Local Sacred Spaces

I feel rather grounded in the rites and ways of my gods — that is, within the confines of a ritual structure, in a “created” sacred space. But it’s time to move beyond that, and seek out the influence of the gods in nature, in my city, to connect with the gods through the land itself.

I like this region, and I don’t plan to leave it. There are some places I have identified as sacred — the creek closest to me, the lakefront, the moraine — but the question is whether or not any of these places are sacred to my gods, or whether they are sacred and should be honoured in their own right.

The answer, I believe, is yes.

I sit on a rock at the creek’s edge writing the draft of this post. The creek is sacred, yes, but shall I call Her spirit Sínann, or Bóann? No, because this creek has Her own spirit, with a name I do not know yet. I feel close to the spirit here; She has offered me comfort several times. But if I wanted to honour Bóann, I believe I could come here as well. I would meet this creek spirit first, but with the right tools and mindset, Bóann’s myth would become accessible to me.

On the Summer Solstice, the day after our Grove’s ritual, I and two others sought out an appropriate place to take the rushes and flowers gathered for Manannán — either a high place, or a shore. One of the others suggested we could drive up to the moraine, but we ultimately chose the shore, down at the city’s lakefront park. There we walked along the path and found a craggy tree out a ways, water at its roots, with only a rock path to reach it. I walked barefoot around the rocks, placing the rushes at its roots. It was well-received. We plan to visit “the Manannán tree” in the future, and treat it as a local site sacred to Him.

The reason these sites are so important, to me at least, is they allow me to move my paganism outside of both the High Day ritual and the home. It’s not possible for me to have shrines for every god in the home, and I doubt the ancients did either. Instead, I will seek out the gods and spirits in nature, bringing their worship to Them in places They choose to reside.

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