You never know what you will find in a garden.
Spending time in an established garden can be such a rewarding experience. The senses are fully stimulated; colors deepening the vision of the eyes, smells signaling far away memories, sounds singing the song of nature and if we're lucky, we get to pick the edible/medicinal abundance and taste the investment of the beings that call this space home.
These experiences forever imprint data into our energy fields and we become one with the land we are upon. Even if the garden is not our own and the time we spend is limited, when the sensory system is fully integrated into a living, breathing ecosystem of interdependent beings like a garden planted into the soil, synergy becomes the leading exchange, our bodies learning the essence of the flow of life here.
When the garden is our own space and we have planted, watered and cared for the life of the Earth, our lessons can take us to a whole new level of awareness, literally binding us to the natural laws of Mother Earth. While agriculture has allowed humanity the time and space to develop the modern world as we know it, saving us thousands of hours each year on the task of growing, harvesting and preparing our own food, it has simultaneously robbed us of the lessons of living on land that feeds, clothes, heals and provides for us. Most in the city no longer have intimate bonds with the plants that keep us alive and the aftershock of this disruption of order, is the root sickness in most if not all of the heaviest challenges we currently face.
Preservation of natural resources, respect for food sources, knowledge of healing medicine and countless other life-sustaining lessons are lost as our food is grown many miles away, by hands of humans we do not know and with methods that are degrading the land more each year. Neighborhood gardens, apartment gardens, indoor growing and backyard gardens can each make a major impact on the consciousness of the city dwelling human and are necessary investments of time and space for all who call the concrete home.
A true concrete jungle must emerge out of the cities of tomorrow and one way we can accomplish this hefty task is by planting self-sustaining food forests.
The hands on experience of planting a food forest garden will change your life.
What is a food forest garden?
It is a garden that is planted in the same structure as a forest.
A forest is a self-sustaining ecosystem that is developed over many decades by plants that grow back each year (perennials) and fulfill particular niches that the forest offers as home. Trees usually begin a forest, creating a canopy for smaller, more delicate plants to grow. These trees will release their leaves and layers of bark over the years, building a layer of organic matter on the ground of the forest.
This ground cover accomplishes a few different required tasks for the forest:
1. prevents evaporation from the sun, holding moisture in the soil
2. creates habitat for small animals, insects and fungal communities to thrive
3. breaks down into nutrient rich compost for the plants to feed from
With this protecting ground layer and food manufacturing machine in place, an entire forest can grow up, using the trees as a nursery to set the stage in place. As a matter of fact, the first few trees to occupy a new location are known as nursery trees because they literally take care of the needs of baby plants that are not as tough as the trees themselves.
Small bushes, tender shade loving ground creeping plants, trailing vines and even nutrient dense tubers, begin to find their place in the system and over time we find a fully functioning, biodiverse forest that is home to hundreds if not thousands of different types of plants, animals, birds, insects and fungi (and maybe humans too).
When the animals move in, they begin to move the plants seeds around, assisting in pollination and the growth of more plants. They eat the plants abundance and release their waste onto the ground, adding more nutrients to the soil. The fungal communities build underground, interconnecting each and every plants root system into a "wood wide network" that will transfer water, oxygen, minerals and more in between the plants, creating an interdependent community that knows one another and knows they can depend on each other.
When we use these guidelines of success in our own garden and plant trees that bear food and are native to our climate, we can create our own forest. (To speed up the process of the ground covering leaves and wood, we use old organic matter in large amounts, like woodchips, grass cuttings or hay. Living ground covers are also an option, though regardless we must first invest in not only the trees, though also the ground layer they create, that usually takes many years to build.) Using food plants that we like to eat, that are perennial and that are adjusted to the weather conditions of our homes, over time, we develop a food forest garden and these ecosystems bring forth true solutions to so many of our modern day obstacles.
Not only do food forest gardens provide local communities with powerful and sustainable food, they also give city dwellers the opportunity to live in close proximity with a forest (albeit a small forest) and tune into the infinite lessons that the Earth's greatest creations teach. Forests guide the listener to the working ways of building strong, healthy communities.
If modern man is honest with himself, this is something we really need a lesson or two in.
Forests prove the necessity of diversity, interdependence upon all species/beings and how everyone is naturally committed to nourishing one another for the survival of the system. They teach us that death is as significant as new life and that without one we will not have the other. They bridge the ancient knowledge of the indigenous cultures of our Earth, into the technology-based modern world, helping us to see how we must bring forth many of these lessons to maintain our advancement into the future.
When we plant urban food forests (and any forests for that matter), in our concrete jungle, we invite the lessons of the Earth into our homes, schools, workplaces and local gathering hubs.
And because these forest feed us, the community will naturally value them more, working to take care of them, ensuring their existence for generations to come.
The astrology of the food forest garden
For those of us that spend ample time in the food forest garden, we will discover many more lessons than can be written about. Once the bond is secured between steward and plant community, the veils of life's ultimates truths begin to fade.
Like the astrological story that is found in the forest.
Each sign of the Zodiac can actually be found in the food forest! This is due to the fact that the Zodiac is based on the yearly movements of the sky and how these cycles of above impact the cycles of below. Astrology is a language that discusses how the seasons effect life on Earth and when living in tune with an ecosystem that is living in accordance to the seasons of the sky above, we can come to find the stories that are told of the ground below.
Astrology isn't some make believe mythology created by man to explain our complex world. Rather it is an explanation of the circle of life and how it influences each being on Earth. While there are some aspects of the astrological process that are based in mythological tales, the origin of the science is as mathematical as is the movement of the planets, the Sun, the Moon and the changing of the seasons. Each of these natural phenomenon can be seen through numbers, geometry and unseen wavelengths that follow very specific rules of creation. Astrology describes these imbedded processes of life on Earth and discusses the way in which they build life, mind, body and spirit, too. The spirit part might never be accepted by all though when we begin to study the natal charts of the creatures of the Earth, you find the holistic truth of being here. It's all written in the stars and we can find these stories right in our gardens.
The book Astrology in the Garden has been on shelves and in online stores since May 26th 2021 and today we are celebrating its one year anniversary !!!
Astrology in the Garden not only discusses the universal languages of the Earth mentioned in this article, it also teaches the reader how to read natal birth charts, highlights the power of synastry between birth charts, (compatability), how to use astrology in business and other creative projects, and tells the story of the Zodiac found in the garden. It is a unique book written from the observations learned from being in a food forest garden and building real bonds with the beings that call it home.
You just never know what you will find in the garden.
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