by Kaylin Kaupish
What better way to appreciate God’s divine work than through the natural wonders he created? For thousands of years, humans have been drawn to the beauty and meditative solitude that nature offers. From deep lakes to high mountain tops, we travel to the world’s most mystical locations in search of spiritual comfort and enlightenment. Through nature, God teaches us about creation, wonder, balance, and connection. Here are a few of those spiritual places in nature.
This mountain stands prominently in the southern region of Sri Lanka. It’s summit is an important pilgrimage site for people of various faiths. Also called Sri Pada, or “sacred footprint,” some claim to see an imprint of a foot in the stone at the mountain’s peak.The footprint and the mountaintop itself have individual meaning for each religious group. Some Christians and Muslims believe the footprint belonged to the first man, Adam. Giovanni de Marignolli, a prominent traveler during the 14thcentury, stated that “from its top one could see paradise were it not for the cloud cover that hides it from view.”
The mountains that surround the city of Sedona, Arizona reportedly contain places of heightened spiritual and metaphysical energy. Some people who visit these sites—known as “vortexes”—describe mystical experiences, intense emotions, and even physical healings. In search of vortexes or not, visitors flock to this unique city seeking sanctuary in the stunning landscape around them. The vibrant red rock mountains against a backdrop of clear blue sky offers a profoundly beautiful reminder of God’s artistry.
The world’s largest salt flat is located outside the town of Uyuni in southern Bolivia. The flat’s vast, white grounds are almost completely silent, making it an ideal spot for contemplation and spiritual meditation. During the land’s rainy season, between December and April, water from neighboring lakes flows onto the flats and creates a perfect reflection of the sky, giving the flat the nickname, “The Biggest Mirror of God.” The mesmerizing effect gives the ethereal illusion that visitors are walking in the clouds.
While the structure of this sea cave on the island of Staffa appears to be manmade, its distinct geometric shape is naturally formed. The hexagonal columns fit together so neatly, it’s almost like they were cut and placed there. The shorter columns sit right above the water level, so visitors can walk along a pathway and explore the cave’s depths. The Celts called the cave Uamh-Binn, or “The Cave of Melody,” after the harmonious echoes it sometimes produces. The cave’s mysterious nature has created a divine spark in the minds of many famous artists. Romantic composer Felix Mendelssohn was so in awe of the cave, it inspired him to write the Hebrides Overture. Sir Walter Scott called the cave “one of the most extraordinary places I ever beheld. It exceeded, in my mind, every description I had heard of it...composed entirely of basaltic pillars as high as the roof of a cathedral.”
Bryce Canyon National Park has been described as a spiritual place by many. The site’s canyons act as natural amphitheaters carved into the mountains over time. The tops are dotted with mysterious rock formations called “hoodoos” that reach up to the sky like church spires. The Grand Staircase, a pathway of rock layers that stretches from the bottom of the Grand Canyon, reaches its peak at Bryce Canyon. The land was explored and settled by Mormons in the 1800s and was dubbed a National Park in 1928 because of its unique geology. Because the park is so far from cities with light pollution, it is one of the best places in the country for stargazing. The National Park Service calls Bryce Canyon “a sanctuary for natural darkness” that allows visitors to take in the wonders of the night sky.
This grove located in the Fishlake National Forest may look like a collection of vibrant aspen trees, but it is actually just one big tree. All of the approximately 47,000 trunks that span 106 acres share one root system underground, making it one of the world’s largest living organisms. The grove, called Pando after the Latin word meaning “to spread,” has grown for thousands of years. However, it will not be around forever—ecologists say the aspen is diminishing in size, so visitors are coming in droves to wonder at the massive organism while they still can. Standing within the serene grove can gently remind us that while things may appear separated, they are still connected in ways we cannot see.
Earth and sky meet in these shrouded rainforests in Mexico. The mists that cover the forests in a cloak of mystery also contribute to lush vegetation and animal life. The depths of the forest are difficult to get to, which means we humans can only imagine the amount of flora and fauna hidden within. Cloud forests form under specific environmental conditions in just a few locations worldwide. They are some of the most biologically diverse sites on the planet. Different ecosystems exist in harmony, as the forests’ geographical locations make it possible for both northern and southern hemisphere organisms to flourish. However, time is running out for the Mexican cloud forests and others like them. Due to deforestation, cloud forests are becoming increasingly rare.
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