Have you ever thought of creating a sacred garden? Something a little like Wendy Whiteley’s majestic Secret Garden. What a brilliant example of sacred nature it is!
Wendy was the wife and muse of iconic Australian artist Brett Whiteley. Together they lived in a gorgeous mansion in Lavender Bay with views of Sydney Harbour.
When Brett died in 1992 Wendy channelled her grief into restoring a large stretch of railway wasteland at the foot of her home which was really ambitious.
Nine years later their daughter Arkie died. Wendy continued with her grand gardening project, designing and financing it all herself. It resulted in a remarkable transformation in her life.
What she has created is a sanctuary accessible to the public which has provided hope, peace, and healing to many. What a marvellous, heartfelt way to honour loved ones passed!
In the midst of your grief, it’s almost impossible to imagine that loss may actually grow you. Most people don’t live in such an idyllic setting as Wendy’s, but we can all add love to our surroundings.
Perhaps, you could help yourself as Wendy did by creating something representing that which you have loved and lost. Do you have a favourite tree or garden bed that naturally draws you?
By making a sacred garden, whether it be a large area, a small patch, or merely a plant pot, you too can honour a loved one who has passed and receive benefits of healing from it.
You may like to have a special place in your garden for the ashes of a loved one. It may be a beloved pet and companion you miss so much and wish to remember, and memorialise.
Perhaps you have been through a miscarriage that is not easily spoken about or acknowledged by others, or maybe your marriage or a once dear friendship has ‘died’.
It may be something else that once meant so much to you and has now ended that has you feeling so blue. Grief is complex and creating a sacred garden can help to sift and shift our emotions.
Having a quiet place to contemplate life, that is yours alone, may be exactly what you need to be, to feel, to think things through or simply, gardening is an activity to keep you moving forward.
Creating a sacred space in your garden allows you to remember and mourn, reflect and feel the significance of what has passed, and may help to heal your broken heart.
It may be a special place to go to acknowledge the spiritual presence of a loved one. A safe space where you may say hello, and tell them about your day. A place to pray and meditate. To cry.
By involving others, like children, who too require an outlet for their grief, you allow them the opportunity to communicate their feelings with you while working on the project together.
The sacred garden may become a sanctuary for you both. It may grow a feeling of gratitude for what was, and hope and intimacy for what will be. Bringing children to nature has many gifts.
Placing objects or plants in the garden that means something to you enables you to express your love and your personal story. Most of all, choose things that bring you peace and inspiration.
Creating a sacred garden needn’t be an expense. There are often lots of things we already have, that can be repositioned or reworked in some way, to give a space a new look and feel.
You needn’t buy plants, instead, go for a walk around the neighbourhood and take a few small cuttings from the plants you like, along the way, which you may later replant, or collect seeds.
Plants provide lots of pleasure. They respond to caring and make good company, any time of the year. There’s always something new and beautiful to see and even the fingerprints of God.
If you spend time in your sacred garden observing the geometry of blooms and leaves, and little creatures; sky, moon, and breeze; you can get out of the gloom and back in touch with life.
What makes a garden sacred? It is the meaning you give to the things you observe there. Where? In your garden. It is sacred because it inspires soulfulness – a memory, hope and gratitude.
It makes you feel like you are part of something living and something greater than yourself that has divine rhythm. Something more than the everyday drudge. It’s a little bit of magic.
It is a space where you feel safe to be yourself, unguarded and authentic. It allows you the opportunity to pause. It reconnects you with your inner world, your intuition – Spirit.