We all know what someone means when they describe somewhere as a hellhole, yet I don’t think we are as clear about what it means to have a sacred space. We get it muddled with religious things instead of recognising sacred spaces as essential to our well-being.
Sacred means holy or blessed. It has come to be associated with churches and temples, yet there are so many more sacred spaces than that – and not all those spaces designated as sacred have the real feeling of a truly sacred space.
For me, a sacred space has the immediate effect of calming and quieting me. It has an atmosphere imbued with peace and comfort, where we can settle and re-centre ourselves. It is by this effect that I would say we recognise the sacred spaces.
They may be old churches or cathedrals, they may be Buddhist or Hindu temples, they may be a synagogue or a mosque – any such buildings that seem to have the air and stones filled with peace and goodwill.
On the other hand, a sacred space could be out in nature – maybe a site of ancient worship, or maybe just a place blessed by being allowed to maintain its natural state of grace, calm and perspective. There are meadows, woodlands, hilltops, valleys, riverbanks, beaches, that just elicit an ‘Aaah!’ from us when we reach that space and sit in it for a moment.
These sacred spaces are important for our well-being. When life is busy, hectic, turbulent, we all benefit from a little while in a place that exudes calm.
So recognise and take advantage of the ones that work for you, and seek them out, to soothe your soul.
And consider the possibility of creating a sacred space of your own. I created a labyrinth in one of my gardens – you don’t need to go that far!! Just dedicate a small part of your garden, or of an indoors room, as a sacred space for you. Put beautiful, peace-provoking things in it to look at or feel, and make it easy to sit there for a while. Give it your own blessing, in your own way.
We all deserve moments of peace and calm in our lives, and sacred spaces give us that for free, so use them and add your moment of peace to the sacred atmosphere there.