On Sacred Places

I’ve been reading Geosophia by Jake Stratton Kent over the last few weeks and came across this passage. It is, I think, a really well written piece about working with your regional locality as an expression of your mythic landscape. We’ve been covering this in workshops and training sessions for years, so this passage jumped out of the chapter at me, and I thought I’d share it here.

It is only if we permit it that the secularized landscape of the modern world is emptied of myth and magic. After all, this is not the inevitable impinging of the supposedly real world on our fantasy life; on the contrary, an irreparable separation of the inner and outer worlds is both unreal and undesired. Mountains, burial mounds, crossroads, monuments, graves, trees, streams, and rivers were ancient locations of the numinous. They are no less full of power today, if we but reclaim them. If communities and individuals have lost the sense of power attached to places- a very real loss- nevertheless the magician’s work requires them: this crossroads for offerings to Hecate or the spirits of the Underworld, this hollow tree to hide and isolate the image of a foe, this mountain, cave, or lake to court the favor of the Otherworld. More routine tasks too, disposal of ritual by-products and remnants, cutting of herbs and gathering water at auspicious places, or rods at suitable ruins, cemeteries &c. This extends even to suitable stores for obtaining mace, olive oil and other sundries, not to mention the gathering of dirt or clay from banks, police-stations, prisons &c. Employ mythic thinking to invest the mundane with the magical.

The magician looks about them and sees the magical potential in all things. Has this river no nymph, this mound no hero, this mountain no god? Perhaps under no name known today, but the magician is- like a second Adam- replete with the Power of Naming. Many locations have magical uses or associations, awaiting our use of mythic language. If, say, a prehistoric burial mound is associated with no name known now, then ask your spirits which of them or their companions and allies dwells there. What matter if no-one called the resident by this name before? Names change, but the ancient magic continues regardless. This extends to new places as much as old or rural ones; to any place with meaning for you. Reclaim the landscape, reinvest it with power and significance; be aware of the innate power and significance inherent in every place.

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