Monday, June 28, 2010

Hermeticism and Yard Work

(Above: a small section of the diverse plant life in our front yard.)

One of the main Hermetic belief states "as above, so below". I'll let Wikipedia explain:

"The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the words 'That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing'. In accordance with the various levels of reality: physical, mental, and spiritual, this relates that what happens on any level happens on every other. This is however more often used in the sense of the microcosm and the macrocosm. The microcosm is oneself, and the macrocosm is the universe. The macrocosm is as the microcosm, and vice versa; within each lies the other, and through understanding one (usually the microcosm) you can understand the other."

I've been pondering this concept lately as my partner and I struggle with the various landscaping and yard work projects on our one-acre property, which I call "Lakewood Manor". After the unexpected death of his mother in October 2008, my partner, an only child, inherited the house he grew up in, as his father had passed away from cancer over a decade ago.

Cleaning and organizing a 2000 square foot house was a task that dominated our weekends for nearly two months. The house yielded a glorious mess of garbage, curios, collectibles and antiques - and one 35mm, black and white 70's porno film! Thirty years of possessions, some clearly treasured, others merely stuck in the garage to await their future fate - passed through our hands. We calculated that we removed approximately 3.5 TONS of garbage from the house. This experience cured me of my hobby of browsing through thrift stores and consignment shops, looking for something I knew I did not need, but always walking out the door with a vintage ashtray or used book I knew I'd never read.

What does this have to do with yard work?

(Another section shown above).

Both of my partner's parents were into plants in their own way. His father came from a Georgia farming family and was an avid gardener who also maintained a collection of tropical plants in the greenhouse. His Japanese-born mother landscaped the front yard. She was adept at propagation, and was especially fond of propagating flowering shrubs. Unfortunately - the yard reflects the condition of the house when we acquired it: thirty years of plant collecting gone wild will require the same sort of dedication we applied to bringing order to the house. I must have removed several pounds of Hoya plant vine from the greenhouse - imagine nearly 15 pots of Hoyas left to its own devices for years. Visualize over a decade of volunteer mustard plants going to seed. Picture years and years of numerous ground cover plants slowly taking up more and more space - that is our project for the next few years. Being located in an out-of-the-way spot, at least we don't have to worry about the uninvited opinion of the neighbors.

As above, so below = As inside, so outside.


  1. april, you are so ful of whit! I think that it may take me about 5 reads through the first paragraph to actually "understand" beyond conceptually understanding it! I can see that i am going to enjoy reading your blog! You have such a great voice.

  2. You never cease to amaze me with your insight...I learn so much from you, especially how to really analyze a situation, develop a plan, and then muscle through it. Looks like that garden found its rightful owner.