Creating a sacred geography
Introduction and description
A sacred landscape maps spiritual features and symbols onto the physical landscape using a mix of naturally occurring features and sites which have spiritual 'power'.
The objective of all sacred landscapes is to recreate heaven on earth - to recreate the symbols and features seen in spiritual experience using the physical landscape, thus reminding people of both spiritual truths, but also guiding them to places where such experience can be obtained.
It has the added benefit, that if a person is unable to gain spiritual experience themselves, then at least he has some approximate idea of what others have seen and experienced from the physical recreation of it.
Creation versus visiting
But visiting a site is not the same as having one on your doorstep, or living inside one - for example, you could make your home your symbolic castle. There are also other disadvantages to the overload approach to experience:
- Much of the experience so obtained is obtained via resonance which carries a risk – a health risk and it may never work for you because your organs don’t resonate at the right frequencies.
- Access to many of the more effective sites is often restricted
- There is absolutely no guarantee that a sacred site still produces a spiritual experience. And there are a vast number of sacred sites – vast. You could visit every sacred site on this planet and still get nothing.
- Over the years our sacred geographies have been muddied - here is some more detail - the muddying of the maps
So the corresponding overload activity is, to all intents and purposes, totally unreliable, but it is exciting, the thrill of discovery, hence the overload classification.
But, if we all attempted to create a sacred landscape around us, we have none of these problems. It can be safe, it can remind us continually of spiritual realities and symbols, and by being a safe secure place we can reduce threats - the safe house - an absolutely key plank in suppression based techniques.
There is the advantage that not only would our own daily lives become much more blissful and peaceful, but it would also enhance the world for other people. As we all have to look at each other's houses, then if we each made our houses beautiful, we have created a beautiful town or street - a place worth living and a place worthy of our children.
It also has health advantages as pleasant, or even beautiful buildings with trees and gardens have a positive effect on health.
How to create sacred sites
The idea behind all sacred geographies and sites is that you take a set of symbols and, using the topography of a site create physical features that correspond to the symbols. Feng shui, of course, was always intended to be the ultimate in this approach, but there is no reason why you should not take the symbols that have some meaning for you and map those. The list of all symbols can be found by following the LINK.
In the list below I have provided some actual examples of symbols converted to geographic features.
The pages for each of these are quite detailed, but they also include examples of where the symbol has been used in our landscapes.
Even if your home cannot be changed, gardens can be laid out to be symbolic and even the trees and flowers you choose can also be symbolic. A garden full of apple trees might indicate you are a person pursuing knowledge!
You can have fun with mazes and labyrinths - both of which have their own symbolism. Water too can be symbolic, as can steps and waterfalls, so there are all sorts of interesting possibilities.
If you can't change the exterior of your house, you can change the interior. Fill it full of symbolic furniture, pictures, plants, and ornaments. Choose the colours to be symbolic. Our house is full of puppets - but then I know my destiny.
And don't forget that there are a large number of temporary objects that have great spiritual and symbolic significance- one of which is the Christmas tree.
- Sacred geography - altars
- Sacred geography - ancient trees
- Sacred geography - artificial hills
- Sacred geography - barrows
- Sacred geography - beacons
- Sacred geography - bridges
- Sacred geography - castle
- Sacred geography - citadel
- Sacred geography - cities
- Sacred geography - cliffs
- Sacred geography - crack or crevice
- Sacred geography - crossroads
- Sacred geography - cursus
- Sacred geography - enclosures and camps
- Sacred geography - gardens
- Sacred geography - henges
- Sacred geography - hollow roads
- Sacred geography - initial sites
- Sacred geography - islands
- Sacred geography - isthmus
- Sacred geography - ley lines
- Sacred geography - lighthouses
- Sacred geography - mark stones
- Sacred geography - mountain
- Sacred geography - natural hills
- Sacred geography - obelisk
- Sacred geography - palace
- Sacred geography - physical caves
- Sacred geography - pole
- Sacred geography - rivers and streams
- Sacred geography - sacred grove
- Sacred geography - underground secret passages
- Sacred geography - volcanoes
- Sacred geography - water sites
- Sacred geography - ziggurat
About Feng Shui
Feng shui is defined as "a Chinese philosophical system for harmonizing everyone with the surrounding environment". The term feng shui literally translates as "wind-water" in English reflecting the symbolic meanings of wind and water. Feng shui is also one of the Five Arts of Chinese Metaphysics, classified as physiognomy (observation of appearances through formulas and calculations). The feng shui practice "discusses architecture in metaphoric terms of "invisible forces" that bind the universe, earth, and humanity together", known as qi. Qi is spirit, or another name for spirit, thus it is an expression of the spiritual world.
Historically, feng shui was widely used to orient buildings—often spiritually significant structures such as tombs, but also dwellings and other structures.
Depending on the particular style of feng shui being used, the site could be determined by reference to local features such as bodies of water, stars, or a compass. There are some interesting but rather fun literal interpretations of spiritual truths, so walking round a Feng shui designed building or site is like walking round a playground of guessing games - riddles.
Qi rides the wind and scatters, but is retained when encountering water.
Feng shui was suppressed in mainland China during the cultural revolution in the 1960s, but since then has increased in popularity. Let us hope it thrives, it is very popular in places like the Netherlands, where a number of trained Feng Shui practitioners are based.
About Vastu shastra
Vastu shastra (vāstu śāstra) is the Hindu and yoga equivalent of Feng shui. The name means the science of architecture and construction. Found in the Indian subcontinent, the practise has survived in the form of manuals on design, layout, measurements, ground preparation, space arrangement, spatial geometry and other aspects of architecture and sacred space. Vastu sastras incorporate traditional Hindu and in some cases Buddhist beliefs. The designs are also based on integrating architecture with nature and can incorporate geometric patterns (yantra), symmetry and the cardinal directions.
Ancient Vastu Sastras are all encompassing - this was sacred geometry on a universal scale as it covered Mandir (temples), and the principles, design and layout of houses, towns, cities, gardens, roads, water works, shops and other 'public necessities'. Where appropriate Vastu shastras also include instructions on astrology and rituals recommended for the buildings.
One needs to remember here that the Hindu and yoga system is intended to be a complete integrated spiritual system, as such the entire life of a person is covered by various aspects of the system.
Words of warning
It does seem to be clear that many modern day practitioners have absolutely no idea of the spiritual or symbolic underpinnings of this activity. So a quote to bring this home
Robert T. Carroll :
"… feng shui has become an aspect of interior decorating in the Western world and alleged masters of feng shui now hire themselves out for hefty sums to tell people such as Donald Trump which way his doors and other things should hang. Feng shui has also become another New Age "energy" scam with arrays of metaphysical products … offered for sale to help you improve your health, maximize your potential, and guarantee fulfillment of some fortune cookie philosophy
and sadly, in this case it is true.
References and further reading
All the photos on this page were taken by Professor Rod Smallwood.
All have been copyrighted.
More examples of his work, as well as his contact details can be found on Nether More Images - follow the link.
Wisdom, Inspiration, Divine love & Bliss
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- Delos - 03 The sacred geographical features 022514
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- Ernest Eitel - Feng Shui 013800
- Evelyn Lip - Chinese Geomancy 013801
- Jajrom [Jajarm] 022391
- James Howard Kunstler: The ghastly tragedy of the suburbs 014738
- Jeff Speck: The walkable city 014739
- Karnataka and South India - 02 Temple architecture 022637
- Karnataka and South India - 03 Airavatesvara Temple 022638
- Karnataka and South India - 04 Bhoga Nandeeshwara and Arunachaleswara Temples 022639
- Karnataka and South India - 06 Ekambareswarar Temple 022641
- Karnataka and South India - 07 Gangaikonda Cholapuram temple 022642
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- Malta - 02 The Temples detail 022528
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- Mesopotamian - Means of achieving spiritual experience 09 Creating a sacred geography 022214
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- Persepolis 022401
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 01 The Mountain 022399
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 02 Surroundings and cosmic egg 022400
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 03 Gate of All Nations 022403
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 05 Stairs and ladders 022404
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 06 Bull capitals and columns 022406
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 07 The Lion and the Bull 022407
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 08 Naghsh-e Rostam 022408
- Persepolis - And its sacred geography 09 Estakhr 022409
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- Various symbolic objects - Lamassu 022122
- Ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu 022133
- Zoroastrian - Means of achieving spiritual experience - 12 Creating a sacred geography 022419