Sacred Sites continues a series exploring the landscape as a metaphor for human relationship to environment, culture and heritage.
In European cultures the landscape has long been depicted as a metaphor for spiritual experience. In some other cultures, Aboriginal for instance, landscape is more than a metaphor – relationship to environment is an integral part of spiritual life.
While the increasing commodification of land in our materialistic culture has alienated us from other kinds of relationship with it, the preservation of environments within publicly-owned national parks offers an opportunity to re-engage with landscape, seeking both physical connection and spiritual renewal.
This idea is not new to our culture – labyrinths of stone or turf have existed since pre-Christian times, throughout Britain and Europe, as symbols of such a connection. The architecture of Gothic cathedrals, too, reflects the awesome symmetry of arching forest branches.
This piece, based on photographs of the Royal National Park, and medieval European labyrinths, recalls these aspects of our (European) spiritual heritage, in the context of our ‘new’ environment, in all its beauty and brutality.