At the beginning of this month, I wrote about small, sacred places in my life. These were the not very large, not particularly wilderness-y, but incredibly important patches of woods and fields that I grew up with in my small town. Even if they were no more than an acre or less apiece, they taught me a great deal about the outdoor world and my various nonhuman neighbors.
Inspired by my writing about this, Chirotus Infinitum made a post over at Blacklight Metaphysics about his own small, sacred place from when he was younger. He even included a nice video tour of the place; I recommend taking a look. I’ll be honest—having someone open up that much about their own little spot made me cry. Not, of course, in the “everything’s bad!” sort of way, but incredibly grateful that someone took the time to share something that special.
I feel that the small, sacred places need more attention. They often get overlooked because they aren’t great wildernesses or national parks or miles-long lengths of trail. They’re often the most vulnerable to development because who’s going to protect a half acre of grass and poison ivy in the middle of a suburb? Put a house or business there instead, or turn it into a carefully manicured park or community garden. While a home can give shelter and a garden can provide food, neither of these provide the same diversity of disorganized, beautifully independent life that the untamed scrub and trees can.
More importantly, they’re often the most accessible natural spots for children who are still developing their relationships with the nonhuman world. Most children can’t just go wandering into a state forest or desert trail, especially not on their own. But even with helicopter parents hovering and video games to distract, there are still kids who are allowed to roam their neighborhoods freely and without supervision. I often worry that, as a child of the 80s, I was of the last generation where kids stayed out all day and didn’t come home until dark, riding bikes and building forts and fishing in little meandering creeks. But there are still some who carry on that tradition, and the small, sacred places give them somewhere to go.
And those relationships formed so early carry on throughout a lifetime. It’s how so many of us who today fight to protect what wilderness remains got our start, our initial inspiration. The roots were sunk, for many, in those small, sacred places. Even for those who never followed an expressly nature-based spiritual path, the wonder and awe these places provoked was—and still is—nonetheless sacred.
So here’s what I’d ask of my fellow bloggers who are able, whether on WordPress or Blogger or Tumblr or Livejournal or wherever you blog: please, if you would, tell me (and your readership) about your own small, sacred places. Even if, like my small, sacred places, yours have long since been bulldozed and paved, write a memorial to them anyway. If it still hurts, let the writing be a place to release that pain. Write a post about any of the little fields and patches of woods, the tiny creeks and ponds full of minnows and crawdads, the often overlooked patches of nature that you grew up with. Tell us about the yard that you got to know so well, the grass and rocks and bugs. Don’t worry about that hike your family went on one year, or the brief visit to Yellowstone. Talk about the places you developed deep relationships with over time, whether as a child or later on. Illustrate with pictures, with videos, with whatever introduces the reader to these places the most.
Once you’ve shared these on your blog, please leave a link here. I’d like to collect them and then make a post later with links to all of them. And thank you for this; I’m looking forward to meeting your small, sacred places, and I hope others are as well.
I’ve posted this a long time ago but I think it’s relevant: http://realpagan.net/profiles/blogs/establishing-an-outdoors
Sadly, I can no longer go to that particular place since they’ve place beehives all around. At least it will no longer be littered!
I grew up and lived in a rural area, where it was all farmland and forest and marsh. My world was very much steeped in “nature” and wilderness. However, I went off to college, both areas in a relatively developed area. It always pained me that I didn’t have “wilderness” any longer. Through my first degree, I pushed it out of my mind, deciding that I would merely start a garden once I left, seeing it as a temporary pain, but after that degree, I grew a lot more attached to the landvaettir (as I returned for a time to my childhood home), and now, working on my second degree, it hurts to be so removed from wilderness and nature. Thankfully, by seeking it out, I’ve made good friendships with the landvaettir, here. There’s a copse of trees and a stream across the street, and it’s a rich world, despise it’s smallness. It’s very dirty–lot’s of trash from the road and litter (and it is sandwiched between the road and college dorms), so I very quickly took on the project to clean it. (My grandmother always took me on trash-picking walks when I was a child.) Sadly, today, I’m returning to my father’s house for a few weeks, otherwise I’d take the time to photograph and write a proper blog entry, but hopefully I will remember when I return. It’s a truly wonderful place. I even happened to run into a man and his son, who were building a wood lean-to, which they do in the summers, for camping purposes. It really made me happy that I was not the only one to enjoy and use this little forest. I’m amazed at how welcoming and receptive the land was, when I first started to form a connection. I had hoped (but not expected) to form such a friendly relationship, but it’s a truly great land, despite it’s smallness. It’s a gorgeous land, underneath the abuse and trash piled over it.
Reblogged this on The Infinite Battle and commented:
I wanted to share this, even though I am going on a small vacation back to my father’s for a few weeks. Hopefully, I will remember to post about the land that I visit and care for when I return, where the landvaettir are gorgeously receptive, protective, and welcoming. However, I second Lupa’s sentiment, for those to blog and talk about their small, sacred places. I had never thought to find a sacred place in a roadside copse full of litter, yet now I’m loathe to even go on vacation from it (as I am still not finished in cleaning the woods, and I will miss the landvaettir during my absence). I would love to see more talk on these places.
I wish I could photograph my two most sacred places. One is a shoals in Athens, Georgia that only select people knew how to get to. It was nestled between a small freeway and a subdivision, and required just enough of a walk that you weren’t likely to find it by chance. A beautiful and peaceful place, I hope it still exists.
The other one is in Ohio, in the Shawnee State Park Forest. It’s called Wolf’s Den Lake, and is accessible by one of the dirt ranger roads that turn off the main highway. I’m sure it’s still there, but still only a few people knew of it, all locals. The numbers increased somewhat over the years and there’s evidence of kids using it as a party spot, but most of the time when I go there, I’m alone.
Clearly, since I’m in Houston, both of these places are a bit out of reach of my camera. Alas.
Here you go, Lupa…and I even left out the Labyrinth, which is a whole ‘nother matter in “sacred”….these are some of my personal holy spaces.
Reblogged this on Breathing awake and commented:
I will be getting to this ASAP.
Thank you for the inspiration of your blog post, and gift for me of revisiting those awe filled places of my childhood.
Thank you 🙂 I’ll add the link here so I have it for later: http://circleinasquare.tumblr.com/post/51124483973/a-little-while-ago-lupa-from-therioshamanism-blog
Working on my response to this. 🙂
Got mine up! http://www.tygerwolfe.com/tae-small-sacred-places/
And Steve Hayes shares, also: http://khanya.wordpress.com/2009/09/21/holy-places-thin-places/
Terri in Joburg
Got mine here! http://creationsforchrist.deviantart.com/art/My-Sacred-Space-374259695
Here’s my post on the sacred sites at Camp Gaea. Don’t know if you got to see any when you spoke out there. If you make it out again I’ll give you a tour: http://blacklightmetaphysics.com/2013/05/30/bigger-sacred-places/
Just gathered up some of our photos of our most treasured smaller spaces… http://nuannaarpoq.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/our-sacred-small-spaces/
Here’s one of 2 on my blog about my little corner here:
Great Post! Thank you for encouraging the importance of ‘sacred spots’ and their meaning and affect on us. I only found your awesome post today but I must have felt the vibes when you wrote it because I wrote this blog and video about one of my sacred spots not too long ago. I hope you enjoy. http://learnloveheal.weebly.com/1/post/2013/06/one-of-my-sacred-spots.html