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Beautiful and thoughtfully written, At the Garden’s Gate traces a woman’s inner journey as she creates a wildflower meadow. The meadow becomes a teacher, a metaphor for life, and a calling. Tucked within the pages of this magical book are threads of gold; poems, quotes, meditations, and ceremonies one can use in one’s own garden. And also, sound and practical instructions for creating a wildflower meadow.
Reading “At The Garden’s Gate” has been an enjoyable, informative, enriching, and spiritually- uplifting experience. The author, Judith Dreyer, appears to have intentionally written this story– at once very personal, but containing universal truths–in simple, direct and honest prose that lends it a quiet eloquence.
Truth is a central, unifying, element of this work: The author follows her description of the Native American Medicine Wheel and its four compass directions, with her exposition of “Flowers: The Medicine Wheel of Truth”. To actualize that latter wheel, she carved out a circular space from her lawn and in it, created a real meadow, that spawned “wild” plants and flowers. Among those were thirteen plants and flowers–plantains, wild strawberries, dandelions among them– that she assigned, respectively, to the thirteen places on the wheel. To do that, she communed with wisdom imparted to her from the plants themselves. About this, she says: “I followed my heart and created this meadow with nature”. She emphasizes our role as co-creators with nature.
Each plant (and space on the wheel) represented an aspect of the Truth: Learning the Truth; Speaking the Truth; and so on. For each such aspect of truth, she goes into some depth, using real stories and examples from everyday life, in her exposition of that aspect of Truth. It is
also a gentle call for us to live the truth in it its many aspects, in our own lives.
Along her way of delving into the various aspects of our living each truth, she includes what amounts to a mini-course on the medicinal benefits of these plants. In this she draws on knowledge gained from her academic degrees in Nursing and Nutrition Science, and her experience associated with teaching Holistic Health Studies and Nutrition Science at both university and college levels.
I was struck on more than a few occasions at some of the (to me) surprising information I learned about various plants, that evoked in me a paradigm shift. As, for example, with the ubiquitous dandelions and poison ivy. This book is full of delightful surprises.
The four main themes of “At The Garden’s Gate”–The Medicine Wheel; the meadow; Flowers: The Medicine Wheel of Plants; and the author’s personal life’s journey during her years with the meadow–are deftly woven together with sensitivity, reverence for the body and spirit of nature and of ourselves, and with candid highlights of some aspects of the author’s self-knowledge gained along the way of her life’s journey.
“At The Garden’s Gate” is a highly sensitive, honest, informative, clearly-written, and inspiring portrait of the author’s seeking quest to deeply understand, gain wisdom from, and apply to her own life, lessons learned from tuning into an intuitive, intimate relationship with nature. It is guided, in part, by Native American teachings (The Medicine Wheel) which the author mentions corresponds in some ways to similar lessons gleaned from eastern philosophies.
The author’s love and reverence for nature and for our own lives is infectious. This book, though profound, is enjoyable and easy to read. I highly recommend it to all.
“At the Garden Gate” is a beautiful journey through one woman’s life of inner and outer exploration with an emerging meadow as her guide. Judith’s use of the Medicine Wheel of Truth and the plants that make each truth come alive serves not only as a physical framework but as a spiritual anchor as she discovers the truth of her own being. As I read this book I felt the plants and landscape reaching out encouraging me to stop mowing and a breath of inspiration blew through me. Thanks to Judith Dreyer and her heart-felt story for filling me with excitement to co-create a meadow landscape where my favorite plant friends can flourish.
An inspiring and beautiful book, At the Garden’s Gate, opens the door to our connection with the exuberant natural world of plants and herbs. Judith Dreyer’s transformation of part of her lawn into a meadow, tracing the Native American medicine wheel onto her meadow, selecting common plants with extraordinary possibilities, brings us into the heart of how nature is always at hand to heal us physically and spiritually. How can we live our life enriched by nature’s gifts that are within our easy grasp? Trained by L. Cota and herbalists, with echoes from Ayurveda and ancient therapies, Dreyer answers this question with vibrant examples from her nature apothecary. Consciousness of nature presences around her and their impact on her own personal reawakening from loss and change, this book invites us to embrace nature and renew ourselves. – See more at: http://www.judithdreyer.com/book-reviews/#sthash.wJtIVgFN.dpuf
Similar to the healing properties of the plants honored in its chapters, At the Garden’s Gate enriches us through a shared botanical knowledge steeped with Native American teachings. A story which not only educates the mind, but the soul as well.
At the Gardens Gate is a wonderful journey that includes the spiritual side of gardening and connecting with nature while at the same time giving you basic, helpful information on how to use plants to the best advantage. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the plant world.
A charming book! I enjoyed reading about the practical uses and healing qualities of plants. Your intention to align with Nature, your creativity and perseverance are beautifully related in your walk of personal growth and transformation. You showed us your soul.
What a fascinating read! I would highly recommend this book. A passionate invitation to embrace the mystery of life. Judith Dreyer has a way of making the ordinary come alive. I am looking forward to reading any of her future books.
A soft, quiet grace seemed to descend all around me when I began reading this book. The soft grace that all is well and beautiful in the world that Judith Dreyer has invited us into. I couldn’t wait to read the pages of her journey, as wonder upon wonder was revealed, my curiosity piqued, my insights carefully tended. The invitation here is to enter into the world of what garden really is, to orient oneself within the greater order of that world, and with knowledge and with achievable plans, create that for ourselves in our own backyard.
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