Please note: beginning Friday, September 25, the new time for weekly communal grief gatherings is 5:30-6:30pm.
Welcome to The Garden of Solace
an outdoor public art installation and sacred space for anyone who is carrying the weight of the many forms of personal and communal grief we are burdened with in these days.
The Garden Of Solace is open on Fridays from 2:00-6:30pm. It is located on Center Street in Northampton, Massachusetts, as part of the garden at First Churches.
While the Garden itself is accessible for contemplation to anyone at any time of the day, at this time the interactive pieces at each station are set out from 2-6:30pm on Fridays only.
In the Garden you will find five different stations in which you can rest and enter into personal reflection. Come to the stations of Remembrance, Loss, Injustice, Restoration or Renewal and pause awhile. Each station invites simple engagement if you so choose, naming and honoring the many forms grief manifests itself, both personally and collectively, whether the loss of a loved one, the collective losses from a pandemic, the countless deaths from police brutality and systems of oppression, the loss of a dream, fear for what lies ahead for ourselves, our country and our world, our loneliness in the midst of a social isolation, the death of a pet, a friend, an ideal, the reality of climate change. Your sorrow, whatever its source, is welcome in the garden.
Each Friday between September 11 and November 13, there will be a socially distanced outdoor Communal Lament and Solace Gathering with reflection and music from a variety of sources, 5:30-6:30pm. This is not religious in any way, but the opportunity for us to gather in community in the fullness of our experiences.
Dates of the Friday Community Gatherings, 5:30-6:30pm
**Official Opening, Friday, September 11 September 18 September 25 October 2 October 9 October 16 October 23 October 30 November 6 November 13
Because The Garden of Solace is sacred space with a particular spiritual purpose, and because we are in the midst of a community health crisis, we request that you:
—honor the quiet and gentleness of the space by either refraining from talking or if you need to talk, please speak very quietly. Please turn cell phones OFF before entering the Garden.
—wear a mask covering you mouth and nose at all times and stand at least 6 feet away from others not in your small pod. There should be no more than 10 people in Garden at any one time unless there is a Community Grief Gathering on Friday evenings.
—allow people at a station to remain there for as a long as they need without interruption
—respect people’s personal space; please do initiate conversation with others in the garden without their consent
—Please, leave no trash! However, you are welcome to leave items of significance at various stations such as flowers, stones and other natural objects or mementos.