Reblog: Sacred Spaces

This is a reblog from DruidHeart, my blog on SageWoman Magazine’s channel at Witches and Pagans. Photo credit from The Sleepy Backpacker’s blog HERE.

stonehenge2014Moonhenge, in Cambridgeshire, is a brilliant example of new Pagan sacred spaces being created. With so much controversy over some of the megalithic stone circles and other sites around Britain, why should we not be creating more new spaces in which to celebrate, should we so wish?

Every Western Pagan knows about Stonehenge. They all know about the summer solstice celebration there. A loud and rowdy affair in which the public join in, it is more a rave than a sacred celebration. Though we cannot know for certain what the ancestors did in that ritual space, to me personally it just seems wrong to have people getting drunk and shouting loudly, climbing on stones and partying all night in a temple so closely linked to the dead as well as the sunrises throughout the year. I may be entirely wrong.

However, it just seems like sacrilege when the spirits of place are not honoured in a respectful way. To make something sacred is to honour and respect it – it is connected to such words as dedication, devotion and veneration, three things which most of the partygoers at the high point in summer are not terribly concerned with at Stonehenge.

The creation of sacred space is a key tenet of Druidry and many other Pagan religions. It is an invasion to have people that you do not know enter your sacred space and act out of accordance with the intention of the rite or ritual being performed. Out of hours access permits are available to those who wish to use the particular temple of Stonehenge for more private use, however, during the actual time of the sunrises and sunsets at various times of the year, this temple space must be shared with those who are not in tune with the intention.

Other sacred sites around the world do not seem to suffer as much from this intrusion. We would not party in Chartres Cathedral, for instance, or rave all night in the Temple of Athena….

To read the full article, click HERE.

7 thoughts on “Reblog: Sacred Spaces

  1. Here, here!! I have found some of the circles at the far end of Cornwall and most of the time the Ring of Brodgar, Orkney, quite willing to have me be there to meditate and commune. Also Lanyon Quoit in Cornwall is a very powerful/power-filled space for me. Most of the time I have been to these places it has just been me or me and my husband. I never brought offerings of any kind except that of my reverent presence.

    I agree it would be good to have places, dotted about the country and accessible without recourse to lots of driving or only to those with cars, where the sacredness of ancestors and land energies can be honoured; and, like cathedrals, which have soaked up centuries of prayerful attendance, such spaces could begin to accumulate the energies reverence, devotion, veneration and respect.Places not for the glamour side of paganism, but for the deep, spiritual sides and edges and heart of it.

    It would be a service from those of us who are the ancestors for future generations of Pagans in this islands where the ancestral energies are still quite strong and the land mass is of a comprehensible size to allow and connection to space beyond one’s own small patch. I think this is essential if Paganism is to continue to mature and grow in wisdom and stature, as it were.

  2. I think part of the reason for the rave like routine at Stonehenge (and yes, I would prefer it otherwise) is a possibly unacknowledged “still-rebelling” focus on the part of participants.
    I don’t know how long it will take to be “over” the stage as the world slowly grinds past the patriarchal monotheistic domination — but until the old/new ways get past the “stomp daddy’s garden” phase, we will continue to see this sort of behavior.

  3. You’ve raised an interesting point here. I agree we could be finding new places to celebrate (though I’d say we find them rather than create them). Our landscape has changed over the millennia and places that were once suitable and welcoming may no longer be so, whilst different locations may have been revealed by the changing landscape. Nevertheless, the idea of having sites, like Moonhenge, not open to the public and with only private access for rituals and ceremonies, whilst a practical solution, does raise some questions. Who would decide who deserves access? Why are most churches and cathedrals in the U.K. open to anyone and yet, in general, treated respectfully? What is it about pagan sites (ceremonies?) that attracts those who seem unable to respect them? Is it something about the sites or the image of paganism itself? Could this be an area where pagan organisations could work together to encourage more respect?

    • Indeed – I think it could. I know that sadly, a lot of rural churches are locked up when not being used, for fear of burglary and vandalism throughout the country. I also think it would be nice to leave our future ancestors a legacy of our own, as well as honouring the megalithic sites and preserving them for their (future ancestors’) use as well. I don’t really know what it is that attracts disrespectful people to pagan sites – perhaps it is not seen a a proper and valid religion yet, or like with ancient dead, it is so long ago that we need no honour it now – perhaps that is their mindset? These are very good questions that need to be asked of the pagan community at large. I really like the idea of pagan organisations and individuals being able to encourage more respect for these places – much in the same way as HAD are working with local and national organisations to raise awareness of the entirety of the issues – a deep and genuine desire to truly talk about it and really hear what people have to say… x

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