Legado: An Experience of Connection with the Ancestors
This project is part of the XII Allariz Gardens International Festival, which has the theme “therapeutic gardens, designs that heal”.
LEGADO is a symbolic space, an approach to the mysterical tradition through landscape design and ephemeral architecture. The goal is to favor a connection between the visitors and their roots, with everything that allows us to be where we are, with our cultural and material heritage, with our ancestors. The garden is an environment conducive to meditation and the search for our place in the world: the here and now. Enjoy, connect, resonate.
Instructions for use
This garden is a space to meditate through the walk, the stay and the rite.
- Tour – active meditation. The visitor can go down the garden through the paths and the lawn. It’s their decision to interpret it as a labyrinth leading to the center or as a processional space. The circle can be traversed infinitely, the steps on the gravel resonate as a manifestation of the step, of the visitor’s presence in the place.
- The stay – contemplation. There are five different places of stay. Some are the circles, whose centers are benchs sunken into the ground as omphalos or navels of the world, the spaces destined for the rite. Another is the forest, in the north corner of the plot, a circle of stumps surrounded by bamboo that provide an intimate space for reflection and silence. The last one is the outer circle, in west corner, an open circle formed by separate stumps that allow the space to be contemplated from an exterior perspective, less participatory
- The rite – the interaction. The visitor has crossed the paths between the different plants and flowers, crosses the circles and reaches one of the 3 covered centers. He bends down, sits down, and with that action he also settles on the earth, with his deep dimension, with his roots. Sitting on the floor implies a change of visual and mental perspective. Reflect, meditate or rest in the shade. When he is ready, he gets up and strikes the tubular bell with his hands, like a conclusion, a message or a seal. Sound transcends dimensions and dissolves. The random rhythm of the chimes given by the different visitors in each bell gives character and identity to the place. It will be up to the visitors to decide whether to turn the space into a place of calm or a place of celebration.
The conscious realization of the proposed activity increases the well-being of people, helps them to be focused and to connect with our reality in a deeper way.
In addition, this space has been specially designed for the time that we have had to live. Due to the pandemic, there are many situations in which the mourning for recent deceased has not been properly resolved: maybe was not possible to go to the funeral home, the funeral or the burial, or these rites have not been carried out calmy enough
LEGADO allows this reconnection to be made at the level that each person need, each tolling of each bell will be a small tribute to those who are not longer here. The intimacy of the place favors the predisposition of people to introspection, to memories. Its symbolic richness through the use of plants makes it accessible to people of all faiths and provides a universal message of hope and peace: the footprints that each person leaves as they pass through the earth is what makes them stay alive forever.
Like at a crossroads, in this project different dimensions converge to reconnect with aspects that we do not have in mind in our day to day.
- Celestial dimension – height of the sky: the large cross that crosses the garden passing through the central circle is oriented along the north-south and east-west axes. Therefore, it links us with the celestial vault and the movement of the sun. That central circle is the largest, dressed in yellow flowers, a color associated with the king star. The rest of the circles are arranged around it like a constellation or a solar system. This celestial connection tells us about the imperishable , of change as a vital constant, of that which is eternal and remains after the passing of the seasons.
- Chthonic dimension – the depths of the earth: the garden is arranged like a great petroglyph, one of the cultural manifestations of humans like us who populated the territory we inhabit thousands of years ago. Therefore, this space links us with those who came before, who created our towns, who shaped our language, who worked our lands, who built our churches, but also with our close ancestors, with the stories of our grandparents.
- The circle – it is above as it is below: the circle is the universal place of the rite, it is the natural disposition of a group around a bonfire, it is the movement of the stars and it is the shape of the sun and the moon, but also of the ancient petroglyphs that were carved on the stones. A circle traced configures a liminal space, a border between what is superior and what sustains us.
- The rite – cross the worlds: in the center of the three main circles a tubular bell hangs, like an axis between the worlds that allows to link both the celestial and the chthonic dimensions. Through different cosmogonies, sound links us with the beginning, with the origin. In Genesis, the world begins with the Word. In Hindu mythology, with the OM. Bells have always been linked to chronological and spiritual time. The sound of the bells is a call to our ancestors, a thanksgiving, an awareness. It is to be here and now, but also to transcend and dissolve like sound does in the void.
The choice of plants has to do with colors, sensations and seasonal cycles.
Each one of the circles has its own identity with flowers of the same color or style. In the two largest circles species of greater appearance and height are chosen as they approach the center, to favor an intimacy of what happens inside.
The flowering of the circles will also vary throughout the seasons: while in summer the central circle, linked to the Sun, will have more presence, in autumn the circle located to the east will bloom, creating a new landscape.
In addition to the plants and flowers in the circles, a border that surrounds the petroglyph with violet flowers is created, behind which higher green species are arranged.
In the case of bamboo, located to the north, it will have the function of granting intimacy and seclusion to the northern staying area.
As a subtle counterpoint to the circular shapes, some white cedars are arranged in an orthogonal graticule in the middle of the garden. It is an allegory to a cemetery which makes us aware of all those who came before us and that we are here thanks to them. Our ancestors are still present in the territory we inhabit thanks to the work they left behind. Respecting the footprints is respecting their memory.
Among the green white cedars a red maple breakes the monotony and tells us about the cycles of life, death and renewal as a continuum, like the heartbeat of the world. Death, the fall of leaves, the putrefaction, are necessary to bring new life.
The allegory of the cemetery also works as a memento mori: it makes us aware of the ephemerality of our passage through the world and of the need to live it consciously.