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AVANT-GARDENING: CREATIVE ORGANIC GARDENING

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"I go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order."
John Burroughs

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LABYRINTHS

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walking the labyrinth at giannangelo farms southwest in New Mexico during a Labyrinth Workshop

A labyrinth is an archetype (from the Latin: archetyp, meaning an original pattern) with which we can have a direct experience. It is an ancient symbol that relates to wholeness, combining the imagery of the circle and the spiral, into a purposeful path. They have been an integral part of many cultures, such as Celtic, Mayan, Greek, Cretan, and Native American.

We walk them. They are a metaphor of life's journey, a pattern that creates a symbolic space. Concentrating on the path is an 'action-meditation' allowing us to focus on the moment. At the center one reaches a place for reflection. It is also a mandala - a schematized representation of the cosmos characterized by a concentric organization of geometric shapes.

The word labyrinth is from the Latin: labyrinth(us), meaning an arrangement of linear patterns or paths having a complex design. Labyrinths can be used to heighten awareness, encourage meditative states, and promote psychological and spiritual growth. To build a labyrinth is to create a meaningful space. To walk a labyrinth is to imbue it with value and meaning. The more a labyrinth is used the more helpful it becomes as a tool for personal transformation. Labyrinths can be used as a tool to balance the right and left brain hemispheres - the intuitive and rational. Going in one way activates one side of the brain, and going back out activates the other. You enter at the mouth and walk on the paths or circuits. The goal is the middle of the labyrinth, and when you reach it, you have gone half way.


San Juan Island WA labyrinth
MOSSY KNOLL GARDEN LABYRINTH ON SAN JUAN ISLAND, WA


We started this garden by fencing in an area 35 feet wide and 55 feet long. We made a two foot wide 8 inch high raised bed on the inside perimeter of the fence - 130 feet long - thinking that would provide enough growing space. As we finished the perimeter garden bed, we realized there was not going to be enough growing space so we made another two foot wide bed inside the other bed - 100 feet long - with a two foot wide path between them.

Since we had such a good start, we went ahead and made a third bed inside the second bed - 65 feet long - with another two foot path between them, working our way into the center. In the center are two small beds, one 5 feet by 8 feet, and one that is 7 feet by 9 feet with a fruit tree in the ccenter. We have a total area of 1925 square feet with 700 feet of growing space in these winding two foot beds.

San Juan Island WA, Mossy Knoll labyrinth Garden


The beds are made with cement walls about eight inches high and four inches wide, partly for durability and partly for practicality (you can sit on them, step on them, and they will not rot). We have planted perennial flowers, artichokes, squash, a variety of berries that will be trellised along the south edge of the fence, snap peas, beans, kale, winter and summer squash, red and green chard, and a lot of lettuce varieties and salad greens. Interspersed throughout the garden are fruit trees that will be "trimmed to fit" the areas they are in.

How to build cement walls for raised bed gardens
Instructions for building cement wall raised bed walls for a garden - step by step!

We ground up alfalfa and are using it for a mulch because when we till it in it will add nitrogen to the soil, and it keeps the roots cool and helps to maintain a constant soil temperature which prevents plant stress. Earthworm are also attracted by a good layer of mulch.

THE TOHONO O'ODHAM LABYRINTH

The Tohono O'odham 'Man in the Maze' labyrinth
 The Tohono O'odham 'Man in the Maze' labyrinth is a right-handed classical seven-circuit labyrinth - one of the symbols of a desert people who were, until the 1980s, known as 'Papago', from the Uto-Aztecan Linguistic family, related to the Pima.

The Tohono O'odham Nation consists of four Indian reservations stretching 90 miles across the southern boundary of Arizona into northern Mexico.

 These desert people didn't have a written language until the 1970's, and passed on their stories, traditions, cultural, and spiritual beliefs by the spoken word. There are seven dialects spoken, which are centuries old. About 10,000 members of the nation use it as their first language.

 Historically, the labyrinth symbolizes the female womb. The male figure outside, represents the human seed which can reach the womb, if pure in spirit, fertilize the egg, and produce new life.

 The figure also seeks a deeper meaning of life. The center of the circle stands for that deeper meaning. The journey through life is often puzzling and difficult, and one must work hard to reach the deeper meaning. This symbol is often used on baskets and jewelry made by the Tohono O'odham today.
More information on the TOHONO O'ODHAM "Man in the Maze" Labyrinth

a guided meditation in the giannangelo farms labyrinth
OUR NEW MEXICO TOHONO O'ODHAM LABYRINTH

"The more faithfully you listen to the voice within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside."
Dag Hammaskhold

 Our labyrinth was a modified Tohono O'odham 'Man in the Maze' Labyrinth. Our modification was in the upper part of the labyrinth, allowing the path to work its way into the center in a more concentric pattern of seven circles, reflecting fact (physical), idea (mental), and relation (spiritual) - a few of the topics covered in our Labyrinth Workshop.

 The center of the labyrinth was enlarged to contain a sunken kiva-like area. The edges of the kiva provided a place for people to sit and reflect upon their labyrinth journey, or to write in their labyrinth journals, another aspect of our workshop.




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Home Page    About Us    Mossy Knoll Garden/San Juan Island    Botany Basics    "You Can Grow!" Workshops    Composting    Soil Building
Hardiness Zone Map   WebRings    "You Can Grow" CD's   "Tid-Bytes" Insights   Garden Pests & Organic Controls
Biodiversity and Genetic Engineering    New Mexico    Companion & Intensive Planting     Permaculture    Labyrinths
Seed Starting Guide    Creative Garden Design    The Greenzbox    Culinary Herb Gardens    Xeriscape
"Growing with the Seasons"    Photo Tour I    Photo Tour II    Photo Tour III    Photo Tour IV    Photo Tour V
Organic Products    Gardening Books   Gardening Supplies     Recommend This Site    Resources


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