Manataka American Indian Council










The Spiritual Essence of Gardening

By Gram Selma, Ocali





    Many of us have our gardens in the ground and producing already.   With the current economy most family units would be very wise to grow as much as they can. not only for themselves, but an abundance to put up if at all possible.


    Our ancestors prided themselves in  their gardening skills and knowledge.  Each tribal nation having their own favorites and ones that were better suited to the particular climatic location.


    The gardens were huge, many the size of modern day football fields.  The entire encampment or village worked in the garden.  Elders, men, women and children all had a role in its success.


    The corn or maize especially were perceived to have spiritual properties and life essence all its very own, therefore it was cultivated with the utmost respect and care.  They talked to and even sung too their plants.


    All of the crops were treated as children in the sense. They had spiritual essence, their own unique life force, their own ultimate purpose, their own individual gifts or nutrients to share with all.  The plants' need for nurturing and their response to human voice and song were important.


    The triplets or three sisters being placed in the same earth womb, to grow together and lend support to each other from birth to harvest.  Those triplets being maize , beans and squash.  All three very different at maturity yet of common womb, growth and support.  Each taking its individual needs from the same earth womb.  Yet, assisting each other thru out the growth to maturity.


The garden was a place they all played a part, each different, yet supporting each others efforts just as the three sisters often do. The garden was  a social place for many to enjoy each others company and contribution.  It was a place of learning as the elders passed their skills and traditions down to the youngest in the cradle board.  It was a common place of joy, of labor, of spirituality, of song and of the basic principles that all of life.


    Man, plant, animal, winged and finned ones all come from the same earth womb of Earth Mother.   The ultimate connection of all life forms, the spiritual essence of all life forms, the birth from earth mother and the ultimate return to earth mother.


    The sacredness of the ground we walk on or till for the new garden is complex.  It holds not only our ancestors but the spiritual essence and energy of all life that is or ever has been.


    Every time the soil is tilled, or dug or scrapped or walked upon bare footed, it releases ancient energies and spiritual knowledge.  Earth Mother gives of all this freely if we move her or just walk upon her with respect and honorable intent.


    Enjoy the bounty of your garden this years, feel the strength enter your body from that just pulled radish or just dug potato. Value all that the bounty willingly shares with you.


    Dinner is much more than filling the empty spot in your stomach. Mealtime should be a time of sharing with others, giving thanks for the abundance and for taking all the spiritual, physical nutrients, and life force that has been placed in that bounty fostered by your hands of love and respect for all that is, has been, and is yet to come.


Hugs, Gram Selma


Photo Credits: