This post has been inspired by the multitude of questions and answers I’ve read on social media. People enter social forums in certain traditions questioning whether they are allowed to build an altar for a particular deity. Others then offer their strong opinions on whether or not the individual is allowed to erect these sacred spaces. I’m usually horrified about the responses. I truly believe that the creation of a sacred space is between a person and their Higher Power. What I realized that before addressing the creation of an altar or shrine we should rather focus on creating our sacred spaces that may be our inner and/or outer dwellings.
It’s likely the questions about altars are posed because of an uncertainty about the relationship one has with one’s own Power Greater than Oneself. I like to think that one slowly grows this relationship and while it can be helpful sharing thoughts with others that learning to trust our intuition and not worry so much about being right or wrong or about what others think about this profound aspect of ourselves.
Spend time in that empty space. Let it envelope you in it’s warmth and love. Meditate in it. In meditation we are afforded insights into where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are moving. Meditation is most valuable when you do what’s right for you. It may be sitting for a few minutes with eyes closed or ambling down a wooded path. Just as in creating our sacred space, we ultimately decide which type of meditation works best for us.
I work in a women’s shelter and understand the potential real challenges of creating a personal space. Whether it’s sharing a dorm with eight women or living in a crowded space with a spouse and children, the difficulties can be very real. After having a space that I used for prayer and meditation turned into a bedroom for a year for my father who’d been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease I personally understand how hard it can be. I had to become creative.
Walking my dogs before sunrise while praying became my ‘go to’ sacred space. Running was my meditation. I cried about losing my sacred space until I realized I carried it within. It didn’t happen overnight. The struggle had been real. I had to work it out with my Higher Power and eventually found peace.
One of the earlier spiritual elders I learned from suggested that I find a small space to work with. I still had teenagers at home and space was at a minimum. I found that space and created my first altar in my living room. Let’s talk about creating that space next week. In the meantime, let’s work on that interior dwelling.
A pertinent reading to the construction of one’s inner sacred space is St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle. It’s one possession I keep that reminds of my inner path work.
In light and love,