The Druid's Garden

Spiritual Journeys in Tending the Land, Permaculture, Wildcrafting, and Regenerative Living

Garden as Sacred Sanctuary May 7, 2013

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.

 

My friend’s sacred garden!

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.

 

Tending the sacred garden!

Tending the sacred garden!

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.

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11 Responses to “Garden as Sacred Sanctuary”

  1. poetnw Says:

    The deepness that you describe is how I approach any property that I choose to live on and in- last year we bought a foreclosure 3 acre place and work/inhabitating this hill Person has taught me much. We’re literally only 10 miles from our town house but oh, the difference! Here: we took away shards of glass and an old window frame. I bent to a cache of mossy lichen rocks and pulled cheat grass, exposing the earth’s bones. We continue on, my husband pounding fence posts and making fences. I feed and care for hens, ducks and turkeys and then there are the inside house animals that need nurturing. It all takes a certain stillness; a certain want, to hear the common but precious hedge sparrows and yes, the raptors. I read your words and felt kinship. Thank you for that.

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Poetnw, actually, I had a similar experience with a foreclosure! My place is also 3 acres, and it was so trashed when I got here. I wrote about the process of healing here: https://druidgarden.wordpress.com/about-the-land/

      Would love to hear more about your work!

      • poetnw Says:

        The need to walk a place without trespass
        transcended needled weed clumps and half buried rusted detritus:
        I entered and ripped brown corduroy from windows
        opened windows and welcomed gusts and sky
        cached ancient rocks just beyond burnt tree skeletons
        a row of grapes and then in the following cycle, raspberries:
        birth pangs in my numbed fingers.

  2. Ed The Quiet One Says:

    Hi Dana,
    I agree with you 100%. In one of your posts, you mentioned you would like to build a labyrinth. Well I just happen to know where there is one not far from your home,and mine. But there just happens to also be a beautiful garden there. This place is right next to a very busy road, but once you walk into this garden, there is peace and tranquility. It is hard for me to leave once I am in there.
    Hope this finds you well.

    • Willowcrow Says:

      Ed, where is the labyrinth? I would love to go visit it!

      • Ed The Quiet One Says:

        It is in clarkston. On Bow Point drive, just south of I-75, just off of sashabaw rd. There is a big medical building, just across the street is my secret hideout (garden & labyrinth). It is right next door to a cancer clinic. (Between the clinic & sashabaw rd.) I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
        Your Friend,
        Ed

  3. Alex Jones Says:

    I personally see the garden as an extension of the scared place starting in the house and emanating outwards.

  4. […] recently wrote a post about gardens as sanctuaries and the lessons of growth, harvest, and peace that they can teach us.  I agree that gardens can be […]

  5. […] Sacred spaces are also lovely in a garden. Items can be changed and replaced as often as you like. You can hang up small earth tributes like twig garlands, and build cairns – flat stones balanced on top of each other – in your flower beds. If you have room, you could make a mini stone circle. Add a bench and you have a perfect outdoor meditation place. Of course, you could go all-out and turn your whole garden into an earth magic sacred space. Garden as Sacred Sanctuary.  […]

  6. Grethe Petersen Says:

    There is a double album (not hard to find) by Stevie Wonder called “A journey through the secret life of plants”…if you can, get it and listen to it…it is worth it! 》○《


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