By Deb Matlock
The magic of bird flight. The pure miracle of a small seed turning into a large tree. The intricate way a snake regulates her body temperature throughout the day. The way certain flowers are shaped to attract specific pollinators. A chance encounter with a person who changes our life for the better.
Sacred. So very sacred. So very infused with Spirit.
As the years go by, I continue to be astounded at how much goes on day in and day out that seems to defy rational explanation. Even falling back on adaptation as the explanation for things like an insect perfectly camouflaging into the leaves of a particular plant still leaves plenty of space for awe, admiration, and respect. It still leaves plenty of space to see the sacredness in the seemingly mundane.
According to the online dictionary, Dictionary.com, one of the several definitions of sacred is “regarded with reverence.” This perfectly aligns with what sacred means to me. Reverence for life and all its forms instills in me an ethic of respect and consideration. Why would I kill a spider in my kitchen window when I could instead marvel at his form, his ability to spin a web and suspend himself down several feet in mere seconds? Sacredness as a way of life can transform the world. I am utterly convinced of this truth.
Recently, I attended a virtual conference focusing on spirituality. The conference had several speakers of varying experience and orientation, and the focus was generally shamanic and nature-based. I was taken aback by speaker after speaker who would start their sessions by “opening sacred space” and “inviting in the helping spirits.” While I know this is often an approach taken by nature-based spiritual practitioners, it always makes me pause and question.
First, who are we as humans to “open up sacred space” when sacredness is literally everywhere around us all the time. All. The. Time. Does this simple attitude of scared space being something we create shift our daily perspectives and possibly our daily actions as well? I wonder if it would be more appropriate to speak of creating a deliberate space for a specific ceremony. This sort of activity is as old as humanity and often quite beautiful and profound. However, perhaps sacredness itself needs to be considered much more broadly. Of course, even the most meaningful ceremonies can be spontaneous and personal…and daily. More on that idea is available in this blog post: https://wild-rhythms.com/blog/2019/12/08/personal-ceremonies-authentic-connections-with-the-mystery/
Second, might we consider that the world of spirit is in constant connection with us and all life on Earth and is indeed involved in all our daily experiences? What if the spirit world does not need to be “called” per se, but rather simply noticed, acknowledged, and respected? The sense I get from these ceremonies where spirits are “called” and, even worse, “instructed” is that sacredness is something we must create and control. This sort of behavior has always struck me as sort of human-centered and even a bit egoic. My own spirit Helpers have advised me to abandon this practice in my work with them, favoring instead a constant companionship and co-creative quality.
I prefer to live in the philosophy considering sacred to exist everywhere, all the time, every day. This way of being in the world humbles me, keeps my heart open, and reminds me that I am but a small part of an exceptionally large and intricate mystery.
Deb Matlock grew up in the mountains of Colorado and is deeply committed to nurturing the connection between people, animals, earth, and spirit. She has spent twenty-five years working as a professional environmental and humane educator and naturalist. Additionally, Deb offers shamanic-style spiritual guidance, animal communication, nature connection workshops, and retreats through her business, Wild Rhythms. She is passionate about helping people find connection and deep spiritual meaning in their lives and in the places where they live. Deb holds a Master of Arts in Environmental Education from Prescott College and is pursuing her doctoral degree in environmental studies at Antioch University New England.
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