Create Your Own Sacred Space

A shrine is not a collection of objects to worship, but a place to awaken you to greater thoughts, feelings and noble actions.

Marianne Williamson

Perhaps it’s a nook in your garden, or maybe simply the top of a bureau, a corner in your kitchen or even a window ledge. However you configure it, a sacred space is place for you to meditate, to pray, to rediscover and recover. It is a place where you can honor those things you hold most sacred and precious.

In recent posts, we’ve talked a lot about famous sacred places around the world that attract thousands and even millions of pilgrims. But getting to them often requires a significant investment of time, energy and money. This is not to say you shouldn’t keep them on your “bucket list,” but it’s also nice to have a place closer to home; a comforting spot that you can visit regularly, whenever “the spirit moves you,” so to speak.

How do you create a sacred space? The answer is as individual as you are. The first step is to look around and identify a spot that appeals to you. Then, begin thinking of the items you’d like to include. These will vary, obviously, depending on if you’re going to be indoors or out, and how much space you have. In virtually all cultures and religions, it is common for shrines to include items representing the four elements: earth, wind, water, and fire. I think this is a good way to start, and then you can add other personally meaningful items as well. Here are some ideas for things you might use to represent the elements:

Earth: Rocks and stones, crystals, potted plants and flowers, pottery and things made of clay, artwork or photograph of a mountain or other landscape scene.

Wind: Wind chimes, prayer flags, incense

Water: A fountain or birdbath, seashells, artwork or photograph of an ocean, stream, or waterfall

Fire: Candles, a fire pit, sun symbols, artwork or photograph of a sunrise or sunset

Next, add the items that are personally meaningful to you. Often these will represent people you love and/or memorable experiences in your life. You may also want to include items or images that are representative of your religious tradition and beliefs.

Now simply assemble and arrange all of your items in an attractive display and you have created your sacred space. Visit it regularly and often. You may be surprised at the benefits you’ll realize.

As Joseph Campbell put it:

You must have a room or a certain hour of the day or so where you do not know what was in the morning paper…a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are, and what you might be…At first you may find nothing’s happening…But if you have a sacred place and use it, take advantage of it, something will happen.


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