In our work with the plant spirits all, the various deities of the green realm, spirits of place, and our ancestors, I have found that a sense of sacred space is crucial to going as deeply as one can into the ways. To be in sacred space is to feel secure, seen, and welcome. It is to be connected to the area on which you do your work in such a way that you feel supported and in harmony with all who call that place home. Most importantly, I think, it offers us a sense of protection so that we can really let go and experience the fullness of wherever our work may take us and wherever the spirits may lead. Hypervigilance is a common struggle with modern folks- we rarely feel truly safe and always have one eye open and one ear scanning our surroundings which can detract from being in the moment with the ways of green sorcery. Anything we can do to help quiet this scanning and cultivate a sense of comfort and confidence will only deepen the work.
There are two primary ways to engage with sacred space, and I’d like to explore each of them briefly in this article.
The first way is to find sacred space as it exists in the world around you. You may be surprised to find that by slowing down to tree speed and connecting more deeply with the spaces that are part of your everyday, sacred space that is saturated in verdant power exists. A lush corner of your backyard garden, a mighty tree in a public park, an area of concrete where several plants have broken through and found their way to the light, or other more natural spaces can all connect us to the numinous and act as a crossroads through which we can access the green realm of the plant spirits all.
To sit under the canopy of a big tree is in and of itself an engagement with sacred space. Bare feet on garden soil is the same. Wherever we can acknowledge and then experience the presence of otherness in a way that speaks directly to us, a sacred space will emerge. Our awareness of who grows and what happens in a space brings us into rapport with those persons who will then surround us in layers of protective, guiding, and empowering energy. It is as though perceiving them is all it takes to open the floodgates of their virtues and vital force. As an added benefit, our engagement with these plants helps us to fall in love with the land we live on and become stewards for it on all levels.
Over time, with practice and deep personal connection, any natural space becomes sacred. Our repeated work with the spirits of place thins the hedge which separates the world leading to a numinous energy of otherness and power that nourishes our work and inspired our spiritual progress.
The second way to engage with sacred space is to create it. This is often the most comfortable for people due to the added privacy and sense of security it can bring since created scared spaces usually happen indoors or within the boundaries of a backyard or other safer space.
Altars, shrines, and groves are all examples of ways we can craft sacred space with intention. These are areas that are part of our everyday pathways but that we choose to set aside as an offering (sacrifice, to set aside) to the spirits we are allied to and to our work as a whole. Like any space, over time the altar or shrine takes on a numinous presence and becomes a living, dynamic, and evolutionary crossroads through which we can access the green realm of spirit.
How an altar or shrine is created, what goes on it, and how it’s worked with is personal. In my own practice, my altar revolves around a statue of my patron deity, a large sculpture of a tree which represents the plant spirits all and the green realm, and a skull for my ancestors. As a working space, it also houses many plant spirit vessels, magical workings in progress, active petitions, medicines being made, and sacred items.
Whether found or created, sacred space is an essential part of our work with the plant spirits and the various deities of our traditions and ways. They are a joy to participate in and help center our work in the world of name and form.