This year many of our participants were connecting with tree and rock life forms. Our winners and finalists have photographed a diverse range of nature spirit energy. From the energy of Mary to a resting giant, there is much to see and appreciate. Our photo contest for 2014 had over 350 images submitted! Thank you to everyone who submitted their images! We truly enjoyed viewing the different, and similar, nature spirits from around the world!
All photo submitters to the From Our Friends Blog from last year to this were included in the contest, and some of our winners and finalists are those whose images appeared earlier. Going forward, we will post in our blog, on occasion, some of the very fine submissions we received but who didn’t make the final cut!
First Place – Mary Grid by Iny Weese, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Iny felt a sense of urgency to come to this nature spot. She states, “There was a sense of urgency in wanting to be there ‘yesterday’ which for me usually means something special will happen. There was a tree on the point that reached out to touch me (no other way to describe it), and I was invited to touch; the power and energy in the spot was amazing and for unknown reasons there were tears rolling down my cheeks. There was some sadness and joy. I am not gifted enough to know what was being transmitted.”
What Iny captured on her excursion was an energy portal releasing feminine energy on the earth’s surface. These magenta portals are slowly activating around the globe. It is the reappearance of the feminine in all her power, glory and force, for the good of the earth. Some people call these Mary grids; others goddess grids, it is the same force that is showing.
Second Place – Totem Time/Space Warp by Farheen Dogar, Orland Park, Illinois. Submitted by Lynette Dubovnick, Geneva, Illinois
As a child, Lynette had always felt a special kinship to the totem displays at the Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois. Her connection continues to this day, with this photo showing just how deeply her energy connects to the totem. We loved how this image lined up with the different totems to the left.
Lynette tells us, “My friends would have to practically pull me away from the exhibit on field trips. As an adult that interest never ceased. Prior to visiting the Pacific Northwest room I visited the New Zealand room, and was touching a spirit stone from the rivers of New Zealand. My friends and I remarked how we could sense the energy of the stone from a few feet away. We then stopped at the altar display, we took a photo and this is what appeared.”
Third Place – Sleeping Giant by Melissa Stephens, St. Charles, Illinois
Melissa tells us, “I was on a camping trip with my roommates up in WI. We had just left a waterfall and continued down the trail. I said a quick prayer and asked any nature spirit that wanted to show themself to me to please do so and instantly I saw this beautiful creature. There he was looking over a huge gully. Almost like he was making sure all the other nature spirits stayed in line. Lol! He was very calming, and I felt a lot of protective energies. He has been there for hundreds of years. Used to look over the Indian tribe that lived in that area. He’s very proud of what he does and loves being a protector. The rest of the camping trip I felt a very calming sensation. Like everything is going to be ok. He has a huge shield around the national park he lives in. Such an incredible nature spirit he is!” Govern Dodge State Park in Wisconsin on the Stephen’s Falls trail.
Salvador Navarro, USA – Unicorn, Yoda, Troll, Ewok?
Salvador tells us: “When I got up close to take pictures, I noticed the most exquisite face inside the unicorn head resting on its side. It looked so real I was anticipating its eyes to open and its mouth to start moving.”
As so often happens with nature spirit images, different people see different things. Which personality do you see most clearly?
Dean Thompson, USA – Barkigator
Here is what Dean had to share about his photo experience. “I went on a photo run, as I like to call it, on St. Patrick’s day. I went to a local cemetery and started walking around. Now if St. Patrick was credited for driving out the snakes in Ireland, who was responsible for this guy? Nature’s way of scaring somebody at first, but this harmless creature was just as beautiful off the tree.”
Mike McGuigan, USA – Great Ape
Mike took this photo when visiting a remote park in Wisconsin. He shared this story with us.
“My wife and I camped there with our dogs for 4 nights last fall. We went for a nice, leisurely hike around the entire island, roughly 5 miles. The last mile or so, was a lush, Westward facing, heavily wooded area, up on a bluff, overlooking where Green Bay and Lake Michigan meet. There were several nature spirits embedded in these trees, but the Ape caught my attention the most, because of it’s size and vivid definition. This, as well as the other nearby spirits, were extremely peaceful and welcoming, especially to us that are “open” I could not take my eyes off of this one, and it was very clear that it wanted to be photographed.”
Fern Balaun, USA – Happy Rock
Fern submitted several images of the same rock, taken over the years. The sequence demonstrates the evolution she went through in connecting to the rock energy. The early years, she saw an angel. Then, Fern tells us: “One day about 2 years ago when I walked on this trail, the image was very different. The head and wings were no longer there and I noticed for the first time, the smiling face on the surface of the formation.”
To read the full story we invite you to read the From Our Friends blog in which this story was told.
Joy Fernandez, USA – Rock Spirit
“I am back from my trip to Chile … I visited 2 of the oldest Vineyards in Santiago – the Concha y Toro Winery and the Cousino Macul winery. I am SO in tune now to the peace that comes along with just wandering down the tree-lined roads … it’s such a beautiful experience. It’s also SO fun to be able to spot the wonderful tree and rock spirits as we go along … almost like searching for hidden treasure. “
Muir Woods, USA – Joy Fernandez
Joy shares some thoughts on photographing a Redwoods Greenman.
“I had never been to Muir Woods, but I knew, based on Atala’s advice at her annual nature spirit trips, that remaining open to all entities was the best way to experience the magnificence and grandeur of the forest. As I walked along in the silent peace of the tranquil paths, just trying to soak up the beauty and history of the incredible trees, it was impossible not to notice, and focus on certain incredible forms along the way. The entire experience was completely surreal.”
Elfe Baumwesen, Switzerland – Profile
In January 2002 I heard a voice which said loudly, “Go photograph the face of trees.” Immediately, I took my camera in hand, and went to the park. The exciting discovery of a parallel world living with us had begun. The season in which the trees were free from leaves was just right – the surface of the bark appeared brightly, faces clearly visible in it. Led by an unseen, but clearly noticeable force, I was always – as it later showed – at the right place at the right time. Within two weeks, in this sunny January, originated hundreds of photos featuring unique, indescribably beautiful faces I saw in tree bark, and clouds, and later moss, stones and water. Today I recognize it on my old photos – because they were always there – my perception had not yet awakened. To photograph the various faces of the earth in this way, I feel as a big gift that I accept with deep gratitude, and joy and pass on to my fellow man.
Catherine Pawlick, USA – Heart of a Warrior
Catherine tells us: ” I was at Starved Rock and found this “Heart of a Warrior” shot. I have always liked finding the unexpected, and special forms in nature. Ever since I saw Atala’s presentation at Fred Drury’s College Of DuPage nature class, I now think of you when I am shooting them!”
Jeff Scheib, USA – Stone Face
When asked about his submission, Jeff shared this with us:
“This photo was taken in August when my wife, Joan, and I were hiking in Wisconsin. We had recently decided to start hiking as a way to “get back to nature,” and this was our first hike. As we began, we committed ourselves to actively embrace the spirits whom we hoped to encounter, and we thanked them as they showed themselves to us throughout the day. The positive energy we felt as we approached and connected with Stone Face was that of a wise, old sage, a gatekeeper of the trail. His bushy eyebrows, sunken eyes, defined nose, and strong chin are all strikingly human, but I’m most drawn to the kind, welcoming, magical smile that makes him come alive and offers encouragement to continue the journey.”
Steve Spyrison, USA – Watching You
“Our main business road, Galena and business US 20, had once been a buffalo trail – so they had been in our area 150 years ago. Not sure if the trees were around then or not, close, but this spirit could certainly serve to honor their spirits in what would have been their homeland for tens of thousands of years before we arrived. That particular woods is a very scenic site along a creek and a limestone bluff.”