The Space-Psyche Bond (Continues)

Some theories examine the bond existing between space and psyche. Thus, they serve to explain how our dreaming mind builds dream landscapes. These theories are: Psychogeography, Place Attachment Theory, Spiritual Geography and Energy Geography.

Spiritual Geography.

According to Kathleen Norris’s book Dakota: A Spiritual Geography Spiritual Geography is the experience of nature, landscape or one’s surroundings as a experience of the holy, and the way in which one’s physical geography intersects with an internal or spiritual geography. Besides, Spiritual Geography describes the way a place shapes people’s attitudes, beliefs and myths.

At times, the connection that we feel with the land has its roots on cultural and religious elements. Our psyche connects to the land in ways that go beyond how we urbanise our surroundings. This is easily observable in the relationship that Australian Aborigines and American Natives have with the land, not just specific locations:

  • They have an spiritual connection with the land.
  • Narrow link between land and culture.
  • Their cosmogonies include the land.
  • They see people and their land as one and the same.
  • The places they relate to aren’t cities or towns, are land spaces, sacred or natural place, not man-made spaces.

Aboriginal Spirit of the Land.

A wonderful e-article by Jens Korff, Meaning of land to Aboriginal people, shows the connection that Aborigines have with the land. He quotes an Aboriginal woman, Ambelin Kwaymullina, who says:

“For Aboriginal peoples, country is much more than a place. Rock, tree, river, hill, animal, human – all were formed of the same substance by the Ancestors who continue to live in land, water, sky. Country is filled with relations speaking language and following Law, no matter whether the shape of that relation is human, rock, crow, wattle. Country is loved, needed, and cared for, and country loves, needs, and cares for her peoples in turn. Country is family, culture, identity. Country is self.”

American Natives.

Paula Gunn Allen summarized the Laguna Pueblo people‘s beliefs as follows:

We are the land (…) that is the fundamental idea embedded in Native American life the Earth is the mind of the people as we are the mind of the earth. The land is not really the place (separate from ourselves) where we act out the drama of our isolate destinies. It is not a means of survival, a setting for our affairs … It is rather a part of our being, dynamic, significant, real. It is our self … It is not a matter of being ‘close to nature’ … The Earth is, in a very real sense, the same as our self (or selves).

New Energy Geography.

C. Philo, L. Cadman & J. Lea have an interesting article studying the connection between personal energy, health and well-being, and the human, natural or transpersonal energy that a given place has or that we attribute to it personally or culturally.

According to them, Old Geography of Energy talks about energy as we traditionally know it, i.e. as related to energy resources. Whereas Modern Energy Geography uses the term energy in a  more New Age-ish sense, although its principles are rooted in philosophical concepts that go back to Spinoza and the Romantic philosophers.

In the latter, the concept of ‘affect’ is central. ‘Affect’ is a relatively mobile energy existing in a place ‘atmosphere’ that flows and connects us with personal and cultural conscious emotions and feelings. This energy has has the capacity to produce changes in human behaviour, both at an individual an collective levels.

In simple words, it is an indescribable connection to the land or a place that isn’t based on birth, country or culture of origin. That connection relates to something that affects your body, mind and spirit. We naturally get it while we are in Nature — Its beauty or magnificence makes us experience a sense of inner expansiveness that’s difficult to explain. Also, we get it when we visit a place that we have no relation to and get goosebumps.


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