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Author Topic: Sacred space  (Read 9437 times)
Juniper
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« Topic Start: November 13, 2008, 08:56:54 pm »

I've been thinking about the concept of sacred space--whether members of different religions worship in sacred space or not, and what exactly constitutes as sacred space.

I'm sure for many Christians when they walk into Church they feel as though they have entered into sacred space. Likewise, Hindu's no doubt feel that their temple is sacred space. However, on the flip side, Jehovah's Witnesses don't necessarily regard their Kingdom Hall as sacred space; it's more of a meeting place.

Some Pagans (perhaps predominantly Wiccans) create their own sacred space.

How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?
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tigerlily717
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« Reply #1: November 13, 2008, 10:19:13 pm »

I've been thinking about the concept of sacred space--whether members of different religions worship in sacred space or not, and what exactly constitutes as sacred space.

I'm sure for many Christians when they walk into Church they feel as though they have entered into sacred space. Likewise, Hindu's no doubt feel that their temple is sacred space. However, on the flip side, Jehovah's Witnesses don't necessarily regard their Kingdom Hall as sacred space; it's more of a meeting place.

Some Pagans (perhaps predominantly Wiccans) create their own sacred space.

How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?
I have always taken to the point of view that all the earth is sacred and so therefore all space is sacred.  I rarely open circles to cast spells.  If I do, it's usually for protection, or to create a specific effect, like a building>holding>releasing of energy.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't, I just kind of go with what hits me. 

This is not to say that all space is always sacred.  I do beleive in unholy beasties, and thier ability to make my space "unclean" so to speak.  But I feel as though nature cleanses it's outer spaces, just as I smudge my inner home.  And so I have no need for always "creating" sacred space. 

Although that begs the question of all space being equally sacred to me?  I don't believe so.  That's like saying equally clean or equally evil,  ...doesn't sound right.
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« Reply #2: November 13, 2008, 11:45:36 pm »

I have always taken to the point of view that all the earth is sacred and so therefore all space is sacred.  I rarely open circles to cast spells.  If I do, it's usually for protection, or to create a specific effect, like a building>holding>releasing of energy.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't, I just kind of go with what hits me.

I have the same beliefs/ideals as tigerlilly does in this matter.

However, I do believe in establishing the boundaries which ADF calls "sacred space" because of the center and edges... I do believe it is proper to designate certain area for magic or ritual purposes, but feel that once it is designated, until something comes along to replace it and let it retire, then it continues to be so.

Now, if I am just doing some folk magic and what-not, then I will just use what I have on hand and keep the designated ritual area, unless doing a specific ritual working, off to the side unless it is the only proper area that I have to use... but I would do certain things in the kitchen, outdoors, etc.
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« Reply #3: November 14, 2008, 02:42:20 am »

How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?

I don’t know if it is sacred space for me as much as it is often more aptly put ‘purified space’. A space cleaned of negative energy and clear of undue earthly clutter seems to be more appealing to my gods and more readily invites their presence. I think the act of purifying the space might actually be what gets their attention. Also, it just seems respectful, kind of like clearing a space for a guest to sit down at your house (gods just require a different kind of ‘seat’  Smiley).

When it comes to actual ‘sacred space’…well, that’s harder. My instinct tells me that it is sometimes created but not a norm, does exist continually (even beyond the lives of its creators), and that a lot goes into making a space truly sacred (my gut tells me it may have something to do with a community of faith, requiring more than just one person’s belief to effect, but I also get the sense that something less permanent but equally powerful can be created by the individual).

[Disclaimer: All UPG with loose Kemetic connotations.]
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milylasouris
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« Reply #4: November 14, 2008, 10:34:47 am »

I've been thinking about the concept of sacred space--whether members of different religions worship in sacred space or not, and what exactly constitutes as sacred space.

One of the things that started my separation from Christianity was that I felt sitting on a mossy ground in a deep, old pine forest much more sacred than sitting in a church.

For me, a sacred space is wherever I feel closest to the Goddess. That can be by my little altar, that can be sitting in a chair focussing on a candle and it can be in front of a beautiful sunset or vista which captures my spirit. Most often, I feel that my most sacred spaces aren't created by me or other people, they're created by nature.

Em
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RhiannonWhiteMare
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« Reply #5: November 14, 2008, 02:09:19 pm »

One of the things that started my separation from Christianity was that I felt sitting on a mossy ground in a deep, old pine forest much more sacred than sitting in a church.

For me, a sacred space is wherever I feel closest to the Goddess. That can be by my little altar, that can be sitting in a chair focussing on a candle and it can be in front of a beautiful sunset or vista which captures my spirit. Most often, I feel that my most sacred spaces aren't created by me or other people, they're created by nature.

Em

That is how I feel as well, Em. I've never understood why churches keep having to expand and take up more room, when to me, that is not sacred space. To me, sacred space is under the sky, on the ground in the middle of the forest, on a mountaintop, on the shore as the tide rolls in. That is where I commune best with my God and Goddess and with Mother Earth.
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« Reply #6: November 14, 2008, 04:26:56 pm »


I've never felt an overwhelming need for a sacred space. I will purify a space before doing any ritutals, but that's pretty much it. I tend to view everything as the same, so nothing is more sacred than anything else. And I've never had a problem talking to my gods anywhere, at work, at home, in a forest. They hear me and I hear them.  Cheesy
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Juniper
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« Reply #7: November 14, 2008, 05:03:23 pm »

I have always taken to the point of view that all the earth is sacred and so therefore all space is sacred.  I rarely open circles to cast spells.  If I do, it's usually for protection, or to create a specific effect, like a building>holding>releasing of energy. 

I agree with you here. I have rarely been one to cast a circle in order to cast spells; although that is most probably because I'm more of a kitchen witch. I rarely cast circles for ritual either, though. I feel I can reach out to my Gods without it- more so outside, or in front of my shrine/altar.
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'How she longed for winter then!-
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
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And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake'
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Juniper
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« Reply #8: November 14, 2008, 05:04:26 pm »

For me, a sacred space is wherever I feel closest to the Goddess. That can be by my little altar, that can be sitting in a chair focussing on a candle and it can be in front of a beautiful sunset or vista which captures my spirit. Most often, I feel that my most sacred spaces aren't created by me or other people, they're created by nature.

Nicely said. I feel the same way  Smiley
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'How she longed for winter then!-
Scrupulously austere in its order
Of white and black
Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
And heart's frosty discipline
Exact as a snowflake'
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« Reply #9: November 15, 2008, 05:47:37 am »


How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?

Sacred is as sacred does - that is, if I want a space to be sacred, it will be. I feel that nature is by its very essence sacred, but I will purify indoor space for a formal ritual. I'm not sure whether or how much it matters to the Gods. They hear me anyway, but I suspect They appreciate the effort. Like someone further up said - cleaning for welcomed guests. They won't notice the dustbunny under the sofa, but the candles and cleaned up altar is nice.

Circle casting only for spell work or if I'm being really formal about a celebration. It's a container for energy to me, but it's also like a closed door to the messy bedroom which I didn't clean before the guests came.  Wink
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« Reply #10: November 15, 2008, 10:50:39 am »

I have always taken to the point of view that all the earth is sacred and so therefore all space is sacred.  I rarely open circles to cast spells.  If I do, it's usually for protection, or to create a specific effect, like a building>holding>releasing of energy.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't, I just kind of go with what hits me. 
This is not to say that all space is always sacred.  I do beleive in unholy beasties, and thier ability to make my space "unclean" so to speak.  But I feel as though nature cleanses it's outer spaces, just as I smudge my inner home.  And so I have no need for always "creating" sacred space. 
Although that begs the question of all space being equally sacred to me?  I don't believe so.  That's like saying equally clean or equally evil,  ...doesn't sound right.

Ditto. Couldn't have put it better.
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« Reply #11: November 18, 2008, 06:07:07 am »

I have always taken to the point of view that all the earth is sacred and so therefore all space is sacred. I rarely open circles to cast spells.  If I do, it's usually for protection, or to create a specific effect, like a building>holding>releasing of energy.  That doesn't mean I wouldn't, I just kind of go with what hits me.

My view runs along similar lines, but when I do any sort of prolonged ritual (not for my nightly candle lighting but for last month's Samhain celebration, for example) I tend to mark the grounds of a particular 'patch' of sacred space. I don't 'create' it - it's already there - but I recognize it and tend to it.
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« Reply #12: November 18, 2008, 09:54:13 am »

I've been thinking about the concept of sacred space--whether members of different religions worship in sacred space or not, and what exactly constitutes as sacred space.
Well, firstly, I don't think 'sacred' is a standalone adjective.  If something is sacred, it is sacred with regards to something, like a certain Diety or religion.  So what is sacred to a particular religion depends a lot on that religions beliefs.  A religion that sees divinity in nature will regard natural areas as automatically sacred.  In Christianity, divinity is restricted to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, so no place on earth is automatically sacred.  It can be made sacred, however, by dedicating it to (or being strongly linked to) God or Christianity.

Quote
How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself?
For me, personally, whether or not I believe sacred space is set or automatic will depend on how I end up defining divinity.  Right now I'm flopping on whether natural areas are automatically sacred, but I firmly believe that human-constructed places are not, unless specifically designated so. 

Yes, I can create sacred space myself, by dedicating an area to Gods or my path, whether it be permanently or for only a short period of time.  A space can be sacred one hour, and not the next. 

Quote
Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?
Well, I think that when one sits down to begin worshipping the Gods, you automatically make that space sacred, even if you haven't formally dedicated it so, because for that period of time, it has a link to them and the specific purpose of worship.  So I guess I my answer is, you can't worship somewhere that isn't sacred.  The space may not have been before, or after, but during the worship it is. 
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Juniper
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« Reply #13: November 18, 2008, 08:31:07 pm »

Well, firstly, I don't think 'sacred' is a standalone adjective.  If something is sacred, it is sacred with regards to something, like a certain Diety or religion.  So what is sacred to a particular religion depends a lot on that religions beliefs.  A religion that sees divinity in nature will regard natural areas as automatically sacred.  In Christianity, divinity is restricted to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, so no place on earth is automatically sacred.  It can be made sacred, however, by dedicating it to (or being strongly linked to) God or Christianity.

That makes a lot of sense.

Well, I think that when one sits down to begin worshipping the Gods, you automatically make that space sacred, even if you haven't formally dedicated it so, because for that period of time, it has a link to them and the specific purpose of worship.  So I guess I my answer is, you can't worship somewhere that isn't sacred.  The space may not have been before, or after, but during the worship it is. 

But is it not still sacred afterwards because of the fact that you have worshipped there? Personally, I find it hard to grasp the idea that space can be sacred one minute, and not the next. This is probably why I rarely cast a circle (and if I do, it is not to create sacred space, but to help contain energy).
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Ice and rock; each sentiment within border,
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« Reply #14: November 18, 2008, 08:41:43 pm »


How do you feel about sacred space? Do you think it exists? Is it a set place, or do you create it yourself? Do you think it 'means more' to the God(s) if you worship in sacred space, or doesn't it matter?

For me personally, very little is really sacred...yet I have a real respect for certain places.  Like my altar (for lack of a better word).  I wouldn't call it sacred, but I want my family to respect the things that I have there.  The same with nature.  I look at all of nature to be respected, but it's not really sacred, I guess, in that I am fine with tramping all over it.  To me, the word sacared invokes the feeling that a mere mortal like myself is somehow not worthy to even be there without permission from the gods, and there's really no place on this earth that I feel that way about.

For my gods, it doesn't matter.  I talk to them everywhere.  I tend to fell more attuned to them in nature or in certain situations, but I feel like I can certainly call on them without casting a circle first.
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