Why cloud collecting can be good for you


At last, for people who love collecting, here’s something that won’t clog your energy or weigh you down. You can collect as many as you want and it won’t even cost you any money. It’s etherically refreshing and psychologically uplifting. And all you have to do is go outside or to a window during daylight hours and look up.

I’m talking about clouds.

Types of clouds

Clouds come in many shapes and sizes, from small and wispy to huge and majestic to black and thundery. Gavin Pretor-Pinney, who started the Cloud Appreciation Society in 2004, authored a cute pocket-sized little book called The Cloud Collector’s Handbook which contains clear descriptions and photos to enable you to spot the different types as you go about your life.

There are only ten main cloud types, which you can easily learn, and some of them enticingly combine together like German nouns. So, for example, there are stratus clouds and cumulus clouds, and when they morph together you get a stratocumulus cloud. The naming convention, first published in The International Cloud Atlas in 1896, designated the tallest clouds (cumulonimbus) as the ninth type, which gave rise to the phrase, “being on Cloud Nine”. In later editions, this type of cloud was moved to number 10 on the list, but the idiom persists to this day.

Clouds are light and fluffy, right? Apparently not.

In his other book, The Cloudspotter’s Guide, Pretor-Pinney explains that a medium sized rain cloud contains as much as ten billion water droplets per cubic meter and can weigh the same as eighty elephants!

In fact, he says, ‘Sanskrit creation myths describe how elephants created at the beginning of time were white, had wings to fly, could change their shape at will and had the power to bring rain.’ According to Hindu mythology, clouds are the spiritual cousins of elephants.

How cloud collecting can help you

Most people rarely look up and notice clouds. Our attention is more focused horizontally on what is happening around us rather than on the cloudscape above us. But clouds affect us in many ways, whether we realize it or not. A simple example is how different we feel on a grey, overcast day (stratus or stratocumulus clouds) compared to a day when there are just a few high-level wispy clouds (cirrus) in an otherwise clear blue sky. The low-level sun-blocking clouds can make people feel confined and dejected whereas a cirrus cloudscape creates a feeling of space and elation. Some of the uplifting effects of clearer skies can be attributed to the quantity and quality of sunlight, it’s true, but it’s amazing how much the different types of clouds influence this.

If you live in a place where there are clouds most of the time then it makes a lot of sense to get to know how they can affect your wellbeing, so that instead of being subject to it you can look up and say, ‘Ah, that’ll be a cumulonimbus (thundercloud) effect I’m feeling today’, and enjoy the power and drama of it rather than let it ruin your day. Not forgetting, of course, that for people living in a drought-stricken region, a cumulonimbus with its promise of rain is one of the happiest sights there is.

Looking up is good for you

Besides, looking up is good for you. Just the simple act of looking up when you feel down changes your psychological condition and raises your energy. And developing a relationship with the skies above allows your consciousness to expand to fill bigger spaces and your creativity to soar.

So even if you don’t go as far as becoming a cloud collector, a little bit of cloud spotting once or twice a day can be very inspiring. It only takes a moment and it’s free.  And once you’ve had one of those ‘Wow, that’s one of those rare clouds I saw in that book’ moments, you’ll be more inclined to discover more.

Copyright © Karen Kingston, 2010, updated 2018

About Karen Kingston

Karen Kingston is a leading expert in clutter clearing, space clearing, feng shui and healthy homes. Her two international bestselling books have combined sales of over three million copies in 26 languages and have established themselves as "must read" classics in their fields. Her best-known title, Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui, is now in its fourth edition. She is best known for her perspective-changing insights and practical solutions that enable more conscious navigation of 21st-century living.
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4 Responses to Why cloud collecting can be good for you

  1. Lei says:

    I’m so happy I read this. I recently started looking up at the clouds as a way to see signs from the Angels and lately I’ve had some wonderful sightings including a double rainbow 3 days in a row. And you’re right, looking up brightens my mood no matter how I’m feeling – I feel my energy rise. I’ve looked down a lot in my previous years – stuck in my thoughts…Now I look at the sky and my thoughts either lessen or get more positive. It’s a fun thing to do to lay at the beach or on my lawn and just watch the clouds go by. Such a treat.

  2. Jo says:

    While reading this article a dutch song came to mind:
    Look up Sammy Look up
    ’cause that is wthere the blue sky is
    Sammy do not walk that bent etc.

    Of course it was the looking up part that triggered it.
    Thank you Karen, your articles always seem to lift my mood!

  3. Diana says:

    It was great to learn about looking UP when you feel down that it changes your mood – that was enough for me! Thanks for sharing this!


  4. Sapphire says:

    Your article has enlightened me! I bought the Cloud Collectors Handbook a week or so ago, and you are completely right! Cloud watching/collecting can give you such a different outlook on life! I have been quite unhappy or a long time now (especially with the weather…its been rainy for months here in NZ) and I find that cloud watching makes me feel alive and happy. Not in an energetic kind of way – but in a relaxed, ‘in touch with mother nature’ kind of way.

    Sapphire x

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