Secret gardens and walled gardens symbolized the lushness, fertileness, beauty, sensualness, magic, and abundance both around us and within us.
A garden is a full-sensory experience, and our senses are a portal to the garden of the present-moment and to the Divine gifts within.
Mystics from many traditions knew (and know) this, and practice(d) it deeply.
Hadewijch of Brabant, a beguine mystic of the 13th century, is one example of a mystic whose writings convey a deep sensuality -- even eroticism -- in her spiritual longing for and experience with the Divine.
"Mystics not only 'see' God, they also hear, smell, taste, and touch God as well," says Elizabeth Dreyer in her book Passionate Spirituality: Hildegard of Bingen and Hadewijch of Brabant.
"The loved one and the Beloved dwell one in the other ... one sweet divine nature flows through both," wrote Hadewijch.
Here's a very sensual excerpt, said to be Solomon's Song to Sophia, the Divine Feminine.
Notice the symbolism, and read with your full senses:
You ravish my heart
with a single one of your glances,
with a single link of your necklace.
What spells lie in your Love,
my sister, my promised bride!
How delicious your love,
more delicious than wine.
How fragrant your perfumes,
more fragrant than all spices!
your lips distil wild honey.
Honey and milk are under your tongue;
and the scent of your garments
is like the scent of Lebanon cedars.
She is a garden enclosed,
my sister, my promised bride;
a garden enclosed,
a sealed fountain.
Your shoots from an orchard
of pomegranate trees,
bearing most exquisite fruit;
spikenard and saffron,
calamus and cinnamon,
with all the incense-bearing trees;
myrrh and aloes,
with the subtlest odours.
Fountain of the Garden,
well of living water,
streams flowing down from Lebanon!
[Excerpt From Wise Women, Susan Cahill ed.]
Luscious, isn't it?
P.S. I just recorded a "Power of Your Senses & the Present Moment" audio and am happy to gift it to you. If you'd like to receive it, send me an email to info 'at' ivysea 'dot' com and let me know. I'll reply with the audio links, easy as that.
Images: The Enchanted Garden, The Awakening of Adonis, and Psyche Entering the Garden, all by John William Waterhouse; pomegranate tree, public domain images.