Sacredness. This is what we have lost. It’s not the only thing to have been mislaid on the long, dry road to the 21st century, but it’s pivotal. Without it, all is cheap and lacklustre. Without it, we are floundering in the lowest, most profane dimensions of ourselves. Nothing satisfies us. Nothing has value. The beautiful garden of our planet, the animals and plants we eat, sex, other human beings, all appear a type of consumable junk with no intrinsic value other than the temporary gratification they afford us.
When something is sacred it is seen as holy, possessing divinity. It is so valuable it becomes inviolable.
Mud Mountain was sacred to me. Each bud of each flower, each dew drop, each ant and each owl cry meant something to me. Each fold in each leaf, each tree branch, each vegetable I grew was handled with care. There were many personal reasons for my seclusion up there in the Turkish hills, but the sacredness of my land was one of them. I wanted to protect it from a cohort of humans who couldn’t see its preciousness, who seemed only to want to devour it as some type of tourist attraction.
Sacredness. The interesting thing about sacredness is that it is only when we bestow it upon something else, that we are blessed by it. It is a gift from our souls to the world, which is then magnified through matter and showered back a hundredfold upon us. Then we become sacred. And to feel sacred is to embody the highest dimension our ourselves. We become true sovereigns of our worlds.
All this has come to me in Spain. Northern Spain. Where my quest to find my new sacred space is unfolding.
As I drove over the Pyrenees and along the chiselled cliffs of the Bay of Biscay, the land grew a lush plumage of grass and ferns. My van was a white ship rising and falling over a green, velvet sea. I clutched four emblems in my hands. Four clues I had gleaned from my journey through France: Caves, church bells, running water, and a certain angle of golden sunlight. These emblems became my totems. They became sacred. And sure enough, that sacredness illuminated a trail.
Parking on precipices, in streets, on beaches, I felt the texture of each region. The rocky aloofness of the Basque country, the green congeniality of Cantabria, the mountainous drama of Asturias. I revisited places from my first trip here in winter to see if they held messages for me. Sometimes they did. Sometimes they didn’t. Caves called out to me left, right and centre. I hid in their darkened bellies sensing my thoughts heard, and my emotions felt. It felt sacred.
The Atlantic drew me to her. The smell of her intoxicated me, the surf washed me clean. Meditating, I pulled the wisest, most mystical parts of me to the fore. And the land began speaking.
It was then of course, that I happened upon the sacred space.
I cannot name it, and nor do I need to. There are enough sacred spaces for everyone. Vortexes of the Earth’s power exist all over the planet. Everywhere. Even in cities. This wasn’t a city, though. I was wandering through a wet Asturian forest, birds trilling and whooping as though I were in the Amazon. It was early. Mud oozed. It was a forager’s delight. Nettles, wild mint, clover, chickweed, plantain and moss burst from the ground and rocks. Mushroom caps pushed out of from dead leaves. A small river looped in and out, and I followed it to the sea.
On reaching a bluff, I pulled off my shoes. As my toes sank into the cool sand, the waves embraced the rocks. To the right of me three enormous openings beckoned from a rock face. Walking over, I entered one of them, soon finding myself in a wide, nobbled cave complex. One cave. Three openings. And through those openings I once again spied the wisest parts of me, this time reflected in the rocks.
When finally I waded out of the cave and into the silver of evening, a brew of mist was rising from the sea. All at once a flock of gulls rose around me, thirty of more of them, floating on the evening air. They circled me, feathered kites bobbing, rising, falling, rising. And I wept. For how can anything be this exquisite?
This is not my land of course. This is not my own special place. But it is a sacred space. Sacred spaces sing. Because they have been neither polluted nor violated, they reach out and embrace. They whisper. They inspire.
Galloping back to my van, I waited. For I can sense the vibration of a place simply by the words it drops into my mind. I opened my laptop, and let my fingers touch the keyboard. Magic surged through me. I reeled from the force of it. And from that mysterious soup that forms when human consciousness meets Mother Earth, this post spontaneously emerged.
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Atulya K Bingham
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