Having identified that space that makes you feel grounded and safe, how do you go about converting it into a Sacred Space? In the Introduction we already discussed starting small and not breaking the bank at the local spiritual/metaphysical store (not even this one!).
But, part of the process of making the environment your own is symbolic, and requires decorating and furnishing it with your own items and in your own style. In this article we explore common design elements that you may want to consider for your Sacred Space.
Crystals and Gemstones
It is hard to imagine a sacred space without at least one type of crystal or gemstone. The beauty and appeal of crystals is universal. Humans are drawn to them for much deeper reasons than their beauty. Most people would agree that holding a gemstone in your hand leaves you feeling grounded and energetic, and usually with a lighter soul. We won't question this or explore why this is in this article, but let's agree for a moment that for whatever reason this is typically the case. So it is fair to assume you will want one or more crystals in your Sacred Space. Applying the "start small" principle, this means one or two items, maybe some natural points, a piece of amethyst, or maybe a set of mixed tumbled stones. Many of these can be purchased cheaply online of from your local market. By starting small, a spend of $20 to $50 maximum would be in order and would provide you with several specimens.
The question only you can answer is which crystals resonate most with you?
Out of all potential design elements spiritual items are the most varied and most personal. The spiritual items you use will obviously depend on what your spiritual beliefs are. If you have a strong faith in one type of religion then you will be off to a good start on knowing what to choose. As a Christian, an angel, rosary, or statue of Jesus come to mind. Similarly for Buddhists and Hindus a commonly used set of prayer aides, religious icons, and prayer mantras are available.
For many, particularly in Western cultures where there has been a reduction in affinity to traditional religions, there is still a strong spirituality in many people. So even if you don't feel a connection to a specific religion, there is a void to be filled. In some ways this is an enviable position as the choices available can be sourced from any number of belief systems. A statue of Ganesh can be mixed with a selenite angel or a classic meditating Buddha. Maybe a slow burning scented candle lit each morning as part of a daily ritual?
In time, explore the options and add to your area slowly with one or more items that you are spiritually connected to.
For thousands of years, incense and essential oils have been used as part of ritual and meditation. Some believe incense connects us to higher plains of consciousness, and even to the Spirit World. For others, it is as simple as providing a form of concentration to aide in the meditation process. Watching the dance of the flame, or the smoke trail weave across the room is hypnotic. The engagement of oils and fragrances delights the sense of smell as well. One of the simplest additions to your Sacred Space is an incense burner and some good, organic incense.
Be they resin, stone, metal, there are thousands of statue burners available. Some are beautiful and subtle, some are scary trolls and dragons shooting smoke out of their nose! If you find a burner of this type that you really like, then it is a wise addition to your Sacred Space. One word of caution with some of the enclosed burners eg. Dragons, depending on air flow you may find they look better than they work. If you can, it is always better to try the fancier burners out before purchasing to make sure they do what they are meant to ie. burn incense!
Some common options include:
1. Ash Catchers or Boat Burners
The ash catcher is probably the most common of all the incense burners and is more often than not provided when you buy a large pack or gift box of incense. The incense stick is inserted in a hole at one end and circulates upwards away from the burner, catching the ash in the process.
2. The Box Burner
The box burner is a step up from the ash burner and usually provides the added bonus of storing unused incense as well as providing the platform for burning as well. Typically box burned will be adorned by semi-precious stones and metals and are an attractive item in their own right.
Cone incense is designed to be completely burnt off, so it should never be used on wooden surfaces such as ash burners. Note there are some wooden burners with a special metal insert so that cones can also be used. Cone incense burners are typically wide mouthed bowls and usually house some sand at the base to sit and burn the cone on.
The list of burner types would not be complete without a special mention for the statues. Talk about conversation starters! Imagine the look on your guests faces when greeted by a smoking dragon incense burner, or a gravity defying cone incense burner! Very individual, and not for everybody!
Different decor options will be available to you based on the layout of your Sacred Space. For those with table top space only, an altar cloth may be appropriate. For those with dedicated floor space, a chakra rug and mediation cushion may be the go.
Given that your sacred Space is designed for quiet reflection, to meditate, and clear your mind, the main principle will be not to make the space too busy.
Hopefully this look at design elements has given you some ideas for how to decorate your Sacred Space, and thus, make it your own. Applying what we learnt in the Introduction section, remember to start small and add to your space in time. That makes it easier and cheaper!