Winter Gardening

Ah, the nights after Solstice and all through the house, no one was stirring, not even the mouse (this is the one the cat brought in and let go last fall☺).
And in the quiet I sat in my warm winter wrap, with the seed catalogs open all over my lap.
Gary still snuggled all warm in his bed, while visions of tomatoes and herbs danced in my head…

Winter Dreams
The new seed catalogs are arriving and I’m like a kid in a candy store. But just what does my garden planning have to do with shamanism, you might ask. And my answer is that we are all gardeners…gardeners of our own life. We all know the old saying “You reap what you sow.” What are you going to sow in the upcoming year?

It’s no coincidence that we gardeners take the winter months when the earth seemingly lies dormant to assess the previous year’s harvest and plan for the new year’s planting.  It is this time of “dreaming” and planning that gives us the beautiful gardens and bountiful harvests. Without this assessment time, we would repeat the same mistakes and/or not see the new varieties and options available to us.

Last winter I wrote about taking the time to enter the Void and dream. But, what do we do with that dream? How do we make it into reality? This is where winter gardening comes about.

In my journeys, I have worked with the idea of a Sacred Garden. This has come from the work of anthropologist and shamanic practitioner, Hank Wesselman. The idea is that we all  remember places we have been, places where we have felt complete, at peace, and at ease. In our meditations or in our daydreams, we visit these places by remembering them and by recalling what it was like to be there. These are our places of power and healing. Shamanic journeywork allows us to travel to these places so that we may utilize them as “sacred gardens” where we can accomplish many tasks. Your garden might be a place you already know and love, a place you like to go camping or walking, or even your own backyard. It can also be a purely imaginary place that you create.

There are several important things to know about your sacred garden. First, it is YOUR garden. It can be whatever you want it to be. And, no one/nothing can enter your garden without permission. This is a place of safety, healing and growth. It’s also a great place to go and just hang out and gather our strength. And as Wesselman states, it operates by four primary rules:

  1. Everything in your sacred garden is symbolic of some aspect of you or your life experience.
  2. Everything in your garden can be communicated with, enhancing your understanding of both yourself and your life experiences.
  3. Everything in the garden can be changed.
  4. When you change your garden, some aspect of you or your life experience will shift in response.

All the primary rules are important, but #3 & #4 – how cool is that? Knowing that we can do “gardening”, changing or altering our sacred garden to suit ourselves, has life-changing implications! This puts the power to shift and grow the life you desire right in your own hands! An add on to the law of attraction if you will.

And for your guys and gals out there that don’t have green thumbs, don’t get hung up on the “garden”. Your sacred garden doesn’t have to be an English garden with trellises and tea roses. It can be whatever you desire…a forest, a meadow, or whatever you choose. It’s your place and represents aspects of you, so create whatever makes you feel safe, comfortable, strong and happy.

For more info on the sacred garden here are a couple of articles by Hank Wesselman and you can order his book with drumming CD, The Journey to the Sacred Garden: A Guide to Traveling in the Spiritual Realms, on Amazon.
The Sacred Garden– Your personal place of Power and Healing
The Sacred Garden as a Place of Healing

We invite you to spend time this winter dreaming, visiting and tending your sacred garden.

Until next time-
Mitakuye Oyasin (A Lakota prayer reminding us we are all related),