The Energy of Stone and How to Use it in a Garden

Rocks reflect the energies of a place.

They resonate with the atmosphere of their natural setting and enhance the overall mood, engendering good feelings and a serene sense of place.

My belief in the power of native rock is borne out of decades of working with stone in the landscape. As I set them carefully in a slope, along stream beds and use them as rustic steps,  I cultivated a kind of 'rock awareness', and could sense which rocks were amenable to change and which were not.

In fact, I silently talk to the stones as I work with them. The operative word here is 'silently' because if I spoke out loud I think the workers and my clients would look at me askance...but nonetheless, I do talk to the rocks.

My 'knowing' about a rock's innate energy is best described by Lame Deer, in his book, 'Lame Deer: Seeker of Visions':

"You are always picking up odd-shaped stones, pebbles and fossils,
saying that you do this because it pleases you,
but I know better.
Deep inside you there must be an awareness of the rock power,
of the spirits in them,
otherwise you would not pick them up and fondle them as you do."

How true. It is the rock power that you feel in a stony place. They vibrate to the place around them. If you pick a pebble up and carry it with you - then you have a little bit of that place with you.

This is why I prefer to use the rocks we find on a property in my rock walls and in rock gardens. These native rocks are, like native plants, the highest expression of a specific area.

I know my suggestion to use native rock may sound strange to some but a garden is like music and the elements within can create consonance or harmony or dissonance or discord. 

Sometimes rocks that are brought in from another locale appear out of place or feel just plain odd.  I have found that native rocks (those from the same area) are in synchrony with the setting.

Even a house made from native stone such as this one in Maine has a certain 'belonging' that you don't get from the concrete stone veneers they sell today. Those ersatz 'stone' walls affixed to a backing board decorating a home's entrance don't sing the praises of a place but rather suppress it with their 'otherness'.

I guess I see using native stone in a garden as a collaboration. When you place them in a way that we can use and appreciate them -  as in steps or as edging -  they are like our co-creators. And that is good.... You could say using native rocks in a garden are our grateful nod to a bountiful Mother Earth.

As Douglas Wood notes in his wise book for children, Grandad's Prayers of the Earth.:

 "Rocks pray too," said Grandad. "Pebbles and boulders

 and old weathered hills. They are still and silent, and

those are two important ways to pray."


  1. lovely post, my wife often likes to joke that i am 'stone' mad!

  2. Wow! You have so eloquently expressed what I think I always knew but wasn't consciously aware of! I love your analogy of a garden being like music...Also, thank you for your beautiful photos and your ideas on how to use stone in a serenity garden!

  3. I like to think of rocks as plants that don't die.

  4. I love the part about stones having their own energy. You may like the book by Mircea Eliade called the Forge and the Crucible. Its more about alchemy, but Eliade talks about how stones have powerful energy that correspond to the elements.

  5. Thanks all! Brittany - I will get that book - Mircea Eliade is one of my faves.....thanks for that tip.
    Stones talk - we have forgotten how to listen..but we are now remembering.


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