A sacred space carries with it spiritual power. Have you ever visited a place that just felt more divine to you? Perhaps when you were there you found yourself speaking in a whisper without realizing it. Maybe you felt inclined to kneel, or to turn your eyes to the sky. A sacred space is a powerful tool for developing spirituality. If you feel stuck in your spiritual wellness practice, maybe it’s because you haven’t constructed the perfect sacred space. Creating a sacred space where you practice spirituality regularly is key to regular, meaningful connection with the divine.
The Power of Spaces
A space has the power to change your entire demeanor. For example, people tend to feel more motivated to exercise when they attend a group fitness class at a gym. Or if your university has a designated building for test taking, you probably experience a bit of anxiety when you pass it on campus, even if you don’t have an exam. These examples demonstrate how a particular space can affect your wellbeing—for better or for worse.
Sacred spaces in particular can have a strong effect on people. Perhaps you’ve visited a famous cathedral, mosque, or temple. How did you feel inside? Whether you went for worship or just for tourism purposes, you probably felt a sense of the divine there. Think about the details of the building. Were the ceilings high and ornately decorated? What designs were on the floor or walls? Was the building shaped in an interesting way? The people who built these sacred spaces made these choices for very specific reasons. They intended for those who came inside to feel more connected to a higher power.
Today more than ever, there’s a huge emphasis on personal spirituality. Perhaps your personal spirituality entails less worship in a designated building or with specific people and instead more worship on your own and in your own way. However, this doesn’t mean that the concept of sacred spaces isn’t important to your spiritual wellness practice. There are immense benefits to creating a personal sacred space.
The Purpose of a Personal Sacred Space
Let’s talk about a personal sacred space. It’s important to set apart a special place for yourself dedicated to communing with God. It doesn’t have to be the only place where you practice spirituality (just as church isn’t the only place where religious people pray), but it should be somewhere that encourages spirituality. It should be somewhere that helps you slow down and connect to your spiritual side. It should be a place where, when you’re there, you’re only there for spirituality—no other distractions.
One of the benefits of a religious building like a church is that it can serve as a reminder to remember God. You may go a whole week rushing from one thing to the next, neglecting your spiritual wellbeing, but when you worship in a church, you have the opportunity to reset and reconnect to your spiritual self. Your personal sacred space can serve the same purpose as a church: it can remind you to make time for your spiritual wellness practice whenever you see it.
Having a sacred space will help you solidify your spiritual routine. It’s easier to maintain a habit if you practice in the same place. Moreover, your personal sacred space will become a store for all your spiritual energy, so practicing spirituality there will become more effective over time. You may find yourself feeling more naturally relaxed there, more contemplative, more connected to yourself and God. Therefore, it can be helpful to return to your sacred space when you feel spiritually stuck and you need a reboot.
Choosing Your Sacred Space
The first element to creating your personal sacred space is choosing where it is. You want it to be somewhere you go often, somewhere you can be alone, and somewhere you can relax. A sacred space could be as simple as an object placed in a thoughtful area of your bedroom; it could also be your backyard garden, a corner of your kitchen, or an entire room in your house. And while it’s convenient to have your sacred space in your home, it doesn’t necessarily need to be there. You could choose a favorite park bench that you go to a few times a week to think.
Not sure where to start? Skylight has a 4-minute audio exercise designed to help you create a sacred space from the ground up. You can head over to the app for the guided mindfulness exercise, or you can read the transcript here if you’d prefer that:
You can exercise your spirituality anytime and anywhere. But sometimes, it’s helpful to have a go-to space for centering yourself. Right now, find a place where you can be alone, and go there.
When you’re settled, close your eyes and prepare to focus on your spiritual center. Now, relax your neck and your shoulders. Release the tension of the day and breathe deeply.
Open your eyes. Sit in the stillness and slowly look around you. What in this place distracts you from feeling peace? What’s one simple change you can make to this space to invite quiet and calm? Make that change now. If you need to pause this exercise briefly, go ahead.
Now, what is something you can bring into this special place that can help open your spirit? Maybe it’s a journal or some artwork, a candle or a comfortable pillow. Take some time to bring this item into your space. How does this item invite peace and contemplation?
Now, your space is ready. You can come back here anytime to sit in the stillness and listen to your spirit and to God.
Easy, right? The nice thing about this exercise is that it proves you don’t need much for your sacred space, just something that’s meaningful to you that grounds you to your inner self. In the next section, we’ll give you some more ideas for things you can bring into your sacred space.
What’s in a Sacred Space
Once you’ve chosen where your sacred space will be, it’s time to think about what you’ll put in it. How you practice spirituality can shape what you bring to your sacred space. Each element should be deliberately placed there. It should support your spiritual endeavors, not distract, confuse, or disturb them. Take a moment to examine your spiritual wellness practice. Do you do a lot of praying, and if so, do you normally pray on your knees? Do you read from religious texts? Do you meditate often? These types of questions can guide you as you decide what to bring to your sacred space.
A sacred space can (but doesn’t need to) involve all five senses. The most obvious of these is sight, and it’s probably what you think about first when you imagine your personal sacred space: what does it look like? What visual objects are there? You can engage your sense of hearing with calming music, silence, or sound bowls. As for your sense of smell, consider if any scents bring you peace. You could use a scented candle or diffuse essential oils. Then think about your senses of touch and taste, and how your sacred space may activate them. Don’t feel the need to “check off” each of the five senses in your sacred space; rather, think of the senses to get ideas of what you want there.
Gaiam gives a list of things to include in a sacred space to get you brainstorming:
● Mementos: personal items that are meaningful to you.
● Talismans: symbols of peace and safety.
● Visual art: your own, your friends’, or postcards of famous works.
● Photographs of loved ones and special places.
● Statuary: traditional symbols of divine and protective energies.
● Stones and shells that hold memories from special places.
● Candles and incense.
● Color, light, texture, fabrics, carpets, mirrors, fountains, or chimes.
● Plants, flowers, and other living things.
● Musical instruments and favorite calming music or ambient music CDs.
● Personal divination tools such as the I Ching, the Tarot, or the Runes.
● Sacred texts or words of wisdom—from any and all faiths.
You can experiment to find what works best for you. Perhaps two things seem to incite spirituality on their own, but together in your sacred space, they just don’t work. That’s all right. The trial and error is worth it to create your perfect sacred space.
Rituals in Your Sacred Space
We’ve talked generally about the purpose of a sacred space and what’s in a sacred space. But what do you do in a sacred space? We’ll delve into that now. The truth is, a space, as powerful as it is, can only go so far. It’s what you do in the space that makes it so special to you. You could have all the fixings—constant incense burning, exquisite arrangements of succulents, harp music playing on a loop, etc.—and yet not reap any of those benefits if you don’t actually use the space.
You need to protect your sacred space. It’s only for spirituality, only for you. Don’t allow it to become just another dusty corner of your house. If your sacred space becomes a place where you watch TV or where you work, then it’s not a sacred space at all. It will be easier to keep the space sacred if you choose specific rituals to practice there. Some examples include journaling, prayer, meditation, yoga, reading, affirmations, or a Skylight exercise. Anything that connects you with your soul is worthwhile.
Maybe you live in a dorm room the size of a shoebox, and you have nowhere to set apart as a 24/7 sacred space. Then your ritual is what defines your sacred space. You can get a bit creative—your routine of doing yoga or meditating on your mat will make your yoga mat a sacred space. It won’t necessarily be your sacred space when it’s rolled up in the corner, but when paired with the ritual, it will solidify and strengthen your spiritual wellness practice.
Create Your Sacred Space
Practicing spiritual wellness in your sacred space has double the benefits—the space naturally makes your practice more enlightening, and your practice makes the space more set apart and special. Having a designated sacred space can transform your spiritual wellness practice. If you use the tools in this article to create your perfect sacred space and practice spirituality there, you will experience more clarity, calm, and connection every day.