Spirit of Place


A workbook for Sacred Alignment, Loren Cruden

have any of you worked through this book?
48 week's work, based on the Wheel with a week off between each season.

I've only read the introduction and it is so powerful I'm a bit intimidated to begin :)
But begin I will.. just wondered if anyone else has been on that particular journey.

Her thoughts come from many worldviews, but one thing that struck me, she distinguishes between Native and native. As has been discussed in other wheel threads, to take from and give to our own native surroundings is important in grounding connections, which isn't Native American, First Peoples, Aboriginal, etc. Bit to start with what is native to you.


This sounds good. What is native to you is something that has concerned me for many years now. Finally the tide is turning and more western spiritual seekers outside the mainstream religions are starting to understand that they can't adopt someone else's ideas or culture wholesale, they have to actually do the work in their own environment (where they belong).

If we all did this, think what a wonderful world every part of the globe would be!

The book sounds good, will you keep us informed of some of the exercises? I can't justify another book just yet because I have at least a dozen to read first (from Yule) but this could be on my wish list. ;)


“There is a spirituality indigenous to every land. When you move in harmony with that spirit of place, you are practicing native (not Native) spirituality.”
— Loren Cruden, The Spirit of Place

This one quote (above) that I found in an article written by Joanna Powell, radically changed my spiritual path. For the past several years, I've been trying to track my Scottish ancestry and looking into their beliefs. But I am here, in the Deep South, a world away from that land. And while I believe my ancestry plays a part in my beliefs, I do know that I must learn to be native in my own land.
For those who haven't read it, here's Joanna's article:

I've been employing several techniques encouraged by the Wilderness Awareness program for becoming native to my own place. One of which is the "Sit Spot:"

For a short video about it:

And here's an easy-to-understand summary:

The Sit Spot

Where should it be? Find a place REALLY CLOSE to home. The big reason why people fail to visit a sit spot is that it is too far away and we all get lazy. Make sure it's a place you can hang out for 15 or 30 minutes and feel safe.

What makes for a great spot? All spots have the potential to be great, but the more nature the better. A big tree nearby, grass or dirt underfoot, a water source, fewer people/cars around, and a visible bird feeder will all make for more action.

An Example - In downtown Boston I had a fantastic sit spot on the ugly tar-paper roof of my apartment building. The view was stupendous and I saw red tailed hawks, starlings, blue jays, and house finches up close when they landed on the television antennas. I also watched the seasons change, the wind blow storms in, and could see the Charles river. I went every morning with my tea and it was one of the best parts of the day.

What will I do there? When you first go to your sit spot, close your eyes. Yup. Close them. Then give your sense of smell and hearing a chance. Tune in to the sounds nearby and really far away. Think about the temperature sensitivity of your skin, look around and make a mental inventory, a list of everything there. Think big - trees, airplanes. Think small-grass, beetles. Are you hearing or smelling any of these things? Wait just a bit longer than is comfortable. Now think about your skin. Is it humid? Is it cold or warm? How does your skin feel different on your legs and on your face? Can you feel the ground? Okay, now you can open your eyes. Take a mental inventory, a list of what's there. Again, think both big and small. Try to sit really still. Why sit still? Well, most of the animals of the world are seriously afraid of humans. No birds, raccoons, chipmunks, moles, foxes, or any other wild animals are going to get within 15 feet of you if you are moving around making noise.

After sitting, document your experience:
Set the stage - What time did you go out? What was the weather like, What were you doing just beforehand? *
Record observations before inferences - Always say what you noticed before attempting to figure out why you noticed it. *For example, "When I came outside, I smelled a strong scent of charcoal and cooking meat. *My neighbors mentioned they may have a barbeque this weekend, so that might be where the smell is coming from."*
A picture tells a thousand words - If you can't explain something as well as you can draw it, then draw it! Don't worry about making a work of art, just do a simple sketch.
Write from all of your senses - Don't just say what you see, say what you smell, hear, feel, and even taste (you can taste salt in the air when the wind comes off the ocean!)

The Sit Spot sounds like such a simple thing to do, but I can honestly say it has taught me more things than I have ever learned in a book or class, and opened my heart in ways I didn't know was possible.


One of the tasks in one of Julia Cameron's books was like a crash course in sit spot. We were to go anywhere we wanted and sit for an hour. Journaling on what we saw. It was one of the most difficult for me tasks in the book, but a lesson that has remained and been nurtured ever since.

The difficult was in the quiet sitting. I'd think, oh I can balance the checkbook, or gee, this would be a good time to clean out the carry along box in the back...dust the dash of the car...

It was this view http://www.oocities.org/denise54/longviewwashington.htm only a little higher up. There is a lot in that journal entry about sheep moving back and forth :) but that too was a lesson. When I was looking at the paddock of sheep they didn't seem to be moving at all. My viewpoint would switch and a few minutes later when I saw the sheep again they had all moved quite a bit. Like life and the world, nothing is stationary, but for me, it is so important to note the passage.

Didn't know it's name bit I've been sit-spotting ever since.


The difficult was in the quiet sitting. I'd think, oh I can balance the checkbook, or gee, this would be a good time to clean out the carry along box in the back...dust the dash of the car...
Yep, you nailed it. :D
But once body and mind are stilled, its like a whole new world opens up...
Looks like a mighty nice Sit Spot you had there!


Darn it . . . had to order the book didn't I. Now look what you've done.


So how is the book AJ? How are you finding/enjoying the exercises?


My book arrived today - can't wait to get stuck in.


Well, I'm at week one, and have read that chapter twice, but it is a yearbook, planned around the seasons, with week one being the first week of the spring equinox. So it is mentally sat aside, on my night stand physically :) But it spurred me to finally make my physical wheel in order to be ready.

I will say here, a year workbook isn't for everyone, but nearly every year I choose a daybook & work through it, so the commitment isn't a new experience to me. I felt kind of lost this year without one but since this one begins in spring it worked out perfect! I don't doubt you can begin the book in any of the season sections if someone in the southern hemisphere were reading this.

I have two decks where I do my outside work, my small one off the office and my big one off the kitchen. Small one has west/north/east exposure, the big one has south/west/north exposure. Hence the need (desire) for a wheel for both. You can make a mental wheel in the bathroom if you want, this is just something I'd like to do.

I've looked at a lot of wheels over the years, yearned mightily for standing stones :) but somewhere in reading the introduction the perfect one for me sprang full blown into my brain. I have my materials at hand, and am just looking for a compass so I can get true points.
Way fun project! Photos will follow!

One thing about learning/remembering something and retaining a workbook project I've learned is whether it is just a single page, or a chapter, read it three times. In this case since I'll be working with weeks, I'll read the week ahead once, again during the week, and again the week after. So I'm doing a 3 part dance rhythm through the entire book.

Sorry about the book enabling Milfoil...but I would welcome your companionship on the journey~


AJ, thanks for sharing this. It looks exactly perfect for the personal work I'd doing this year. And perfect timing! I've already ordered a book on local plants and wildflowers....should be here any day. :D