As well as external, physical manifestations of sanctuary, there are also inner sanctuaries that we can create, filled with the blessing and the power of Nemetona – a space where we can feel safe, a place where transformation, healing, integration and all manner of things can take place. Some Druid Paths construct what is called the Inner Grove (a place of ritual and transformation in the mind) and that shall be dealt with in a different chapter on sacred groves. What I would like to suggest here is not so much an inner ritual arena, but a safe place to use as a “base” – I like to think of it as my Inner Hut.
Creating inner worlds is not only great fun, but a great way to express and confront issues that we physically may not be able to, or which may not be appropriate to do. Several of my teachers have used the idea of an inner safe place which we can use as a starting point, and from there travel out into the wider realms of the mind, exploring what we need to explore. We may have fantastical adventures in our inner worlds, or enjoy the more mundane things within them that we may not have the time to do in our physical world. The Inner Hut provides the starting point, the sanctuary.
My Inner Hut is a place that I can go to in meditation, when I am called to journey, perhaps, or when I feel I need to really take a good look at something that is troubling me in my life, or when I simply need to be refreshed by the blessings that particular sanctuary provides. If an answer isn’t available in the so-called mundane world, one may be found in the inner world.
My Inner Hut is a simple, single-room dwelling deep within the heart of an ancient forest, close to a slow-moving river that winds its way through the trees and out into the wider world beyond. It is a simple wattle and daub hut, with a thatched roof that occasionally needs repair and a dirt floor. Inside there is a table in the centre, with two benches on either side, a bed along one wall and a chest at the foot of the bed. There is a much-used hearth on the back wall, and a good stack of firewood both inside and outside the hut. There is also a chair pulled up near the hearth, and a large wooden basin on a separate smaller table under the window. Herbs are hung to dry from the ceiling, and my staff leans in the corner by the door.
This hut is my safe space and my starting point for any adventures that I may wish to undertake in the inner realms. Sometimes it is simply enough to just spend some time in the hut, or around it, looking at the herbs growing nearby, sitting by the river’s edge and watching the water flow past. If there is an issue to deal with, I can either deal with it in this safe space, or venture further out into the woods to find just what it is that needs to be taken care of, knowing that I always have this safe haven, this little sanctuary to return to should it be needed.