Tag Archive | sacred space

Prayer for a early fall morning

As I walk through the early morning I ask the blessing of the day

From the beauty of nature to surround me and protect me:

Softness of spider’s web

Flight of a hummingbird

Cry of a new born baby

Sunlight on liquidamber trees

Flexibility of tall grasses

Scold of a squirrel

Breezes from the east

Gaze of a watchful cat

Gatherings of clouds

Be with me all this day to twilight

To night and to dawn tomorrow.

What does one do in a sacred space besides ritual?

Start walking and don’t use the excuse that you can’t walk to keep you from nature. Find some like minded friends to go with you who are willing to be quiet and feel what’s going on. If you have a mobility disability take a cane, get a walker or a wheelchair and let your friends push you. Yes, there are some places you won’t be able to go but there are many others that you will be able to go to. The point is to go!

Make it part of a Sabbat or Esbat ritual if you don’t want to go alone or if it would be dangerous for you to go alone. Just because a place feels sacred don’t be stupid and think everybody feels that way about it. Take normal precautions. Don’t be more of a bubble head than you need to be.
If you have something like diabetes be ready to monitor your blood sugar in case it drops while you are out and don’t forget your sugar tabs. If you have asthma, bring your inhaler. If you are allergic to bees, take your Epi-pen. There are always ways to get outside if you really want to. If I ever get to the point I need hospice I’m going make them take me out under a tree. A really big tree.

What do you do while you’re walking? Start by looking. What catches your eye? Is there something you need to see? An interestingly shaped tree trunk? A butterfly? A flower hidden away? A turtle under the surface of the water?

Find a place to sit down and close your eyes. Listen… What do you hear? Are there birds? Strange rustling noises of small animals? Insects? The wind?

Feel the wind caress your skin. How does it move across your face? What do you smell? Flowers? Dust? Tree leaves decaying? Water?

Unless you are really good at identifying plants I’d skip tasting any berries or leaves.

After you’ve learned what poison oak looks like, touch plants. Soft ones, prickly ones shiny ones although you might also want to learn what nettles look like. Stay away from the leaves of three and the pretty red ones.

Reach out with your other senses. How does this place feel? Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel welcome? Even feeling unwelcome is some kind of connection to the place so acknowledge this and leave.

Once you feel welcome in a place leave an offering. Not a sacrifice but an offering. I know someone that carries natural tobacco and corn meal to do this. You may feel the need to leave a stone you like or something else you feel moved to do. No blood or hair or other bodily fluids. Ick! Tossing a rose into the ocean though is a good thing.

TOILA has been known to leave guerilla offerings much to the consternation of museum guards at the Getty Villa. Gee! We have no idea how those rose petals were left at Aphrodite’s feet?

If possible, introduce yourself either with your magical name or your real name. Let the place know you feel respect for it. Don’t go around yelling or screaming. Listen. Remember this is not about you, it knows you are there. You are making a new friend. Be respectful as you would any new friend.

How to find natural sacred spaces

1. Use your intuition. How does it feel? Does it pull at you with some need to walk or enjoy or stir some emotion in you like peace or worship.
2. Get a fault map of the area or a topo map. You can dowse on a topo map to see what pulls your pendulum or other dowsing instrument.
3. Not every power spot speaks to every person. You may find one that uniquely speaks to you alone or your friends may not speak to you at all.
4. Looks for places that have water. In Los Angeles this is rare enough that you should pay attention. Of course I am disregarding any swimming pool.
5. Look for trees, especially the California Canyon live oak. They seem to create the space around them as sacred areas but also look for other groups of trees. Redwoods and incense cedars also seem to draw and keep energy.
6. Explore and be aware of what’s around you, some places may surprise you out of nowhere.
7. Places where the Native peoples of California gathered are a good clue too.
8. Look for the paradoxes in the wild bit. Places that never burn although look like they should have since California’s natural areas are designed to burn. It’s the only way some plants and trees regenerate. Does this place have a protective spirit? Or look for places that seem to constantly be under threat of fire. I think these attract those among the spiritually sensitive that are destroyers. I suspect they don’t even know why they are attracted to those places.
9. So be open, be welcoming and always aware and you will find them.

Sacred Spaces in Los Angeles Part 2

11. Vasquez Rocks – A place familiar to any one who has ever watched a Western or most crime dramas or even Scifi since on Star Trek and others it more often than not another planet. Deep red rocks that are just at angles.
12. Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Garden – isn’t in Santa Ana anymore where it was founded but moved to this spot in Claremont. Some of it is cultivated and some has been left wild and a lovely place to spend a spring day.
13. Echo Park – home of lotuses and a statue of Isis near downtown LA that brings a spot of peace with its lake. Being cleaned out right now but, hopefully, will reopen soon.
14. Sepulveda Wildlife Refuge – Originally and still part of the flood drainage system of the San Fernando Valley. This spot is full of birds and in spring and fall a migration spot and if you are vewy, vewy quiet – wabbits. A lake alongside the 405 that is now a restored wet land and a wonderful place to take a walk and be at peace.
15. Malibu Creek State Park – where the Ren Faire started. Home of the gathering oak. A place of peace and often ritual among many pagan groups and at least one pagan priests ashes. A very magical spot. Mercedes Lackey must have thought so too since she wrote the first of her modern elf books set here.
16. Mt Wilson – A place that looks over all of LA and was a camping spot for the Native tribes of the area in summer. When the mists move across it can be very other worldly.
17. Placerita and Bouquet Canyons – Spots of beauty when they aren’t regularly on fire where more native plant varieties grow than almost any other non planned space.
18. Gold Creek Ranch – A private camping spot up in Tujunga that was also a Native camping spot and where we made the mistake of inviting them in one night before bed and were kept awake by the sounds of moccasins walking on gravel all night long past our tents.
19. Parts of Griffith Park – Fern Dell to name one, for others practice your intuition, it’s good for you.
20. The Arroyo Seco – hiding under the bridge in Pasadena runs the creek that comes down from Hahamonga and creates lovely little magical wild areas of power.

Sacred Space in Los Angeles – Part 1

I thought I’d list a lot of the places I think are sacred spaces around Los Angeles. Some are private and some are public. Some because I think ley lines go through them or fault lines and I’m not sure they aren’t one and the same because they feel about the same. Some because people have endowed them energy by constantly reinforcing the sense of wonder when they go there. They won’t be in any particular order. Just the order I happen to remember them. And a place isn’t sacred just because it’s a public garden, South Coast Botanical doesn’t feel like anything but dead space in most of it.
By sacred space I mean they have something called a “spirit of place” and it’s very hard to describe but if you are sensitive to the energies of natural places you feel it. Some of them are not readily obvious and you have to let yourself sink into them. Others smack you in the face with it. Even the most insensitive can feel it in places like Yosemite or the redwoods. In LA you have to be a little more aware. These are places that draw me like a magnet and that I HAVE to visit every once in awhile.
1. Huntington Library and Gardens. – this one is sacred just because of the people who visit it and the reverence and awe that a lot of people have when they visit it. It also has an awful lot of pagan statuary and shrines set up within the different gardens and exhibits. My favourite areas are the Children’s Garden and the new Chinese garden and the herb, rose and Shakespeare gardens but there are lots of other nooks and crannies like the lily ponds and the Australia garden that pull also.
2. Descanso Gardens – maybe it’s because I have been visiting this site since birth but it has an amazing feel to it. I took gardening and nature classes here starting when I was 6. I’ve hunted pollywogs and chased dragonflies, watched turtles and walked the hidden spiral labyrinth. It used to have a shrine to Kwan Yin but they took it out the year it was a design house and ruined that area of the garden. You can walk under 25-30 ft camellias and towering old oaks, some of whom resemble women if you look at them in the light. I like the ponds and the bird sanctuary and the Native California garden. If you get the chance to visit at night it’s like entering faery land. There is a mountain lion that makes it part of her 6 month route, owls that nest in the high branches, bunnies and squirrels and if you are very lucky, deer. When I couldn’t find any other place open on a Monday holiday and I had to entertain Steve Blamires this is where I took him. I take most of the special people in my life here at some point. I love this place.
3. Franklin Canyon – William O. Douglas Outdoor classroom. A wild place in the middle of LA and I do mean middle. Hidden away under some oaks is the geographical center of Los Angeles. They have a nature center and many hikes. They film here all the time so some of the places are very recognizable such as the opening of the Andy Griffith Show. And you have to be very careful and wear long pants because it’s loaded with poison oak. I suggest strongly going to the nature center first and studying its many guises. The whole place is an energy sink and it’s right off Mulholland and Coldwater Canyon across from the Tree People who are also worth a visit.
4. Brand Park – in Glendale. I spent many years as a child hiking it’s paths and it has the Green Cross statue from the first conservation efforts in the 30’s. It’s in a very small enclosed canyon like a bowl and it holds its space well.
5. Both the camps I worked at in the Angeles National Forest. Both are off the San Andreas Fault. One is stuck to the side of a mountain like a barnacle and the back drops straight down 150 ft into the fault and the other is its own little valley between two peaks with its own clear spring and lake, lots of wildlife and birds and a guardian spirit. In my four years there I saw more colourful birds there than any other camp I worked at. Horse flats a public campground is right across the road and has a lot of the same energy as Pines. It’s where they had Pacific Pagan Gathering for many years when Ellen Cannon Reed was running it.
6. Self Realization Fellowship Gardens and Lake Shrine – A little jewel that takes no time at all to walk around but you can spend hours there in the peace of it.
7. Arcadia Wilderness Park – A little bowl of land high a top Arcadia that has a lot of energy running through it. I like to just go and sit.
8. Hahamonga – used to be called Devil’s Gate dam and the area around JPL. An old Indian area and a very wonderous place to take a walk.
9. Millard Canyon – A hike for those who can boulder but the reward is a waterfall that just lights up all your senses.
10. Henniger Flats – up a long fire road of 16 switch backs is the LA County forestry nursery and fire look out and one of the first camping areas if you are climbing Mt Wilson. We used to do full moon hikes with the GS up here once a year. The kids didn’t complain about the switchbacks because they didn’t notice them and it’s magical to see the lights of LA from halfway up the mountain.
That’s a start for now.