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Nature's Spiritual 5 translated in Images

by Editor Lourens Durand

The Big 5 immediately comes to mind when conversation turns to the wilds of Africa. Lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo have earned this distinction because, in the early days of colonial free-for-all and mindless hunting, they were the most ferocious and dangerous animals bent on destroying the men that threatened their lives.

Nowadays, there is more meaning attached to the Spiritual 5 of the environment, as proposed by Grant Hine, formerly of the Field Guides Association of South Africa. The Spiritual 5 embraces the concepts of:

- Wide open spaces
- Silence
- Water
- Fire
- The rhythm of the environment.

“Promenade” by Piet Flour.

This, of course is not confined to Africa, but to any place where one can find peace in the great outdoors.

Let’s look at each of the 5 in turn:

Leaving the hustle and bustle of the city behind and taking time to appreciate the wide-open spaces of natural environments, we experience a sense of tranquillity creeping into our being. Our minds are quietened. We can seemingly see forever and nothing else matters…


“Africa” by Amnon Eichelberg


“Be careful” by Mathilde Guillemot

“lost in thought” by Dirk Juergensen

This new-found tranquillity progresses into an appreciation of the silence of nature (although the only silence is the lack of human noise). The sounds of nature are always present – wind whispering through the long grass, the buzzing of cicadas and katydids, the soft, haunting hoot of the owl at night, or the gentle rippling of a flowing stream.

"Blue silence" by Jose Beut

“Katydid” by jimmy hoffman


summer Weather” by Franz Schumacher


“Chirping hummingbird” by Rob Li


“Alone in the night” by wilianto

Besides adding to the tranquillity and serenity of a natural landscape, water is essential for life, quenching our thirst, allowing plants and trees to grow, and facilitating the generation of electricity. Too much water, though, can lead to disastrous flooding. Too little, on the other hand, may result in catastrophic droughts and suffering.


“Reflection” by Jaco Marx


“After the flood” by Norbert Becke


“The Wall” by Niels Christian Wulff


“Hopelessness" by Filipe Correia


“DEAD VLEI. Namibia” by Richard Le Manz

Fire has a mesmerising effect – staring into the flames of a campfire can almost put one into a trance. It also provides warmth and heat for cooking and is essential for regenerating ecosystems; on the other hand, wildfires can wipe out entire communities and cause immeasurable damage.


“Fire of the winter in the midnight” by Mohammed Kamal Albagshi


n/t by Emine Basa


“Wildfire” by INU

Finally, there is the rhythm of nature. It is almost like a slow, unrelenting, undulating, monotonous beating of a drum – kadoof… kadoof… kadoof …kadoof. Days turn to nights, seasons change, new lives begin, old lives end.



“Golden Sunrise” by Piet Flour


"Sunrise in Etosha NP” by Piet Flour


“yellow – the bigger picture” by Norbert Maier


“Family” by Mohammed Alnaser


“Dady...” by Nicolás Merino


“Death in the Masai #2” by Daniel Connor

So, these are the Spiritual 5. Unfortunately, the scenes in which they are set are at risk from air pollution, global warming, population growth and habitat destruction.
Perhaps, in the long run, the rhythm of nature will take care of things?


great work again in interesting article. compliments to editors and participants
Great article, Lourens! Thanks for choosing my photo. It's an great honor!
splendid series, compliments to the whole team for another wonderful article
Great article and photographs....thank you!
Wonderful photographs.
Fine article and excellent diversified gallery! Congratulations to all the authors and thanks to Editor Lourens Durand. Cheers, Yvette