In the Garden

Gardens. Nature artificially arranged so that man might rest in safety in a rejuvenating place while regaining grace. I feel the Netjeru in our city garden, in a place so contrived. Its controlled nature; a city green spot.  Did we not Name the Gods? Call to them? Recognize them? As we see and name the beauty in the world, and seek to cultivate and understand it?

agapanthusIn gardens, we take elements of nature apart-water, soil, rocks, flowers, bugs, furniture-and place it just so, just as myths and proverbs and legends hope to place the feelings and changes and circumstances of life and place them just so, in a sensible order.

In the wilderness, our reality melts back into Nature and our insulation from reality fades away. I remember that we can never leave the belly of the universe. It does not matter where you work or who you love. When the storm comes, the wind beats your back as readily as it beats upon the trees. Our homes rest upon the dirt and grass that dominates the landscape outside our concrete cribs. We may not realize it, but we are ALWAYS in the wilderness. We just forget it sometimes.Its true that our lives are built and sustained by civilization’s gifts and requirements: work, family, home ownership, investment, education, social gatherings, love affairs. But this is the world as we make it. We are under the impression that we have consumed a portion of the world and rebuilt it to suit our survival. Truly, you can never consume the world. But the world is so vast, we need to work through it in smaller bits: to familiarize ourselves with one spot, to cultivate our lives there, so as not to be over come by the unpredictability of life and nature.

Our concerns and realities are not the only things which pale when confronted by the truth of the natural world. My understanding of the gods is swallowed by the masses from which They emerge. In reuniting and mating with forces which are ignored, unseen, or forbidden, I lose the clarity I once held on Their forms. They fold back into the universe for: into Ma’at, into Heka, into Life and Death and Order and Change and Stability. I may have trouble seeing Them unless They fall upon me, as Zeus fell upon mortals as a swan or shower of gold, and remind me once again of simplicity and scope. I am overwhelmed.

The wilderness is fresh and raw. All those Names which are found in society are found here, too. Yet we are not always equip to wade through the blood and dirt and water and wind that is beyond the walls of our homesteads. Sometimes space is overwhelming.


Our own cultures remind us that though we build walls and create customs to adapt and create our world, the wilderness is inside of us. We all have urges, wants, needs. We have a basic human nature that can be rough or kind or cruel. We can create our own wilderness, as harsh and unpredictable and unforgiving as the one that lay outside our fences. And again, we are overwhelmed.


There are times when we want only simple solace and the straight forward touch of the divine. We want to see the order we know is present and theorder we can create, even if our sense of control is misguided.

And so we build a garden, that we might safely meet and greet the Gods. It is the wilderness in us set free, and the wilderness surrounding us contained.

It is the Divine in us set free, and the Divine surrounding us contained.


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