I have been multitasking and neglecting this blog for so long now, but finally found a little time to write out some ideas in order to get myself accountable to actually do the work. Sometimes life happens and our spiritual practices seem to be the first thing to fall to the wayside, but what’s truly important is to get back on the horse.
Today I want to write about creating an inner temple, what does it mean to hold a sacred space within oneself, some reasons why one would choose to do such a thing, and how to go about it. This reflection was brought by a number of funny “coincidences”, one of them being my discovery of the existence of Gobleki Tepe, an ancient temple structure found in contemporary Turkey. I stumbled upon this by reading Star.Ships: A Prehistory of the Spirits by Gordon White, in the context of doing research for a class I’m taking on Ancestral Star Wisdom. Without getting into a whole new topic in and of itself, I’ve been working on establishing a ritual practice that I repeat daily or at least weekly, and one of the obstacles I’ve faced is the matter of (lack of) space. Hence, the need for an inner temple.
But Rowan, you ask, isn’t it enough to have your apartment covered in tiny little shrines for your many deities and guardians? Why would you spend time and energy in building an inner temple, and how does that even work?
Well, if you’ve known me for more than a minute you know that I read a lot. I read everything that falls into my hands. I read for fun, when I’m stressed, when I want to escape, when I’m happy and relaxed, and this idea came to me through one of the books I’m working on finishing. And before that, back at the beginning of my practice, I remember reading about establishing your own place in the astral, with the advantage of being able to furnish that place and equip it with anything you need that you might not be able to have in the physical ordinary realm (fancy runes and bone sets? a working fireplace for burning offerings? the sky is the limit).
The TLDR; version is: you can build an inner temple because it’s convenient, or it’s something you’re interested in, or because you’re in the broom closet and you can’t risk being found out. All you need is some practice with visualization and strong intent behind your purpose, but I’m not going to lie, trance is where it would be the most beneficial state to manifest and access this space. With trance comes added protection (some folks ward their place, or cast a circle, invoke the quarters and ancestors or deities, etc.) and other tools like music or drumming or other cues that the practitioner has developed to reach that state.
The steps for building the temple are as complex or a simple as one would require. When I imagined my first place I focused on a cabin where I could go to during meditation. I used a drum track on my phone and imagined the place into being. It’s been useful to me as a meeting place and for one specific working where I needed a roaring fire and space for dancing, but now I’m looking to build a place from scratch.
What I would do now that I know more about the importance of ritual:
- When choosing a physical place: Ask the spirit of the place for permission first. If you receive a no (could be a gut feeling, a chilling breeze, any other sign) move along. You can try a (biodegradable) offering and try again at some point in the future. Repeat until you find your spot, or if you’re doing it like I’m doing it, find a place where you find yourself comfortable in and set the intention of building that temple in your body, in your heart center.
- Cleanse and consecrate the space that is going to be used. You may have a spot in your backyard, or at a local park, that you frequent and that you’d like to be a bridge between your inner and outer space. Cleanse with sound, with your breath, with light, whatever you feel works for you. Just don’t leave any remains that could light a fire or pollute the place.
- Ground yourself and focus on harnessing the energy of the Earth and the sky (or however you do it in your tradition) to visualize the building of the temple step by step. If it’s too taxing you’re probably using too much of your own energy instead of harnessing the power of the earth and sky. Stop, ground self in gratitude, and try again in the future.
- Ask any guides of yours to establish themselves in a position within the temple, for example, if you work with the Kemetic pantheon and you work with Anpu, it would be a good idea to ask him to guard the door if he’s willing. If you don’t work with deities, but you work with angels, you could ask them to inhabit their specific corners according to their elemental correspondences, or with animal guides, etc.
- Once you’ve worked on the structure and who goes where, you could work on building the innermost chambers where only you are allowed in. This holy place is only for you and it can be dedicated to your secrets, your heart, and if you work with any specific energy or deity, you can also dedicate this space to them. The rest of the temple can be used for workings, prayer, etc., but the innermost chamber could be used for quiet devotion. Or whatever you feel like, it’s your temple.
I don’t know if this makes any sense, but this is where I am at. In the Union of Isis and Thoth the temple they built was first birthed energetically into being, which of course, if it’s how you’d chose to do it can also be an option. Having gone through childbirth I’d rather choose a different method if I can help it, but that’s just me 😛
Anyway, I hope this was interesting at least, and I hope to update this blog sooner rather than later.