Thursday, January 3, 2019

Creating Sanctuary

Creating Sanctuary is a philosophical gardening tutorial aimed at the gardener in search of a more spiritual connection to their outdoor spaces. Published 13th Nov 2018 by Timber Press, it's 236 pages and available in paperback and ebook formats.

Interacting with nature in a measured and intentional way can have profound effects on mental (and physical) health.  I've often heard friends speak of being alone in a remote setting and likening it in a positive way to a spiritual experience.  This book is written around the premise that that experience doesn't have to be coincidental and fleeting.  We can choose to create spaces where meditation and relaxation are almost automatic, or at least are supported and unhindered. 

The author's style is very calm and gentle. The content is easily read and accessible.  Readers who are searching for a more meaningful and deeper relationship to their garden space can find interesting food for thought with this book. There is a fair amount of content devoted to meditation and mindfulness in both creating and using garden spaces.

The book also varies from most garden manuals in layout. The introduction is followed by chapters on creating sacred space and what common elements these spaces share (about 25% of the page content).  These chapters are followed by an herbal listing some sacred and medicinal plants and how they can be used as well as commonly held properties and characteristics.The herbal chapters also include some recipes for teas, infusions, and tisanes among others.

The book also includes an in depth study of practices and rituals for getting the best benefit out of sacred spaces.  The author includes recommended daily exercises. There's a useful bibliography and further reading list included at the end.

This would make a good gift for a very open-minded gardening friend in search of a way to make their outdoor space more meditation friendly and welcoming.  It would also likely appeal to people searching for more ways to incorporate the natural world in their meditation and spiritual practices.  The book is not directly religious in a way which most adherents to any faith would find objectionable.

I enjoyed the writing and photography and appreciated the special philosophy of the author. 

Four stars

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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