sa·cred | \ ˈsā-krəd
2b: entitled to reverence and respect
5b: highly valued and important
Etymology: from obsolete verb sacren "to make holy" (c. 1200), from Old French sacrer "consecrate, anoint, dedicate" (12c.) or directly from Latin sacrare "to make sacred, consecrate; hold sacred; immortalize
The word sacred is often relegated to the realm of religion, but at one point in history, life itself was considered sacred among Indigenous people and folk cultures throughout the world. Everything was seen as a reflection of the divine, as interconnected and belonging to the circle of life, and thus worthy of reverence and respect.
Space, which is in relationship to time, was understood from a completely different cosmological orientation as well. Rather than being perceived in a linear fashion as it is today in Western culture, time was experienced through the seasons as cyclical.
Coming from such a world view, people operated very differently than they do now. Many were - and still are - deeply connected to the places they inhabit, holding very specific responsibilities to one another and the Lands/Waters that allow them to thrive. Certain values are embodied that sacralize every day actions and practices, informing thought, movement, and ways of being in the world.
Sharing this as a starting place is important because the sacred is a quality of being/perceiving and is reflected in how we are in relationship with the world around us. We encourage you to approach these practices and ideas from this orientation; to engage with each of the elements while holding the intention of being in sacred relationship with them. How you ARE is the key ingredient to creating a sacred space.
Creating sacred space requires a certain way of being within your own self. The ideas offered below can be used to cultivate a sacred relationship to yourself as you explore and sense how your mind, body and heart orient differently when coming from this intention.
Define what is sacred to you
Creating sacred space in your home is all about amplifying your relationship to that which you hold most dear. When you reflect on your life, what do you think is entitled to reverence and respect? What is highly valued and important to you?
You get to decide what’s sacred in your life, and you can set aside as big or small a space as you want, to honor it. A sacred space is an invitation to pause, to be present, to hold life with reverence. It's a way to come home to yourself after a long day at work, it's a way to ground and settle your nervous system when you're feeling out of sorts, it's a way to remember who you are so that when you forget, you can rest in the sanctuary of your own making that reflects back to you what is true. You can think of your sacred space as an anchor in your life. It is a space that can be anything - as simple or as quirky as you want it to be.
Maybe your sacred space is a wall covered in family photos or your kids’ artwork. Maybe it’s the shelf where you collect all your favorite books. Maybe it’s a table filled with bits and bobs you’ve found in nature and cultivate regularly. Maybe it’s your nightstand, piled high with journals and lotions. Maybe it's that spot on the kitchen counter where you french-press your tea or coffee, your own morning practice before life starts calling your name.
As you consider setting up a sacred space, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Creating Sacred Space in Your Home
1) Create a vision
Consider how you're going to use and interact with your sacred space. Determine your needs and desires and orient around meeting those. How often do you want to engage with the space? Daily? Weekly? What rituals or practices will be a part of informing your sacred space? Do you want to honor your ancestors? Create a space that helps you to remember the importance of this connection, and the histories you belong to. Want to meditate more often or engage in embodied prayer? Create a space that allows you to sit comfortably and ideally in an area where you can be undisturbed.
2) Cleanse your space
Prepare your space by cleaning and clearing it out before you bring any new energy in. Physically clean the space and then energetically cleanse. This can be done through a simple smoke cleanse, which involves burning botanicals, resins, wood, etc. for health and/or spiritual purposes. I'd recommend that you read this article, "Smoke Cleansing Around the World" by Heidi from Mountain Rose Herbs.
Here is a Medicinal Plants quick Guide for smoke cleansing:
Lavender: relaxing, clairvoyance, cleansing, love, peace, purification
Thyme: Affection, clarity, courage, fidelity, healing, psychic power, purification
Rosemary: banishing, cleansing, fidelity, happiness, honesty, memory, protection, purification, good health
Basil: confidence, love, luck, money, protection, prosperity, purification
Vervain: dreams, healing, peace, protection, sleep
Mint: energy, healing, love, psychic powers, protection
Sage: cleansing, divination, knowledge, healing, peace, purification, wisdom
Bay Leaf: beauty, cleansing, divination, energy, love, luck, purification
Chamomile: relaxing, happiness, healing, love, money, peace, success
Lemon Balm: calm, family, healing, relaxing, success
Cinnamon: prosperity, success, protection, love
Rose: beauty, marriage, sexuality, divine love, relationships
3) Set an intention for the space
An intention is a living prayer. It's an intentional naming and calling into being that which already exists within you. This is a heartfelt statement that directs energy forward, toward your own becoming. The statement is meant to express the longing within you. You'll want to get clear on how you want to be in relationship to the space, how you want to lean into it and be nourished by it. Speak aloud your intentions, and speak to the space with reverence. Call to the spirit of this sacred space.