that can be commonly found in lore, and records pertaining.
Each rock shape and formation has a different name and is represented by one of the five elements
Kikyaku are reclining rocks that are placed in a Zen garden to represent the earth. This stone is often known as a root stone and is placed in the foreground to bring harmony to the garden.
Shigyo represents the fire element. When placed in a Zen garden, Shigyo stones are called branching stones. Shigyo stones arch and branch out, the way a fire looks. They are placed next to other shapes in a Zen garden.
Shintai stones are horizontal and flat. Shintai stones represent water in a Zen garden, and also represent the mind and the body. These stones harmonize rock groupings.
Taido represents wood. These stones are vertical and tall. The stones act as high trees in the garden and are also known as body stones. Taido stones are put into the back of other rock groupings, much like a forest is the background to other scenery.
Reisho stones represent metal. These stones are vertical and low to the ground. Reisho stones are considered firm and steady, much like metal is. When placed in a Zen garden, Reisho stones are often put with tall, vertical stones such as Taido. Reisho stones are also known as soul stones.
Stone has many meanings in and of itself; stability, heavy weight, usable material, solid, and gives way to sculptures, statues and art quite easily upon the eye. I once created a vegetable garden and used all flat smooth round stones to make the plot labels with "tomoato", "broccoli", "onion" etc as well as in my flower garden, laying them in with the names painted on such as "peace", "dream", "serene". etc. The idea was to weight these concepts naturally into my flower garden as ambience and reminders to open to the power of flowers and gardens and how they can make you feel naturally. In the vegetable garden, the concept was to weight the presence of these plants into the earth and my own consciousness to forward their potency and alignment to my
alignment. Fairly simple consciousness feat really and this is the fuller concept of Zen Stones. The idea of Zen Stones is quite "old" and on a collective level is a warm concept already while we subconsciously or consciously pluck these representations from the metaphysical spheres of higher consciousness and use them, warming them further and more personally for our own uses and meanings. You could even go so far to say that "Zen Stones" are "hot" right now in this allegorical representation and therefore currently quite popular.
This "warm" ideal" is almost immediately felt when you hear the name and see the stones, without having to be told much about them. They are layered with centuries of implications of favored usage for contemplation and reflection. Trite and childish to some but for others who are accustomed to "warming" their environments to their own consciousness, Zen Stones are a small and delighfully simple "catch" of energized consciousness tools and treasures.
"basic" earthly elements such as plasma, light and ether, just to name a few. We now believe there are as many as twelve and we explore deeper and higher into the planetary physics, such as the quantum and the astral.
Well and beyond the traditional meanings of Zen Stones, modern day has loosened up the binding concepts to rules of usage of these calm simple works of natural art in arrays and compositions anywhere in the home, garden and work place to represent anything you like or nothing at all; "stillness in action". Usually without labeling, as in my outdoor gardens, the meanings are therein modern creative use only for you. I have several in a decor setting that mean nothing at all but simple clean empty weight in shape. This means alot to the adepts of course, so you might now see how subjective the stones can be as well as how plain or how complex. This is an undertone of Zen Mind and is represented in the "plain heavy stone", still weighted, but with nothing of issue or interest. Beautiful. See?