In a previous post where I addressed my thoughts on “religious vocabulary” I had come to an uneasy truce with the term “sacred”. I’ve since ratified that truce and accept it on an emotional level, though I’m still working on the intellectual one. It finds it way naturally into my thoughts, as it always has, but when I set finger to keyboard or pen to paper, my head still balks a bit.
A fellow Atheopagan made this observation (paraphrased): The idea of something being sacred doesn’t require belief in deities or the supernatural. You can hold something to be sacred based on its own merits, and on your own conception of what it means to be sacred.
I also did some reading at Atheopagan.org because the question of “sacredness” had of course all ready been addressed. I just hadn’t found it yet, which isn’t surprising. I’m shamefully behind in my studies and readings on many topics, not just Atheopaganism. There’s so much to learn, from different pagan traditions, to philosophies (Stoicism and Epicureanism are high on my list of interest) and all manner of things I want to do and learn whether it’s gardening or writing or finally figuring out the actual measurements in my grandmother’s “recipes” that I’d like to share eventually. But I’m getting distracted (the root of many of my problems.)
Mark Green, the founder of Atheopaganism says this about the concept of sacred:
“While many traditional religions seek to define the sacred as an inherent quality possessed by certain objects, beings, or activities–and, therefore, not by others–at root “sacredness” is an ascribed quality: an opinion. It is applied to whatever is highly valued by the tradition or practice in question, and to those objects, events and practices which evoke internal narratives which communicate the religion’s beliefs and values.”
What evokes internal narratives with in myself? What communicates my beliefs and values? Where do I begin? The stars, the earth, the moon? A forest, a tree? Kindness and Community? A symbol of my belief in the sacredness of all that and more?
Mark Green names four things that are sacred to him in the above linked post on sacredness: Life, Beauty, Truth and Love. Four big concepts with space for nearly anything you can assign meaning to.
I picked up a small figurine at Pier 1 when I first decided I needed to connect more to the spiritual side of my being. This figurine has become my most meaningful spiritual symbol, a representation of life, beauty, truth and love all in one small figure. It is special to me, and… dare I say it? Sacred.