Visitation in a Zen Garden
by Karlyn M. Ward
A zen garden is a sacred, meditative, and symbolic space—a microcosm representing the world. Every detail is meant to quiet the soul. Stepping stone paths and tiny bridges are deliberate means of slowing one down to enhance the meditative experience. In many such gardens, the whole garden cannot be viewed from a single vantage point. Rather, one discovers different views of the garden as one sits in a tea house, walks on a path, comes around a corner, or crosses over a bridge. There may be three prominent stones: a flat stone symbolizing earth, a large tall stone symbolizing heaven, and a stone lantern symbolizing the human element. And there may also be foxes!—as was the case for Karlyn Ward.
Visitation in a Zen Garden records in image and word what happens when a family of foxes takes up residence in the author’s backyard zen garden. Using her analytic experience, Karlyn Ward links the visitation with biology, behavior, wonder, and depth psychology. What could be the meaning of this close encounter with little wild animals “simply” being themselves in her own back yard? What is the symbolic meaning of the fox, and what did Jung have to say about it? Why does the fox “happen” to choose this garden at this time?
Karlyn M. Ward, Ph.D., LCSW, is an analyst member of The C.G. Jung Institute of San Francisco and has a private practice in Marin County, north of San Francisco. She has written and lectured about the psyche and music. Her DVD, Anchored in the Heart: Redeeming the Dark Feminine, explores the figure of Mary of Magdala in word, art, and music. Recently she has developed a fascination for foxes and all they represent.
Title: Visitation in a Zen Garden
Author: Karlyn Ward
Paperback: 64 pages, Color
Publisher: il piccolo editions
Publication Date: June 13, 2010