In former times communities knew how to celebrate and to create rituals that would mark the movement from one passage of life to another. Passages of the soul, James Roose -Evans
Saying our ‘hellos’ and our ‘goodbyes’
The Transitions Gardens project is to explore outdoor installations in hospitable settings that would facilitate good transitions in life and/or faith. It is taking years of inquiry and looking to pair discoveries with physical objects in green spaces.
There are surprisingly many transitions that we all experience and often, coming in various forms of loss, opportunity and threat. The (super) natural elements of birth, life and death are repeated within a whole life cycle/frame from childhood and adolescence through to young, mid and older life. These are also reflected in the life mentoring journey of Jesus as he undoes incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection. Such transitions may be explicit and epic. They may also be very subtle and we may be slow to recognise, appreciate and relate healthily to any transition, when it does come around.
Human beings have used nature and ritual to buffer the effects of change and to support a life event, rather than denying or indulging it. Angeles Arrien
Hospitable, therapeutic spaces
The project involves discovering collaborators who currently work in this field or are connecting with this pairing of nature/the outdoors and contemplative practices around cultivating spiritual and therapeutic spaces. The project covers research, design and crafting of ‘reflective points’, physical objects that are freely accessible like playparks and exercise machines. These objects may be location specific, taking into account the profiles of terrain (in church grounds, hospices, public grounds) and the faith and local communities, and/or be of a more universal nature. Such objects may be natural (such as a tree, path, stream), man made (gate, door, arch, wall, grave stone) or freshly built.
Transformation happens in the presence of images. Richard Rohr
At a threshold in life
Working with the physical shapes, which often suggest some threshold , and the more subjective sense of approaching or being in a liminal space, we are looking to offer a non-verbal means of visualising and inhabiting a transitional space. To identify and respect the emotions being experienced by an individual or a community and to be held there seems to allow the necessary and fluid transformation that is offered to us and the wholeness and wellbeing that is sought. In short they may enable us to let go what needs let go of (the root of all spirituality some would say) and to pick up what is freshly offered to us.
· To craft installations that may hold individuals and communities as they transition eg themed labyrinths, mown pathways, scripture based story sites, pilgrimage walks, use of steps for descent and ascent movements, gates and frames as thresholds.
· To consult in working with outdoor sanctuaries to provide themed and contextually relevant ‘stability points’ (natural and/or art installations plus ‘hello and goodbye’ rituals) that facilitate facing and crossing various thresholds in life and so to promote spiritual and mental health
· To reference and map hospitable, publicly available green spaces in Edinburgh and Scotland
So, if you wish to open a conversation upon any aspect of this, in general terms or around a specific piece of land, please contact Andrew Hook via email initially (firstname.lastname@example.org).