Cathedral facade, looking up towards the sky. Source: Shutterstock
Cathedral facade, looking up towards the sky. Source: Shutterstock

Sacred space is a place where we can retreat from the demands of the physical world and nurture our spiritual side. It allows us to refresh our essence, return to the world renewed, and expand our experience throughout the other areas of our lives. Entering into sacred space is never to be taken lightly, as it allows us to transcend the worries of our daily lives and enter into something timeless and pure. Divinity resides in each of us and allowing our spirits to rest in the divine allows us spiritual refreshment that we as humans so desperately need.

Whenever you find yourself overwhelmed with sadness, despair, or frustration, entering into a sacred space will fill your spirit. The respite from the daily grind does wonders whether or not you have a particular set of beliefs or not; the meditation, quiet contemplation, and solitude is essential for everyone.

Sacred Architecture

Humans have created sacred space from the earliest days of humanity. Ancient Egyptians constructed elaborate tombs for their pharaohs and temples honoring their Gods and Goddesses. The ancient peoples of Britain erected Stonehenge, whose purpose still eludes us today. The Greeks built the Parthenon in honor of Athena, the Goddess of War and Wisdom. There are countless other structures found throughout the world from ancient times to today.

Physical Features of Sacred Space

To signify the act of stepping into a spiritual place, there are often elaborate doorways, entrances, and traditions that are upheld when entering into a temple, church, or mosque. In Catholicism, people entering the cathedral dip their finger in holy water and make the sign of the cross. In Buddhist temples, the shoes are removed and women cover their hair with a scarf.

Soaring ceilings and columns are a common feature as are statues, artwork, and carvings throughout the sacred space to represent religious themes and to evoke a sense of awe in the pilgrim or worshipper.

However, not all sacred space is devoted to large, ornate spaces. Personal, private shrines and alters exist in the homes of many. Others view gardens, nature, and the outdoors as the only sacred space they ever need. Ancient peoples often attributed certain landscape features, such as waterfalls, streams, rivers, and caves as the dwelling places of Gods, nymphs, woodland spirits, fairies, and other spiritual beings. Often, religious building were eventually built on or near these special places.

Sacred Geometry

Religious structures often employ the use of sacred geometry, which symbolizes the method in which the world was created. Geometric shapes found in nature, such as honeycombs and shells, are considered as sacred shapes. Mandalas, which are a circle within a square, have significant meanings in Hinduism and Buddhism symbolizing the Universe and representing wholeness.

Iconography

Iconography refers to the symbolic meanings found in religious art. This includes paintings, mosaics, statues, carvings, and other artworks. Typical subject matter includes religious figures, saints, scenes from religious texts, and other religious themes. The study of these works of art can increase the meaning and understanding of sacred space.

Sacred Symbols

Sacred symbols have existed since the dawn of humanity. Venus figurines were considered as fertility symbols to help in pregnancies. Spirals represent cycles, rebirth, and eternity. Circles represent the cycle of life, death, and rebirth as well as the seasons. The cross represents Jesus’ sacrifice. Buddha represents the path to enlightenment. Yin and Yang represent the balance of male and female energies. The Egyptian Ankh represents eternal life. The Celtic triquetra represents the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, or alternatively as the Maiden, the Mother, and the Crone. The lotus represents spiritual awakening and enlightenment.

There are countless symbols found throughout the faiths in the world. Do some research to find out the special meanings of symbols found in your culture. Exploring the symbolism and beauty of cultures different from yours also enhances appreciation and understanding of your fellow human beings. Knowing the meaning behind unfamiliar images and symbols helps us to realize that we often value similar ideology, such as love, forgiveness, and helping others.

3D Printed Temples and Cathedrals

WhiteClouds has a selection of 3D printed temples and cathedrals for you to choose from. You can also upload a file of a religious structure that you would like to have in your home and we will 3D print it, ship it, and have it delivered to your home.

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