Creating Sacred Space
The Experience of Sacred Space makes possible the “founding of the world”:
where the sacred Manifests itself in space, the real unveils itself,
and the world comes into existence
… Mircea Eliade …
What is Sacred Space?
Read and re-read the quote above. Take it into your space of meditation. Analyze, dissect and observe it from all angles, perspectives and meaning. Try to feel the weight and breath of its meaning and allow the words to gently wash over you. Digest it and then simply sit with the feeling of satiety its inner essence provides. And, once you have done these things, redo them, one by one. Therein you will find the wholeness and gnosis of meaning that is contained within the sacred space you have so intensely and with such devotion created around those words.
This month we explore….
Methods of Creating Sacred Space and Pentagram Practice 101: Part Two
Pentagrams and Calling the Energies of the Quarters
If you look in any book on magickal practice or on the internet and you will quite easily find all manner of prose for calling or inviting the energies of the cardinal quarters into your sacred space. The positive in this is that it gives a variety of personalization and adaptation to you to use as points of comparison for your own versions suited specifically to your working. This very benefit is also the biggest detriment. Simply reciting a call to the energies because you thought it was powerful, well written or sounded very mysterious and “witchy” is reckless. Moreover, words – more so, when spoken in ritual have Great and lasting power. So, before you invite anything into your ritual space take the time to get to KNOW concretely, accurately and precisely what those alluring words mean; WHAT types of energies and beings are being asked to attend and assist and WHY. Then, once you have familiarized yourself with what is being used, decide if those calls are correct for what you wish to accomplish. So, with those words of caution out of the way, where do you choose your space of personal resonance? If you are a novice to the work, begin with what you already know something about, namely, the basics dynamics and qualities of the four alchemical elements as they are found in nature. We know the generalities of each:
East = Air = Mind
South = Fire = Will, Desire and Action
West = Water = Emotions, Intuition and Flow
North = Earth = Our physical bodies, Foundations and Fertility
In magickal practice the elements are one of the key components in ritual; serving as the quarter gateways and at times the underlying principle of focus for the intent of the ritual. Quarter calls invoke or call into ritual space the energies of each of the four foundational elements. Each of the quarters is opened and closed by inscribing a pentagram.
As you see depicted in the image above each of the points of the pentagram is associated with a particular element. Typically, when you begin the ritual and call in the energies of the element, you will inscribe a pentagram that begins at the point of Spirit (see invoking below) and ends at Earth. This signifies a drawing into the manifest realm the energies and attributes if the Divine and Higher worlds. When ending the ritual and thanking and releasing the energies of the elements back to their realms the pentagram is drawn from the point of Earth (see banishing below) and returning back to the realm of the Divine.
Pentagram vs. Pentacle
You will often see the terms “Pentagram” and “Pentacle” used interchangeably in discourse. The Pentagram is the basic geometric pattern of a five-pointed star. Additionally, because it is a geometric pattern it may not always be associated with the alchemical elements, depending on the spiritual practice of application. By its very nature, the five points indicate a place of disruption and transformation, which is partially the reason for its incorporation into creating sacred space, warding/protection, spell work and other magickal pursuits.
A Pentacle incorporates two geometric patterns-the Pentagram and the Circle. A circle implies the unified cycle or whole of nature and the reciprocity of continuation held in a never-ending patterning and rhythm. You will often see the choice of a pentacle for amulets, and the addition of scribing the circle of infinite continuity around the pentagram in casting or opening quarter gates. When used in the construct of opening quarters, the scribing of the circle typically begins from the tip of the last point reached in the scribing of the pentagram and flows into the circle; scribing it in a clockwise (doesil) pattern. In this way you are calling a potent source of alchemical transformation (the Pentagram) and anchoring it in the Circle of infinite form and formlessness.
In Creation of the Invoking Pentagram:
The Earth pentagram is the most widely used in creation of sacred space, and is placed at each of the Quarter gates as it is compatible with all. But I would invite you to practice and experiment with the other elemental pentagrams as well. There are subtle differences to each and when used with other correspondences and attributes in support of a specific type of working, can be very effective in helping to move the energy specifically where it is needed. For the sake of consistency, you should use all the variations at each of their respective Gates (Water for Water, Earth for Earth, Fire for Fire and Air for Air). And not simply throw in one or two that are quarter specific and the rest Earth. Likewise, it would not be advisable to use all of one element unless you have a clear understanding of the sub-elements of each and can skillfully, call to that specific difference.
One of the ways I use to remember the order of the scribing is to create a story about the energies as they flow one to the other. This also helps to reinforce the essence and attributes of each of the elements taken singularly and then applied as a whole to open a gate or create sacred space.
Invoking Earth Pentagram
This is what I hold as intention as I scribe the Invoking Pentagram.
SPIRIT drawn to
EARTH infused with love
WATER enriched by knowledge
AIR readied for the will and action of
FIRE reaching upwards
Banishing Earth Pentagram
This is what I hold as intention as I scribe the Banishing Pentagram.
EARTH moves back to
SPIRIT purified by
FIRE open to the inspiration/knowledge of
AIR transformed by the love and intuition of
WATER being the flow of Divine manifestation
Read more about Pentagrams and Pentacles here:
The Magickal Pen Blog Post: The Pentagram/Pentacle
What are we calling into our circle?
When we invite the elements to be present in our ritual space we are calling to the pure essence of that particular energy’s qualities to blend and integrate into a whole. Just as the elements are within our physical bodies and the physical world we inhabit so too are the refined essences and beings of those realms within the space of the magickal circle and the planes to which it has risen.
Elemental Kings, Elementals, Archangels and other beings will be discussed more next month; but in brief it is not advisable to call into the space the elementals or their Kings in beginning magick practice. Just as you would not invite someone you barely know to an intimate evening of activities, you should not call into your working magickal space any energies with which you are not familiar, have not researched thoroughly and have had practice in working with. To do so with intent towards magickal outcome could have negative implications if the energy being called is not aligned with what you had in mind.
Calling/Opening the Quarters: The Who and What
The Elemental Year: Aligning the Parts of SELF
available at: http://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html
About the Author:
Robin Fennelly is a Third Degree Initiate within The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition and serves as High Priestess of Coven of the Mystic Path, the 12th Coven within the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition. She teaches and facilitates classes for the Pagan Experience Study Group that serves as foundation for membership within Coven of the Mystic Path.
Her spiritual journey is strongly rooted in both Eastern philosophy and the Western Magickal systems from which she has formed a core foundation that is diverse in knowledge and rich in spiritual practice. A life-long learner, her practice has evolved from the classical and philosophical teachings of books, practical experience and enrichment of this knowledge base by attending workshops of various spiritual traditions presented by master teachers.
Robin formally came to the Wiccan path in 1994. Following practice as a solitary for 2 years, she dedicated to Oak and Willow Coven of The Assembly of the Sacred Wheel Tradition in November of 1996. She received her 1st, 2nd and finally 3rd degrees within the Assembly Tradition and has served as High Priestess of Oak and Willow since Samhain of 2001.
As a teacher of esoteric and magickal studies she has used Energetic Anatomy, Tarot, Astrology, Hermetic Qabala, Eastern Philosophy, and Numerology as the foundations of her diverse selection of workshops and writings for more than 25 years. Exploration of varied energetic protocol has been the focus of her work for some time now and the information gained through direct experience informs all of her magickal and spiritual work.
Robin’s writings have been featured online, and in print Internationally. She has authored several books incorporating her unique style of writing making use of poetry, prose and pathworking to enhance the concepts presented. She has taught extensively throughout the Pagan community, including Sacred Space Conference, Spring Magick, Between the Worlds Interfaith Conference and Free Spirit Gathering Festival this Summer. Her most recent project is hosting an online blogging community entitled The Pagan Experience.
Robin is the owner of Holistic Embrace providing services for mind, body and spirit such as Tarot readings, Astrology reports, Spiritual Guidance and other related offerings. She lives in Eastern Pennsylvania and her life is blessed by a 40+- year marriage, five children and the opportunity to work in the field of public education.
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 1 It’s Written in the Stars-Astrology
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 2 Poetry of the Spheres-Qabalah
The Inner Chamber, Vol. 3 Awakening the Paths-Qabalah
The Light of SELF: Consciousness, Spiritual Practice and Learning to Breathe
Magickal Verse: A Collection of Poetry and Prose
A Year of Gaia: The Eternal Cord
The Elemental Year: Aligning the Elements of SELF
Temple of the Sun and Moon: Luminous Devotions
Sleeping with the Goddess: Nights of Devotion
A Weekly Reflection: Musings for the Year
The Magickal Pen: A Collection of Esoteric Writings
The Enchanted Gate: Musings on the Magick of the Natural World
For more info: http://www.robinfennelly.com/books.html
Robin’s Website: www.robinfennelly.com
Coven of the Mystic Path, ASW: www.covenofthemysticpath.org