Spirituality and Gardening, Mysticism and Gardens, Pantheism 
Nature Mysticism, Nature Spirits and Gardening, Naturalism 
Gardening as a Spiritual Practice, Devas
Spirituality and Gardening - Part II

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Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu   How to Live a Good Life

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Compiled by Mike Garofalo

Quotations for Gardeners, Walkers, and Lovers of the Green Way
Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California



"A drop of water has the tastes of the water of the seven seas: there is no need to experience all the ways of worldly life. The reflections of the moon on one thousand rivers are from the same moon: the mind must be full of light."
-  Hung Tzu-ch'eng


"The garden is a metaphor for life, and gardening is a symbol of the spiritual path."
-  Larry Dossey


"When I would re-create myself, I seek the darkest wood, the thickest and most interminable and to the citizen, most dismal, swamp.  I enter as a sacred place, a Sanctum sanctorum.  There is the strength, the marrow, of Nature."
-  Henry David Thoreau, Walking , 1851


"We need quiet time to examine our lives openly and honestly. . . spending quiet time alone gives your mind an opportunity to renew itself and create order."
-  Susan L. Taylor


"A stranger here
Strange things doth meet, strange glories see;
Strange treasures lodged in this fair world appear,
Strange all, and new to me.
But that they mine should be, who nothing was,
That strangest is of all, yet brought to pass."
-  Thomas Traherne (1637-1674), The Salutation


"Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact."
-  Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Follow the wisdom provided by nature. Everything in moderation - sunlight, water, nutrients. Too much of a good thing will topple your structure.  You can't harvest what you don't sow. So plant your desires, gently nurture them, and they will be rewarded with abundance."
-  Vivian Elisabeth Glyck, 1997


"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.  Some see nature all ridicule and deformity . . . and some scarce see nature at all.  But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."
-  William Blake


The Art of Happiness by the Dali Lama
Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg 
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Simple Taoism: A Guide to Living in Balance by Alexander Simkins
The Tao of Daily Life: The Mysteries of the Orient Revealed by Derek Lin
Everyday Tao: Living with Balance and Harmony by Ming-Dao Deng 
Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices by Mike Garofalo
The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff 
Scholar Warrior: An Introduction to the Tao in Everyday Life by Ming-Dao Deng
Vitality, Energy, Spirit: A Taoist Sourcebook by Thomas Cleary





"Sure as the most certain sure .... plumb in the uprights,
    well entreated, braced in the beams,
Stout as a horse, affectionate, haughty, electrical,
I and this mystery we stand.
Clear and sweet is my soul .... and clear and sweet is all
    that is not my soul,
Lack one lacks both .... and the unseen is proved by the seen
Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn. 
To elaborate is no avail .... Learned and unlearned feel that it is so."
-  Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass, Line 40-


"The highest human purpose is always to reinvent and celebrate the sacred."
-  N. Scott Momaday


"After a few hours of sweating with dirt all over me and insects buzzing around the upper half of my body, I may begin to get a sense of being in tune with nature.  It's at these moments where I take note of a worm that is maneuvering its way out of the dirt or a butterfly that silently lands on a bush next to me.  With subtlety and a total lack of self consciousness, I come out of myself, look around, marvel at the majesty of what I am experiencing and begin to take note that I have entered some type of altered state of consciousness."
-  Fran Sorin  


"Rather, go away, Flee into concealment.  And have your masks and subtlety, that you may be mistaken for what you are not, or feared a little.  And don't forget the garden, the garden with golden trelliswork.  And have people around you who are as a garden──or as music on the waters in the evening, when the day is turning into memories.  Choose the good solitude, the free, playful, light solitude that gives you, too, the right to remain good in some sense."
-  Frederick Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, #25, 1886


"As you sit on the hillside, or lie prone under the trees of the forest, or sprawl wet-legged by a mountain stream, the great door, that does not look like a door, opens."
-  Stephen Graham


"Each one has his own most real thing.  Mine is the garden."
-  Louisa Yeomans King


"Of course the Dharma-body of the Buddha was the hedge at the bottom of the garden.  At the same time, and no less obviously, it was these flowers, it was anything that I - or rather the blessed Not-I - cared to look at."
-  Aldous Huxley

"People who take the time to be alone usually have depth, originality, and quiet reserve."
-  John Miller


"The secret of happiness lies in taking a genuine interest in all the details of daily life, and in elevating them to art."
-  John Ruskin


"We think in generalities, but we live in details."
-  W.H. Auden

"People say "I want peace."  If you remove I (ego), and your want (desire), you are left with peace."
-  Satya Sai Baba


“A certain day became a presence to me; there it was, confronting me — a sky, air, light: a being. And before it started to descend from the height of noon, it leaned over and struck my shoulder as if with the flat of a sword, granting me honor and a task.  The day’s blow rang out, metallic — or it was I, a bell awakened, and what I heard was my whole self saying and singing what it knew: I can.”
-  Denise Levertov, Variation on a Theme by Rilke   


"There are sacred moments in life when we experience in rational and very direct ways that separation, the boundary between ourselves and other people and between ourselves and Nature, is illusion.  Oneness is reality.  We can experience that stasis is illusory and that reality is continual flux and change on very subtle and also on gross levels of perception . . ."
-  Charlene Spretnak


"Wherever you are is home
And the earth is paradise
Wherever you set your feet is holy land . . .
You don't live off it like a parasite.
You live in it, and it in you,
Or you don't survive.
And that is the only worship of God there is."
-  Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole 


"What I know of the divine sciences and Holy Scriptures, I learned in woods and fields.  I have no other masters than the beeches and the oaks."
-  Saint Bernard of Clairvaux



Months and Seasons
Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Verses, Lore, Myths, Holidays
Celebrations, Folklore, Reading, Links, Quotations
Information, Weather, Gardening Chores



















"As once the winged energy of delight
carried you over childhood's dark abysses,
now beyond your own life build the great
arch of unimagined bridges.

Wonders happen if we can succeed
in passing through the harshest danger;
but only in a bright and purely granted
achievement can we realize the wonder.

To work with Things in the indescribable
relationship is not too hard for us;
the pattern grows more intricate and subtle,
and being swept along is not enough.

Take your practiced powers and stretch them out
until they span the chasm between two
contradictions...For the god
wants to know himself in you."
-  Rainer Maria Rilke, Once the Winged Energy of Delight


"I believe in God, only I spell it 'Nature.'"
-  Frank Lloyd Wright


"Tantra's body-positive approach is the direct outcome of its integrative metaphysics according to which this world is not mere illusion but a manifestation of the supreme Reality.  If the world is real, the body must be real as well.  If the world is in essence divine, so must be the body.  If we must honor the world as a creation or an aspect of the divine Power (shakti), we must likewise honor the body.  The body is a piece of the world and, as we shall see, the world is a piece of the body.  Or, rather, when we truly understand the body, we discover that it is the world, which in essence is divine."
-  Georg Feuerstein, Tantra: The Path of Ecstasy, p. 53


"One cannot but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.  Never lose a holy curiosity."
-  Albert Einstein


"Although weeding, cutting back, and transplanting are activities that may seem repetitive and never-ending, when seen as a necessary and integral part of the overall unfolding of the garden scheme, they become purposeful rather than boring.  In fact, what may appear on the surface to be tedious physical work may, in the actual doing, be spiritually liberating.  In taking time to contemplate the small — in observing the details of our gardens — we can experience life on a manageable scale."
-  Marilyn Barrett, Creating Eden: The Garden as a Healthy Space


"Life is a mystery until you touch the reality beyond the veil.  When the mind is still and the search is intense, we have the vision to see reality all around us.  Every person you meet is in a world you could know.  Nature waits for our entrance, whether it is a forest or a rose. All around us is the Spirit Presence waiting for a quiet mind and an open heart.  Walking through the markets and riding in the subway, we can be close to the reality.  We are moving through various states of reality during the day.
-  Herman Rednick


"A monk asked Joshu, "What is the meaning of Bodidharma's coming to China?"  Joshu said,
    "The oak tree in the garden.""
"A monk asked Zhaozhou, "What is the living meaning of Zen?."   Zhaozhou said,
    "The cypress tree in the yard."
-  Case 37 from the Mumonkan (Wumenguan) Collection of Zen Koans
    The Oak Tree in the Courtyard


"What could be more ordinary than the cypress tree which the monk passes each day as he meditates?  Is it this everyday, ordinary thing which is to be for him the embodiment of enlightenment?  But then that’s exactly the point: it is the everyday thing, the paradox of everyday life, which becomes the magic window, as it were, into What Is."  
-  Whitney Roberson


"Nature holds the key to our aesthetic, intellectual, cognitive, and even spiritual satisfaction." 
-  Edward O. Wilson


"The first western gardens were those in the Mediterranean basin.  There in the desert areas stretching from North Africa to the valleys of the Euphrates, the so-called cradle of civilization, where plants were first grown for crops by settled communities, garden enclosures were also constructed.   ...  Gardens emphasized the contrast between two separate worlds:  the outer one where nature remained awe-inspiringly in control and an inner artificially created sanctuary, a refuge for man and plants from the burning desert, where shade trees and cool canals refreshed the spirit and ensured growth."
-  Penelope Hobhouse, Gardening Through the Ages, 1992, p. 11.


"I see humanity now as one vast plant, needing for its highest fulfillment only love, the natural blessings of the great outdoors, and intelligent crossing and selection.  In the span of my own lifetime I have observed such wondrous progress in plant evolution that I look forward optimistically to a healthy, happy world as soon as its children are taught the principles of simple and rational living.  We must return to nature and nature's god. 
-  Luther Burbank, 1849-1926 
   Luther Burbank was a plant breeder, botanist, and free thinker.  He lived in Santa Rosa, California.


Lifestyle Advice for Wise Persons compiled by Mike Garofalo
Loving Kindness: The Revolutionary Art of Happiness by Sharon Salzberg
Original Blessing: A Primer in Creation Spirituality by Matthew Fox
A Path with Heart: A Guide Through the Perils and Promises of Spiritual Life by Jack Kornfield
The Solitary Druid: A Practitioner's Guide by Robert Lee Skip Ellison
Sweeping Changes: Discovering the Joy of Zen in Everyday Tasks by Gary Thorp
Time and the Art of Living by Robert Grudin
The Tao of Daily Life by Derek Lin
Walkers Between the Worlds:  The Western Mysteries from Shaman to Magus by Caitlin and John Matthews  





"Inside each one of us is a beautiful flower garden.  This is the garden of the soul.  With each lesson we learn, the garden grows.  As we learn together, our individual gardens form a tranquil paradise."
-  Sri Chinmoy


"In the places that call me out, I know I'll recover my wordless childhood trust in the largeness of life and its willingness to take me in."
-  Barbara Kingsolver


"The great need of our time is for people to be connected to spirit; for people to be connected to a core of feeling in themselves that makes their lives vital and full of meaning, that makes life a mystery evermore to be uncovered.
-  Harold Stone, Sandplay


"Life is like an onion: you peel off layer after layer and then you find there is nothing in it."
-  James Gibbons Huneker


"My own experience of śaktipāta occurred at the age of 16 through meeting a powerful and loving meditation master.  It was not the product of wishful thinking, because I didn't even want to be there, at least on the level of the conscious mind.  My mother had persuaded me to take a two-day meditation retreat and I had acceded because I wanted the reward she was offering me; I had neither expectation nor hope that anything particularly magical would happen.  And indeed, the whole thing was fairly boring, though in the final meditation of the weekend, I did make a grudging effort to be fully present in the warm, dark stillness of the meditation room.  It was nice, but nothing special, until I opened my eyes and walked outside.  I was astonished to discover that the whole world had apparently changed.  Everything was more vivid and real, and almost sparkling.  Not only that, I was feeling an incredible energy in my heart, and it was flowing palpably between my heart and the hearts of everyone else I could see.  I call it "energy" for lack of a better word; it was a tangible power or force, not a passive feeling, and it had the nature of exquisitely pure love.  It was connecting the hearts of all the people around me, coursing freely in a kind of web or grid of power, entirely independent of whether the people liked each other or not.  Then I noticed it was really everywhere; the very air around me seemed thick with it; it was undoubtedly the most "real" thing in reality, though not perceptible with any of the five senses!  It was astonishing, and I was never the same, now that I knew this power, this love beyond anything I had ever imagined, was a real possibility in human life."
-  Christopher D. Wallis, Tantra Illuminated, 2012, p.323


"Gardening often straightens the body and aligns the spirit.  
It is more about You and Now, rather than Them and Back Then. 
There is not much to say about the "Unknown."  
To dig is to discover. 
The Ten Thousand Things are more enchanting than the Silent One. 
Rather than "love mankind," it'd rather admire a few good people. 
A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb.
Complexity is closer to the Truth. 
Sitting in a garden and doing nothing is high art everywhere.
Does a plum tree with no fruit have Buddha Nature?   Whack!!   
The only Zen you'll find flowering in the garden is the Zen you bring there each day. 
A garden is quite ordinary, yet still sacred.  
Dogmatists are less useful than dogs. 
This cabbage, these carrots, these potatoes, these onions .. will soon become me.  Such a tasty fact!
It is best to shut one's mouth when facing the sacred. 
Time creeps, wals, runs and flies - it is all about moving things. 
Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside.
Dearly respect the lifestyle of worms.   
All enlightened beings are enchanted by water.
Becoming invisible to oneself is one pure act of gardening.
Priapus, lively and naughty, aroused and outlandish, is the Duende de el Jardin.
Inside the gardener is the spirit of the garden outside.
Gardening is a kind of deadheading - keeping us from going to seed.   
The joyful gardener is evidence of an incarnation. 
One purpose of a garden is to stop time.
Leafing is the practice of seeds.
Remember that the River of Forgetfulness flows by the Elysian Fields.
People who speak loudly about the "One True Religion" scare the ship out of most of us. 
No body then no mind; no mind then a useless body. 
When the Divine knocks, don't send a prophet to the door.
Most Laws of Gardening are merely local ordinances."
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions


"There is a theology to gardening that few of us consider, but to understand this theology means relinquishing much control - our arsenal of books, techniques, tools, chemicals, fertilizers, fancy hybrids, and expectations.  Yet, that is exactly what we must do if we are to fully embrace a more spiritual form of gardening.  As a part of Nature we must learn to enter our garden as if it were truly sacred, we must learn to enter with humility.
-  Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden, 1998, p. 17.  Cortesia Sanctuary and Center


"Respect the old and cherish the young.  Even insects, grass and trees you must not hurt."
-  Ko Hung


"Gardening is an active participation in the deepest mysteries of the universe."
-  Thomas Berry


"Mountains and rivers at this very moment are the actualization of the world of the ancient Buddhas.  Each, abiding in its phenomenal expression, realizes completeness."
-  Zen Master Dogen



"The secret of the Tao Te Ching is its idea of Tao, modeled on the life of a plant.  Just as a living plant is tender and yielding (Chapter 76), so is Tao weak and yielding (Chapter 40).  With plants the hidden roots support the visible leaves and flowers, which return to the roots upon perishing (Chapter 16).  Likewise, Tao is the hidden root (Chapter 6), the non-being from which all beings spring (Chapter 40 and Chapter 21) and to which all beings return (Chapter 34).  The life of a plant is conditioned by seasonal rotation.  So is the movement of Tao in four stages: great (summer), disappearing (fall), far away (winter), and return (spring) (Chapter 25).  In the same way does the Taoist model spiritual life after a plant.  A living plant is tender and pliant, whole a dead plant is stiff and hard (Chapter 76); one who is with the Tao is also tender and pliant, while one who departs from the Tao is stiff and hard.  The plant kingdom is a quiet kingdom (Chapter 16) that sleeps in beauty; Taoist quietude is the spiritual condition for regeneration.  A plant grows at its own pace.  One must not, like the farmer in the Mencius (2A.2), help the growth of the corn stalks by pulling them up.  In the same way the Taoist allows events to unfold according to their inner rhythms; he acts by non-action (wu-wei), which is acting with, not against, the inner rhythms of things.  A plant is always renewing itself; the Taoist celebrates perpetual childhood (Chapter 55)."
-  Ellen M. Chen, The Tao Te Ching: A New Translation with Commentary, 1989, p. 41

Spirituality and Gardening

Nature Mysticism

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu  

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter. 



"Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries."
-  Theodore Roethke


"The most beautiful emotion is the mystical.  It is the power of all true art and science.  He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead.  To know that which is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms - this knowledge, this feeling, is at the center of true religiousness.  In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of a devoutly religious man."
-  Albert Einstein


"Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help.  Gardening is an instrument of grace."
-  May Sarton


"Kiss of the sun for pardon.
Song of the birds for mirth.
You're closer to God's heart in a garden
than any place else on earth."
-  Dorothy Frances Gurney


The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation   
The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning by Julie Messervy  
Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden by Martin Hakubai Mosko 
Chop Wood Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life edited by Rick Fields
Dharmapada Sutra by the Buddha
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Heart of Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism by Karuna Erickson and Andrew Harvey
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, 500 BCE. 
Mind-Body Movement Arts by Mike Garofalo





"We have learned that more of the "earth-earthiness" would solve our social problems, remove many isms from our vocabulary, and purify our art.  And so we often wish that those who interpret life for us by pen or brush would buy a trowel and pack of seeds."
-  Ruth R. Blodgett (1883-), The House Beautiful (March 1918)


"Image consciousness and gardening don't mix.  Image consciousness and any enterprise where the soul is involved don't mix.  But isn't that the beginning of understanding spirituality.  To be image conscious keeps our guard up.  It keeps our judgments - about ourselves, others, and God - sharply defined, for we want to make sure we play the right notes.  Thus, we are unable to hear the music, which is another way of saying we are unable to receive, to welcome, to embrace."
-  Terry Hershey, Soul Gardening , p. 99


"Hildegaard of Bingen was a twelfth-century mystic, composer, and author of a theology that knitted together nature and spirit, cosmos and soul.  She described the Holy Spirit as the Greening Power of God.  Just as plants are greened, so we are as well.  As we grow up, our spark of life continually shines forth.  If we ignore this spark, this
greening power, we become thirsty and shriveled.  And if we respond to the spark, we flower.  Our task is to flower, to come into full blossom before our time comes to an end."
-  Lauren Artress, Walking a Sacred Path  


"He who cultivates a garden, and brings to perfection flowers and fruits cultivates and advances at the same time his own nature."
-  Ezra Weston, 1845


"It is one of the first days of Spring, and I sit once more in the old garden where I hear no faintest echo of the obscene rumbling of London streets which are yet so little away.  Here the only movement I am conscious of is that of the trees shooting forth their first sprays of bright green, and of the tulips expanding the radiant beauty of their flaming globes, and the only sound I hear is the blackbird's song -- the liquid softly gurgling notes that seem to well up spontaneously from an infinite joy, an infinite peace, at the heart of nature and bring a message not from some remote Heaven of the Sky or Future, but the Heaven that is Here, beneath our feet, even beneath the exquisite texture of our own skins, the joy, the peace, at the Heart of the Mystery which is Man.  For man alone can hear the Revelation that lies in the blackbird's song.
-  Havelock Ellis, Impressions and Comments, 1918


"The natural world is subject as well as object.  The natural world is the maternal source of our being as earthlings and life-giving nourishment of our physical, emotional, aesthetic, moral and religious existence.  The natural world is the larger sacred community to which we belong.  To be alienated from this community is to become destitute of all that makes us human.  To damage this community is to diminish our own existence."
-  Thomas Berry


"Almost any garden, if you see it at just the right moment, can be confused with paradise."   
-  Henry Mitchell


"Thinking the deed, and not the creed,
Would help us in our utmost need."
-  Henry W. Longfellow, 1807-1882


"So will I build my altar in the fields,
And the blue sky my fretted dome shall be,
And the sweet fragrance that the wild flower yields
Shall be the incense I will yield to thee."
-  Samuel Taylor Coleridge


"In her book called Ecstasy, Laski reports research findings indicating that the most frequent trigger for mystical experiences is nature, with nature art being the second most frequent trigger.  Another national survey found that almost half of all the people who have had mystical experiences consider the beauties of nature to be the primary inspiration.  Rudolf Otto defined nature mysticism as "the sense of being immersed in the oneness of nature, so that man feels all the individuality, all the peculiarities of natural things in himself.  He dances with the motes of dust and radiates with the sun; he rises with the dawn, surges with the wave, is fragrant with the rose, rapt with the nightingale: he knows and is all being, all strength, all joy, all desire, all pain in all things inseparably."  Aldous Huxley called mystical oneness with nature "the perennial philosophy".  Stace suggested that mystical experiences can be classified as either extraverted or introverted. In introverted mysticism, the environment is lost. This occurs to those who, like St. Augustine, reject the sensuousness of natural phenomena and enter into a world of pure spirit.  Augustine believed we should abandon the world and its beauty.  The beauties of nature, he believed, are vain and transitory.  To love nature is to become a slave to nature and to turn away from spiritual abstractions which are embedded in the eternal.  It is the second type, extraverted mysticism, which is a nature experience.  In extraverted mysticism, the surroundings are "lit up" and the world appears to us as it did in all its numinous glory to Adam on the day of creation."
Nature Mysticism


"Live with intention.  Walk to the edge.  Listen hard.  Practice wellness.  Play with abandon.  Laugh.  Choose with no regret.  Continue to learn.  Appreciate your friends.  Do what you love.  Live as if this is all there is."
-  Mary Anne Hershey


"Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard." 
-  Standing Bear


"Before beginning this journey inward, we must clarify its nature.  There is a frequent misunderstanding of the journey inward or the spiritual path, which suggests to most people a rejection of the natural world, the mundane, the practical, the pleasurable.  On the contrary, to a yogi (or indeed a Taoist master or Zen monk) the path toward spirit lies entirely in the domain of nature.  It is the exploration of nature from the world of appearances, or surface, into the subtlest heart of living matter.  Spirituality is not some external goal that one must seek be a part of the divine core of each of us, which we must reveal.  For the yogi, spirit is not separate from the body.  Spirituality, as I have tried to make clear, is not ethereal and outside nature but accessible and palpable in our very own bodies."
-  B.K.S. Iyengar, Light on Life, 2005, p. 18


"The abode of God, too, is wherever is earth and sea and air, and sky and virtue. 
Why further do we seek the Gods of heaven? 
Whatever thou dost behold and whatever thou dost touch, that is Jupiter."
-  Lucan,  39-65 A.D.


"We may have to learn again the mystery of the garden: how its external characteristics model the heart itself, and how the soul is a garden enclosed, our own perpetual paradise where we can be refreshed and restored."
-  Thomas Moore, The Re-Enchantment of Everyday Life


Cultivate the garden within.


"What was Paradise? but a garden, an orchard of trees and herbs, full of pleasure and nothing there but delights."
-  William Lawson


Crape myrtle, brilliant red, bursting forth;
Hiding the garden.
Some days, only the Garden, entire, serene;
Yet, hiding from sight, shy, single plants.
Seeing Both, seldom, but as One:
Sweat poured from my startled brow,
Dripping on the dry earth,
And all became Sunshine
And shadows of surprise unraveling."
-  Michael P. Garofalo, Above the Fog


"Then I was standing on the highest mountain of them all, and round about beneath me was the whole hoop of the world.  And while I stood there I saw more than I can tell and I understood more than I saw; for I was seeing in a sacred manner the shapes of all things in the spirit, and the shape of all shapes as they must live together like one being.  An I saw that the sacred hoop of my people was one of many hoops that made one circle, wide as daylight and as starlight, and in the center grew one mighty flowering tree to shelter all the children of one mother and one father.  And I saw that it was holy."
-  Black Elk Speaks, The Great Vision, 1932, p. 36


"The garden reconciles human art and wild nature, hard work and deep pleasure, spiritual practice and the material world.  It is a magical place because it is not divided."
-  Thomas Moore in The Re-enchantment of Everyday Life


"Beyond its practical aspects, gardening - be it of the soil or soul - can lead us on a philosophical and spiritual exploration that is nothing less than a journey into the depths of our own sacredness and the sacredness of all beings.  After all, there must be something more mystical beyond the garden gate, something that satisfies the soul's attraction to beauty, peace, solace, and celebration."
-  Christopher and Tricia McDowell, The Sanctuary Garden , 1998, p.13


Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated Worlds by Wendy Johnson
The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation by the Findhorn Community
The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning by Julie Messervy 
A Garden's Promise: Spiritual Reflections on Growing from the Heart by Judith Couchman 
The Soul Garden: Creating Garden Spaces for Inner Growth and Spiritual Renewal by Donald Norfork 
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden by Martin Hakubai Mosko
Sacred Circle Garden by Karen and Mike Garofalo
Sacred Gardens by Michel and Judy Marcellot
Spiritual Gardening: Creating Sacred Space Outdoors by Peg Streep
Gardens for the Soul: Designing Outdoor Spaces Using Ancient Symbols and Healing Plants by Pamela Woods 





"By a garden is meant mystically a place of spiritual repose, stillness, peace, refreshment, delight."
-  John Henry Cardinal Newman


"Something unknown is doing we don't know what."
-  Arthur Eddington


"All spiritual experiences are sensations in the body.  They are simply a graded series of sensations, beginning with the solidity of earth and passing gradually, in full consciousness, through liquidness and the emanation of heat to that of a total vibration before reaching the Void."
-  Sri Anirvan


"I do not wish to die -
There is such contingent beauty in life:
The open window on summer mornings
Looking out on gardens and green things growing,
The shadowy cups of rose flowering to themselves-
Images of time and eternity-
Silence in the garden and felt along the walls.
The room is suddenly filled with sun, 
Like a sacrament one can never be
Sufficiently thankful for.  Door ajar,
The eye reaches across from one
Open window to another, eye to eye,
And then the healing spaces of the sky ......"
-  Alfred Leslie Rowse, 1903-


"The garden must first be prepared in the soul first or else it will not flourish."
-  Proverb from England


"If we analyze the operations of scenes of beauty upon the mind, and consider the intimate relation of the mind upon the nervous system and the whole physical economy, the action and reaction which constantly occur between bodily and mental conditions, the reinvigoration which results from such scenes is readily comprehended .... The enjoyment of scenery employs the mind without fatigue and yet exercises it; tranquilizes it and yet enlivens it; and thus, through the influence of the mind over the body gives the effect of refreshing rest and reinvigoration to the whole system."
-  Frederick Law Olmstead, The Yosemite Valley and Mariposa Big Trees, 1865


"How true it is that, if we are cheerful and contented, all nature smiles, the air seems more balmy, the sky clearer, the earth has a brighter green, the flowers are more fragrant and the sun, moon, and stars all appear more beautiful, and seem to rejoice with us."
-  Orison Swett Marden 


"When men do not love their hearth, nor reverence their thresholds, it is a sign that they have dishonoured both ... Our God is a house-hold God, as well as a heavenly one; He has an altar in every man's dwelling."
-  John Ruskin (1819-1900), The Seven Lamps of Architecture, 1908


"For I have learned To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still, sad music of humanity,
Nor harsh nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue.
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.
Therefore am I still
A lover of the meadows and the woods,
And mountains; and of all that we behold
From this green earth; of all the mighty world
Of eye, and ear,--both what they half create,
And what perceive; well pleased to recognise
In nature and the language of the sense,
The anchor of my purest thoughts, the nurse,
The guide, the guardian of my heart, and soul
Of all my moral being."
- William Wordsworth, Tintern Abbey, 1798


"Blinding heat divides day from night,
Brands short shadows into fecund soil.
Green tendrils, heavy with beans,
Coil around rustic bamboo racks.
Violet flowers gape erotically among velvet leaves:
A single gourd contains the entire world's dream.

There is a great comfort in growing your own food. You are close to the soil. You use the basic elements -- water, sunlight, earth, air, and plants -- for your work, your sustenance, and your pleasure. You nurture your garden from seedlings to mature plants, tending, pruning, weeding.  Year after year, you see cycles come and go, from sprouting to harvest to withering, to seeding again.  You eat your plants to live.  You don't mind and they don't mind. Some day, you will fall back to this earth, back into the sun-baked dirt, and you will become food for the plants.  It's the way of all life, and it's all very agreeable.

Those who follow Tao say that all reality is like a series of nesting circles: microcosms within macrocosms. What is close at hand is a microcosm of what is far away. Why search all over for Tao?  It is all contained in the seeds of the gourd growing in your garden."
-  Deng Ming-Dao, 365 Tao: Daily Meditations, Day 245, September 2nd


"Who loves a garden
Finds within his soul
Life's whole;
He hears the anthem of the soil
While ingrates toil;
And sees beyond his little sphere
The waving fronds of heaven, clear."
-  Lousie Seymour Jones, Who Loves a Garden


"We are not human beings trying to be spiritual.  We are spiritual beings trying to be human."
-  Jacquelyn Small


"Oh, Adam was a gardener, and God who made him sees
That half a proper gardener's work is done upon his knees,
So when your work is finished, you can wash your hands and pray
For the Glory of the Garden, that it may not pass away!"
-  Rudyard Kipling, The Glory of the Garden


"The World is a great mirror.  It reflects back to you what you are.  If you are loving, if you are friendly, if you are helpful, the World will prove loving and friendly and helpful to you.  The World is what you are."
-  Thomas Dreier


"Learning how to operate a soul figures to take time."
-  Timothy Leary


"Spirituality points, always, beyond:   beyond the ordinary, beyond possession, beyond the narrow confines of the self, and - above all - beyond expectations.  Because "the spiritual" is beyond our control, it is never exactly what we expect."
-  Ermest Kurtz and Katherine Ketchman, The Spirituality of Imperfection


"It would never occur to most of us that 'plants' say anything at all, except in terms of what we read into them, or try to use them for.  Yet in their responses to this wonderfully rhythmic and varying earth they are the most expressive of all forms of life."
-  John Hay in A Beginner's Faith in Things Unseen


"The best place to find God is in a garden.   You can dig for him there."
-  George Bernard Shaw


"Bamboo shadows sweep the stairs
but no dust is stirred;
moonlight reaches to the bottom of the pond
but no trace is left in the water."
-  Zenrinkushu


"Are we to look at cherry blossoms only in full bloom, the moon only when it is cloudless?  To long for the moon while looking on the rain, to lower the blinds and be unaware of the passing of the spring - these are even more deeply moving.   Branches about to blossom or gardens strewn with flowers are worthier of our admiration."
-  Yoshida Kenko


"Each one has his own most real thing.   Mine is the garden."
-  Louisa Yeomans King


"It must be this rhapsody or none,
The rhapsody of things as they are."
-  Wallace Stevens, The Man With the Blue Guitar


"Gardening is such a highly individual are that it is irresistible to egocentrics ...  The word is used in its broadest, most correct sense and is not to be confused with egoist.  It includes not only those who are normally, naturally self-centered, but also those who have been rendered self-centered by circumstances - those who are lonely, timid, shy; those who have a compulsion to express themselves in some art or other; and, especially, those who are ostriches, who are only truly happy when they escape from the bewilderment of daily life by burying their heads in an interesting, well-ordered, and preferably beautiful landscape."
-   Francis H. Cabot, Chairman of The Garden Conservancy, 1999
    Paraphrasing the theories of Taylor Whittle, The Avant Gardener 2/2000

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"We will endeavour to shew how the aire and genious of Gardens operat upon humane spirits towards virtue and sancitie, I meane in a remote, preparatory and instrumentall working.  How Caves, Grotts, Mounts, and irregular ornaments of Gardens do contribute to contemplative and philosophicall Enthusiasms; how Elysium, Antrum, Nemus, Paradysus, Hortus, Lucus , &c., signifie all of them rem sacram et divinam; for these expedients do influence the soule and spirits of man, and prepare them for converse with good Angells; besides which, they contribute to the lesse abstracted pleasures, phylosophy naturall and longevitie."
-  John Evelyn in a letter to Sir Thomas Browne, 1657


"There's nothing much, really, to say.   We're agog."
-  James McManus, Great America


"As a plant produces its flower, so the psyche creates its symbols."
-  Carl G. Jung


Seeds and Cuttings
Hydrofarm Hot House Seed Starter 11-by-22-Inch   
Secrets of Plant Propagation: Starting Your Own Flowers, Vegetables, Fruits, Shrubs, and Trees 
Hydrofarm Jump Start Indoor Grow Light System 
Plant Propagation A to Z: Growing Plants for Free  
Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners  
Hydrofarm Germination Station with Heat Mat  
American Horticultural Society Plant Propagation: The Fully Illustrated Plant-by-Plant Manual    
Burpee Seed Starter: A Guide to Growing Flower, Vegetable, and Herb Seeds Indoors and Outdoors
Plant Propagator's Bible
The New Seed Starter's Handbook
RION MLT3 Mini Lean-To Greenhouse
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing  
Saving Seeds: The Gardener's Guide to Growing and Storing Vegetable and Flower Seeds
Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs





"The Tao exists in the crickets ... in the grasses ... in tiles and bricks ... and in shit and piss."
-   Chuang-tzu, The Roaring Stream: A New Zen Reader , p. 117


"My task is really not to change myself but to become familiar with who I am."
-  Maureen Cook


"On the first of May, with my comrades of the catechism class, I laid lilac, chamomile and rose before the altar of the Virgin, and returned full of pride to show my "blessed posy."  My mother laughed her irreverent laugh and, looking at my bunch of flowers, which was bringing the may-bug into the sitting-room right under the lamp, she said: "Do you suppose it wasn't already blessed before?"
-  Colette, Sido , 1922


"Belief in the supernatural reflects a failure of the imagination."
-  Edward Abbey


"Dropped off
bones and soul -
weeding new cuttings.
-  Mike Garofalo, Cuttings


"Even before I could speak, I remember crawling through blueberry patches in the wild meadows on our hillsides.  I quickly discovered Nature was filled with Spirit; I never saw any separation between Spirit and Nature.  Much later I discovered our culture taught there was supposed to be some kind of separation - that God, Spirit and Nature were supposed to be divided and different.  However, at my early age it seemed absolutely obvious that the church of the Earth was the greatest church of all; that the temple of the forest was the supreme temple.  When I went to the sanctuary of the mountain, I found Earth's natural altar - Great Spirit's real shrine.  Years later I discovered that this path of going into Nature, bonding deeply with it, and seeing Spirit within Nature - God, Goddess, and Great Spirit - was humanity's most ancient, most primordial path of spiritual cultivation and realization."
 -  John P. Milton, Sky Above, Earth Below 


"Pure logic is the ruin of the spirit."
-  Antoine de Saint-Exupery


"For behold, the kingdom of God is within you."
-  Luke 17:21


"It began in mystery, and it will end in mystery, but what a savage and beautiful country lies in between."
-  Diane Ackerman


"Everything in the world has a hidden meaning ....
Men, animals, trees, stars, they are all hieroglyphics.
When you see them you do not understand them.
You think they are really men, animals, trees, stars.
It is only years later that you understand."
-  Nikos Kazantzakis


"Sitting in a room staring at a pressed plant is not always the full story.  There is a garden out there where the plant lives.  The intellectual pursuit is coming full circle to what resides at the center.  Life is not one or the other, but both.  That which makes us a whole by uniting all parts is the same, whatever the naming of the unnameable.  Gardeners have always known the spiritual connection that resides in the center."
-  Gene Bush, Munchkin Nursery and Gardens


The cosmos is divine.
The earth is sacred.


"In our gardens, Lord Ganesha sends His power through fruits and vegetables, the ones that grow above the ground, to permeate our nerve system with wisdom, clearing obstacles in our path when eaten. The growers of them treat it like they would care for Ganesha in His physical form."
-  Hindu Deva Shastra, verse 438,  Nature Devas


"To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts."
-  Henry David Thoreau


"A garden is a private world or it is nothing."
-  Eleanor Perenyi


"Crouchers move through a garden at a stoop: naming, gasping, horraying, admiring or coveting plants; Gapers saunter, smiling or sighing at what they find, succumbing to an intangible beatitude that takes them for a brief escape into another dimension.  Both sorts of gardener are besotted; both get their hands dirty; think and talk gardening; but on the threshold of another's garden, each use a different set of whiskers."
-  Mirabel Osler, Gapers and Crouchers


"Contemplate the workings of this world, listen to the words of the wise, and take all that is good as your own.  With this as your base, open your own door to truth.  Do not overlook the truth that is right before you.  Study how water flows in a valley stream, smoothly and freely between the rocks.  Also learn from holy books and wise people. Everything - even mountains, rivers, plants, and trees - should be your teacher."
-  Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969), founder of Aikido


"Expect your every need to be met, expect the answer to every problem, expect abundance on every level, expect to grow spiritually."
-  Eileen Caddy


"When I dance, I dance, when I sleep, I sleep; yes, and when I walk alone in a beautiful orchard, if my thoughts drift to far-off matters for some part of the time, for some other part I lead them back again to the walk, the orchard, to the sweetness of this solitude, to myself."
-  Montaigne


"When Lawrence first found a gentian, a big single blue one, I remember feeling as if he had a strange communion with it, as if the gentian yielded up its blueness, its very essence, to him.  Everything he met had the newness of a creation just that moment come into being."
-  Frieda Lawrence writing about her 1912 honeymoon with D. H. Lawrence


"Bad gardens copy, good gardens create, great gardens transcend.  What all great gardens have in common are their ability to pull the sensitive viewer out of him or herself and into the garden, so completely that the separate self-sense disappears entirely, and at least for a brief moment one is ushered into a nondual and timeless awareness.  A great garden, in other words, is mystical no matter what its actual content."
-  Ken Wilbur, Grace and Grit  


"Learn to get in touch with the silence within yourself and know that everything in this life has a purpose.  There are no mistakes, no coincidences. All events are blessings given to us to learn from."
-  Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


"He who experiences the unity of life sees his own Self in all beings, and all beings in his own Self, and looks
on everything with an impartial eye."
-  Bhagavad Gita



Illustrated Guides to Food Plants 

Green Inheritance: Saving the Plants of the World by Anthony Huxley 
Medicinal Plants of the World by Ben Eric van Wyk 
Edible: An Illustrated Guide to the World's Food Plants by National Geographic 
Vegetables, Herbs and Fruit: An Illustrated Encyclopedia by Matthew Biggs 
Food Plants of the World: An Illustrated Guide by Ben Eric van Wyk 
The New Oxford Book of Food Plants by John Vaughan 
The New Oxford Book of Food Plants by Elizabeth Schneider  




"There exists an abundance of evidence to indicate that mind-changing drugs have been used since remotest antiquity by many of the peoples of the earth, and have importantly affected the course of human history.  The plant sources of these drugs--the visionary vegetables--have been worshiped as gods in many times and places, and the persons employing the drugs as a means of acquiring "super-natural powers'' have been the priests, prophets, visionaries, and other leaders of their respective societies.  East and West, civilized and primitive, religious thought and all that flows from it almost certainly has been importantly influenced by the psychedelic drugs..."  
-   R.E.L. Masters and Jean Houston,
    The Varieties of Psychedelic Experience, 1966, p. 36.


"I prefer to their dogma my excursions into the natural gardens where the voice of the Great Spirit is heard in the twittering of birds, the rippling of might waters, the sweet breathing of flowers, and a wee child toddling in a wonder world.  If this is Paganism, then at present, at least, I am a Pagan."
-  Gertrude Simmons Bonnin, "Zitkala-Sa"


"One cannot but be in awe when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.  It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.  Never lose a holy curiosity."
-  Albert Einstein 


"Eden is that old-fashioned House
We dwell in every day
Without suspecting our abode
Until we drive away."
-  Emily Dickinson





"Interconnectedness.  Spirit and body chemistry.  Loving intention.  Living with awareness of oneness with all aspects of life - including each other and food - lies at the heart of enlightened eating and the mystery of food's ability to nourish both body and soul.  By approaching food meditatively and with loving intention, we may go beyond the level of thought and intuit the sacred connection between Mother Earth, food, and humankind."
-  Deborah Kesten, Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Soul, p. 217


The Findhorn Garden: Pioneering a New Vision of Man and Nature in Cooperation   
The Inward Garden: Creating a Place of Beauty and Meaning by Julie Messervy  
Landscape as Spirit: Creating a Contemplative Garden by Martin Hakubai Mosko 
Chop Wood Carry Water: A Guide to Finding Spiritual Fulfillment in Everyday Life edited by Rick Fields
Dharmapada Sutra by the Buddha
The Druidry Handbook: Spiritual Practice Rooted in the Living Earth by John Michael Greer
Heart of Yoga: The Sacred Marriage of Yoga and Mysticism by Karuna Erickson and Andrew Harvey
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tsu, 500 BCE. 
Mind-Body Movement Arts by Mike Garofalo





"If not ignored, nature will cultivate in the gardener a sense of well-being and peace.  The gardener may find deeper meaning in life by paying attention to the parables of the garden.  Nature teaches quiet lessons to the gardener who chooses to live within the paradigm of the garden."
-  Norman H. Hansen 


"At the time Gothic cathedrals were designed, most people lived in dark huts, so just walking into a space vastly larger than what they were habituated to, lit by stained glass windows, was literally awe-inspiring.  Today, we're not as impressed by big buildings, so we have to go to very large mountains to experience that 'diminutive effect.'"
-  M. A. Persinger


"Sitting in my garden at midnight staring at the stars can also produce that 'diminutive effect.'"
-  Mike Garofalo


"I am the dust in the sunlight, I am the ball of the sun . . .
I am the mist of morning, the breath of evening . . . .
I am the spark in the stone, the gleam of gold in the metal . . . .
The rose and the nightingale drunk with its fragrance.
I am the chain of being, the circle of the spheres,
The scale of creation, the rise and the fall.
I am what is and is not . . .
I am the soul in all."
-  Rumi


"There is no need to go to India or anywhere else to find peace. You will find that deep place of silence right in your room, your garden or even your bathtub."
-  Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


"A research project in Australia, entitled "The Congruent Garden: An Investigation into the Role of the Domestic Garden in Satisfying Fundamental Human Needs," interviewed  gardeners on the values of gardening in their everyday lives.  The researcher, Mike Steven, established that gardens have the potential to satisfy nine basic human needs (subsistence, protection, affection, understanding, participation, leisure, creation, identity, freedom) across four existential states (being, having, doing and interacting.)"
-  Mike Steven, Lecturer in Landscape Studies, University of Westen Sydney, Australia


If thy heart were right, then every creature would be a mirror of life and a book of holy doctrine.  There is no creature so small and abject, but it reflects the goodness of God."
-  Thomas 'A Kempis, Imitation of Christ


Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling   
Keeping a Nature Journal: Discover a Whole New Way of Seeing the World Around You
Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth    
How to Keep a Naturalist's Notebook  
Visual Journaling: Going Deeper than Words  
Nature Journaling: Learning to Observe and Connect with the World Around You
Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within  
Mixed-Media Nature Journals: New Techniques for Exploring Nature, Life, and Memories
Creative Wildfire: An Introduction to Art Journaling - Basics and Beyond  
Inner Journeying Through Art-Journaling: Learning to See And Record Your Life As a Work of Art  





"I believe that the universe is one being, all its parts are different expressions of the same energy, and they are all in communication with each other, therefore parts of one organic whole.  (This is physics, I believe, as well as religion.)  The parts change and pass, or die, people and races and rocks and stars; none of them seems to me important it itself, but only the whole.  The whole is in all its parts so beautiful, and is felt by me to be so intensely in earnest, that I am compelled to love it, and to think of it as divine.  It seems to me that this whole alone is worthy of the deeper sort of love; and that there is peace, freedom, I might say a kind of salvation, in turning one's affections outward toward this one God, rather than inwards on one's self, or on humanity, or on human imaginations and abstractions - the world of the spirits."
-  Robinson Jeffers, 1934


"When you enter a grove peopled with ancient trees, higher than the ordinary, and shutting out the sky with their thickly inter-twined branches, do not the stately shadows of the wood, the stillness of the place then strike you with the presence of a deity?"
-  Seneca


In the Garden
By Van Morrison
From the 1986 album “No Guru, No Method, No Teacher.” 

“The streets are always wet with rain
After a summer
shower when I saw you standin'
In the garden in the garden wet with rain

You wiped the teardrops from your eye in sorrow

As we watched the petals fall down to the ground
And as I sat beside you I felt the
Great sadness that day in the garden

And then one day you came back home

You were a creature all in rapture
You had the key to your soul
And you did open that day you came back to the garden

The olden summer breeze was blowin' on your face

The light of God was shinin' on your countenance divine
And you were a violet colour as you
Sat beside your father and your mother in the garden

The summer breeze was blowin' on your face

Within your violet you treasure your summery words
And as the shiver from my neck down to my spine
Ignited me in daylight and nature in the garden

And you went into a trance

Your childlike vision became so fine
And we heard the bells inside the church
We loved so much
And felt the presence of the youth of
Eternal summers in the garden

And as it touched your cheeks so lightly

Born again you were and blushed and we touched each other lightly
And we felt the presence of the Christ

And I turned to you and I said

No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the father in the garden

No Guru, no method, no teacher

Just you and I and nature
And the Father and the
Son and the Holy Ghost
In the garden wet with rain
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature and the holy ghost
In the garden, in the garden, wet with rain
No Guru, no method, no teacher
Just you and I and nature
And the Father in the garden.”


Spirituality and Gardening, Part I



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The Spirit of Gardening Website

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