I’ve enjoyed tiny herb gardens sitting in my kitchen windowsill for years. There’s something about seeing those perky green sprigs that always makes me perky too. I reasoned if such a tiny garden gave me so much joy, then surely a big one outside would be bliss-city! So, I decided to step up the ante and grow a grand garden outside.
This is the second year I’ve established a vegetable garden in my yard. Has it been bliss city? Not quite. Well, I was blissfully clueless as to how much work was involved. Lol. But, I have to admit…the fruits of my labor have been well worth the sweat equity.
There have been more rewards to tending a garden than just the fresh produce. I’m talking about the symbolic harvest. Walking down the garden path has proven to be very educational, with multi-faceted layers of lessons learned along the way.
You know me…I’m always tracking down symbolic meanings, and my forays into agricultural cultivation have offered a garden of symbolism…ripe for the plucking. So let’s start tilling those symbolic garden meanings…
The most profound symbolic meanings come when we can draw parallels between our external world and our internal world. Gardens open their gates willingly to these kinds of parallel experiences.
Most notable is how we can equate gardens to our psychological standing. How? Easy.
Gardens need an ever-watchful eye to insure growth remains steady and strong. Same is true for our thoughts and feelings. Simply put, we must be the ever-vigilant gardener of our own minds. We must be active in rooting out wayward thoughts and pulling out the negative behaviors that are like weeds, choking out the fine potential fruit growing within us.
And just like earthly gardens, we’re going to have some tough conditions with which to contend, and these can threaten our emotional growth.
- Drought: Dark nights of the soul
- Disease: Illness caused by external influences pushing us out of balance
- Infestations: People or circumstances ‘bugging’ us and distracting us from our growth.
- Storms: Feeling drowned or overwhelmed by life’s problems
Thankfully, for every threat, there exists its twin:
- Sunlight: Inspiration, creativity, illumination
- Cool Rainfall: Provision from our spiritual source
- Rich Soil: The sense of being anchored and comfortable with ourselves and our growth
- A Loving Keeper: The Gardener of our souls (the god or higher power of your own understanding) who is ever-supportive in our spiritual growth
I’m not the first to associate the symbolism of garden meanings with the human mind and spirit. James Allen, made the parallel in his book, As a Man Thinketh. So did Dr. Joseph Murphy…in several of his books, most notably The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. Even the Bible makes multiple comparisons between the garden and the condition of the spirit.
A little research into the meaning of gardens reveals they are representatives of the divine and tangible blessings from God. This is a theme in many cultures around the world, and gardens are synonymous with the potential for humans to cultivate their own inner power and spiritual ripeness.
Overwhelmingly, the idea of paradise and sacred space is centered on the symbolic meaning of gardens. In fact, the word garden means “enclosure” (German/English). This emphasizes symbolic garden themes of :
- A retreat
- A sanctuary
- A safe place
- A sacred space
- A space to grow
- An area in which to worship
- A space to encourage an attitude of appreciation
All gardens have the potential to be these things, even the gardens within our minds and hearts. There are soft, tender spaces within us that are rich and ready to accept our spiritual seeds. We can enter these sacred inner gardens through meditation. By traveling inward, we can encounter the inner garden, and plant seeds of joy, love, peace, abundance.
Our constant vigil to nurture these ideals (seeds) will be required for their ripening and fruition. Furthermore, our connection and surrender to a higher design is akin to the sun shining upon the gardens of the Earth. Call it your Higher Power, God, or Allah, but there is indeed a Divine Gardner who has tended to the garden of our souls, and continues to influence our spiritual path. Working in tandem with this Source makes for a lush and fruitful inner landscape…a stellar spiritual garden with infinite potential and growth.
There are, of course, more symbolic garden meanings ripe for the harvest and ready for your contemplation. These are just the immediate symbolic phenomenon I have encountered while tending to my own garden (external and internal).
I hope this symbolic parallel gives you a good visualization for personal growth. I further trust this article gets your intuition germinating with new ideas that sprout into big rewards in your life.
If you liked this post, be sure to check out my article on Symbolic Garden Meanings. It is a more structured piece, and features symbolism from cultural and mythological perspectives. I even talk about the symbolic meaning of different kinds of gardens (water gardens, rock gardens, etc).
Thanks for reading, and happy gardening!
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