It has been referred to as the Soul’s Garden, the Soul Home, the Inner Temple, the Inner Landscape, and many other ways. It is, in essence, our internal record of our deepest selves made manifest by imagery.
There are many ways to reach the Inner Landscape, and many layers to the landscape itself. There are also some commonalities among all landscapes.
The usual approach to entering the inner landscape uses a visual access point, such as a cave, tree knot, tunnel, doorway, or other symbolic entrance, with the express intent of entering the Self. In varying terms, this is called Entering the Dreaming Way, Journeying, The Journey to the Underworld, The Journey through the Tree of Life, etc. Always it is referred to with the idea of gateways leading to a myriad of realms, our current state of awareness being only one of an infinite multitude. Your entrance into your inner landscape must be of your own devising, because it is YOUR landscape, so individual to yourself that only you can find your own gateway to it, though if you are used to a journeying process, while the doorway will be unique, the mechanics will be the same. For the sake of those new to the process, journeying is the act of using the mind to travel. It is not a difficult process – as long as you have daydreamed, you have traveled. Controlling how you travel, when, and where you go is the challenging aspect to begin with. Intent must always be the guide.
It is simplest to visualize a doorway – any door image will do, though I personally prefer to make my doorways unique and appealing to my aesthetics – that either symbolizes your travel intentions, or bears symbology upon it. For instance, a door with a window, whose view looks out into the place you wish to travel to; a door with a tarot card upon it that symbolizes the aspects you wish to face; a door with the appropriate symbols for the realm – sephiroth, elemental, runic, etc. The realms and your own grasp of cosmology and symbolism are all you need. The chakras, energy centers throughout the body centered around nerve clusters, have also been used as symbolic gateways, with the two most often used being the heart nadir over the thymus glad, and the mental eye, centered over the pineal gland. A visualization of a spiral staircase, or even an elevator, with floor numbers which represent layers of the self, or layers of reality as understood by the traveler, will also work. The shamanic version is even simpler – any dark opening into the earth such as a cave, into the depths of a tree through a hollow, even a tunnel that you dig for yourself, will do – as long as your intent for where the opening will lead you is clear before you begin your travel.
Once you have your doorway and you have set your destination clearly in your mind, simply enter. You may have to go a distance, or you may simply arrive immediately at your chosen destination. You may need to wait for the door’s permission to cross – there are realms that require specific rituals, there are guardians to be appeased, challenges to be met, but for the Inner Landscape, travel and arrival should be fairly simple. If you are unused to journeying, moving beyond this step in the beginning is not recommended.
Your Inner Landscape is a reflection of yourself. It should be instantly recognizable. It is also malleable to an extent. Your psychological and spiritual challenges, perspectives, and behavior will be described through the imagery you find there. For instance, a person who is closed off, highly protective of themselves, may find themselves in a small, defined and confined space, such as a closed cave. The structures do not have to be natural. I met someone who’s soul garden began as a metallic half-domed structure, including the floor, which was all of one piece. The internal space (there was no exterior) was completely empty. It took this person a lot of emotional work to change this image into something more open and workable. I have read descriptions of other Inner Landscapes which included barren moons, deserts, English gardens, rainforests, ocean reefs, and even once an exotic nebula.
For most people, the area will also include several structures. The most obvious of these structures will be some form of protective barrier, which keeps the soul’s home from being interfered with by others who do not have your best interests in mind. The second will be a meeting space of some kind, where guidance can be sought – no guidance should ever be deliberately brought in – that is, you should never summon a spirit, ancestor, god, guide, or other metaphysical entity into your soul’s home. If they have permission to be there, they will be able to arrive at the meeting place set aside for such things. If they do not have permission to be there, there are reasons and unless you are very skilled and very comfortable with your ownership of your garden, you should not invite them. The third aspect will be a place of travel to other realms. This place may not be immediately obvious if you are not yet familiar with other realms or with journeying.
There are several things to be noted about the soul’s home aside from its general appearance, which will indicate where you are on your spiritual journey, and what work you should be focused on at this time. Firstly – this is YOUR space. It is absolutely malleable to your will. If ever you find something in your inner landscape that you do not feel comfortable with, you hold absolute control, and can effectively evict such problems. You are absolutely defensible there, simply because your own consciousness holds such sway. Secondly, this is a place for deep reflection and healing. Any changes you feel need to be made, as you make them, will change yourself – likewise, what occurs in your own life will be reflected in your self-image here. If you do find something which you evict, be prepared for the experience in your waking life.
It is important to pay attention to correspondences here. Because the language of the unconscious is so symbolic, anything and EVERYTHING in your Inner Landscape is a message. Animals, plants, stones, metals, constellations, weather – whatever you discover in your Soul’s Home, whatever draws your focus, it will have meaning for you. Even size and location have meaning here, so pay close attention and take the time to discover yourself, and your own language. Research what you find draws your attention most, and you will find that it has a unique bearing on your current psychological, emotional, and even practical life.
It is NOT advisable that you begin to make changes when you enter your Inner Landscape for the first time. It is best that you explore and research what you find as much as possible before beginning to make changes, if you feel so moved. Do not be surprised if, as you begin to work with your Soul Image, drastic emotional shifts occur. Be prepared for them. As you come to recognize your true self, and whatever issues you have that are preventing your growth, as you begin to address these, rapid – sometimes even violent – shifts can occur. Be gentle with yourself when these moments happen. Acknowledge them, process them, and do not resist them. The more you work with your Soul Image, the more it will change, becoming richer as your understanding of yourself and your own language grows, and as you deliberately begin to make changes.
Journeying into your Soul’s Home is deeply meaningful, and working within it is extremely enriching to your spiritual and emotional life. The Inner Landscape is a place to meditate and commune with yourself and your deepest needs, desires, and experiences. It is a place for you to come to an understanding of who you are, where you are in your life, and where you are going – and it is a place to heal your deepest hurts from. It is a place of strength and growth, a place to honor yourself and your journey, a place where your true self is expressed and where you can begin to control, eventually, how you interact with both yourself and the wider world, spiritually, emotionally, and literally.