Book Review: Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-Creating with the Elemental Kingdom

Fall has arrived and cooler weather invites us outdoors before the Winter cold sets in. This book was a lovely inspiration to get me out there and communing in nature. Enjoy….

Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-creating with the Elemental Kingdom, by R. Ogilvie Crombie

Findhorn Press, 9781620558379, 232 pp., 2018 (3rd. Edition)

Encounters with Nature Spirits: Co-creating with the Elemental Kingdom is one of those rare books that immediately takes you out of your head and transports you into the woods or a park, sun shining down and warm as you observe the play and interactions of those lesser seen beings. This little treasure is separated into bite-size chapters and explores the relationship between the author R. Ogilvie Crombie (“ROC”) as he is affectionately known, Pan and the many and diverse elementals and spirits of the natural world.

There is no doubt that Ogilvie was an initiate of an ancient and veiled spiritual tradition…(he) never revealed his spiritual lineage, but it’s clear he had a profound understanding, not only of what used to be called “the occult” but of all the world’s major religions, and many of its more obscure ones. 1.

Chapter 1, “Afternoon With A  Faun”begins the journey of Ogilvie into the mysteries of teh natural world, when he sees a faun dancing about a tree. As any “rational” man would do he dismisses this as fancy, yet the visage persists and he relinquishes disbelief as we are also reminded…

Here was a strange and wonderful experience. Why should I not accept it, see what happened and analyse it later? 2

Thus begins the dialogue between man and the nature spirits of greater earth, as we too surrender our disbelief and read the recounting of a lovely afternoon’s revealing of what lay hidden, but only by our own skepticism. As the years, and chapters progress we are reminded that once the doors have been opened, more will follow and the illusion of our separateness and aloneness in nature falls away.

One of my favorite encounters occurs in Chapter 3, “Meeting Pan on Iona”. This chapter, in particular, speaks of the increasing disconnect between humanity and nature, the demonizing of the God, Pan and the sadness within that world devoid of human interaction.  These meetings and interactions between ROC and the spirits of the natural world served as opportunities for reconciliation, through the author’s retelling of his encounters and the relating of their words and thoughts.

About R. Ogilvie Crombie and the Findhorn Community

One of the things that makes this book so relevant in opening up the “possibilities” that we co-exist beside an entire world that is not only living, breathing and evolving as we are, but that we can become co-creators of a more harmonious world, simply by recognition. These writings and philosophies came from one who was a scientist at heart. And, driven by an innate sense of curiosity and a large dose of intuitive action, layered into that foundation proficiency in mythology, history, esotericism and the love of the fine arts. Add to this the fortune of living in Edinburgh, Scotland, in and of itself one of the natural sacred sites and you have the recipe for clear-headed analysis and openness to what lay beyond the realms of the usual human experience.

Chapter 13, “The Wild Garden”, exemplifies the impact a single individual can have on what has been tradition. The tradition of formal gardens was long established in Britain, and those garden not so finely manicured gardens were off limits to humans, being the domain of the fairies and elves. Lest a human stray from the path and be seduced into the timeless realm of the Fae. On the other hand, ROC, having long been in contact with Pan and others of the natural realm knew the importance of respect and reverence for these lesser tended spaces, leaving them to be the domain of the elementals and wilder spirits. I felt this as a timely reminder of a call to return to caring for and nurturing the lands; having enough for all seen and unseen, and being mindful of leaving a legacy of nature our gentle hands and hearts.

Communication between ROC and the nature spirits of Findhorn continued regardless of where ROC was, as Peter Caddy recalls. 3.

The “Afterword” of Encounters with Nature Spirits is written by Dorothy Maclean, the co-founder of the Findhorn Garden community (with Peter Caddy). ROC and Dorothy met sometime in the 1960’s, well after contact with the nature spirits of Findhorn had been established and the community and gardens were thriving, guided by the Devas and nature elementals. The years following found ROC and Findhorn collaborating, each informing the other the experiences held in their own “neck of the woods” so to speak and we learn that Findhorn was further informed in its success by ROC’s more extended interactions and contacts.

When ROC talked about his connection with nature beings, his imagination was clothing these entities in images arising from the many planetary cultures…in this case images from Greek mythology….he was picking up thought forms already existing within the collective consciousness of humanity.”  4.

I could go on and on offering praises to the value and content of Encounters with Nature Spirits, but this is one of those books and readings that have to be experienced first hand. As I read further into the book, I found myself doing so outside, surrounded by nature; imbibing in a fully visual and tactile experience calling me “home”. Did I see any nature spirits in my travels? Ah, that is mine to know, and yours to find out!

To read more on the Findhorn Community:

The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation by the Findhorn Community

Footnotes:

  1. Prologue, xiii
  2. p. 5
  3. p. 119
  4. p. 181-182

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