I am lucky to own 8.8 acres of rolling pasture and overgrown woods. This little farmette has provided a unique background to my Druidy and magic. Part of my work this year has been to find the balance between restoration and cultivation on this land. This project will take years, of course, but one of the things I saught out right away were resources that combine land management, gardening, magic, and spirituality. I wanted to share some of those resources with you in hopes that you might also enjoy the combination of magic and gardens.
Obviously, not everyone has the privileged to own a place that you can grow in. Community gardens and public green spaces might provide an alternative to land ownership. Regardless of what soil you do or don’t own, these books are sure to inspire you to connect to the land in new ways.
5. Cultivating Sacred Space: Gardening for the Soul by Elizabeth Murray.
The author uses her life’s story of finding love, gardening, and losing love as the backdrop to an introduction to what makes a garden spiritual. There are some lovely photos and beautiful personal moments in this book. I think for those looking to experience the gardening process through someone else, this will be a delightful read. For those looking for more concrete examples and processes, it will fall short.
I think I enjoyed the twelve garden examples the most. There were some unique ideas in these gardens that inspired my own plans for my gardens. It was also the section of the book that provided the most “meat” in content. I do wish that they had some larger photos of the gardens to help build context for the elements described.
This won’t be a book that I keep on my shelf. I’ll keep it until I find the right person to pass it along to. I’d suggest checking the library first before purchasing this one.
4. Spiritual Gardening: Creating Sacred Space Outdoors by Peg Streep
This is a book for the winter months. It’s a delight to flip through the pages and see green, growing plants on every page. When you are seeking new inspiration, this is the gardening book to read. The author does a marvelous job of describing different ways to garden in a sacred way without too much navel gazing.
Ten gardens are featured in this book. Readers are gifted beautiful photographs and detailed descriptions that will inspire small to large changes in your own garden. Those who know me will not be surprised to learn that the Gaia Garden was my favorite. Wildflowers were sown to restore the land. Perennial berry plants and trees provide for wildlife and humans. Plus community and family plays a pivotal point in the design of this garden.
There is a bit more detail on the HOW to garden this way than Cultivating Sacred Space by Elizbeth Murray. Peg Streep clearly shows that she gardens in a spiritual manner. Her connection to plants and the land oozes out of her writing. She expresses how one can make decisions in the gardening process that puts the spiritual front and center.
For garden lovers, this is a fantastic purchase. For those just looking to explore and feel inspired then make sure you grab a copy from the library. It will soothe the soul this winter when you are blanketed in snow and cold!
3. Magical Gardens: Cultivating Soil & Spirit by Patricia Monaghan
This book is written for the Pagan reader who has a moderate size of garden to work on. The author shares personal experiences, rituals, myths, and plant information to walk the magical practitioner through the process of designing and planting gardens for spiritual work.
The reader should have some basic gardening skills and knowledge, but the garden plans will provide much of the necessary information for getting a garden off to a good start. I think the garden plan section will also provide readers a solid understanding of what questions one should be asking when designing a garden space for magical or ritual use.
For the green witch or similar spiritual path, the combination of myth and plant lore will enchant their workings with new delight. I know that I found it made for a fun read even when I knew some of the lore being mentioned.
I do wish the 15th Anniversary Edition had included color photos. It would have been so fascinating to see how these garden plans had grown and established themselves through photos.
2. The Garden Awakening: Designs to Nurture Our Land & Ourselves by Mary Reynolds
Mary Reynolds was a new discovering for me this year. I was blown away by her gardens on Pinterest. The magic and unique features of her gardens seemed to combine the spirit of the land and permaculture ethos so seamlessly. I was quite excited to read her book.
One of the things I loved most about this book was the assumption that the magical elements of working with the land are at hand for anyone to use, whether they are familiar with magic or nature based spirituality or not. This is very evident in her section on garden design which walks readers through the design elements needed for making a garden that honors the land and provides sanctuary for humans.
The next section is on Forest Gardening and works well for those interested in permaculture. The descriptions of process and design ideas is not as in depth as a dedicated permaculture book, but will be wonderful for those new to permaculture.
Throughout the book are different garden design examples. The author’s drawings are included often with just the landworks done and then with all the plants filled out. This really helps the reader to visualize how a garden is going to change. Designs also describe the intentions for the space and the different symbols and techniques used to achieve that intention. Readers will learn how to see and work with the shapes of the land to create dynamic gardens.
This book also includes some plant lists. They aren’t extensive but will provide readers a good starting point for achieving different garden feels and combinations that will last through the seasons.
I recommend this book for anyone who is serious about making a magical garden in the next one to two years. If you know what you need your garden to provide and understand the land you are working with, this book will help you coalesce design elements into powerful spaces.
1.Creating Sanctuary by Jessi Bloom
I devoured this book sitting in my garden on my bright yellow bench soaking up the melodies of spring bird migration. So much of what my husband and I are trying to do on our 9 acre homestead is create sanctuary. This seemed like a great book to add to our resources, especially since so much of it is geared towards a Pagan approach to things.
The first third of the book is about designing your sacred garden space. The author throws in a bit about permaculture and tons of inspiring images. This section was sadly the most lacking. I wanted just a bit more detail on the design part. However, for most readers this will be a boon. It gives more space for you to play and experiment with your space. Little time is given to how urban dwellers with balcony space or no outdoor space could create a sacred garden.
Plant lists include history and growing conditions along with different ways you can use them medicinally or spiritually. They are not long and really only include the most basic plants. The advance herbalist or garden will not spot anything new to them. Beginners will find enough information to get started without feeling overwhelmed.
The final part of the book is all about how to use the plants and space that you create. It includes ways to use movement, meditation, ritual, medicine, and beauty products. It’s a nice grouping of things to do that will leave you feeling inspired and capable.
I enjoyed this book because it’s beautiful and easy to read. It didn’t really have anything “new” to me. I’d recommend this book to beginners or those looking to see their garden in a new sacred way. Advanced gardeners should check this one out from the library, prolly not purchase.