Making a Sacred Space Within Your Home
What’s a sacred space? Traditionally, you’d think of it as the local parish church or a temple — places where you feel a close connection with the divine. But a sacred space can be anything and anywhere: It could be your home garden, a spot by the lake, or even a quiet nook in your home.
So while we’re trying to keep up with places of worship closing due to the pandemic, we can find our own ways of seeking worship and refuge. You can turn a part of your home into your personal sacred space, whether it be an unused room or a plain corner. This way, you get to put yourself in the proper mindset of prayer and meditation — and be reminded that the divine is indeed everywhere, and they’re always close to us.
Building Your Sacred Space
Remember that your sacred space can serve more than one purpose. You use it mainly for prayer, of course, but it can also be a personal interior design project. Think of it as a way to introspect in different ways.
Choose a good spot in your home
Do you have a spare room, an attic? A nook that needs some refurbishing? A coffee table that needs some touching up? All of these have the potential to be your spiritual space.
There are no rules here, of course — feel free to choose whatever “feels right” for you. But if you want to maximize the potential of your little space, consider the following:
- The openness of the area. Depending on you, you may want your spiritual room or corner to be as private as possible. You may want little to no noise and sensory distractions. On the other hand, if you’re openly proud of your faith, you'd want to turn your sacred space into a communal area. It can be a place where others can gather with you in worship and meditation.
- Keeping the space clean. The cliché goes: “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” Perhaps there’s a sliver of truth to this maxim. Studies show that clean, uncluttered spaces have a tremendous effect on a person’s mental wellbeing: It helps eliminate tension, irritability, and other negative emotions. Getting yourself in a good headspace through order and cleanliness is supremely vital in keeping a religious routine.
- Clearing your space with fresh air. Aside from being free of clutter and physical distractions, your area should be cleansed and purified with the very air you breathe. You can set up your spiritual space in rooms or nooks near windows, where there would be an abundance of sunlight and fresh air. Nature is commonly associated with the divine, so having natural elements around you will keep the ambiance of sacredness.
Create your personal altar or shrine
A home altar or shrine is a good way to make your faith and spirituality feel more concrete. When you put in personally symbolic items, the repurposed surface will serve as a beautiful reminder of your faith. Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re putting your spiritual surface together.
1. Display items that are meaningful to you
Since this is an altar, make sure every item you’ll place on the surface has meaning. It can either be tokens from your religion — a crucifix or a statue of Buddha — or more personal keepsakes, like a piece of jewelry. The idea is to make the space as spiritual as possible. When you add “pieces” of your spirit and faith, your space becomes infinitely more purposeful.
2. Add plants, flowers, and scents — things that stimulate the senses
Nature, yet again, plays an important role in your space. When you add plants or flowers, you add life to your altar. Not only do they make beautiful decorations in any space, but they also remind you to stick to a routine. Plants and flowers are things to care for; therefore, you’ll be spending some time on your altar daily to make sure they remain tended to.
And just like in other places of worship, add some scents to your altar or shrine — think incense sticks, scented candles, and even plants. What mood or atmosphere would you want your spiritual space to exude? For a sense of tranquility, put sprigs of lavender on your little surface. And if you want to promote a meditative state of mind, try scents with chamomile, bergamot, and geranium.
Add artworks to make it extra special
Art is powerfully healing. Combined with faith, the experience becomes intensely personal. If your sacred space achieves this experience, then it has served its ultimate purpose. Consider putting beautiful works of art in your room or corner — it stimulates the mind and helps you ruminate on your faith and its teachings.
You might want something like Him by Norris Yim or Sacred Heart of Jesus by Claudia Talavera — both beautiful abstract portraits of Christ. Him is more solemn: If you want your sacred space to be more poignant and introspective, go for such pieces. But if you want joyful reminders of your faith, go for Sacred Heart of Jesus — vibrance and color would bring more “life” into the room.
On the other hand, you can opt for something more meditative like Herri Susanto’s Peace. This scenic work of art, which features a monk amidst the setting sun of a rocky cliffside, would help you enter a state of repose and restfulness.
So it all comes down to how you want your sacred space to be. Your spiritual corner doesn’t require a specific goal or purpose — faith requires no justification — but you can be surprised at how much it would help you. At a time where it’s difficult to practice our traditions the way we used to, the next best thing is to create a space where we can keep ourselves spiritually sound and healthy.