Pagan Studies

Discovering how we walk Immanent, at the crossroads of where wisdom is found and practical experience begins.

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The Sacred Garden

I was in the garden yesterday, devoting these warm weather days to Spring time. I was not born with the greenest thumb, but the more I've tended the sacred garden of my heart in communion with Earth as Divine Creatrix, the more nurturing my hands have become to Her soil, and in life. 

In his book, Spiritual Growth Through Domestic Gardening, Al Fritsch, a Jesuit priest, says, “Gardening enhances our relationship with Earth. Through gardening, we are helping to heal the planet which is part of the work we are called to do.” 

It’s hard not to be humbled and awed by the miracle of life when we see a seedling push their tiny green head above ground, leaning toward the sun and unfurl their first set of leaves. Like newly formed intention, little plants simply fulfilling their mission to grow and be.  I have these miraculous ferns growing, their spirals unfurling into life. For me, gardening is not about having or taking; it’s about giving, and through giving the garden gives back to me.

I have discovered so much of my personal calling through cultivating my sacred garden. I have learned to dwell in patience and an appreciation for the natural order of things. Here resides mindfulness, where I have learned to notice changes in the plants under my care and discern what they need to thrive. They inform me of natures courses, and welcome me into divine communication. I see the interdependence needed in all life.  Where would we be without bats, birds, and bees playing in the pollen? In the garden, I have learned to naturally accept the cycle of life, death and rebirth.  I bring life and death to the garden. It is from Earth and Her delicate dance, that I came to accept the cycles life in alignment with the seasonal colors when flowerbeds rest in peace, and in  anticipating their budding and blooming return.

There is a practicality in the garden for me, beyond just the observation of life’s cycles. I find a deeply rooted, and at times sacred masculine energy that pulsates through me in the physicality. A lesson in the rawness with my hands deep in the dirt, the sun’s heat upon my back, this manual manipulation of Earth as my body meets my soul and I too, awake from winter’s sedentary slumber.

My hands yesterday spent an hour untangling a clematis’ vines. My hands, strong enough to easily harm and destroy her, delicately and tenderly untangled her vines, all while having an intimate conversation with her about the beauty she gives. As some leaves broke, I apologized to her, not wanting to hurt her. She thrives today on a trellis, and my work makes feel worthy. She gave me worth, because she needed me in order to grow.  In a time when men’s hands are the hands of many, and are used as tools for destruction, I imagine for a moment, what it would be like if every young man learned to untangle a clematis with humility? The delicate and profound lesson of when to use our hands for weapons or use our hands for love. 

And so, I tended my sacred garden. I pruned, planted, and got deep in the dirt. I rejoiced in the sacred space created, even if all in containers. I sat back at the end of the day, with some Belgium ale, exhausted but cherishing the spiritual qualities I nurtured within myself and reflected by this divine handiwork. In some odd way, I felt like a man in all those mythopoetic archetypes; from magician to great provider, to hunter and wandering warrior. As evidenced when I gave offering to the Great Goddess who stewards over my garden, the work was where it was really at. When we do the work of tending Earth as sacred, Spring makes her promise to renew. In Her great return, the flowers always come back, and we can plant new intentions within her soil. As we heal Her, we too are healed. Let us be blessed, even when perfectly imperfect, that there is a bounty of love when we make our garden grow.  

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Erick DuPree is a published author, mantra and meditation teacher, and yogi in the Philadelphia area, who seeks to discover the intricacies of life through a Tantric lens. He weaves heart centered practices with ancient Goddess mysteries, holistic healing and art to create better living.


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