Left: Spiralling Galaxy by ESA/Hubble & NASA Judy Schmidt

Pattern Consciousness

An Essay Commissioned by Viewpoint Magazine

By Anna Murray

Patterns are portals. The patterns of nature, with their wonderfully wavelike, sensuously spiralling, curiously cracked or fantastically fractal formations offer us a glimpse of another dimension. They open a gateway to a sense of wholeness and reconnection that is much needed in today’s increasingly fragmented times.

LEFT: Human Iris Crater by Suren Manvelyan RIGHT: Planet Mars Crater by NASA/JPL
"We live in a world and a time that can often feel homogenised and overly shaped by rigid, man-made patterns, systems and structures. There is something both humbling and healing about seeing and understanding the patterns of nature"
Anna Murray


Patterns viewed with reverence and awareness can become portals. These visual clues can act as guides back to the unseen, mysterious world that we long to return home to, from our own world that often seems flattened by disconnection. Playfully, sometimes dazzlingly, often gently, patterns invite us to delve deeper and uncover bigger questions about the times in which we live. What patterns do we create, both personally and collectively? What kind of future patterns am I creating now, to be lived by the loved ones of those I love? What role do I play as a fellow traveller with a limited time here on planet Earth?

Left: Richat Structure, Mauritania Africa by NASA Right: Coyamito Agate Pseudomorph by Uwe Reier


Patterns have the power to lead us to a deeper state of consciousness that brings us home to ourselves, to each other and to our place within the universe. Through pattern we are invited to stand at the threshold of creation with childlike curiosity, humbled by the magnitude of patterns we behold. In seeing and honouring patterns, we become witnesses to the wonder of life. We attune to a universal language that has the power to transcend all languages, belief systems and differing ways of being. Patterns speak to the depths and beauty of our sacred interconnectedness with the natural world and all that is, all life that that has ever been, and all that will be. 

"Through pattern we reconnect with the infinite pattern of time. This feeling of connection can be both humbling and healing as we begin to question our place within the web of life"
Anna Murray
Left: Tree Fungus by Kalin Hart Talbott Right: Cow Stomach Lining by Neil Watson & PATTERNITY


We are witnessing perhaps one of the greatest breakdowns of man-made systems and patterns of all time. After wearing blinkers for so long, we are finally being asked to wake up and reconnect the dots – to become more conscious of our interconnectedness and interdependence with the natural world, and with each other. We are realising that, in order to survive and thrive, we need to open up, not lock down. We need to ask many more questions, to explore regenerative new patterns of both seeing and being. We start to ask what patterns we need to both break and make, in order to live.

"Like fractals restoring our rightful place within the web of life, we begin to find alignment with the cycles and patterns of nature. We slow down and begin to breathe and feel with nature, as part of the interwoven patterns of a much greater whole.
Anna Murray
Left: White Mold by Gokhan Okur Right: Dead Sea by Baz Ratner/Reuters


"Zooming in and out through pattern, and seeing our interrelatedness and interdependence, leads us to remember and learn from nature’s cycles and systems, from which humanity is not exempt"
Anna Murray

This remembrance is both timely and humbling, and offers great insight. Should we wish to continue living here, we as humans must redefine our sources of wisdom, restore nature to her rightful place as teacher, and find more sustainable and peaceful ways of being. We often desire perpetual summer, both as a culture and individually. We define ourselves with constant action and doing. Busy is good in Western culture, growth is best – but we are seeing where our growth mindset is taking us and we are being called to deeply reflect. Nature does not work like that. As we become more aware of the limitations of our unsustainable man-made systems in modern life, perhaps we can compensate for a deficit of rest and time during which nature and we ourselves can lie fallow. And perhaps – just perhaps – this is the only way forward.

Words by Anna Murray and visual curation by Grace Winteringham