5 - The Plant Kingdom
5/1 – Inviting The Plant Kingdoms
Any sanctuary would be a sad place indeed in the absence of representatives of the plant kingdom.
Some of the saddest people I have met had representations of dust bowls, grey wastelands and stony deserts inside, and they literally began to bloom once they turned their hand to gardening a little.
"Don't cast your seeds on stony ground" is good advice indeed. For any plant person to be able to thrive, there's got to be the four main conditions of light, water, soil and nutrients firmly established.
Thank the lord gardening in the sanctuary doesn't involve a shovel and a pick! Nor, for that matter, does it involve never ending misery such as lawn care - when my interdimensional meadows threatened to go out of control, I acquired "a sheep per acre" instead; it makes for a nice pastoral scene as well as solving that problem once and for all. Later, I traded half the sheep for a flock of unicorns - well, why not?
It seems that most people instinctively go for a managed garden type affair near the centre of their sanctuary, and more natural features further out, with real untamed wilderness towards the furthest realms, but remember to suit yourself completely and only ever do what's right for you.
5/2 - Gardens
I'm sure you're familiar with terms such as "garden of remembrance", "garden of contemplation" and the like. If you're a Gill Edwards fan, you probably already have a "garden of prosperity" somewhere in your internal mindscape. Point is, that you can have a "garden of absolutely anything" to represent concerns and experience solutions in good old metaphorical form.
A "garden of relationships" - oh ho! any weeds in there, m'dear? - a "garden of health", or even, very specifically, a "garden of my bloody ex wife", for that matter! (Oh, by the way, if that really appealed to you, don't go stomping on the plants, no matter how much you feel like it at the moment. Put a high fence around it and deal with it when you're in a more enlightened frame of mind!)
This in itself is good fun, very beneficial and often highly thought provoking.
It becomes really transformational if you set these specialist areas into a kind of "garden of my entire life" context, and then go ahead and create something that is pleasing as an overall effort, embracing and bringing together the various sub-sections in a harmonious manner, which, after all, is the purpose and key concept of the whole sanctuary idea.
If you're not into gardening and haven't really got a clue about plants other than that there are red ones and yellow ones, you might either like to look at a few gardens from real life with a view to copying them to start with; or, you can turn the task over to the parts of you that have an affinity with nature. If you can't find such a part yet, you can most likely get a past life self to help, because for thousands of years people survived mostly by agriculture of some kind and there's bound to be a few of those in your karmic link. If the worst comes to the worst, a direct plea for help send to the Universe at large will bring forth a few itinerant gardeners from god knows where - it's amazing how many of these guys are out there, just dying to be of help and spending their boring astral lives hoping and praying that someone will finally ask for assistance.
5/3 - Parkscapes & Trees
It is possible that the parkscapes bring you into contact of the plant equivalents of giant rivers - the really big, really old, really impressive trees.
I'm sure you heard this tale about Aspen groves being the largest living organisms on earth, all interconnected below the soil level and in communication with each other. I reckon that trees everywhere, but most especially in the sanctuary, should be treated with respect. Just because they don't talk doesn't mean they're not alive, aware, and important.
Trees can advise you, give you strength and comfort, and simply hypnotise you with their presence, their sounds and their sights.
According to dream dictionaries, various trees are supposed to represent various things, but I shouldn't bother with this if I was you. Invite the tree kingdom into your sanctuary and allow yourself to be entranced by their sheer magic which is subtly different for every species and every individual within the species again.
Together and in groups, forests, or groves they also have further magic where the total is more and different than just the sum of the parts.
One more thing on the subject of trees. As you know, "from little acorns mighty oak trees grow". A popular way of creating new inner resources or to install, as it were, beliefs, values or attitudes in a very ecological manner is via the medium of tree planting.
Jenny, for example, felt she needed more strength. She came up with the idea of planting an acorn and dedicating it to be "her new strength". It was interesting to note that she took quite a while to decide just where this needed to be in the context of the surrounding landscapes, garden and other features; I like that, because everything interconnects with everything else on some level. She duly planted the acorn, and, as it grew gently and steadily, she reported physically being able to feel a kind of excitement and energy building that she had never felt before.
Not just beliefs and attitudes can be addressed via the trees; but any kind of long term project that requires growth from a small start to an eventually magnificent structure.
Jason, who had just started out with his own business, planted Californian Redwood seeds in its honour - and the progress these little trees made, and the problems they experienced, reflected beautifully what was going on in real terms, in the real world. At one point, when he went to look at them, there had been an erosion of some sort and their roots were exposed; some had even fallen over. He build a protecting wall a little way above them on the hillside, and worried about "what it might mean" all through the next two days and nights. Finally, he got up at 4am and felt compelled to look at his business plan. To his amazement, he found a simple addition error which, had he not discovered it, would have led to his business becoming seriously under funded when more orders started to come in. He told me later that he was so excited by this that he really had to stop himself from ringing me there and then!
5/4 - Greenhouses
Thelma, an elderly lady, created a greenhouse in which there grew the most wonderful and exotic medicinal plants. She had a whole host of minor health problems and just made plant labels for each one, got some pots and asked her unconscious mind to provide the seeds that were appropriate. In due course they arrived - delivered by a postie! - and she planted them according to the instructions. Needless to say, the plants grew well.
An old and very wise Chinese medicinal plant expert arrived and advised on what she had to do to turn the plants into potions, as in some cases it was the flowers, or the roots, seeds or leaves that had the cures within them and they needed to be processed in highly specific ways for maximum potency. As an aside, what was
really interesting about this particular story was that once she had all the bottles with the cures, she experienced a strong reluctance to take any of them - it turned out that visiting various health people and talking about diseases were her main occupations, and she was worried that she might really get cured by taking them!
Greenhouses can be excellent shelters and supportive environments for any weak or young or delicate plants. One lady who had done a visualisation exercise with someone else which involved imagining herself to be a plant had come up with a sad and shrivelled thing that, in spite of all of her best efforts on the inner mind front, remained miserable and droopy and distinctly unhealthy looking. Once she put "her plant" into a custom made greenhouse with strictly controlled temperature and feeding routine, it began to thrive and was eventually "hardened off" (a gardening term which denotes desensitising a plant slowly to living outside) enough to be planted in pride of place in the centre of her sanctuary. This lady had suffered from eczema all her life and this receded more and more, until one morning, when the plant's first flower opened, it was completely gone.
5/5 - Orchards
Once, whilst just chilling out in my sanctuary, it occurred to me that I was hungry and that there was nothing to eat anywhere. Now I could have manifested an instant banquet, but that didn't feel quite right and so I began to create an orchard instead.
To begin with, it just had boring old apple trees and the like; but later, I began to develop my own genetically engineered plant life. For example, I've got this tree-like affair that has, below the bark, a dry, slightly honeycomb like texture, is a delightful orange yellow in colour and tastes a bit like a mango. I can't get enough the stuff, it's delicious! Tomato-sized strawberries and variations of nuts the like you've never met before are also present.
The orchard is a very popular feature with all manner of my astral visitors; if you feel like a healthy snack, you are free to come by and pick your own; it's expansive and there's enough for everyone. Just one thing - try not to scare the unicorns. They're a bit shy.
5/6 - Garden Architecture
In a sanctuary, garden architecture can be much more than merely decorative. Gazebos, for example, can be portals to other planes of reality, distant star systems, past lives, the light, or any place within the entire Universe, time and space you would want to choose to go.
They can also be arrival points for visitors of all kinds; and before you freak out, thinking that there may be all manner of unwanted astral folk pouring through without your permission, I would suggest that as it's your portal, it will only work when you will it to do so. It is perfectly safe.
Later on, you might feel you're ready to allow your unconscious self to also use the portal at will and to manifest whatever might need your attention in some way.
Quite a few people have a Stonehenge type stone circle as a feature; and you can just about begin to imagine what powerful and wondrous opportunities a fully functioning version might present to you. By the way, Lazarus reckons that they were designed to be made of quartz crystal instead of rock - can you imagine the power of Stonehenge at it's heyday, full size, at the equinox, and in crystal?
A lot of people are totally fascinated with pyramids; and there are all kinds of claims to their amazing powers for healing and transformation. You could have one of those, if you should want one.
Sculpture in general and statues in particular can also be added for beauty, interest or to represent some aspect of your inner self or other. There is a visualisation exercise in which you imagine that a great artist created a statue of you. If you are intrigued about your own perception of who or what you are, this might be an exercise you could find valuable; if you have already done this exercise, find the statue, bring it into your garden and then transform it so it is entirely to your liking and a fitting addition to the beauty and tranquillity of your sanctuary.
Here's just a few more structures that have cropped up in the past for your consideration:
Windmills and watermills; Summer Houses; Towers; Churches; Temples of all shapes and sizes; Crystal Domes; Mushroom shaped houses; Playgrounds; Altars, to name just a few.
5/7 - Agricultural And Managed Landscapes
Whether to you personally a huge field of golden wheat is a symbol of abundance and prosperity, or whether you view it as an abhorrent example of post modern monoculture, there's a great deal of often forgotten emotion and meaning tied up in agriculture through the ages, even if you've lived in a city all your life.
Agriculture in its widest meaning doesn't just mean ploughing fields. There are managed forests, orchards we've mentioned before, vineyards, herb gardens, managed rubber trees in the midst of a tropical rain forest, fields of roses and sunflowers, and pastures too of all kinds; whatever takes your fancy, really.
You are free to choose to have any agricultural landscape, and you are free to do what you wish to do with them and have them serve whatever purposes they may serve you, I would just point out that you are not restricted to merely re-creating already existing agriculture; you can have an orchard of money bearing trees, a hedge to harvest a never ending supply of magic wands, a managed forest of extraterrestrial giant singing orchids or meadows of freely growing crystals and diamonds, should you so desire; and do remember that no matter what the size of your agricultural endeavours, you need never worry about getting enough help at harvest time!
5/8 - Untamed Wilderness
It's rare to find these days, places where people haven't yet changed the landscape into something of their own making (and this may be a beautiful park as well as a toxic wasteland). If you've stood in such a wild place, then you will be very familiar how small it makes you feel, how vulnerable and how exhilarated at the same time.
Whether it's a huge roaming sea of grassland under an enormous sky, a forbiddingly beautiful expanse of mountain range, the ocean, an elder forest, an ancient heath, a blistering desert - I mean, wow! No wonder people get so frightened of these places that they'll do anything to make then more cosy and break their powerful spell!
The Gaia theory holds that our planet is more like a living organism than a dead football made of rock floating about in space. It holds that all the various habitats work together to keep the organism as a whole, as a functioning, self regulating ecology.
By definition I take this to mean that every kind of wilderness habitat you may encounter in your wider sanctuary will probably have a contribution to make. Thereby, I get a little worried when, after the original central sanctuary space has been park-scaped to the owner's requirements, they then go ahead and turn the whole internal planet into something you might have seen in a Sci-Fi movie or whilst driving through Milton Keynes - a spooky and kind of lifeless advertising agency's version of "paradise, 1960's style".
Sure, having a nasty black swamp smack in the middle of your sanctuary isn't going to make you feel better; however, further out, a swamp might be needed in the overall ecology as a whole. Talk to any botanist or biologist about swamps, and they go into raptures about the interesting, varied and abundant life they support, and how clearing and draining them has had dreadful and far ranging effects on the ecology as a whole. I'm not suggesting here to not change things or to "learn to love your swamps".
What I am suggesting is that whenever you begin to deal with the wider areas of untamed wilderness, to be firstly a little respectful to begin with, and secondly to ALWAYS give serious consideration to the greater ecology before you start waving your magic wand.