Sacred space has been a consistency in my life. No matter what my problems were, what my situation was, and even no matter what my age, I have unconsciously created or sought out sacred space. It is where I go to get comfort or calm, center myself, and connect with the Goddess. It can be a natural setting or a shelf I decorated. It doesn’t matter what it is, because what matters is the feeling you get being there. If looking at it feels good, makes you feel like you’ve connected, then chances are you’ve found a sacred space that works for you.
During the first 33 years of my life, I felt tossed about like foam on the surf. I reacted to everything and understood nothing but my anger and impatience. I’ve spent the last ten years working on the ability to respond, as opposed to react, and seeking insight into my spiritual and emotional wounds. Taking haven in sacred space has made that process possible.
Before I allowed the Goddess to truly install herself in my heart, I went to the ocean to connect with Her. I’ve always resided close to a large, living body of water. First, it was the Connecticut coastline, where the power of the Atlantic is muted by Long Island Sound. Then, it was the crisp, cold Pacific Ocean on the California Coast, where nothing blocks the sound of waves crashing on the shore. Living near water has always been important to me, and in times of turmoil, the ocean was my refuge, the place where I went to recharge my batteries.
My partner, Leslie, and I have been together for almost 25 years. In 1995, we lived in San Francisco, and her mother, who’d been with us for 8 years, died of lung cancer. She was at California Pacific Medical Center, and we were there with her day after day, as she struggled with the cancer’s invasion of her body, and we struggled with hospital administration. Many times, we found ourselves driving down to Ocean Beach, taking our fill of its healing properties, positive ions, and generally decompressing. In fact, it was there that we found our angel, Casey, a golden retriever, who would be our savior after Leslie’s mother died, when we desperately needed someone to take care of in our transition. Casey, one of the most significant animal totems and signposts in our life, was a gift from the Ocean, a gift from the Goddess, at a time when we needed one the most. We didn't know it then, but Casey's work guarding over us, her human charges, had only just begun.
In 2000, when the office and on-going projects pushed my endurance to the limit, and I was exhausted and sick with bronchitis, I found Her comfort on the coastline in Malibu, California. Over the fourth of July holiday, we stayed in a cabin that faced the water just like the movie stars. It was fabulously fancy. I wrote in my journal late at night outside on the deck, by the light of the moon, and grew tired as the waves sang their lullaby. I woke the next day feeling those waves as they rumbled an insistent baritone in my chest, and a mob of pelicans fed raucously over the ocean, just 50 yards from where I slept. By the end of that trip, I was leaving offerings to the Goddess on the deck, which seemed the natural thing to do. Her gift to me then was the word delegate, which was to be my challenge in the workplace as I grew to understand the power of teamwork.
In this, the Goddess led me to one of my life’s charges. I have an understanding of how individuals can unite and produce something that no individual can accomplish alone. As a consequence, I am very confident in this area, and instill confidence in those around me. My charge is to help individuals achieve their full potential by awakening their skills and natural abilities. Initially, this manifested in the work place, but it has since manifested in other areas of my life, the most important of which is at home with my beloved Leslie and our daughter. This generous gift from Mother leaves me grateful and humbled.
By far the most sacred ocean spot I’ve visited is Pescadero Beach in Northern California. I cherish all of my experiences with the Great Mother at the ocean, but She feels more alive to me here than any place else. Once, while picnicking with my family, I said to my daughter, “Do you see Mother Nature at work here, Elizabeth?” And her answer, completely innocent at three years old was, “Boy, she sure is getting everything wet!” I began my personal relationship with the Goddess here, by speaking to her out loud. I’ve asked Her for a million blessings here, and felt completely safe here. I’ve used Her bounty in crafts, projects, and rituals in a way that celebrates her abundance, but is respectful of her limited resources. I’ve sat on Her cool sand, with my back against the solid rocks, and closed my eyes in meditation. The sound of the sea, its constant motion and sighing, is Her breathing. The waves pounding on the shore is Her heartbeat, synchronizing with my own until the profundity is too much to bear and I must open my eyes once again.
Through nature, the Goddess embraces me with her thousand arms at the ocean, and I, her child, am at peace there, content in the palm of Her hand ... my sacred space.
These crafts were made in November 2005 by Elementary School Students in Millbrae, California. Leslie and I were co-chairpersons on a school project called "The Snowflake Shop", wherein the kids spent two days in craft workshops making the items that would be purchased in the The Snowflake Shop as Christmas Gifts. They created, among other things, these paper weights. The rocks are from Pescadero Beach in Northern California.
FULL MOON ALTAR created in August 2007.
Mothers fill our lives with love.
Altar space honoring memories of Stregheria in ancient Italy.
Note: The photo above, "Pescadero Beach" is copywritten by Leslie Faber in 2005. All rights reserved.