I've highlighted one paragraph in red which is a significant concept re field forms.

Sacred Times and Places




"Different places on the face of the earth have different vital effluence,

different vibration, different chemical exhalation, different polarity

with different stars: call it what you like. But the spirit of place is a

great reality." (D.H.Lawrence)



The qualities of places are traditionally conceived of in terms of the

genius loci, the spirit of the place. In this context, the word 'spirit'

has two connected meanings: a feeling, atmosphere or character;

and an invisible entity or being, with its own soul and personality. It

is difficult to disentangle these meanings, for the second could be

thought of as a personification of the first. But then some people

claim to experience the presence of beings in particular places. Are

these simply psychological projections? Or are they an intuitive way

of relating to the living quality of the place, which may indeed have

a kind of personality?


Places traditionally associated with the presence of nature spirits

are not distributed equally across the landscape. They are con-

centrated in particular areas, such as waterfalls, springs, streams

and rivers, in and around various trees, in caves and grottoes, and in

parts of woodland, desert, moorland, mountains and seashore. The

nature spirits of such places were given generic names in classical

mythology: naiads were water spirits; dryads the spirits of trees and

woodland; oreads mountain spirits; nereids sea spirits; and so on.

Comparable categories of nature spirits are recognized in many tra-

ditional cultures throughout the world. What are we to make of

them ?


One suggestion, proposed by the archeologist T.C. Lethbridge, is

that they are not conscious entities so much as kinds of fields. The

qualities and character associated with waterfalls, for example, he

attributed to 'naiad fields'. At first glance this simply seems to in-

volve a vague new terminology as obscure as the traditional one.

But I think it is an idea worth pursuing. Fields are regions of in-

fluence, and in this general sense the term is appropriate. But then

what kinds of fields could the fields of places be? They are obviously

not reducible to the known fields of conventional physics, though

electromagnetic fields no doubt contribute something to the quality

of the place. However, it might make sense to think of the fields of

places as morphic fields. Such fields are associated with self-

organizing systems at all levels of complexity, and they are ordered

in nested hierarchies.

Successive levels in a nested hierarchy of organisms or holons. At each level the holons are wholes containing parts, which are themselves wholes containing lower-level parts, and so on. The diagram could, for example, represent subatomic particles in atoms, in molecules, in crystals; or cells intissues, in organs, in organisms; or planets in solar systems, in galaxies, in galactic clusters; or phonemes in words, in phrases, in sentences.

If particular places do indeed have morphic fields, then these fields

must be embedded within larger fields, such as the fields of river

systems and mountain chains, and these in turn within the fields of

islands, archipelagos and continents, and ultimately within the

morphic fields of Gaia and the entire solar system.


When I first began to think along these lines, I was reluctant to ex-

tend the concept of fields to places because this seemed to be stretch-

ing the idea too far. But then I realized that the held concept itself is

grounded in the idea of place. It involves a metaphorical extension

of the everyday sense of fields as places of activity - as in cornfields,

battlefields, football fields, and coalfields. The wider sense of fields

as areas or spheres of action, operation or investigation - as in the

'field of trade' or 'field of view' - predates by centuries the technical

use of this term in physics. When the word was adopted by Faraday

in the 1830s for his field theory of magnetism and electricity, he in-

evitably drew on these already-established usages, which go back to

the Old English feld and folde, meaning earth or land. Thus, a field

theory of places recalls the fact that fields are places.


The idea of the spirits of places as morphic fields implies that par-

ticular places are subject to morphic resonance from other similar

places in the past. The generic qualities of places, traditionally ex-

pressed in terms of the various classes of nature spirits, will indeed

have a kind of collective character and memory. Moreover, particu-

lar places will have their own memories by self-resonance with their

own past. Morphic resonance takes place on the basis of similarity,

and hence the patterns of activity of the place in the summer will

tend to resonate most specifically with those in previous summers,

and the winter patterns with previous winter patterns, and so on.

Memory also plays a part in the responses of animals and of

people to the particular place. Obviously when people enter the

place, their memory of their previous experience in the place, or in

other similar places, will tend to affect their present experience. But

in addition to individual memory, through morphic resonance there

will also be a component of collective memory, through which a

person can tune in to the past experiences of other people in the

same place. Of course, not all such experiences are good. For in-

stance, throughout the world it is widely believed that places in

which people have been murdered or executed or tortured are in-

auspicious, if not actually haunted.


Thus, in the context of morphic resonance, the experience of par-

ticular places involves both a memory inherent in the place itself,

and a memory of previous experiences of the same individual and of

other similar individuals in the place. The quality or atmosphere of

the place does not just depend on what is happening there now, but

on what has happened there before and on the way in which it has

been experienced. These principles are quite general, but take on a

special significance in relation to places traditionally regarded as


pp.145 - 147 The Rebirth of Nature The Greening of Science and God

By Rupert Sheldrake 1990 Random Century Group


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