Sacred Space, Tarot and Your Magical Practice
Updated: May 22, 2018
Sasha Graham/December 14, 2016
Originally written for The Llewellyn Journal
Originally published 5/2/2016
All photos from my Instagram.
Do you recall the first time you cast a solitary spell? A real spell. Do you remember the moment when you took power into your own hands, lit flickering candles, burned tendrils of incense, called to the corners, created sacred space, and invoked your intention to manifest in the universe? It was memorable, wasn't it? Like a teenager fumbling through the loss of virginity, there was likely an awkward reference back to the grimoire you were using, a bumbling pause to find right words, the correct order, or the proper invocation.
Your magical results were likely surprising and unexpected, as the best things in life should be. Our desires often lead us to places where unanticipated wonders await. Unforeseen pleasures are akin to synchronicity, the universe's way of wrapping its arm around us, learning in and whispering into our ear, "Oh yes. You are on the right path." And a good message is ripe for sending goose bumps rippling across our skin like a lover's stolen kiss. These unexpected pleasures confirm. They let us know that we chose well.
Sacred space occupies the place between the mechanical aspects of spell crafting and the spell's manifested results. As an author, I'll often misspell the word "sacred" on my keyboard. Spell-check usually corrects it to the word "scary." This correction makes for an interesting contemplation. Sacred space can be scary because it is powerful. Invoking power, transforming and manipulating the space around you (especially if we aren't used to it) can be fascinating and frightening. It is easy to fear what we do not understand. Exploring and expanding knowledge of the unfamiliar yields marvelous discoveries, especially in magical or spiritual realms. And sacred space is remarkably different than ordinary space.
Sacred space is the pliable and expansive place where creative possibility exists. Sacred space, like a crossroads, becomes a threshold where multiple possibilities converge. The place where forest meets field. Where cultivated vegetable gardens meets wild thorn bushes. Where lips conceal unspoken words. Where inside meets outside. Where the known and unknown collide. It is the membrane, the very skin of our psychic reality. The sphere of birth and/or departure. A Halloween-like space where ghosts pass easily between worlds. The space in which we create something or where we leave it behind. This is the space where we readily meet our guides, goddesses, muses, angel, and totems. It is the space where prayers are offered. This is where we go in magic to envision ourselves gaining our heart's desire. It is where we pass into the interior of a tarot card to interface directly with the Arcana.
To use the cards as a gateway, simply center the mind and enter the card using your consciousness to explore, as you like. Guided meditations are extremely helpful for this purpose. Tarot cards may be used at a gateway but, then again, anything can. It is important to remember you can enter an herb, plant, rock, tree, or any object just as you would a tarot card. You can even communicate with a piece of food for inspiration on how to prepare it. Have you ever "talked" with your morning egg before frying it up? If not, I suggest you try.
Our creative imagination is enveloped, supported, and cocooned by sacred space. It fosters a safe place for our creative imagination to merges with what is "out there." When we find ourselves deep inside of a guided meditation and we "know" something is happening, how do we know it? When we are flipping cards and conversing with a loved one who has crossed to the other side, how do we know it is really a communication from them or our imagination? Is that true? Is it real? Did I simply imagine it? When do we realize the sleeping dream is a dream? Because up until that point, we believe it is really happening.
Sacred space is the place where those questions fall away and instinct becomes paramount. Intuition becomes our torchlight and our trusted guide. If there is a line between our personal imagination and reality, it must be fluid one. Perhaps, it moves like the ebbing sands the ocean threshold? We stretch ourselves naked, always the hungry shore, as the salty ocean repeatedly pounds upon us with thundering waves of the possible yet never quenching our thirst. Or is the line gauzy and thin like the earth's delicate atmospheric membrane where we become the fecund earth and the sustaining oxygen bubble becomes the boundary between us and the possibility of an ever-expanding universe?
Is the sacred space made manifest by casting a spell always at our fingertips, unbeknownst to us? Is it not the sacred space that opens between lovers, bodies entwined, skin caressing skin, souls lit with passion fire? Isn't this exactly the space that occurs for the painter and between himself and his subject? Between a writer and her journal? Doesn't a walk in the woods reveal sacred space at every turn? The discovery of a waterfall, an explosion of roses, a craggy old fruit orchard reverberates with the magic of gateways, story and possibility?
When we transform space, are actually transforming the space itself, are we transforming ourselves, or is it a little of both?
If we discern the subtle difference of sacred space and creative imagination we realize how powerful we are. We recognize that our singular point of consciousness, own own point of view, is the filter of that which passes before us. We easily see that what we focus on becomes a reality. Each and every one of us is flush with the natural power that we already possess. Simply choosing to focus on a "thing" gives that thing power. We are a power source that brings other things to life and raises things to the light of the collective conscious.
Magical practice gives us an opportunity to experiment with the nature of how the universe is actually constructed. Science tells us that inside our atomic matter there is more "space" than actual "stuff." And we don't just spring from nature. We are nature. Our very bodies the residue of ancient stardust. All that space found inside of our cells and atoms the scientists speak of? My instinct tells me it is sacred. We don't just create sacred space. We are made of sacred space. We are imbued with it. And creative pursuits and a magical practice help bring it out of us. So when we invoke magic, we really invoke ourselves. Ourselves as we have always been intended to be. Sensitive. Brilliant. Inventive. Authentic. Unique. Powerful. Knowing this, it is possible to weave sacred space beyond mere spell casting and into every aspect of our daily life.