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A Garden Shed for a Temple
an article by Gillie Whitewolf

It would be wonderful to have my own sacred little space situated in the lap of Nature - perhaps approached along a barely visible path amid an array of wild flowers and rambling brambles, through a whispering forest of magical trees teeming with wildlife.... the path opens out to a small clearing, a huge willow with graceful limbs tickling the surface of a sparkling river, a perfectly situated natural slab of rock lends itself as my altar. Sublime peace and quiet seranaded by my extended family of birds, mammals, insects... Perhaps if I follow the river around the bend to where it opens out ever so slightly I will come across my secluded cave....

Altar Well, it's a beautiful place to go to in my mind - and perhaps one day I will find that sacred place. But until I do I have my shed at the bottom of our [not so large] garden. Why the garden shed? Our house is a mid-terrace, cosy little home with cats, and as I teach from home the [open-plan] downstairs doesn't really have anywhere private, and upstairs is a bedroom and a studio / study [and to be honest, we're not the tidiest of people - let's just say our home is very creative and 'lived-in']. Which only leaves the garden, overlooked by neighbouring gardens.... But the little brick shed is partially obscured with ivy making it perfect for hiding away!
Until a few years ago the shed was filled with...well, typical garden shed stuff [along with an extraordinary number of empty paint pots left by the previous owner, and an abandoned shopping trolley!] and was home to a spider city or three! My partner bravely took on the job of emptying the rubbish, moving on the residents [ask him about the HUGE momma spider with her bodyguards!] and filling up the holes. The walls, ceiling and floor were scrubbed clean with a herbal infusion of rosemary, tea-tree, lavender, sage, thyme and peppermint - and the room smudged extensively with rosemary and sage. The few more hardened spiders were asked to kindly move on. The walls and floor were painted and my partner made a new door - complete with an athame shaped handle. I started transforming the space with a rug, a wooden chest to store candles and tools in, a shelf for favourite ornaments, hooks to hold lanterns, curtains for extra privacy, and a gorgeous small wood-root table to serve as my altar. Shoes are always left outside, the floor swept regularly and the altar kept clean and tidy.
And so a small, cluttered, dusty ol' brick shed was transformed into a wonderfully peaceful, timeless space perfect for meditation and magical workings. It may not be at the end of a rambling walk through the middle-of-nowhere [although our garden is a little on the wild-side], but it is my own little Sacred Space - and on the warmer days and nights I can always prop the door open, close my eyes and journey...

It's easy to create your own sacred space - it doesn't have to be an entire room, plenty of people choose the hearth as their altar, or find a small corner of the room or garden, although having an entire room [or shed] does mean that the space can be that much more private and personal. What matters most is that the space is somewhere you can relax and keep sacred, uncluttered by day-to-day life. Somewhere you can feel safe to meditate, perform rituals and magical workings. It doesn't even matter what you place in your Sacred Space - whatever feels appropriate to you and your beliefs is the best approach. I have an altar, but it's not set out in any specific manner, nor is it in the North [as seems to be the norm for many paths].

Wherever you create your Sacred Space, and however you choose to decorate it, keep it sacred by treating it with respect - leave your day-to-day stresses and worries at the threshold, and keep it clean and free from clutter.

Samhain Ritual
Samhain 2004


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