Sitting within a small cathedral of trees, I feel the presence of God. Trees arch overhead with stained glass leaves in the colors of green and early autumn. Above the trees’ crown of gently swaying leaves, the sun sails serenely through white clouds and blue sky.
The parishioners of this cathedral are shy, hidden birds singing sweet songs to God. Squirrels scamper down the trees, genuflecting with their bushy tails before Mother Earth’s autumn leaf-covered altar.
Behind me in a tree, I hear a soft tapping sound. Perhaps it is a woodpecker or maybe a faerie cobbler working on a shoe.
Here in God’s cathedral of trees is the sacred mystery of Creation. Here among the trees is the presence of God.
Sometimes we may find ourselves in an in-between place. In this place, human noises fade to a low murmur, then disappear. Breezes rattle leaves softly. Bird songs become more lovely. A crow cawing pauses, takes a breath, and begins to sing a low, lovely song that breaks your heart, as it touches your soul with its haunting melody.
Colors are brighter. The sky is more blue. The leaves and grass are a brighter green. Standing still, you can feel the Earth hum beneath your feet.
A faerie passing by greets you with a wave. Surprised, you wave back, and for a few moments, magic dances along your skin in the brisk, enchanted air, before you are pulled back into the mundane world. Still, the faint touch of magic remains with you, like a hot spice lingering on your tongue.
What makes a place sacred? What makes it holy? Is it a merger between mystical ley lines that come together at a specific location? Is it a geographic feature of the terrain? Could it be a look or feel to the land that touches the soul of the observer? Is it a human imprint upon the land that makes a place sacred or holy?
Yes, to all of the above. All of these criteria can make a place sacred or holy. In fact, there are two well-known holy places that come first to my mind. One is the holy city of Jerusalem, while the other is the ancient and mysterious site of Glastonbury in Britain. There are, of course, literally thousands of other sacred holy places, but these two places are the most important ones for me.
Can other places that are much smaller and not so well known (if known at all) still be considered sacred? Yes, I believe so. In fact, there are hidden places like our own gardens or backyards which may not have all, or even any, of the usual requirements shared by many of the well-known sacred places. Though these small plots of land would likely go unnoticed by a passing spiritual pilgrim, they are our very own sacred and holy places, because we love them.
Though they may be tiny in size, these small parcels of earth have been given to us by the Creator to care for and watch over, to nurture, and to love. They are the sacred holy places of our heart.