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GARDENING AS A SACRED ART
Towards the Redemption of our Relationship with Nature
28 April 2021;
120pp (full colour throughout);
23.5 x 15.5 cm;
This beautifully illustrated book presents a history of our relationship with nature, beginning with the civilisations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, when gardens served as ‘the dwelling place of the gods’. Tracing this history through subsequent epochs, the author shows how human awareness of the divine presence in nature was gradually eclipsed. As nature came to be viewed primarily as a physical resource to be controlled and exploited by us, this was reflected in the ordered, rational designs imposed on such gardens as Versailles. More recently, gardening has come to be seen less as an instrument of control than as an art in its own right, enhancing nature’s inherent beauty. Jeremy Naydler suggests that the future of gardening lies not simply in its being regarded as an art but as a sacred art, which once again honours and works with the spiritual dimension intrinsic to nature.
‘This thoughtful book challenges the gardener in us to work as an artist and experience the sacred presence around us by becoming creatively engaged with the hidden formative forces of Nature.’ – Network Review
‘The main thrust of this profound and inspiring volume is to remind us that gardens are essentially sacred spaces in which we may work together with Nature in order that we may help her – and ourselves in the process – express more fully the divine presence hidden within the heart of her outward beauty.’ – Resurgence
‘An exceptionally well-referenced, delightfully illustrated and informative work. – New View
‘In his beautifully illustrated book, [Naydler] re-sounds the call of the garden as a “necessary counterbalance and corrective”. It’s a welcome message towards re-sanctifying our world.’ – Nexus Magazine
‘Gardeners will love this book. Occasionally you look down the garden you have worked all day … and you have that peace, that sense of the numinous that cannot be understood except by somehow knowing that it is vital. Our author has been so kind as to declare it for us: gardening is a sacred art.’ – Derek Cunningham, Self and Society
JEREMY NAYDLER, PH.D., holds a doctorate in theology and religious studies, and is a philosopher, cultural historian and gardener who lives and works in Oxford, England. He has long been interested in the history of consciousness and sees the study of past cultures – which were more open to the world of spirit than our own, predominantly secular, culture – as relevant both to understanding our situation today and to finding pathways into the future. His longstanding concern about the impact of electronic technologies on our inner life and on our relationship to nature has found expression in his books In the Shadow of the Machine and The Struggle for a Human Future (Temple Lodge, 2018 & 2020) and in numerous articles contributed to magazines such as New View, Self and Society and Resurgence, and his love of gardening is celebrated in his book of poems Soul Gardening (Godstow Press, 2006), and his essay In Defence of the Flower Garden (Abzu Press, 2011).