All of us have experienced the healing power of nature. Sadly, we have all also seen how we are pulled away from co-existing with nature, thanks to our increasingly urban lifestyles. A new book, Creating Sanctuary: Sacred Garden Spaces, Plant-Based Medicine, and Daily Practices to Achieve Happiness and Well-Being by Jessi Bloom, addresses how we can find and create our own personal sanctuary, where we can allow nature to heal us.
The book starts off with exploring the concept of sacred space and personal sanctuary. It is important to tune in with the spirit of the land and be clear about our intentions for the space as a first step. It then gleans through the entire process of actually setting up our sanctuary. Creating Sanctuary takes you through common elements that must be a part of your own sanctuary. The section on how gardens and sanctuaries can be used for healing is also especially useful. For example, the simple use of labyrinths can add just so much beauty to a place!
The heart of the entire process lies in the chapter “Five Steps to Creating Your Sanctuary Garden” which outlines in detail five practical ways of going about creating sanctuary. Another practical resource is the descriptive and detailed list of fifty plants that could inhabit your sacred space. The book also goes on to describe how and which plants could be used for medicinal purposes. It provides tips on not only growing medicinal plants, but also using them, as in, making your own apothecary. The book is packed and replete with a number of recipes that one can try out with the medicinal plants in our gardens- both for application and consumption.
Varied photographs add to and aid the understanding of the concepts explained. The book also features real-life spaces where people have created and willingly shared their own sacred sanctuaries. This is quite inspirational as well.
Takeaways for me…
- There is a life-force inherent in plants, animals, earth, water and stone.
- One can set specific intentions for our own sacred space.
- One must use all the senses to imagine and create our own sacred space. It is this which makes the entire experience sensual.
- I found the section on the fairy garden very intriguing. How can one attract these mystical creatures to our space? Well, I’m turned believer after reading this one!
- When we heal the earth, we heal ourselves!
- Providing habitat for wildlife will make your sacred space much more fulfilling and meaningful.
- Exchanging energy with a tree can be very soothing.
This is a practical and inspirational book on creating sanctuaries right where you are. I would also use the term spiritual gardening to describe the philosophies expressed in the book. Yes, it is also a highly practical book which is almost like a storehouse of ideas on the varied aspects of creating your very own personal sanctuary. But above all, it is all about being at one with your natural core. As Rumi said, “The entrance door to the sanctuary is inside you,”!
Author: Jessi Bloom
Photographer: Shawn Linehan
Publisher: Timber Press
Genre: Gardening, Spiritual Gardening