Creating Sacred Space
External Sacred Space
We have busy lives, full of demands on our time, thoughts and heart. There should be at least one place in your life that has no demands, takes nothing from you but rather nourishes you body, mind and spirit. If you're lucky, you have a whole room or more to create that oasis in. But if you're like me and have a family and only a corner in one room (or a bathtub), you can still create a place for only you and Creator.
The Universal Way and under ideal conditions - what you'll need:
An object for focus.. a candle, crystal, plant, sculpture, fountain
A sitting surface.... a comfortable chair (beanbag, lounge chair..) or sitting surface
A sound oriented tool.... chimes, tuning fork, singing bowl, crystal goblet, cd player, drum
A scent oriented object... incense, essential oils, potpourri, scented soaps
Pen and paper. I always have these nearby where ever I am.
Collect the things you've chosen to be in your sacred space. These would be items that you will use in your communication with Creator - to listen and receive. If need be, make them portable and store them away from other hands when not in use.
1) Free yourself from distraction* and gently shift/guide your focus to your heart.
2) Place the items in the area you're going to use for sacred space, mindful of their placing. They should be easy for you to reach for whatever you may need them for and yet far enough away that the possibility of knocking them over won't be a distraction or safety hazard. Everything that is in your sacred space should be blessed with purpose. If you have a tissue, then bless it for a purpose and place it with mindfulness. It may sound strange, but it makes a HUGE difference in the type of space you create. Also, bless yourself. After all, you're going to be in there.
3) Begin breathing. I know, you probably breathe all the time, like everyone else. This is breathing with purpose and ON purpose. The deliberate creation of awareness of your breathing increases your awareness like nothing else can. As you breathe in, count to ten. Breathe out to the same count creating symmetry in your breathing. Gradually increase the count from ten to twenty. When you're breathing enters a relaxed natural rhythm, focus only on your heartbeat and rest with that awareness for a moment.
4) In your mind, create a parameter around where you've set up. In your minds eye, see it stretching five feet in all directions; above, below, side to side, 360 degrees - as though you are in a big translucent bubble. There are times I've used this in a forested area and watched as critters walked around the 'imaginary' parameter and not through. In this bubble, you are free. In this bubble, you are whole. In this bubble, you are protected. In this bubble you are invisible to others. (You don't have to use a bubble but if you're new to this... may be a good way to start)
And now you can go about whatever it is you want to do with your sacred space.
Basic Ritual Sacred Space
The instructions for a basic ritual space are almost the same as those above with a few exceptions.
1) You want a place that can be permanently set up or utterly private.
2) Most rituals involve the creation of an actual circle or wheel created of ashes, salt, earth, stones, fire etc...or energy directed through some object like an athame or crystal. What you use for yours will depend on what you want to do.
3) Ritual circles have a definite opening and closing. Once open, the circle must not be broken. Energies used in ritual ways gather themselves using the physical representation of the circle created. Stepping out of these energies can be harmful to you and others. The leader of the circle will normally open the circle once the energies are again balanced and grounded.
1) Find a private place where you will not be disturbed until you're finished.
2) Cast a circle** according to the needs of the energies being raised. Be mindful that a circle is like a ball, not like a record (flat surface).
3) Call in your guidance, God/Goddess, helpers, animals. Be keenly aware they are there with you. A cast circle can increase your ability to maintain this awareness.
4) Ask a blessing of yourself, the circle and everything in it. Ask that you be protected from harm and that everything that occurs in that circle be fore the highest good of all concerned.
5) As your awareness increases of those who have gathered to help you, you must open*** to them. this involves becoming transparent.... no boundaries between you and them. No secrets or lies. No hiding what you feel is unworthy. Ritual sacred space is about shedding everything you aren't and becoming everything you are, naked (metaphorically or in actuality) before your Creator.
Closing a ritual circle
Energies find their own level in ritual situations. By the time you reach the 'opening' part, you should be intensely tuned to the energies of the circle. As they are winding down, It'll be time to level off your own energies and ground yourself.
1) Begin to bring your awareness back to yourself by again, focusing on your breathing.
2) As the energies begin to wane, thank your helpers for their attendance and blessings.
3) Feel yourself become aware of the earth beneath you. Imagine you have roots, like a tree that go deep into the ground. (that in itself usually does the trick) Once the energies have abated, the circle should be permeable without harm again.
4) Cleanse all ritual objects.
5) Mentally dispel the circle.
* A word about freeing yourself from distraction. This doesn't necessarily mean escaping it or shutting out the world. When I first learned some of the methods I know, I had screaming, demanding babies to tend and a husband who wanted dinner. To find five minutes for a shower during the day was a luxury! At that time, it wasn't as great I'd get an opportunity to shut the world out so I could focus. Freeing myself from distraction then, meant to accept the distractions but not to allow them to carry my attention and energy away from where I chose to place it. This method is a demanding discipline in and of itself but well worth it in today's world. When you accept your distractions and push past them, that in itself is freeing.
**Casting a circle
Some walk it, some direct the energies through objects to create it, some dance it, some find natural circles and plant themselves inside. However you do it must feel right and natural to you. Personally, I seldom use the ritual way.. but when I do, I smudge and walk the circle until I feel the energy rising.
My favorite and gentlest way to do this is to imagine myself as a flower, budded and closed but then, as the energies increase - opening as a flower does to the sunlight. Gaia taught me that one.