I’ve spoken about my many years on the spiritual path of Wicca throughout my “journal” entries but one thing I haven’t really spoken of is my view of and feelings about the term “sacred”.
According to the dictionary, the word sacred means:
1. Set apart or dedicated to religious use; hallowed.
2. Pertaining to or related to deity, religion, or hallowed places or things.
3. Consecrated or dedicated to a person or purpose.
4. Entitled to reverence or respect; not to be profaned; inviolable.
For many years of my life, I don’t think I ever related to that. Because I started out as a Christian (and I mean no offense to any who walk that path), I learned to fear the things that were considered sacred or holy. It wasn’t until I decided to seek out a spiritual path on my own did I begin to even question what the term meant.
In my early years on the Wiccan path, I learned that the sacred space of the Circle that was “cast” for each Sabbat, esbat or other ritual was considered to be “…a time that is not a time, a place that is not a place, a world separate and beyond.” That started the defining for me of that which was to be considered sacred, holy. When you enter that specially created space to celebrate the holy days and express your gratitude to the deities, you leave the mundane – your every day life – at the door of the Circle. You approach things from a purely spiritual perspective. In other words, you could say, you come from your heart instead of your head or, you could say, you change from left-brain thinking (logic) to right-brain thinking (intuition). In actuality, everyday life should be a balance between logic and intuition, but that’s a subject for another time.
This changing from mundane to spiritual is the reason why Wiccans wear special clothing, usually robes, to practice their faith. One of the first things I learned was that you prepare yourself for ritual practice as if you’re going on the most important date of your life. Ritual baths are taken to “wash away the busyness of mundane concerns”. It’s a reminder of the sacredness of the moment.
This sacredness that began to formulate in my mind and heart made me recognize that all the tools and equipment used in the casting of the Circle were sacred tools. They were separate and apart from things we used in everyday life and should be treated with respect. This held true, in my mind and heart, for any room used specifically for holding spiritual practices or, since Wiccans love Nature and often practice their rites outside, any piece of land used specifically for that purpose. Reverence and respect for these places and things became an obvious practice to me.
I think that’s why when I see instances of disrespect or blasé attitudes concerning spiritual places, things, and practices, I scratch my head and feel confused. If you profess to follow a specific spiritual path, wouldn’t it be natural to hold the sites, tools and rituals in reverence? Would they not naturally be seen as sacred to you? And, if not, then what meaning does that path truly hold for you?
I had several incidents happen throughout my 38 years on this path that made me wonder why I saw this one way and those involved seemed to not see it. One incident I’ve already mentioned and that was the former High Priestess, my friend Dee, coming to a ritual with rollers in her hair. Please understand, this is still not a moment where I sit in judgment of her. Rather it was and is a moment where I could not then, and still cannot today, understand why she didn’t see or feel the sacredness of the moment. (Insert head-scratching and confused look on face.)
Another incident that happened occurred when all the tools and decorations of our Temple had to be stored at another member’s house while I was going through a divorce. They had offered the temporary space of their family room for our rituals and worship. We had to assemble and disassemble the equipment each time as, after all, it was their family room. One night I had asked for a specific painting of one of the deities of our faith that I had painted and found that they had stored it in a storage space you could access from the family room but that actually was under their garage! When the painting was removed from the storage space it was covered in mold and dirt! I was horrified! I couldn’t believe a painting of a deity would be treated with such disregard.
Now, I know there are some out there who would say I’m making much ado about nothing, but the truth is that it is we humans who truly decide what is sacred to us and what is not. It is we who choose what faith to have or spiritual path to follow. When those choices and decisions are made by each of us and then we treat that which we have assigned the specialness of being spiritual, holy, sacred as if it were nothing, it begs the question, “Is nothing sacred to you?”
We are spiritual beings having a human experience each and every day of our Earth lives. We have created spiritual paths, faiths, to remind us of that part of ourselves – where we came from and to where we shall return at the end of this sojourn. Forgetting who we truly are, holding nothing as sacred, showing no respect for those things we deem as spiritual, dooms us to a hell on Earth. Why would we want to do that?
To be reminded of our spiritual source through the reverence of those places and things that represent the spiritual is an opportunity to elevate ourselves above the drudgery of everyday life. It opens the door to hope, inspiration, and the higher feelings of unconditional love, joy and peace. You could say it’s an opportunity for each of us to have our own piece of heaven on Earth. What a pleasant thought!
So, you see, my view of and feelings about term “sacred” involve reminding ourselves who we really are, where we really come from and will return to, but most of all, it involves showing respect for that which represents those higher vibrations. In my mind and heart, by giving respect to the sacred in my life, I give respect to that part of me that is eternal, immortal and sacred.