpose will seem trivial and foolish.
3. You feel nostalgic
You may be overcome by a feeling somewhat like melancholy or sadness in your soul place at times, a feeling of nostalgia for the place where you belong and a longing to be absorbed back into the embrace of the whole of the creation. You feel a unity with your surroundings, and yet you know you must return, for now, to separateness, with your only gateway to that unity being the moments you spend here, on the boundary between this world and that.
4. You don’t feel the need to talk
When you’re in your soul place you’ll feel no need to chatter or fidget. You won’t feel the need to get up and move on, or get on with ‘more important’ things. You’ll feel a deep sense of contentment in simply being and the stimulation of your senses that comes from merely being here, seeing it, and breathing it in, will be the only stimulation you need.
5. You feel at peace
Finally, when you’re in your soul place, you should feel a profound sense of peace, harmony, and belonging. A sense that when you’re here you’re sheltered and protected from the psychological storm that exists in the outside world and with other people. You’ll have a feeling as if you’re finally home and you can relax. It will become clear that your separateness is an illusion and you’ll go back into the world feeling recharged and renewed, with a clearer understanding of what it’s all about.
Do you have a soul place? How do you feel when you’re there?