The gardens of Iran
Type of Spiritual Experience
Many of the features found in spiritual landscapes are often recreated in the physical world, or at least an attempt is made to recreate them. In effect an actual garden is a bit like a work of art in that it is an attempt to portray what was seen spiritually.
There are, for example, spiritual mountains, and people have built copies – mounds and hills and pyramids. And they have planted groves of trees with trees to represent sacred groves. They have installed fountains to represent the spiritual flow of energy or they have placed islands in ponds, or castles on hills.
The garden is no exception to this need for people to represent the spiritual visions of Paradise and the gardens they have seen in physical ‘reality’. The layouts of many of the older gardens in India and Persia, for example, are hugely symbolic, with walled enclosures, animals grazing in them, specific sorts of trees, the use of fountains [often requiring extensive and costly water piping schemes] and much use of flowers of specific types.
A description of the experience
Spiritual Body and Celestial Earth – Henry Corbin [translated by Nancy Pearson] 1977
Enclosed gardens [are] sometimes immense, the memory of which has remained alive in the Iranian imagination….. ……….. Thus, the Iranian garden, at least as it was and as it remains in its archetype, consists of those quincunxes of trees massed around the central body of water, like the keshvars [spiritual sections in the egg] around the original central keshvar. Their height decreases progressively from the horizon, which they outline; gathering together and themselves collecting toward the centre, they likewise concentrate recollected thought in the mirror of contemplation, which then is silently exalted in the mental vision of the Image, which has finally been rediscovered