Awake in the World

Awake in the World

Grow A Secret Garden

In France it’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “Keep that to explore in your jardin secret.” The secret garden is an ancient European symbol that grew out of the chaotic and troubled times of the Middle Ages. Sometimes called the Dark Ages,  it was a time of  wars, famine, drought and plague. People felt uncertain and fearful, and there seemed to be no place for beautiful, fragile things to grow.

Secret gardens sprang up behind walled enclosures. Here fruit trees, medicinal herbs, fountains and flowers were protected. They could grow unhindered by the madness.  Only those who had a key could enter. The garden became a safe, serene place where people planted and tended vines and harvested rare and precious fruits. Initially these places were associated with Mother Mary and probably reach back into ancient history and reflected a deep reverence for the Mother Earth with her mysteries and powers.


In Italy the phrase is the same, but in a different language: giardino segreto. These gardens existed in England as well. The garden is a universal symbol of a place where things can flourish and take root. It may appear in dreams to reveal the inner state of the soul. If a tree is withering it may reveal a need for more attention to the spiritual. If flowers are about to bloom or fruits are ripening, this may illustrate the results of good work on both the spiritual and physical level.

Take a moment and imagine your secret garden. Cross the threshold and enter inside. What does it look like? What do you find here? Are there trees or flowers? Are there people that need to be put out or others that offer guidance. If you’d like draw or collage an image to keep with you as a reminder of your secret garden. This is your sacred space.


Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at

Previous Posts

Discovering You're Enough with a Leap of Perception
If you’re feeling hemmed in and know that there’s much more to you than what you’re currently experiencing but don’t know quite how to access it, then “Leap of Perception,” by Penney Peirce deserves a read. Penney wrote about working ...

posted 10:16:51am Sep. 18, 2013 | read full post »

How Joy Finds Us: Interview with Mark Nepo
The things we need arrive at the right time, and so it has been with Mark Nepo and his work. For those of us on a spiritual path, Mark’s writings possess the power to immediately move us into connection with a subtle and powerful awareness at ...

posted 9:42:16am Jul. 16, 2013 | read full post »

Hot Rituals to Celebrate the Summer Solstice
Can you feel the excitement in the air? The days are hot and sunny, and summer officially begins this week on June 21st. It’s the longest day and the shortest night in the Northern hemisphere. I love this day. In the South of France it’s ...

posted 7:27:32am Jun. 20, 2013 | read full post »

When Spirit Moves Us Out of Our Comfort Zone to Grow
Stepping onto the spiritual path isn’t all peace and roses. It pushes us into a place that moves us beyond our usual comfort zone. As we attune to the highest within us and listen to inner guidance, that guidance sometimes pushes us to try new ...

posted 8:04:01am Jun. 18, 2013 | read full post »

When Life Races By Replace Stress and Anxiety with Gentle Awareness
Even though I’m a seasoned traveler I still get stressed before trips. It’s not big jitters, just a general anxiety about: 1) Did I pack everything? 2) Will my travel connections go smoothly? And 3) What about the unexpected? Movement brings ...

posted 5:26:35am May. 28, 2013 | read full post »


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.