Thursday, September 18, 2014

Sacred Simplicity





“I’ve often thought of the forest as a living cathedral, but this might diminish what it truly is. If I have understood Koyukon teachings, the forest is not merely an expression or representation of sacredness, nor a place to invoke the sacred; the forest is sacredness itself. Nature is not merely created by God; nature is God. Whoever moves within the forest can partake directly of sacredness, experience sacredness with his entire body, breathe sacredness and contain it within himself, drink the sacred water as a living communion, bury his feet in sacredness, touch the living branch and feel the sacredness, open his eyes and witness the burning beauty of sacredness”





And suddenly, the garden is amazing.  It never stops being a surprise when, what seems like overnight, everything in the garden has grown, bloomed and filled in. It was especially amazing this year, however, as the storm early in the season did so much damage.  I have more admiration for nature than ever, so much so that I couldn't even bring myself to pull weeds, choosing instead to cut some of the prettier ones and bring them inside, arranging them in vases and pitchers.  I have always preferred flowers that are wild.


Once upon a time, a man (that I would go on to  have a relationship with for far too long) asked me what kind of flowers I liked.  "Daisies," I told him.  His face couldn't hide his disapproval, as if he was of royal blood and I was the kitchen maid. He brought me some anyway and later, I'd discover his motives.  I was young and didn't see all the warning signs.  A person who really knows you will know what kind of flowers you like.  He will know, and love, that you are a daisy person and imagine your little house full of the wildest flowers, those that some call weeds, in vases and baskets and unexpected places; that they will grow freely in the yard, peeking through the white picket fence, waving happily in the wind. That's the person you want to share your life with.


Speaking of bringing the outside indoors, did you ever consider that a bird bath could make a perfect holder for a candle, perhaps surrounded by fresh or dried herbs, some rocks and shells?  Yesterday I cleaned off the bath, and spray painted it black to cover the rust (leaving a bit of the original color, and making it appear to be antique) and then brought it up to my room.  This is now the place where you'll find my candles and other things (herbs, roots, stones etc)  I regularly work with will be, a modest yet pretty little space in a tiny room filled with very special things.


I don't refer to this as an altar. This term seems more fitting for elaborate church settings.  Truth is, I am not an altar person, finding most too large and ornate, in your face or even a bit out of control.  I also dislike the ones that are created very purposely, almost like that of a ceremonial magician.  Once upon a time these intrigued me, but no more. I like to be in nature when at all possible and when not, I like to bring some of nature inside.  Having said that about altars, I am still very intrigued by them. I have a lovely book filled with photographs of the altars of people from all over, from the most simple to the most intricate.  A person's sacred space says so much about him/her.  These spaces are all very personal artistic creations. Some of the altars in this book were not created for spiritual/religious reasons, but were just collections of special, sacred things.  Every time I go into a home for the first time, I marvel at the "altars" of others.  Women, in particular, seem to need to create this space, to define it,  and herself,  in this very quiet and beautiful way.


-Aine

Credits

― Richard Nelson, The Island Within

Recommendations

Cunning-Woman Cornwal "Delusion and Original Sin  LINK