Sacred space is used for ceremonies, rituals, or simple periods of meditation. It creates a container of peace and possibilities. Within sacred space, we sense a deeper connection with others both in this reality and in non-ordinary worlds.
Opening Sacred Space
Opening sacred space is most often performed in words through prayer, poetry or song. It is often accompanied by musical instruments. The invocation you choose will depend on the beliefs or spiritual traditions you hold. This supplication or prayer is directed to the Divine or to the energies in the natural world. Opening sacred space is a request for presence, support and protection.
In many traditions there are ritual prayers that serve as the invocation to open sacred space. In indigenous cultures it is traditional to open sacred space by “calling in the cardinal directions” that bring with them helpful natural elements, supportive energies and spirit guides. Ancient peoples saw the world as fully animated. Therefore each direction - East, South, West and North – has a unique flavor, divine quality and spirit animals that are called upon to hold sacred space for us.
Often the direction of the earth below and the sky above are included in an invocation completing a six-pointed, eight-sided octahedron. Once sacred space is open, we then reside within this spaciousness which clears away negative thoughts making the heart connection stronger. Within this container everyone is protected and anything is possible.
Closing Sacred Space
It is important to close sacred space with intention. At the end of a visit or a ceremony we may close sacred space by thanking and releasing the energies that were invoked at the beginning. The practice of closing strengthens our intention to step into and out of sacred space.
Sacred Space for the Dying
When working with the dying it is helpful to work in sacred space. The opening of sacred space separates the area surrounding the dying from the outside world. It produces a healing environment that is safe and peaceful. We create this sacred space with intention and grace.
Creating and holding sacred space for someone who is ill or dying is a simple but powerful tool. While there are many ways to open sacred space, the results are the same. The person being held senses the calm, nurturing embrace.
Making a Physical Space Sacred
It is helpful to prepare the physical space around the dying to make it more peaceful and more sacred. It is important to clear the clutter from the room. Establish boundaries with furniture, curtains or blankets. Set up an altar or focal point for the dying person. Sacred or favorite objects, photographs of loved ones and artwork may be used to establish an altar. It is important to let others know that they are entering into sacred space. A sign on the door to the room will inform new comers. Natural elements can add a special tone to the altar. Note that hospitals and other nursing facilities may not allow the burning of candles. However, other elements such as water, earth, stones or flowers may be used.