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What Is Sacred to You?

I was doing a chart reading this week and my client (who agreed to let me share) said something that stuck with me.

“Others don’t get this, but for me, when I put makeup on people and help them see their beauty, it feels sacred.”

Woah.

I was a little gobsmacked by this comment for 3 reasons:

  1. This was evident in their chart.
  2. That takes a lot of self-realization.
  3. Being self-centered, as humans can be, I thought of myself and if I could voice what felt sacred to me.

After the reading, this question wouldn’t let up.

I began to investigate what this feeling of “sacred” is and how I can better tap into this sense of awe and reverence.

What does it mean to be sacred?

At its most basic level, what is sacred is something approached with utmost respect and humility.

It may feel attached to the higher power, spirit, Universe – whatever belief or sense we have of “the bigger plan.”

For some, it may seem like the way they become the medium that spirit is moving through.

Yoga Therapist, Jeff Martens, refers to this as “sacred action.”

In his article, “What is My (Sacred) Work?” Martens describes sacred action as liberating, individual, inspired, and always focused on the present moment.

“Sacred work is to feel truly alive.”

Others may find something sacred that is completely outside of themselves – a place or object.

There isn’t one answer.

“Humans are vulnerable and rely on the kindnesses of the earth and the sun; we exist together in a sacred field of meaning”.

-Joy Harjo

So what can be sacred?

  • trees
  • mountains
  • children
  • beauty
  • effort
  • sharing gifts
  • self-discipline
  • heirlooms
  • listening
  • acts of kindness
  • justice
  • music
  • a recipe

The list can go on forever, and that is the point.

Why does this matter?

If reverence wasn’t important, then why have humans pursued it for thousands of years?

Why has this idea of “sacred” sprung up in various forms and different societies, independent from one another?

And, why were time and resources dedicated to sacred places, objects, or rituals when mere survival was difficult enough?

These are questions I’m not educated or wise enough to answer – puzzles humanity hasn’t solved yet.

What I can do is brainstorm about how holding something as sacred can be beneficial:

  • Enriches our feeling of connectedness and unity
  • Feeds our “soul energy” which helps feed our physical energy
  • Keeps our more trivial human concerns at a lower priority
  • Creates a sense of fellowship with others
  • Can feel like a refuge in hard times

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again”.

-Joseph Campbell

Barriers to authentic reverence

Seeking one’s personal definition of “sacred” can be easier for some and harder for others.

Society can play a role.

Both religious and secular communities can discourage this in their own ways.

We may be conditioned to believe:

  • “Sacred” is only for organized religion
  • Others must tell us what is sacred – “ordinary people” don’t get to define that
  • This is all superstition, silly, and a waste of time

There could also be personal barriers keeping us from feeling sacred connections:

  • We have never purposefully thought about what we find sacred
  • We get stuck because we don’t have genuine feelings about what we were programmed to believe – we have “faked it”
  • No one else seems to feel reverence in the way we do, so we discount it
  • Negative religious experiences left us wanting to detach ourselves from these ideas completely

How do you figure out what is sacred to you?

This is one of those questions that has a million and one answers and none of them are wrong.

To investigate this for myself, my first stop is my natal chart.

One place where I am looking for ideas about what I may find sacred is my natal Neptune.

This is your wifi-like connection to the spirit.

  • Neptune’s House – What kinds of activities could make you feel a sense of oneness and inspiration?
  • Neptune’s Sign – How does Neptune prefer to operate? What are the goals of this sign?
  • Aspects to Neptune – Who else is involved in Neptune’s business? Which other houses influence what you may find sacred? And how does the behavior of the aspected planet and the type of aspect affect how you may experience this?

Neptune gives me a list of ideas – different actions and deeds to try.

Does doing Neptune’s favorite things (house) in the style (sign) it likes best bring me closer to feelings of awe?

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I wanted non-astrology ideas as well and looked to people wiser than myself to hold the torch and show the way.

• One approach suggested by Berkeley psychologist, Rick Hansen Ph.D., is to tackle this question in a concrete way.

He offers this prompt: “What would a conversation be like, or what would your day be like, if you did it with a sense of something sacred to you?”

“Different answers come to different people. And they may be wordless. For many, what’s most sacred is transcendent, numinous, and beyond language.”

-Rick Hansen Ph.D.

What realizations would I find journaling on this question over a few days, weeks, or an entire year?

(Bring on the reverence!)

• Spiritual growth writer, Claire Elise, describes a meditative approach summarized below:

  1. Begin by imagining yourself in a comforting room feeling a sense of safety and love.
  2. Visualize a door in the room and approach it slowly while taking deep breaths.
  3. Step through the door and take notice of the ground, surroundings, time of day, weather, and sounds.
  4. Inhale deeply and recognize the unique scent in the air.
  5. You have now entered your sacred place.

You can find the full version of this meditation in her article here.

If you try this, what kind of sacred space lives in you?

• One completely different approach suggested by author Leo Babauta is to drop the idea of finding only a few things sacred.

See everything that way.

“Put things away with reverence. Treat others as if you are connecting with the divine. And treat yourself as a manifestation of the universe that has somehow been given the gift of realizing its own sacredness.”

-Leo Babauta

I am far from this level of enlightenment – maybe some of you are much closer.

This is a work in progress for me, but I did have some realizations along the way.

What feels sacred to each of us are the miracles we get to be a part of.

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Have a fantastic day and much love,