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TideWriters Tales
A Sacred Space
By Blanche Herring Scharf

     Sitting at my desk fashioned from an old door has become a morning and evening ritual. The door is the perfect sizeólarge enough to have my personal altar on the left end. This morning, I look through the windows in front of me to see the cove on which we live. Itís winter so Anagyriís slip lies empty and my paddleboat is covered with a blue tarpaulin. I imagine our spat growing slowly in their oyster cage anchored off the end of our dock. Itís a sunny day but cold and windy. I wonder how the cones on the tall pine can remain connected to the branch. And then I pray. 

     My altar is a focal point to inspire and remind me. Itís my personal sacred space. Do you have a place where you display photos of family and friends and objects that are special to you? Anyone can create her own special place of referenceÖa place to pray, think, meditate, question, be at peace. A home altar provides a quiet haven where you can center thoughts, intercessions, and prayers.
Do you have tea in the afternoon? Say grace before meals? Read your child a nightly bedtime story? Attend church on Sunday?

     Things we do routinely in the same way, when imbued with special emotion, love and meaning become rituals. When these rituals acknowledge and help connect us to the divine presence, the spirit, they are sacred.
Rightfully so, my altar is at my writing deskónot at my computer desk. I must experience the writing before I turn to that miracle of technology that connects me to the publishing world.

     My altar has plants for me to care for, a reminder of my responsibility to all nature; photos of deceased and living family members who have and continue to help me grow; an oil candleóas a Christian it reminds me that Christ is the light of the world and present with me. I have also included my motherís prayer book from her childhood and prayer cards from funerals of loved ones to whom I pray. I have treasures from travels that have connected me to the universeóa basket woven by a market lady in the Bahamas thatís filled with shells and other gifts from the sea, feathers, broken glass from a family plate, rocks from the red hills of Arizona. 

     Surrounding the basket are quartz crystals, a rosary and some goddess figures I sculpted to remind me of the feminine side of God. Just on the edge of my altar rest my writing journal and my illustrated discovery journal.

     My altar gives me focus. The decisions about what to include there came easily as if by inspiration. My altar teaches me about myself. Itís not stagnant but a dynamic space. It changes with me and I see whatís important in my life. More than that, I see who I am and who I want to be. It admonishes me to be thankful for the blessings Iíve received including the relationship that allows my searching.

     The location of my altar, one step away from my bed, eases me into thought and prayer. And then I write, every day, morning and night. Some days I only record my dream or activities, but I write. I ask for guidance and inspiration. I am connected to the spirit and Iím at peace.

     We are all on a spiritual journey. Regardless of the hectic pace of our business lives or the pressure of other responsibilities, we search for the substance of who we are. Arranging your own sacred space can help in that searching. 

     Blessings and peace to you. 

© 2002 Blanche Herring Scharf All Right Reserved
Readers may contact Blanche Scharf via email at

Recommended readings: 
Pollack, Rachel. The Power of Ritual. New York: Dell Publishing, 2000.
Streep, Peg. Altars Made Easy: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Own Sacred Space. New York: Harper Collins, 1997. 

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