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Ourselves as Sacred Vessels

Creating Sacred Space in Healing Circles

“In its broadest definition, a sanctuary is a refuge, a safe haven. From a spiritual perspective here is an extra dimension of meaning: a sanctuary is a sacred place, a sanctified area, or a place containing an altar – a place permeated with spirit and imbued with the spark of life…


Just like our cells, we humans build many kinds of “containers” for safe and sacred space. In the physical world, we seek sanctuary in wisdom circles, support groups, prayer circles and knitting circles. We find sanctuary in our homes and sometimes even in our cars. In indigenous traditions, healing circles included the whole community, and in the sacred tribal circle around Grandfather Fire, we come to pray, heal and seek wisdom.

When we join in circles, we welcome love into our lives. When we touch each other or hold hands, we recreate the molecular embrace and sanctuary on a grand scale.”


-- Sondra Barrett, PhD., Secrets of Your Cells: Discovering Your Body’s Inner Intelligence


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When you think about it, our physical structure is geared toward containment of sacred space, from the skeletal framework that supports our network of nerves, connective tissue and vital organs to the breathing, permeable yet water-proof organ-sheath we call skin. For that matter, our entire physiological well-being depends on preserving the body as a sanctuary, a safe haven from influences that can harm -- literally on a cellular level. In part, this process occurs because of the blueprint encoded in our DNA. However, our cells, as living, biologically evolving agents, also "listen" in on what we tell ourselves about the space we physically occupy and our relationship to the outer world and respond accordingly. 


  • What messages are you delivering to your cells by spoken words, thoughst or deeds?

  • How would your physiology respond if you were to shift your view from being a container to receive and hold sacred space to one from which reserves could be freely given to others?

  • Think about the various healing circles that you  participate in, even though you may not have recognized them as such. How can you expand the sacred space they contain to promote healing to include a larger community?



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