The psychology of gardening

As an introverted thinking type (for a further explanation of Jungian personality typology see here) I am used to analysing, categorising and evaluating according to principles.  Gardening can be a way of letting go and embracing the moment.  Rather than assessing whether something fits the framework or model and figuring out the principles on which something works I can, instead, let go of the need to check for inconsistencies. 

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® instrument is largely based on Jungian theory.

In transpersonal psychotherapy the four elements represent the different states of matter.  The Elements Model is unique to CCPE and ranges from disembodied energy (fire), to solid earth. The model closely relates to Jung’s four functions (sensate, intuition, feeling and thinking). The aim of the model is to bring harmony to the four elements. In the model, earth (sensate) is a character like the earth ‘solid and strong willed’ just like fire (intuition) is a character like the fire ‘energetic’. Water (feeling) is a character like the water ‘flowing and emotions’. Air (thinking) is a character like the air ‘mental oriented’. 

We may grow up in alignment with our essential nature, or our essential qualities may become suppressed and distorted depending on our upbringing and the forces of family, schooling, relationships and society.

The earth element has the slowest vibration, and the person with an earth nature, or primary orientation, will have a more quiet, calm and slower tempo with firmer boundaries. Earth is more solid, and a person said to be more typically an Earth type will walk in a solid, grounded way.

Gardening can be a grounding experience.  The earth quality can be a powerful antidote to the air quality of intellectualising and rationalisation. Earth qualities can involve conserving, patience and thoroughness.  Planting spring bulbs is certainly a case in point. Gardening can be a way of discovering one’s hidden qualities and actively nurturing others. 

See also