Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sacred Spaces

What makes a space sacred? I learned today that the answer is going to be different for everyone based on what they believe and what they have experienced in their life. I had a conversation today with a friend that made this hit home. We both have very different ideas of what a sacred space consists of.

She was talking about going to Church and how it made her feel closer to God and her Church community. I asked her if her Church had to move around to different buildings because they didn’t have a permanent building, would it still feel the same to her. What about if her Church was held outside in a park? She answered that she would enjoy having the change of environment, but it just wouldn’t have the same feeling as going to the same place every Sunday. I can understand that a place can hold a certain amount of energy within it walls, and I wonder if this is what she senses while in her Church.

I said that there are many places to feel the presence of the divine; many places that just have a feeling of something special. In buildings, outdoors, rural, urban – all settings have the potential to have this special feeling. I have found places that I am drawn to again and again. I have been to places that I visit once and will remember for a very long time. I have sat on top of a rock that juts in the air for hours looking out to the surrounding valleys below. I felt so safe sitting there; I felt that I was closer then ever to finding what I am looking for spiritually. (The rock that I am talking about is in the picture on the right of the header.) Although, I think that a sacred space can be anywhere, I have felt this presence mostly in a natural setting.

Again, I ask, what makes a space sacred? I am having a difficult putting it into words, so I will give you a few links to answer that question.

Sacred Places
Dharma Talks
Earth Sanctuary

Sacred Spaces article
Dancing with the Sacred
The Medicine Wheel

Vesta’s Hearth


A Minor said...

What an interesting topic! I have always found really old churches lovely places to sit - I wonder if it is because of the build up of the energy of hope and faith and positivity. I have also found spots in nature which for no explainable reason seem special - but I would never know what has happened there before - or whether there is something geological about it - like an intersection of lay lines or something. It casts an interesting light on the sacred circles I am wondering about at the moment!

Sojourner said...

I have been thinking lately about what certain places mean to me. I am realizing that they are not just places I want to visit, they are places I almost seem to NEED to visit. I am drawn to them.

There are some churches in the Minneapolis/St Paul, Minnesota area that are said to be on crossing point of several lay lines. I don't know much about ley lines, but the concept seems fascinating. I've been in one of these churches (I used to do wedding photograpy) and the feeling in there was amazing. I felt I could stayed there all day just to think and meditate/pray.

TurtleHeart said...

I'm not sure what makes space sacred... with some places, it is just a feeling that I get.

Like the Alluvial Fan at Rocky Mtn Nat'l Park. Its absolutely sacred. And no matter what the weather or how cold its going to be, I *have* to put my feet in the water there, even just for an instant. Its so powerful.

Underneath weeping willow trees is another place that almost always feels sacred to me. It has been ever since I was a child and we had one in our backyard.

I do think that if someone has a space thats treated as sacred, it can begin to feel more and more sacred over time, such as an altar space, a special room or outdoor space, like a garden.

Sojourner said...

Turtleheart -

I also love weeping willow trees and feel that there is something special about them.

Thank you for your insight on how a sacred space can feel more sacred as it is used more. That is so true.

I wish I could define what makes a space sacred, so maybe it's a topic that I will have to revisit in the future. I have some thinking to do....