Visio Divina

I have started reading Eyes of the Heart – Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice, by Christine Valters Paintner, who recommends taking pictures as a way of perceiving God’s world – “visio divina – a new way of spiritual observation …. receiving images, not simply taking them.”  I have often found when out taking pictures that the best images just happen, that I find myself seeing them almost instinctively.  On a sunny afternoon I decided to try it out, walking through the woods in my local country park.  It was difficult at first to get past all the technical details and to focus on just what is visible through the camera.  Part of the practice is looking at the pictures after the walk, evaluating them and picking out those with a particular sense of relevance – not meaning as such, more a feeling of connection. There are too many for a single posting, and indeed further connections could appear in the future.

Here are a couple:

It’s very easy to get a picture as dark as this on a bright sunny day in the woods – just point the camera into the shadows. Through a glass, darkly.


The common ragwort seems to flourish in the current hot dry weather, becoming increasingly common in this corner of England.


It is generally regarded as a weed, and can be dangerous to horses if it gets mixed into grass cut for their feed (they know to avoid it in the field). It is also the plant most frequented by the caterpillar of the cinnabar moth, a beautiful creature in all its forms. In nature there are no weeds.

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