Thursday, February 17, 2011

Secular Sacred Places

NPR did a story on Secular Sacred Spaces way back in August and I've thought about that piece quite often since then. Mostly they refer to places like Ground Zero, Gettysburg, or Anne Frank's house that feel special, sacrosanct, and somehow different from other spaces.

The story made me think about personal "sacred" spaces. For instance, when I was a kid, my family was the first one to build in a wooded cul-de-sac. It was just our home and one or two others for many years and I loved roaming the woods and climbing trees and getting muddy in the streams. And I was crushed when a new home was finally built on my favorite spot. The one with the best climbing tree and a rock covered in moss and a tiny patch of sunflowers. That was my childhood sacred space.

Today, there are little corners of the Los Angeles Zoo that are special to me. When the partner and I were broke and unemployed, we still kept our membership to the zoo and went about once a week. It made us feel like we had something when we financially had very little at all. Now, this year, we're getting married there... because the Zoo feels more sacred to us than any house of worship.

Libraries and buildings with beautiful architecture have this feeling for me, too. Libraries are one of my favorite spots to be contemplative and lose myself in rows of books. A friend and I recently visited the L.A. Central Library downtown and it is fabulously beautiful. Just check out this rotunda and chandelier.

You can keep your god... I worship knowledge and literature and art. I could hang out here all day.


  1. I was going to do a similar posting for my blog but you said it quite well. Something doesn't need to be holy to be sacred.

  2. It is *organized* religion which is flawed--not the concept of religion itself. We each believe that what we perceive is true to us.

  3. I loved reading what you wrote.I think in some way if we look back to our childhood or in present time that we all can find our sacred place.

  4. I loved this post. Made me appreciate all of my sacred places! :)


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