Ritual space is like the alchemical alembic which holds the dreamy fluid of our intention. We may have the highest spiritual intentions in the world, but if they are not given a solid, sturdy container, they may spill out in all directions, or else evaporate into thin air.
A sacred space must facilitate the movement of spiritual energy in a precise direction. The first requisite is that the space promotes concentration. The second is that the space stimulates the emotional imagination. The third requisite for a sacred space is that it must help one “lose oneself”; one must be able to throw aside the conscious mind and let the subconscious mind “take over”. Lastly, the space must be ordered around cosmic principles so that the relevant forces are contacted, and their energy availed of.
How to Create a Sacred Space?
It is necessary to establish boundaries in order to promote concentration. A sacred space should be set aside from all other activities and only used for meditation, contemplation, cleansing, and ritual.
Pick a place that is free of noise and mundane activity where you feel comfortable, yet alert. The environment should be quiet and conducive to relaxation and meditation.
If you respect the boundary of this sacred space by excluding from it all but the most uplifted of influences, you will find that a highly supportive energy is built up in that area.
As you practice being disciplined, focused, and devotional in this space, the momentum of a self-perpetuating kind will accumulate, and you will soon find yourself becoming more focused and uplifted as soon as you enter this space, as the momentum from past work takes you in.
This is what we experience when we make pilgrimages to holy sites or monasteries; in addition to the sacred energies inherent in certain locations, we sense the energetic imprint of so many prayers over so many centuries.
We feel immediately focused and uplifted in places where people have spent so many millions of hours in deep contemplation. There may be a physical temple that concentrates the physical senses, yet it is the construction of the astral temple which affects us on subtler levels.
If living in environments where quiet space is limited, it may be necessary to create a protective field. You can create an etheric temple any time you need, and this is just as effective as having a physical space set aside.
You may use a banishing ritual or a salutation to the four directions to do this, or you can create a magical circle with a smudge or an incense burner.
Alternatively, you might place a clear quartz generator crystal in each corner with the terminations pointing towards the center of the room.
Then stand in the middle of the room, holding a fifth clear quartz generator crystal, and cleanse each direction. Each of these methods will seal the room against intrusive outside influences and create a temporary sacred space.
Before and after using your sacred space, it is important to clear the air of any psychic debris that may be lurking in the environment. There are several ways to accomplish this.
You may simply open the windows and doors and let fresh air circulate, letting the sunshine in upon all of your sacred items. You may also smudge with cedar or sage.
If you wish to cleanse with fire, candles can be lit and burned for at least ten minutes. You may also place a bowl of natural salt in the center of your space to absorb negative influences.
Cleansing your sacred space reinforces to your subconscious mind that it is a special, precious area of an uplifted kind.
This kind of subtle engagement with your sacred space is quite important, simple as it may seem. As with any ritual action, the more attention and care you give to this space, the stronger its power grows.
The trouble you take to care of this space helps you prolong your concentration on it, and this builds up more positive energy within the area.
An altar is an area, often elevated, set aside to cleanse and purify objects, create talismans, attune with higher powers, and perform magic. It serves as a point of focus and usually displays images, symbols, or implements which invoke the essence of the power being called upon.
There should be nothing superfluous upon your altar, and nothing placed there merely for the purpose of decoration. The point of the altar is to offer you a visual stimulus that makes it easy for your mind to remain focused on your chosen purpose.
Only that which invokes the relevant energies, or which helps reinforce your sense of power, concentration, or devotion should be displayed. You do not want, in the middle of an important meditation, to cast a glance upon a family photo, and then have your mind wander off to a distant memory of your summer vacation at the lake.
The altar should support your intention to remain in a highly elevated and sanctified state. Its purpose is to assist concentration and exalt the imagination.
Therefore, be extremely deliberate with what you place upon this altar. It is not necessary to have an elaborate display. The most modest of altars— a cup of water, for instance— can be as profoundly effective as any when it is used by one who is clear in mind and pure in heart.
Plants, Minerals, and Elements
Incense, flowers, and crystals can be added to the stone altar as long as they are in tune with your magical need, or if you consider them to be power objects— those things that increase or improve your ability to raise and send forth energy.
Plants and herbs are a universal element in the ceremony because the olfactory sense is one of the most ancient faculties in the brain. The smell of cedar, sage, frankincense, or even simple fire instantaneously engages a primordial and deeply powerful part of the mind.
Powers that lie dormant ordinarily are awakened and drawn out simply by the stimulus of the smell of the incense burner, which communicates to a much more primitive part of the mind that something sacred and important is happening.
Plants may be very helpful to us in ceremonies when we are having difficulty focusing for this reason, whether they are smoked, ingested, made as offerings, or burnt as incense.
As with anything, experiment and find what works for you. Notice the effects when certain elements are added to your space, and the effects when they are taken away.