Posted by: Zane Maser | January 2, 2010



[I include this piece because it deals with thoughts about death
as it pertains to plants in a garden, animals, and humans. It is from a book Chris and I wrote. Note, when you begin reading,
the “I” speaking is Chris.]

Grief is an inescapable, multilayered initiation into the depths of the human experience. Joy is its twin. We therefore experience grief when we lose something we value and love in the same measure that we experienced joy when first we found it and learned to value and love it. Loss and grief not only are the price we pay for love and commitment but also are inescapable. It has been said that loss is a part of life as involuntary as a heartbeat, as inevitable as nightfall.

“Grief,” says Catherine Sanders in her book, Grief, The Morning After, “is so impossibly painful, so akin to panic, . . . there is a fear that if one ever gives in fully to grief, one would be swept under—as in a huge tidal wave—never to surface to ordinary emotional states again.” Nevertheless, grief is vital to the emotional acceptance of a painful circumstance, such as one’s favorite flower dying in the midst of Winter. Grief is also a necessary process through which we can reshape ourselves in relationship to an outer world that reflects a new reality based on our loss. In this sense, I grieve with the joy of each Spring because every Winter inevitably results in the death of some fondly remembered plants in my garden.

Thus, as I wander with the seasons among the beds of flowers, I grieve for those whose radiant faces that will not again arise from under the soil, where in darkness they disappeared into the unknown for a reason I cannot fathom. Because it is both safe and private in my garden, I can honor my grief and allow it to come forth uninterrupted. Otherwise, suppressed emotions of anger, guilt, sadness, and grief shoot out like bullets when I can no longer contain them.

What is not said, however, is that grief is the other half of joy. The greater the joy, the greater the grief; each is balanced by the other. In addition, the pain of grief has the capacity to open us up, to soften us toward ourselves and one another more surely than all the joys of the world.

British biologist Charles Darwin wrote in 1872 that one “who remains passive when overwhelmed with grief loses [the] best chance of recovering elasticity of mind.” And American professor Aldo Leopold in 1949 wrote: “For one species to mourn the death of another is a new thing under the sun.” Taken together, these two statements—both from people with scientific backgrounds—underscore that grief is both necessary and reaches beyond the loss of life in human terms. Thus, when the grief of the world comes close to the door of my house, I go into my garden and dream among the flowers of how the world could be if we only were truly one another’s keepers.

In the I Ching system of divination, hexagram #61 says, “if a wise man abides in his room [garden] his thoughts are heard for more than a thousand miles.” In the privacy of my interior life, I gain strength and renew my spiritual center. But I cannot stay forever bound within the physical limits of my garden. I must venture into the outer world and learn to draw inner boundaries around the interior garden of my soul so that I can retain my spiritual center amidst the many complex issues with which I am daily confronted, issues that demand the utmost of my focus and patience.

Dedication from the Book

Although Zane, my wife, and I created our garden together, I have written this book, with her permission, as though it is my garden simply because I did not know how to write it otherwise. Be that as it may, this dedication is from both of us: In loving memory of Bemmy, who graced our garden with his presence and forever enriched our experience of it. Chris.

To my dad, Vernon Zane Evers, who in the last year of his life sat peacefully, contentedly in the sun by our pond and watched the goldfish. Now his spirit enhances our garden with his radiant love. Truly, where there is perfect love, there can be no separation. Zane.


Similar Offerings:

• The River of Grief

• Shrouded in “A Dark Night”

• Bittersweet

• Approach and Avoidance

• Gone Gardenin’

• Memory Garden


Text and Photos © by Zane Maser, 2010. All rights of Zane Maser and SunnyCat Astrology reserved worldwide.

This essay is excerpted from our 2005 book, “The World is in My Garden: A Journey of Consciousness.” White Cloud Press, Ashland, OR. 232 pp. Chris, my husband of more than 28 years, wrote most of the text, and I wrote the guided meditations. Leslie Edgington, my sister, crafted the illustrations.

(The UK edition was published by Polair Publishing, London, in 2003.)


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My editorial guru and technological wizard is Chris Maser, my delightful husband.

If you are interested in an astrological consultation and/or a specific question answered by a horary chart, please visit SunnyCat© Astrology.

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