Sacred Spaces

A sacred space can take various forms; from buildings or locations sacred to religion, to our bodies themselves.

Sacred spaces radiate divine power, providing followers of specific religions a space where they can feel grounded and peaceful. Furthermore, sacred sites can also act as places where time seems to stand still.

Sense Of Awe

Sacred spaces elicit feelings of wonder and reverence in those who enter them, whether it’s the grandeur of an ancient cathedral, the serenity of a meditation retreat, or simply being among trees in a quiet forest.  The atmosphere in such spaces inspires spiritual energy and transcendence, drawing people closer to divinity, which in turn makes these places so special and distinct.

Sensational spaces often provoke feelings of awe. Historically, older sacred spaces seem more reverent with age.  For example, Stonehenge has grown more reverent over the years than when originally constructed. Modern instances include churches being used after a natural disaster, to help heal communities with social cohesion.

When discussing sacred spaces with others, it’s essential that we define what this term entails. Each person will have different viewpoints on what constitutes a sacred space. Respectful conversations allow opinions to surface, rather than forcing an agenda. A sacred space can take many forms: temples, temenoi, libraries or civic monuments are just a few examples.

Outside the traditional religious spaces, many outdoor environments can evoke feelings of awe for individuals. Redwood forests, sunsets along the coast, mountains and hills all can elicit this response in individuals. Furthermore, people have reported encountering sacredness even in more mundane spaces such as city parks, roadside memorials, and backyard gardens. Any space with a statue of angels or deities can create what are known in Celtic tradition as “thin places”. These spaces can invoke an environment in which one feels closeness to God.

Supernatural Connection

Sacred spaces make us feel connected to something greater than ourselves, whether through feelings of awe, or symbolizing that something bigger than yourself exists. From temples and church buildings to serene outdoor locations, sacred spaces form the basis of most religions around the globe. Their sacredness may come from either their structure itself, or from what happens within it.  This could be a physical activity like religious services, or psychological reactions such as bodily sensations and ritual performance.

Sacred spaces serve to organize space meaningfully in several ways, whether created intentionally for religious use like temples and temenois, or naturally occurring and culturally interpreted sites like mountains or rivers. Such sacred spaces often create actual and functional divisions in reality, while simultaneously serving as symbolic boundaries.

These spaces serve to stabilize and strengthen human relationships by creating an easily comprehendible center of social organization. A sacred place serves as a link between the timeless realm of the gods and more finite structures of human interactions and relationships.

Certain sacred spaces inspire a sense of spirituality by embodying sacred narratives. Buddhist viharas feature artwork depicting Buddha’s previous lives.  These images serve as reminders of core Buddhist values and beliefs. Christian churches and mosques may also display artwork depicting stories relevant to their faiths.

The Body

The body is an integral component of many sacred spaces. Religions in particular venerate worshippers whose bodies come to perform religious rituals at sacred sites. Some religious believers also hold these sites sacred by keeping relics of past generations of faith alive. This may be in the form of altars or gravestones holding bones belonging to those who died while practicing it. Human bodies provide us access to divine forces beyond themselves, through connecting humans to them supernatural realm.

As a place with both social and religious significance, sacred spaces provide space with meaningful organization. By connecting objective order of the universe to divine inspiration, sacred spaces foster meaningful human interactions, while providing grounding within an eternal system beyond individual choice or control.

Sacred spaces need not always be physical in nature. They can also exist within the realms of the intangible. For example, music, art, and literature have the power to transport us to a sacred realm, stirring our souls and providing a sense of transcendence. Moments of meditation, prayer, or deep introspection can create an inner sacred space, where individuals can connect with their inner selves or a higher power.

No matter if it be an altar, private statue, garden space or other venue where you connect to your spiritual side, sacred spaces provide an opportunity to feel connected with something larger than yourself and experience transcendence. They can also act as an anchor when feeling overwhelmed or anxious.


Sacred spaces create an experience of timeless peace for those who enter them, offering a respite from time’s pressures and anxiety. Such places may exist physically in the form of holy sites or temples.  They may even manifest physically through Tantric yoga practices. By providing such spaces in society, they act as anchors that connect past, present and future for its citizens.

An additional element of a sacred place is its imprint of narratives or stories associated with its use, such as tokens that commemorate events that happened there (as in a temple in Tibet where Buddha’s teachings and life are recounted), or through physical structures which represent major vertical divisions such as upperworld, earth and underworld.

No matter where it takes place, everyone needs sacred spaces where they can find peace in this hectic world. Each person decides where and how they use their sacred spaces. By exploring sacred spaces from history to present day, we can gain a better understanding of why these are such integral components of human lives.

Sacred spaces hold a special place in the hearts and minds of individuals across cultures and religions. Whether physical or intangible, these spaces offer a sanctuary for spiritual exploration, introspection, and connection. As we navigate the complexities of the modern world, it is essential to recognize the importance of preserving and cherishing these sacred spaces, both for ourselves and for future generations.

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