The garden is a sacred sanctuary. The calming nature of the plants; the patterns of light, water, and growth; and the tranquility the garden provides are unmatched. This world we live in is so busy, so full of concrete and television and wars—the garden is the antithesis to all of that. You can get lost among the plants, you can experience the magic of growth.
I remember several months last summer when my hens were still peeps. I would go into the garden with them each day so that they had opportunity to peck and scratch and do their chicken thing (and it was amazing to see, since they were less than a week old and still acting like ‘chickens’)! I would lay in my garden in between my rows of tomatoes and corn with a book and watch those chickens. I had never experienced such tranquility and peace in my entire life. Perhaps it was the secret teachings of the plants; perhaps it was the fact that I had tended them all from seed. Perhaps it was, to use some terms from Greer’s Druid Magic Handbook, the energetic currents—bringing in telluric currents from the earth, the chickens bringing in the solar currents of the sun, and me sitting in the middle of it all, embracing the lunar current. Whatever it was, I was completely at peace. I’ve found that since then, I can enter nearly any garden and find that peace.
I have a friend who has a 1/4 acre garden that he’s been working on for a number of years now. His garden is located in the middle of suburbia; houses are on all sides, peeking over his garden fence. Driving on a very busy road in the suburbs of Detroit less than a mile off of a major expressway, you’d never know such a garden existed among all the houses and people. Yet, when you enter it, as I was privileged to do twice recently, you can sense its magic. The garden is well loved, well tended, and the plants are just exuberant, bursting forth! The plants are always growing. And they teach us to grow, to heal. This garden feels literally no different than other sacred spaces I’ve entered.
This same friend took me to an indoor heated greenhouse at a local park about a month ago–this was when our cold spring was still occurring and the ground was still barren. I walked into this greenhouse, very much an artificial garden, and yet it still had its own magic. This greenhouse was where each person has a small raised bed, and in each raised bed, and life was just abounding everywhere. It was a place of tranquility, but also of community, where the sacred growth of the plants met the need of individuals for belonging and companionship.
There is a lot of talk (including here on this blog) about gardens to help promote sustainability, transitioning to a post-industrial world, etc. And yes, gardens certainly help us make these shifts! But gardens also have substantial spiritual value in and of themselves. The lessons we learn from the plants—the importance of cycles in our own lives, the magic of the growth of a seed, that hard work yields a harvest, the importance of timing and patience, the understanding of building the right conditions for growth, the importance of balance, thinking in systems, and so forth, are lessons that we cannot learn elsewhere. This is part of the magic of the garden.
But its more than just the lessons that make a garden a magical, sacred sanctuary. Its the inner peace and bliss that you can experience while inside. Even if you aren’t able to have a garden of your own, go spend some hours in someone else’s garden. Make sure you take the time, really take the time, to sit and just “be” in the garden (doing some planting or mulching or weeding would likely also be appreciated!) Visit the garden to see what lessons it teaches you. To seek peace among the plants, a bit of respite from our chaotic world. To seek healing and promote growth. This is the magic of the garden.