Living from the new paradigm:  Gardening with a Higher Purpose


By Jennifer Vyhnak, Shari Bell and William Reynolds




            I would like to share with you a new gardening paradigm, one that is very different from traditional gardening methods, and one that holds within it the keys to healing oneself and the earth.  This paradigm also provides a pathway of spiritual development and identification with a greater reality. 


            What is this new paradigm?  What is its essence?  It is a form of interactive gardening where human beings and nature work together, co-creatively in a respectful partnership to manifest gardens of balance and environments of healing.  The respect and balance radiates outward from the garden to positively affect all humans and other forms of life (i.e., plant, animal, insect, etc.).  The results are gardens with palpable and vibrant life forces, happy and healthy plants in harmony with the larger community of nature.  This is life as it is meant to be, and it exists now! 


            I, and a handful of others, experienced this first hand in the "Magical Garden Class" of 2006.  The class ran from February to October and met near Burlington.  I am writing this article to share with you about the class, how it came about, and to invite you to consider participating in or supporting the "Magical Garden Class" of 2007. 


How the class came into being:


            I, Jennifer Vyhnak, wrote about the seeds of inspiration for this class in an article entitled, ‘Magical Garden, Healing Garden’, published in the Jan/Feb ‘06 edition of Everchanging.  In that article I told the story of having experienced a serious concussion in January of 2005.  My mind and imagination seemed to be essentially blank for months afterward, and I had difficulty functioning in my daily life.  There was one thing that I seemed to be able to think about, however, and that was the garden I had started in my back yard a few years before.  The garden literally reached out to me and filled my mind with its gentle and persistent presence.  In fact, I soon developed what seemed an insatiable appetite for anything written by Machaelle Small-Wright about gardening, (  I began to spend every opportunity in the garden working with Machaelle’s co-creative gardening techniques.  These techniques are based on the idea that the Earth itself is a conscious, intelligent being, and through a respectful partnership with it, we can remember how to communicate with the consciousness of Nature to "co-create" unusually healthy gardens of vitality and beauty. This ‘respectful partnership’ is key to accessing a larger reality of which we humans are a part. 


            One method Machaelle uses to communicate with nature is kinesiology, or muscle testing, a form of dowsing that anyone can learn.  By working with nature this way after my concussion, I found myself having a most profound and amazing gardening experience. And this was at a time when the rest of my life seemed very difficult to manage.  I decided what I was experiencing was too good to keep quiet about!  I was inspired to share it, and further explore it, with others. Thus, as my mind was beginning to come back on-line, I wrote an article, created the class syllabus, and advertised the Magical Garden Class.  Our first class of six members came into being this past February, 2006.


The Magical Garden Class of 2006:


            We met at the Awakening Sanctuary  in Monkton, VT, twice a month from February to October (with a few breaks).  The texts for the class were the ‘Perelandra Garden Workbook, Second Edition: A complete guide to gardening with Nature Intelligences’, and ‘Perelandra Garden Workbook II:  Co-Creative Energy Processes for Gardening, Agriculture, and Life’, both written by Machaelle Small Wright.  Our classes lasted for three hours and involved lots of sharing about individual experiences, both in the garden and in response to the readings -- we were committed to supporting each other as we embarked upon this noble and challenging work.  Class meeting also included time for special demonstrations and practice (i.e., how to dowse with kinesiology, how to use the energetic clearing processes, etc).  And one of the most enjoyable components of our learning adventure together involved taking field trips.  On one such excursion we visited what we considered to be a new paradigm farm, ‘The Farm Between’, in Jeffersonville, VT.  We observed that practices there are based on sustainable agriculture, respect for life through humane treatment of the livestock, and very efficient use of resources.  Additional field trips were spent visiting other co-creative gardens in our local area, including one another’s gardens. 


Reflections on our experience from class participants:


            We are pleased to share reflections from two people, inspired by their participation in the 2006 ‘Magical Garden Class’: 


Shari Bell of Charlotte writes:

            “I was really excited to be participating in a class that would bring me closer to direct communication with devas and nature spirits, but I was daunted by the increased level of effort that I thought it would take to incorporate all of the activities in Machaelle Small Wright’s workbooks.  The last couple of planting years had taken about all of the time and energy I could muster.  Two years ago, I was working full time and was pregnant from April through December. (I still remember being nearly eight months pregnant on my hands and knees in the garden chipping carrots out of my clay soil!)  Last year I did much of my gardening with an infant on my back, or in 30 minute segments while the baby was napping. 


            In fact, most years, just getting things planted and keeping the weeds from completely taking over was all I could manage, so the prospect of adding steps to the process was difficult to think about.  And how was I going to find the time to do the reading and attend class twice a month? 


Well I won’t say that there wasn’t some additional work involved, but it wasn’t as difficult as I envisioned when I first looked at all the steps and processes in the workbooks.  And while class sometimes took me away from working in my garden, the inspiration I got there is what kept me going.  The class readings from the workbooks were usually a mixture of practical step-by-step directions and channeled messages from Devas and Nature Spirits.  If the directions seemed overwhelming due to intricate or time-consuming steps, the channeled messages provided the inspiration needed to persevere.


One of the difficulties some folks have with Machaelle’s workbooks is that there are so many steps and processes involved in creating a perfectly- balanced co-creative garden that it seems impossible to achieve.  How do us ordinary folk keep up with the level of perfection Machaelle has attained when we have so many other things going on in our lives?  Can we do things differently and still have done something of value?  The answer for me was found in the channeled messages and it was resounding YES!  There are many ways of doing things.  The important thing is that we are working co-creatively with Nature.  According to the Overlighting Deva of the Earth, in a co-creative garden,


[h]uman and nature come together in conscious, equal partnership, both functioning from a position of wisdom and change.  Wherever such a garden is initiated, it will immediately sound a note outward into the universe and inward into the ... very soul of the planet,that the shift from Piscean to Aquarian dynamics within that nature arena is in the process of change. (p. 164, book II)


If ever I was tempted to lay out the garden without taking the time to confer with the Devas, all I needed to do was read this passage!  And while I was daunted by the intricacy of the steps that Machaelle had laid out for co-creating the garden plan, I found that I was able to combine some of her methods with my own and was finished in no more time than it had taken in previous years.


As this year’s growing season is coming to a close, I must say that I am fully appreciating the rest that winter provides!  But, I am looking forward to the new growing season, too.  I hope to go deeper into the material and work even more closely with Nature.  With a two year-old and all of the other surprises and challenges life can provide, I doubt I will achieve perfection. But I will know that what I am doing in the garden is important, and I will look to the following words of the Deva of the Earth for continuing inspiration:


I fully understand that I am aligning deep planetary change and universal movement with the actions of one gardener tending one small garden.  This is precisely what I mean to do.  One need not wait for group consensus in such matters.  One need only move forward, sound the note for change, and follow that intonation with parallel action.  Each gardener, in the role of Knower, shall hold the seed to his heart and shall plant this seed in the earth.   The fruit of this plant shall be the winged and shafted Sun above his head, and a new kingdom shall be grounded on Earth.  This I can promise you.  This is what awaits you. (p.165-166, book II)


Will Reynolds of Lincoln writes:

                        The sun shone on each pine needle as they fluttered in the wind of a warm blue April sky.  The air, light and trees all were radiating Life and I felt a deep joy.  I had heard that people here worked with devas and nature spirits, but I wondered if this whole experience was just in my imagination.  I decided it didn’t really matter because I felt so genuinely fulfilled in that moment.

            This was my first day of the Magical Garden Class at the Awakening Sanctuary in Monkton.  I was excited to begin working with Nature as an intelligent force in my garden.  Many people experience beauty and harmony in the wilderness and yet cannot feel this in human environments.  A garden is the perfect bridge for human creativity and the forces of Nature to meet and interact.  The Perelandra Garden Workbooks, which were the sole texts for the class, presented processes by which to cooperatively create and maintain a balanced and harmonious environment.

            At the very start of the workbook, we were given a new tool to facilitate communication.  It was the use of kinesiology, or muscle testing, to access yes or no answers to various questions.  This completely undermines the rational thought process that is usually employed to run our lives.  It more involves the use of intentions, questions and the trust that there is a part of us that is connected with everything and has the answers if we know how to ask the questions correctly.  It also involves the trust to act on what we receive, while keeping the faith that our experience will teach us rightly in due time. 

            I helped to grow a lot of beautiful vegetables this summer from three different distinct gardens that I started after the heavy May rains.  They all had different shapes and styles of beds and paths as well as various types of soil.  I planted seeds with trust and cared for the plants with love and occasionally watered during dry spells.  I watched them with the intention of working with Nature to maintain a balanced environment in the gardens and in myself.  I learned where adjustments were needed and where to leave things alone.  I know it is just the beginning and am very grateful for the seasons of learning ahead.



The Magical Garden Class of 2007:


            In 2007 we plan to generally follow the syllabus of topics covered in the 2006 Magical Garden Class (you can find this on our website for the Earth Healing Institute, Magical Garden class link, ), but we will structure the material a little differently.  In the 2007 class offering, we will indicate what is considered beginner material and what is advanced, so that a participant can decide for themselves their level of engagement with the material.  The class facilitators and participants know that the subject matter covered is vast and can be journeyed into as lightly or as deeply as one wishes and no one can realistically expect to master the material all in one season.

            We also plan to supplement the 2006 texts (Perelandra gardening books) with readings from other inspiring books that emphasize working with a conscious connection to the intelligence of nature.  These include, but are not limited to the following:  The Findhorn Garden Book, by Findhorn Community;  Behaving as if the God in All Life Mattered, by Machaelle Small Wright;  Summer with the Leprechauns, by Tanis Helliwell;  The Magic of Findhorn, by Paul Hawkins;  Call of the Trees, by Dorothy MacLean


            We have two more changes for the 2007 Magical Garden Class.  First, we plan to expand our teaching of kinesiology and other forms of spiritual dowsing, with more practice time provided to participants.  Finally, we plan to add regular opportunities to make a conscious connection with some aspect of Nature, be it a tree, a whale, mountain, home, etc., after which we will share our perceptions with the rest of the class.  We view this as an exciting and fun activity that all should greatly enjoy.


            These conclude the modifications for next season’s classes.  We hope you find this work inspiring and invite you to consider becoming a class participant yourself, or share this information with others you feel might be interested.  The 2007 syllabus will be posted on the Earth Healing Institute web site, along with class dates and additional information.  Please contact us for further information if needed.  Thanks so much for your time.  We value and welcome feedback.


In conclusion:


            The authors of this article believe with all our hearts about the importance of the work we have been engaged in with this class.  We know it is nothing less than the way of the future, the way we can choose to live in greater balance on this blessed Earth with all in the family of life.  By writing of our experiences, we hope to inspire others to take a similar journey, a journey that has the potential of changing lives in a profoundly positive manner.  Although the journey begins with a garden, it can and will expand outward to include the gardens of our lives.  It is about a way of living that affirms the great intelligence which is the consciousness of this planet.  And we are learning how to interact with it, communicate with it to co-create amazing results in our own gardens, and in our own lives.  There is no exaggeration here, only absolute certainty and recognition that the time for changing our relationship with Earth is now.  It’s time for humanity to ‘get with the higher program’ that happens to include, as our Native American brothers and sisters say, living in harmony with ‘All our relations’.  Each of us know deep inside we are one great family of life on this planet, intricately connected, and totally dependent on the well being of one another in order to have a quality life ourselves.  Let us choose to live this truth now. 


            The experiences we have presented here offer one such doorway into this exciting way of living co-creatively with this blessed Earth and all life upon it.  We invite you to join us.  Together, let us live into this exciting new paradigm of gardening with a higher purpose.





Jennifer Vyhnak facilitates workshops in Europe and the U.S. that teach how to communicate with the unseen forces of Nature and
 how to work in cooperation with them to help heal Mother Earth.  Jennifer also offers on site or distance energy clearings for homes and businesses in addition to teaching how to consciously work with the deva of one’s own business for beneficial results.  Jennifer presented her work at the Findhorn Foundation, in Findhorn, Scotland, as part of the ‘Restore the Earth!’ International Conference in 2002.  Jennifer is a resident of Bristol, Vermont.


Will Reynolds studied philosophy and ecology at Colorado College from 2000-2002 and attended Findhorn College in Scotland for a semester in 2003.  He built a yurt and is now living in Lincoln.  He is an artist, drummer and gardener.


Shari Bell is currently a (mostly) stay-at-home mom in Charlotte, Vermont.  Prior to having her first child two years ago, she tried out several avocations, including computer programming, teaching (secondary math), and cost accounting.  She is currently working on following her bliss to what she truly loves: plants, nature, and the Earth.  She hopes in the future to combine this love with her teaching skills to help bring young people into a closer relationship with nature.


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