Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
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Thoughts on Sacred Places

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  1. Such places are a reflection of an inner condition of those who recognize their significance, or appreciate it. (Reflection is the right word here. Just as with mirrors, their intrinsic power is limited to their ability to focus awareness.)

  2. Such places are protected by mazes or labyrinths in one form or another. The mazes may be physical or related to comprehension in some other way. A maze involves the idea of initiation -- to find one's way through ignorance.

  3. Such places should bring together the qualities associated with fire, air, earth, and water, which should be embodied in the place. Man recognizes the elemental harmony of such places as a reflection of his own make-up

  4. Such places may be (or have been) consecrated by some special ceremony.

  5. Such places run the risk of desecration as a result of abuse or misuse.

  6. The location of such places may be located by a quest in the old sense of the word.

  7. Such places must be maintained by repeated collective attention to what they symbolize

  8. Ceremonies associated with such places run considerable danger of being transformed into hollow rituals through loss of understanding and development of bigoted belief. [A ritual is the order of a ceremony.]

  9. Such places, if created, run the risk of being "planned" and hence the product of the mind. Older places bypass this difficulty to a large extent since they tend to be recognized and accepted with the whole being. Older places were a product of the whole man, before the intellect was glorified. They were created to elevate, without looking for the lowest common denominator. (Are nuclear power stations, laboratories, etc our current civilization's temples ?)

  10. The visibility of such places should be limited. They should not be open to gawking and tourism, although lower levels (or outer maze circles) may lend themselves usefully to this. Few places can be protected from people. Should they be ? They have to stand on their own. If they are deconsecrated through the wrong kind of contact, their use is finished. A place does not have to physically decay before it is otherwise dead.

  11. Such places exist first in the (collective) being of those who wish to make them evident. The outer manifestation is but a signpost to this inner reality (e.g . the Apostles and the Church)

  12. The ceremony of consecration indicates that the place is the link between man and deity and it then begins to function for the society. Until then, the making of the place was the sacred activity (What sacred activities does man now have ?)

  13. Such places should have a special relationship to the outside world, either stillness, or possibly movement (e.g. dancing, whirling dervishes, etc). There is a need for contrast to the outside world, although this contrast may well be subtle.

  14. Do such places respond to a need or a lack and is this why they are created or are they primarily an outward expression or highpoint of society's collective understanding at a particular time ?

  15. Are such places made following a collective decision or are they already in some way already present, requiring simply that there potential be activated by some psycho-social process ?

  16. Such places can function as a reminder; "sacred to the memory of ..." (some peak of understanding)

  17. Such places are not solely built for the use of man. They involve some higher level and are a kind of gateway to such levels. Such place are man's opportunity to unify the external and the internal by focusing on new realms

  18. The whole concept of such a place would be understood by someone who was conscious, but other levels of understanding of the conscious person, and of others, can be involved. For the conscious person, it is wholly understood (perhaps only some of the time), but others understand it on whatever level is appropriate to their need and contribution -- the intellectual architect, or the manual labourer. They are therefore an expression of the whole man, even if made by partial men (e.g. the Gothic cathedrals). The making of such places enables each man to find his right place and fulfil his function.

  19. Such places are recognized to have a certain harmony -- namely they are recognized rather than found

  20. One of the elements embodied may be particularly glorified (e.g. stone in the construction of Stonehenge, or fire and light in its functioning) and this may attract or alienate those whose sensitivities do or do not correspond

  21. Such places may express certain laws in the way they are built (e.g. Gothic cathedrals, Goetheaneum, Buddhist temples) and the music used in them expresses the same laws

  22. Attempts at creating such places have been made (e.g. Temples of Understanding in the U.S.A.), but. what is displeasing about them, if anything ?

  23. Such places do not necessarily have to be embodied in brick and mortar, their recognition may suffice -- as with a special hilltop

  24. A dell-like quality is desirable -- much can be expressed in a garden, which it is not necessary to express in bricks and mortar

  25. Such places may be defined by and related to the network of pilgrimage routes, which they support and which they are in turn supported by. Although such places may be used by different groups at different times, they remain essentially unpossessed.

  26. Sacred has the meaning of related to God (or the whole, or the Tao)

  27. The process of recognizing, celebrating and developing such places is a process of human development for those who participate in it. It is also a process of human development for those who attempt to recognize the existence and significance of such places already well-developed

  28. The work involved in the recognition, the construction, or the maintenance is done through a group. As such, such places are symbols of group consciousness.

  29. Such places, once recognized, became the locus for a personal or group inner pilgrimage, as those involved pass through the maze of understanding or misunderstanding which protects such places, leading to a refinement of understanding and a new sense of reality.

  30. Such places create or anchor a different kind of space which makes possible a facilitates a different movement of psychic energy -- a different psychic economy (e.g. anchorites and hermitages in the past)

  31. Such places cannot be possessed and remain sacred. If they become possessed and their custodians take on a role of ownership, they become deconsecrated.

  32. Expression of a peak of conscious understanding in the creation of such a place signals the peak development in the cycle of that consciousness, prior to a diminution of understanding and the commencement of a new cycle. Sacred places are therefore both reminders of what the collective con sciousness has achieved in past cycles, and necessities as a foundation for the further expression of the new consciousness which there is a striving to achieve. The knowledge which creates, such a place must remain current, or the place becomes a museum. Sacred knowledge cannot he passed only though the places. They are concentrations of such knowledge.

  33. Some such places may be out-of-date in that they represent an earlier achievement surpassed by the collective consciousness and therefore possible traps rather than catalysts for new development. Some may be out-of-date for some and new for others.

  34. Such places are places of psychic death and rebirth. Expression through old patterns is stilled and transmuted into expression through new patterns. Such places facilitate the transition -- they function as psychic transformers or catalysts

  35. Such places function as collecting bowls for psychic energies necessary to man but not available through the human system. (As such they function rather like radio telescopes, concentrating and focusing the external energies which bathe the surface of the earth.)

  36. The refining process inevitable in making the sacred place, using it, etc on the level of building and the level of human experience, gives rise to such energies. Such places allow energies to flow; certain barriers are removed.

  37. Such places may also be a locus for initiation

  38. Some "sacred" places glorify death rather than life

  39. Such places have a re-creation function in that they encourage and facilitate psychic breathing through the alternation between exposure to the pressures of life and expression in the external world and the recuperative charging achieved in such places. (It was understood that the physcial location of religious houses in relation to the cities in which they functioned was important, e.g. positioning of churches and green spaces in relation to the rest of the city)

  40. The existence of such places should not be publicized. They should be recognized by those who are in some way brought to the vicinity (possibly via a quest of some kind)

  41. Recurring symbols used in the construction of a sacred place (e.g. cross, circle, etc) are drawn from the collective consciousness. These symbols themselves gain power by being used in such a way

  42. Such places foster union within the individual, amongst the people "using" the place as a group, and for man in the outside world

  43. Such places do not capture the attention or cause involvement by encouraging perception to become unfocused. A person in such a place is reminded who and where he is.

  44. Sacred places have a common quality irrespective of cultural and geographical environment. This is the essential, indefinable and recognizable Quality of such a place, which can be reinforced or degenerate into magic rituals, etc.

  45. To what extent can it be presumptuous and illusory to wish to devote collective energy to the creation of such places ?

  46. Such places exist, why create new ones rather than celebrate the existence of the old ? Both the buildings exist and the groups which respond to them and their quality. Why create anew rather than join with others ? Is there some new note which can be usefully sounded ? How is one to understand whether such notes are not already being well-sounded were one adequately sensitive to detect them and less desirous of making anew ?

  47. The focus on the creation of such a place in a particular location may draw attention away from the reality that all places are sacred to the extent that they are a reflection of the sacredness within oneself when moving in that environment. The body is after all the temple of the spirit -- where one goes, there goes, in essence, a sacred place. When two or three are gathered together in the name of some greater whole, there is a sacred place. This is not theory and a physically manifested sacred place should no be made a focus for activity which attracts away from such an immediate awareness.
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