How do you create sacred space and what tools can you use? by Lynn Solang Smith

The creation of sacred space is a way in which we move our awareness and attention from the everyday world to one in which we are honouring the Divine in a conscious way. This honouring can be done very simply, or we can turn it into a ritual or ceremony that has significance for us personally, as community or group, or as a culture and spiritual practice. Cultures across the millennia from all the places on Earth have evolved their own ways of honouring the sacred within life and ourselves. Often this includes honouring the sacred directions and follows the path of the sun, moon and stars in the heavens. Sacred space can be our personal way of praying and communing with Goddess/Great Spirit, it can be a way of stepping out of life’s busy-ness and becoming quiet and still to honour oneself and this Mother Earth we live on.

In its simplest form, creating sacred space can be achieved by holding the heart intent to have a moment to commune with the Divine, focussing on one’s breath to still and quieten the mind, then saying aloud or silently some form of prayer for whatever purpose we might have .. or to simply honour the place in nature that we are enjoying.

Typically the sacred space is delineated by a circle which can also be visualised as a sphere of energy where we invite in, or invoke, the living energy presence of certain types of BEings and energies to be with us to create a sanctuary which is holy and sacred. As most cultures hold the circle as representing a safe and sacred container that ‘holds’ energy, the circle as sacred space can be found in use in the majority of Indigenous, shamanic and pagan paths.

This circle can be created in numerous ways including using cornmeal – which is sacred to Indigenous cultures of North and South America – to ‘trace’ or outline the area that will ‘hold’ or contain the energy space for prayer, ritual and/or ceremony. Another way is to use stones to mark the sacred directions and/or borders such as the Bighorn Medicine Wheel in the USA or Stonehenge in England. Crystals, poles or staffs, a line traced on the earth or lengths of cord or coloured cloth are other ways of making a physical circle … some folk use salt, others holy water.

When I am honouring the ways of my Native American teachers [Cherokee and Apache], I will smudge myself and those I’m sharing the circle with, using sacred herbs like sage, sweetgrass, tobacco and/or cedar, or palo santo.

For drumming circles, we always smudge, then we create the circle marking the boundaries and the sacred direction with stones and/or candles [in the appropriate colour for each direction – Yellow = East, Red = North, Black = West and White = South]. Usually we have 4 people who agree to hold the space for one of the 4 cardinal directions of East, North, West and South, plus 4 other of us who will hold space for As Above [the Upper Realms], So Below [the Lower Realms], As within [us], so Without [all beings/ all life/all of creation]. Each person will hold a candle representing their direction, and they are responsible for lighting it at the start of the ceremony and keeping it lit throughout, then extinguishing it at the conclusion of the ceremony.

As we live in the Southern Hemisphere – where the sun moves from the East to the North, to the West – I caste circle anti-clockwise. That is, I choose to create my circle space following and honouring the path of the sun in our Southern skies.

When I was in the UK in time for their Autumn Equinox in 2000, and wanted to celebrate the season, I found I had to go with the path of the sun as it moves there: from East to South to West, or clockwise. It felt very different to do this and yet the Goddess within me knew I had to honour what my body was showing me to naturally honour and do … I did try to go my usual anti-clockwise way, however it simply didn’t feel right to me. I honoured the land I was in and followed it’s natural way and this worked.

In the ways that I create sacred space, what is planned in the creation of that ‘place out of time’ will also be influenced by what we are doing – what our purpose is. For instance, when I did the Sacred Long Dance with PaahPooh [Hopi/ Tewa] and Greywolf [an Inupiat Elder who’s now crossed over] our preparations included a fast prior to participating in an Inipi [or purification lodge] before we did the actual dance ceremony. We did this to cleanse or purify ourselves in heart mind body and soul, and then we also worked together to help create the dance arbor where the ceremony was held as ceremony is a community event and the space is made sacred by all who attend helping to create the circle since we are all a part of the great Wheel of Life.

Setting our heart intent for the purpose of the ceremony is a very important aspect in our preparations. Equally as important is honouring the Sacred BEings of the Directions and Great Spirt and the Great Star Nations, Mother Earth, Grandmother Moon and Grandfather Sun and Sky Father. I also pay my respects to the Creator BEing of Australia, Baiame the Rainbow Serpent, and the Aboriginal folk whose country we are holding ceremony on. In my heart, this is respectful and the right way to honour those who came before and still are here today – the original custodians of Australia.

When I am holding a ceremony or ritual to honour the Goddess, the Solstices or Equinoxes &/ or for Drumming Ceremonies or Rites of Passage, the folk who are joining me will assist in co-creating the sacred space. Always this includes smudging everyone and all our medicine tools like rattles, drums and so on, and all of us walking in through the ‘East Gate’ and then moving anti-clockwise around the space to co-create the circle we will work within. Sometimes we sprinkle cornmeal as we walk, other times we may use stones and/or candles only with our actual walking of the circle being the ‘marking’ of it.

Before we begin whatever else we are going to do, we always honour Baiame and the Aboriginal Ancestors of this country we live in. Once this is done, then we call in the Guardian Beings and elementals of the 8 directions to watch over and work with us. For those following Goddess pathways, we will typically also purify ourselves with sacred smoke and our scent/oils to honour the Goddess before we begin to create our sacred space. Usually this sacred space is a circle although sometimes I use a spiral and other times a labyrinth … which encourage us to move into and out of ourselves and sacred communion with the Goddess/Divine. My heart intent, indeed the heart intent of all who work in sacred space and ceremony is an essential, key ingredient in the creation of this place within which we are literally on holy ground.

In the notes below, I am sharing some of the ways that I create sacred space in the ceremonies that I hold so that you have an idea of how you may create your own sacred space and ceremony.

Please remember to always be mindful of where you are, and to leave the place you’re working in clean and tidy, if you are ‘out bush’ then leave the land looking like it did before you started by putting any stones and/or sticks etc back where you found them. This is respectful.

Above all, remember to create your sacred space in ways which feel right in your heart, which honour the Divine in ALL things, all beings and to remember, if your heart intent is right, then your sacred space, whether its personal or communal will feel good for you and those who share it with you .. sacred space is about being in harmony and peace with the Divine so please find your unique beautiful way to enjoy it .. Bless-ed Be!

Blessings Lynn Solang Smith, BCA, Grad Dip Ed, Dip Body Psychotherapy, Cert Holistic Counsellor, Munay-ki Rites Teacher.

Mobile: 0421 864 909

Email: lynnasmith2002@hotmail.com

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https://lynnasmith13.wordpress.com

http://www.soultv.com.au/?ref=35

*~*~*~*

I Walk In Beauty [a Navajo greeting made to Grandfather Sun each morning, in the Native American way ~ as you say the words out loud, feel the Truth and Energy of them in your Heart]

[stand facing East, arms wide, palms up facing the Sun]

‘I walk in Beauty to the Direction of the Rising Sun’

[now slowly turn to your left, following the path of the Sun across the sky

‘I walk in Beauty to the Direction following the Sun’

[stand facing the West, arms wide and palms facing the Sun]

‘I walk in Beauty to the Direction of the Setting Sun’

[then slowly turn to your left once more til you are again standing in the East]

‘All around me my land is Beauty, I walk in Beauty’.

*~*~*~*~*~*

Salute to the Sun – an Ancient Egyptian greeting to the Sun, usually made at sunrise or upon rising each day:

Stand facing the East spending a few moments really feeling the energy and power of the Sun’s light filling you to overflowing, as the energy of Mother Earth also rises up to greet you through your feet. Breathe in deeply and fully of these energies and feel your Spirit begin to lift and soar as you do so.

To begin the ritual of Saluting the Sun, gently bend at the knees, keeping your back straight and allow yourself to ‘scoop up’ the energies of both Gaia [the Earth Mother] and Ra [the Sun God] and ‘bathe’ yourself in the energies of light by allowing them to flow up over your body, head and shoulders, breathing in deeply and fully as you do so.

Repeat this action 2 more times, and each time feel the power of the energy, healing, cleansing and nourishing you as you draw it into you.

On the 4th time of scooping up the energy – Saluting the Sun – bring the energy to your heart then give it back to every being on Mother Earth by ‘sprinkling’ it out from you as a blessing and salutation in gratitude for all that you have and your recognition of the interconnection between all BEings – we are All ONE.

Now go about your day in peace love and Beauty …………

*~*~*~*

To Caste a sacred Circle – create sacred space – for personal/public ceremony, at home for meditation or ritual for the Southern Hemisphere by Lynn Solang Smith:

Stand in the direction of the East and spend a few moments gathering your energy and breathing deeply as you contemplate what it is you are about to do – that is, set your intent and begin focusing your energy …………

When you feel you’re ready to begin, spread your arms wide, & with your hands palm up, say out aloud:

I call upon the Grandmothers, Guardians and Elementals of the East, Wanbli the Eagle, Water, the Merfolk, the Whales and Dolphins ~ the Place of Intuition and Beauty, All those who come in love and light be welcome in my/our circle.

[Stop a moment and ‘feel’ them come in, then make a quarter turn to your left, you will then be facing North]

I call upon the Grandmothers, Guardians and Elementals of the North, Fire and the Dragons ~ the Place of Power and Passion, Tatanka [bison], All those who come in love and light be welcome in my/our circle

[Stop a moment and ‘feel’ them come in, then make a quarter turn to your left, you will then be facing West]

I call upon the Grandmothers, Guardians and Elementals of the West, Earth and Mato/Bear, ~ the Place of Strength & Stability, All those who come in love and light be welcome in my/our circle

[Stop a moment and ‘feel’ them come in, then make a quarter turn to your left, you will then be facing South]

I call upon the Grandmothers, Guardians and Elementals of the South, Air and Migaloo the White Whale ~ the Place of Wisdom & Knowledge, All those who come in love and light be welcome in my/our circle

[Stop a moment and ‘feel’ them come in, then make a quarter turn to your left, now you will be facing East once more]

Now invoke [‘call in’] the Goddess/God/Spirit and invite Her/Him/It/Them to join you, looking up to the Great Star Nations as you do so,

Then feeling Mother Earth beneath your feet, invite Her to also join you.

You are now ready to begin your ceremony or ritual ………….

N.B.: depending on the path or tradition you follow, you may like to smudge the circle with White Sage/Eucalyptus leaves etc, lay a circle in cornmeal or sand or salt by grabbing a good handful of whatever you have chosen and allowing it to trickle through your fingers as you ‘walk the circle’, and/or place stones, candles etc to mark the sacred space you are in.

©Lynn Solang Smith, 2006-2015

N.B.: depending on the path or tradition you follow, you may like to smudge the circle with White Sage/Eucalyptus leaves etc, lay a circle in cornmeal or sand or salt by grabbing a good handful of whatever you have chosen and allowing it to trickle through your fingers as you ‘walk the circle’, and/or place stones, candles etc to mark the sacred space you are in.

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