What makes a space sacred? Stained glass and incense? Thousands of candles and fancy tools? Bronze memorial markers and massive statues? For some people, any of those may mark a space as sacred. For others, those items may be part of the space, but are mere decoration. What actually makes the space sacred is a feeling inside each person that recognizes the place as not quite 'of this world' and outside the realm of the mundane. The actual space may be a grove, a ring of standing stones, a church, a temple -- it's up to each person to recognize that the space is sacred.
Creating sacred space -- tips, tricks, and ideas
Follow these tips and tricks to create a sacred space of your very own.
Circles, groves, and shrines
Most magickal people feel the need to have their own sacred space to perform their rituals, to meditate, even simply to worship. A sacred space can be indoors, outdoors, a whole room, a quiet corner, or even just a shelf; it depends on what one has available and one's preferences. Except for those in the broom closet, most people prefer to have their space available and set up at all times as a permanent consecrated space. Those who live with less tolerant or understanding others will often choose a small space or simply set things up as needed.
Those fortunate to have limitless space may have one or more of the following:
Sacred space can be anywhere!
- Altar: The table used to hold ritual tools. An altar is usually the focal point of a larger sacred space, but for those without much houseroom, the altar can be a sacred space by itself.
- Shrine: A space created to honour a specific God for the purposes of worship and devotions. Shrines include an altar, but may also spread onto the walls and floor, and typically include a bowl or container to hold offerings made to that God.
- Grove: An outdoor space usually bordered by trees where rituals are held. A grove will be centered by an altar (usually a tree stump or large stone).
- Sanctuary or temple: An indoor or outdoor space that contains more than one shrine or altar. If indoors, this will usually occupy an entire room specifically designed to hold rituals and devotions.
Designing your space
Once you have decided what kind of space you want (or have room for), you can begin the fun part: decorating. You can make the space as fancy, plain, or elegant as you wish. Keep in mind that these are just suggestions; arrange your space to suit your needs. Don't be afraid to get creative.
If you are still in the broom closet, a collapsible space would best suit your needs, so think small and portable. A thimble can serve as a cup, a nail makes a great athame substitute, a twig can be your wand, a coin makes a fine pentacle, and a handkerchief will work nicely as an altar cloth. Add in a crystal or two, a vial of salt, a vial of water, some birthday-size candles, and a couple of matches. Tuck all that into a pouch, and you have a full altar that can be set up virtually anywhere. However, even the most closeted Witch should be able to add a few magickal touches around the house: a starry mobile, a few crystals on a bookshelf, some homemade potpourri in a basket can make all the difference.
For the Office Witch, 'discreet' is the key to designing a sacred space. A miniature representation of Stonehenge on your desk is certain to draw some strange looks. On the other hand, you will receive few complaints about a couple of crystals, a small God or Goddess image, and a pot of your favourite herb. Candles and incense in the workplace are probably a no-no, but a small basket of potpourri can work wonders for clearing the negativity from that last meeting.
If you have space in your house for a shrine, research the likes and dislikes of your God. Most widely-worshipped Gods have their associated herbs, animals, colours, etc., so use those as a starting point for your shrine. For example, in my sea shrine, the main colours are blue, silver, and bluish-green. I have netting draped around the area to mark the borders of the shrine. The shrine itself holds a good portion of my shell collection. I have three different containers for offerings (a white glass bowl, a dried gourd bowl that is dyed bluish-green, and a flat silvery round tray), depending on the nature of the offering. In the same area is my working altar which holds my tools. Underneath the altar is some shelving to hold any consecrated items that are not 'in use' at the moment.
For those fortunate enough to have a yard, you may wish to plant a garden to create an outdoor sacred space. Depending on your inclinations, some type of theme garden (a moon garden, a faery garden, a plain herb garden, perhaps) may be what you are looking for. Even just outlining a flat area with some stones can make that spot the perfect place to hold a ritual. Anything more you can do will only make the place more magickal.
For further reading
|Sacred Space: Clearing and Enhancing the Energy of Your Home|
Create a sacred space at home by manipulating your in-home energies.
|Sacred Space: Turning Your Home Into a Sanctuary|
Transform your home into a sacred space with this easy guidebook.
|Creating Sacred Space With Feng Shui: Learn the Art of Space Clearing and Bring New Energy into Y...|
For those who follow Eastern practices, use fengshui to transform ki into a sacred space of your own.
|Hoodoo Shrines and Altars: Sacred Spaces in Conjure and Rootwork|
This follows a traditional black American system of hoodoo to create an altar in your home.