SHEKINA SCULPTURE GARDEN
Shekina Sculpture Garden is situated in the centre of Co. Wicklow, ‘The Garden of Ireland’. It lies in the peaceful Glenmalure Valley, close to the Avonbeg river and under the shadows of Fannierin mountain. This one acre garden includes a stream with a bridge, two ponds on different levels, a patio, gazebo, seating areas, shrub beds and undulating lawns. A unique feature is a collection of modern sculptures by Irish artists –: Michael Casey, Fred Conlon, Cliodna Cussen, Leo Higgins, Paul Page, Noel Scullion, Alexander Sokolov, Imogen Stuart, Ken Thompson and Alexandra Wejchert.
Modern Sacred Space. Over the past decade this garden has become more and more a modern sacred space. People have discovered it to be a place of tranquillity, inspiration and healing. Many have termed it the ‘peace garden’. It’s actual title ‘Shekina’ is a Hebrew word which signifies God’s intimate presence with his people as they journeyed as well as in the places they rested. The hope is that all who visit may have an experience of the peace, joy and adventure of this Shekina presence as they rest a while in this garden.
The Sculptures are of varying materials – granite, limestone, wood, bronze, metal, stainless steel. All twelve sculptures have a strong symbolic content and were chosen not only for their beauty but also for their ability to facilitate reflection on the journey of life and its mysteries.
Time-Out Days provide an opportunity to be still in the beauty of Shekina. The space facilitates rest, relaxation, togetherness, celebration, reflection and prayer. On Time-Out days a guided reflection on two or more of the sculptures is on offer for those who wish.
Shekina Garden is ideal for small and medium size groups to take-time out for personal and/or group reflection (arranged by contacting numbers given below). The groups who have visited in the past have been many and varied – for example pastoral teams, scripture study groups, school confirmation classes, stress management workshops, the ramblers, religious groups of all kinds, and groups of no specific faith who are searchers after truth, beauty and love. Individuals are also welcome to join other individuals on named dates.
Time-Out Dates 2003: May 17th, 24th; June 7th, 28th; July 19th; August 9th, 23rd. Each day 10.30-4.30pm. Booking essential. See contact numbers below.
Open Days The garden is open to the public on specific dates. Picnics encouraged. Entrance by donation to The Motor Neurone Disease Association. These open days are mentioned in the Count Wicklow Garden Festival Brochure.
Open Day Dates 2003: May 18th, 25th; June 8th, 29th; July 20th; Aug 10th, 24th. Each day Noon – 6pm.
Time-Out in Shekina, The Value of Symbols in our Search for Meaning, by Catherine McCann (Eleona Books
1998. ISBN 0-9531302-2-3)
The Hidden Gardens of Ireland, where to find them by Marianne Heron (Gill and Macmillan 1996. ISBN 0-
O’Brien Guide to Irish Gardens by Shirley Lanigan (O’Brien Press 2001 ISBN 0-86278-632-0)
Contacts for further information regarding the garden or books:
To assist the above process – listen! Listen first to the sounds around you.
Then, when you feel it is appropriate, begin to listen to what is surfacing within yourself . Note what enters your awareness but do not analyse – simply let what is be!
.Over time and through regular practice you will experience deeper stillness. Your listening may come to the stage where it is about listening to Silence and being enveloped by that Silence. Rest in that Silence. Such Silence tends to be an experience of fullness as opposed to an empty Silence . Whatever quality of stillness is experienced simply remain within it.
When listening to the mystery of your deeper self and to the silence you may come to an experience of a Shekina-type Presence.
At some stage you may be aware of being drawn away from yourself. Being a compassionate person you will be drawn to allowing those you love, those who suffer, or those who have other concerns enter your awareness. Allow that love, generated in you by the stillness and listening exercises, to reach out and empower others.
Do not force anything. From your place of stillness simply reach out towards whoever you feel drawn to and simply hold that person compassionately in your awareness. A particular situation or person might fleetingly attract your attention, or you may feel drawn to linger in your loving holding-of-the-other in your heart.
An appropriate was of finishing this Shekina experience would be gratitude – gratitude for the wonder of yourself, for the wonder of all that is created, for the wonder of the Divine in our midst.
Other sites to Visit: www.sacredspace.ie