Innistaigh Mountain Retreat - examples of  symbolism in construction and landscape

” It is the nature of any organic building to grow from it’s site, come out of the ground into the light” - Frank LLoyd Wright

”Oh You! who dwell in the House of Dawn, come home to the Evening Twilight, where the Dark Mist  curtains the Doorway, the path to which is the Rainbow” Anasazi prayer

”come home to yourself ” our own Innerstay saying


Innistaigh has symbolism built into it’s structure. The symbolism shown here is a glimpse into the fascinating world of the unconscious embodied in symbols.

In a world increasingly calling on us to be more productive, better organised;  regimented, it is a soul response to seek openness, to become aware of the vast reaches of nothingness encompassing all living energetic entities. From this well of nothingness springs our  personal creative ability. Innistaigh strives through it’s symbolism and therapies to put you in touch with this well of creativity within.

moon gate

The Moon-Gate

The moon gate is a symbolic representation of the change of yang and yin energy.

The yang is the raw external energy, the yin the unfolded internal energy.

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth dates from earliest beginnings of our culture - the one here being a classic 7 ring circuit.
The labyrinth, “an apprenticeship for the neophyte” (JE Circlot dictionary of Symbols) is symbolic for the inward journey, the 7 rings can relate to the 7 sacraments of religious culture or the 7 chakras of the body’s nerve plexus braids which hold memory.

The central piece is part of a basalt crystal and has many symbols.


In the setting of the labyrinth it represents the “Holy Grail” the chalice carrying the soul essence.


In the Japanese garden setting from which the garden has drawn it’s sense of peace it represents the Tsukabai- a bowl to wash before the tea master ceremony compelling the visitor journeying to stoop and be humble signifying the ordinariness.

In it’s Feng Shui setting to the south of the main entrance to the retreat it represents the phoenix rising from the ashes, the rebirth of the individual.

Zen Garden

The Zen garden

The Zen garden is part of of an Oriental garden to promote a peaceful state of mind.

The Zen philosophy evolved from a form of Buddhism. Zazen the meditative state calming the body and mind, concentrating insightful experience, brings awareness to the nature of existence, and promotes enlightenment.


The Oriental Pagoda

Symbolic of the levels of the ascending self

The four celestial directions of the Landscape

The pagoda points to a relief in the north called Bald Knob - in Feng Shui this rounded landform carries the symbolism of the turtle, the mystical creature of cold northern reaches and carrying the energy of the warrior.


feng shui

Feng Shui

Both the garden and the main building have been laid out on the principles of Feng shui which literally means air/ water the essential ingredients of life. In the symbolisms of our unconscious life the ebb and flow of energetic effects around us affects the way we feel. Innistaigh has a good feel.


Dragon Mountains, The White Tiger & The Phoenix Rising

The white tiger is ideally in the west, a ridge landform that can represent the wilder side closer to nature, the negative yin.

The Phoenix rising, the mythical bird rising from the ashes, in the south is here represented by Mt Mellum behind the retreat. The slopes are covered in large basalt crystals, the product of lava flows eons ago.

Perhaps the most important element of ch’i, the energy of the earth, in landscape are mountains, the pristine source of yang flows. The Glasshouse Mountains seen here are symbolically representative of dragon bones, a very auspicious aspect of Feng Shui.

Our own indigenous ancestral custodians of the land have their own interpretation of world heritage Glasshouse mountains from dreamtime legends. They are a dreamtime family.  Tibrogargan is the father, Beerwah is the mother, Tiberoowuccum, Ngunngun, Coonowrin, Tunbubudla, Beerburrum, the children.

green dragon

The green dragon

The green dragon carries the positive Yang energy.

It is represented in the Innistaigh landscape as a ridge in the East dividing the land of the retreat from the Sunshine Coast Pacific shore. To make the 30 ha along the ridge into a fertile cultivated productive landscape as symbolised by the dragon will take one heck of a gardener.


The 8 Pa Kua directions of the home and life aspirations

The Central building at Innistaigh was set with Pa Kua in mind to give it a good feel. What is remarkable is that different people are drawn to, and feel more comfortable in, the area corresponding to their own aspirations e.g. mentors hang out in the NW corner.
The center of the home is the ch’i core… needs to flow. It Does!!!!

People who like to be in the center of the action gravitate here, seen often breasting the brick wall.



The South

The South is fame

We would like to be famous for our garden.


The South East

The Sout East is the wealth and prosperity corner

Our visitors are our real wealth at Innistaigh


The South West

The southwest is relationship (and the feminine corner).

Since our work is about relationships this is the workshop area.


The East

The East is the family quadrant

The family deck hosts many extended family do’s


The North

The North is the career quadrant you guessed it, Doug
is secretly a builder, though Helen would never guess


The North East

The North East is the knowledge corner

Lots of meaningful discussions here


The North West

The NW is the mentor energy – male (new beginnings)

Don’t be fooled there is a lot of male energy here


The West

The west is for children (Youngest daughter quadrant)

Some of the young one’s getting ready for a wedding.