My Secret Garden
Imagine you are walking down a winding path which eventually leads to a wall.
Stand in front of this wall and look at it for a few moments. Notice the soft warm colour of the stone. Try touching it, feel its texture. How strong and dense and solid it is.
Behind this wall is a secret garden. Your secret garden.
Yours to discover and explore.
But first you have to find the door. Move your hands along the wall, feeling for clues. A hinge, a wooden surface. Move the trailing overgrowth aside so you can see more clearly.
And there it is. A door. How does it look? Is it locked? Is there a key?
Find a way to open the door – perhaps you have to say some words... perhaps the door opens by itself... Perhaps you find a key. I'll give you a few moments to figure it out.
Well done, the door has opened, and revealed your secret garden.
Step inside and look around...
How wonderful to know that this garden is all yours. Just for you. Exactly as you want it to be. Take some time to explore. Discovering all the little secret paths and follys. (Maybe even a fairy ring). You can take as long as you like, and return as often as you like. It belongs to you.
What kind of plants and flowers grow there? Is it a formal garden with neat planting and tidy lawns? Or is it wild and uncared for? Perhaps there are paths to follow? Maybe there' running water? A fountain or a waterfall. Listen out and follow the sound Can you see any statues or carvings... Is there any carved writing on the wall, or the ground? Are there any hidden areas ...
I wonder, is the garden exactly to your liking, or are there any changes you would make? Perhaps you would like to create more space in the garden... get rid of some weeds....put in more plants... create a water feature? Decide what you would like to do. Know that you can return here any time to build and tend to your garden. Remember too that some changes will take a long time to show...
For now we must leave your garden... And so, return to the door in the wall...
Do you have a message for your garden before you leave? Shut the door behind you and turn the key. Keep it safe in your pocket.
And hen you are ready open your eyes and return to the classroom....
Adapted from : How does your Garden Grow? in New Methods of RE Teaching: An Experiential Approach by John Hammond et al (Oliver and Boyd)
Following the visualisation invite the children to draw the garden they have just visited. Can you write your feelings about this garden? Are you worried about it?... pleased... peaceful... anxious to make changes?
What might your garden represent?
Do the different parts of the garden represent different things?
Does this indicate how things are now, or how you would like them to be?
How might you tend your garden?
When might you choose to return?
Would you invite anyone else there or is it a place just for you?
Explore how the imagery of gardens are used in Holy Books. Paradise is a garden in Islam, as is the pre-fallen state in the Judao-Christian tradition. In the New Testament Jesus often used gardening imagery as a metaphor for the soul and to explain the Kingdom of God.
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