Saturday, October 10, 2009
Creating a Memorial Garden
Samhain, also known as Halloween, is a time of year when we honor the souls of those who have passed over. One beautiful way to honor a loved one who has passed is through a memorial garden. This is a great time of year to plan such a commemorative garden that you will plant in the spring. You might consider using a corner of your existing garden, or use this opportunity to plan out that garden you've been meaning to create for years. Or if you have little or no garden space, you might create a potted garden or window box. The size is not important - it really is the thought that counts. As you tend your memorial garden you will be able to commune with your loved one, remembering her or him through renewed life.
My father passed away a year and a half ago. When we returned from his service, which was at the beginning of May, my new grape plants had sprouted. I dedicated them to him. Now every year we will eat grapes in honor of my dad, an avid gardener who always wanted to grow grapes. The magic of vines is that they keep growing, reaching always for more light, just as our spirit does after death. In this way, too, I honor my dad.
To plan your commemorative garden, consider plants or fruits and vegetables your loved one liked. Perennials, plants that return year after year, are best for the central parts of the garden, as they honor eternal life and rebirth. Roses are a nice option if you have the space and inclination. A tree would also be lovely in your garden, such as willow, said to help us conquer the fear of death, or apple, ripe just before Samhain and offering love and healing. Annuals like flowers and vegetables might also be in your memorial garden, especially if your loved one was a gardener or loved a certain fruit or veggie. I bet as you read this several plants that you associate with him or her spring to mind.
Statues or stones can also be included in your garden, from a big ornate angel to a tiny fairy in a window box. Garden stores offer many different styles and sizes, or you could make your own using a stepping stone kit from a craft store. If you have something of your loved one like a piece of jewelry you don't wear, you might bury it in the garden under a plant. The energy of your loved one will infuse the plant as it grows.
In a larger memorial garden, be sure to include a bench or chair for meditation and prayer. When you miss your loved one, go here for solace and to commune with him or her. This chair, and certainly the whole garden, might be a nice place to hold a simple Samhain ritual, or a ritual on the anniversary of his or her death.
Wishing you peace this Samhain and always.
Cat memorial courtesy Kitty Memorial
Written by Clea Danaan
Clea Danaan grew up in the Pacific Northwest; she now lives in Colorado. she is the author of five books relating to nature-centered spirituality and natural family living. She writes about nature mysticism, chickens, homeschooling, permaculture, and more. Her books have been published in more than six countries and translated into several languages, including French and German.