Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Garden as Ritual

Wow.  It's been over a year since I've posted.  I have made it through pregnancy, my wedding, and the first seven months of my daughter's life, so it is time to crawl up out of my private hole and share my dirt with the technological world.

There have been many changes in my life over the past year, and I have often felt like I'm just a backseat passenger, rather than an active participant--let alone driver-- of my life.  So I decided to take things back into my own hands and grab this life by the proverbial horns.  And to do it without leaving my property.

For some background, one of the many things I love about my husband is the way in which we balance each other.  He accomplishes so many creative projects--woodworking, playing guitar, art, etc., while I am too distracted by dirty dishes or dirty diapers or the weird dirt in the cracks of the windowsill.  As much as I want to carve out time to create sacred space, to artistically express myself, it doesn't often happen, because I prioritize other, "more practical" things.  Ryan can pick up his guitar and sit in the middle of a chaotic, disorganized room, and be perfectly content.  He teaches me to (dishes be damned) do something that feeds my soul, and I teach him to make the bed and put the clothes away NOW, not later, or tomorrow.

Before Planting

 So I decided to take on a task that is creative, sacred, and fun.  I created a Womens' Medicinal Spiral Garden.  I weeded the area, then built a short retaining wall (since it's on a slope) out of old wooden rails from a bridge that was being replaced in NW Portland.  Then I hauled and stacked rocks from a local quarry in the shape of a spiral.  I added compost, and started gathering medicinal plants.  This relatively simple process took me weeks and weeks, as my primary task is taking care of my daughter, in addition to keeping up on household duties, chasing goats, herding chickens, caring for rabbits, a dog, a cat, and gardens.  

After Planting

I invited some women friends over for a ritualistic planting of the garden.  Ritual is something that has floated in and out of my life, and I have more recently made an effort to become empowered in using ritual to change my life.  There is a comfort in the structure and format of ritual that has been practiced by women for centuries.  Of course, we create our own practices, too, and speak words that feel true to us.  And that's what's so amazing about ritual.  You can create magic anytime, anywhere, however you want.  Friends donated some medicinal plants of their own, and after blessing these plants with out intentions, casting the circle, and calling the directions, we put them in the earth.

Now that my garden is complete, I feel lightness around my duties.  It feels just a little easier to play with my daughter and save the dishes for later.  Of course, your lesson may be a different one.  There is power in ritual.  It is magic, and it is quantum physics.  I encourage you all to bring some intention, some ritual into your lives, to be witnessed by your friends as you share your fears and visions.  Let us all be healed.


Anonymous said...

ah, a breath of air...
a lovely post, and wisdom to share.

Old Gates Farm said...

This is great.

And I, too, can be distracted by endless mundane chores of life...I actually try and see many of them more positively (the silence of hanging laundry out while the kids are all busy inside, the warmth of the water while I do my dishes and enjoy the view through the window)... silly, yes. but life on a homestead would be awful without making simple things joyful.

I try and carve out my artistic time in the quiet of the night here... ;)