“Moses Moses, take off thy shoes, place where thou stand is a holy ground. Moses Moses take off thy shoes, place where thou stand is a holy ground.”
When I attended the Zion revival churches years ago, they would sometimes sing this song in 6o revival. Of course this is from the Bible, Exodus Chapter 3:5. In our beautiful tradition of Ifa Orisa, we do not wear our shoes before our Orisa or before Ifa Orunmila the progenitor of our tradition.
Standing before our deities is knowing that we are in a sacred space and a sacred space ought not to be defiled. In the mornings before I go in front of my shrine, I cleanse myself, then I approach my Ifa with true reverence and veneration by touching my head to the ground before him as I greet him with prayers said in Yoruba or English. My demeanor before my Ifa is dear, I do love Ifa. Here in this earth realm, my Ifa is my connection to my internal and external divine source and possibilities. It is the one and only way I know of how to connect to my higher self and my astral family, but I am not here to write about Ifa today. Today’s topic is about something else dear and important, our sacred space.
The other day I had some men come over to put in my air conditions. I had gone to pick one of the guys up from the store I bought the A/C’s from and was harassed by some entities called VIO here in Nigeria. They check peoples papers for vehicles and then some. To be in a distressful position here in Nigeria is advantageous to many. Your distress is their great opportunity for extortion.
I was a hop, skip, and jump away from my house when a sweaty weasel looking man flagged me to stop and then belligerently demanded my documents and other things. We dragged for a while, him threatening to take away my vehicle, and me, wid mi Jamaican self, felt like jumping back in my jeep and just plow choo de crowd and gone ah mi yawd. But eventually, I was allowed to continue on.
I left the worker outside to work on the A/C and told him if he needed to come in, he should let me know. After a while I heard my bedroom door knock timidly. It was the A/C guy and he had entered my room with his shoes. I shrieked, which frightened him and he jumped back (I can be quite dramatic at times), “take off your shoes!” I hollered. He seemed to be in a state of panic at my military styled command and he hurriedly did so and apologized. Please people, nuh badda wid de “Obara mad” comment inna oonuh head. My house IS my sacred space, the entire thing. Truth be told, most Nigerians do not wear shoes inside their house, (most not all) so Nigerians who are peeping do not come to correct me in Jesus name, I plea de blood!
My house is my sacred space. I live a spiritual life. Wherever I am many spirits are there, and as an initiate my deities are also there.
Years ago my Padrino (Iba Padrino, I still call your name sir) taught me how to set up my altar. Over the years, my non-physical beings taught me how to improve on it; it now stands in my house a mighty and majestic force. Whenever anything troubles me, or if I have an important decision to make, I go to that space and I pray and meditate. But there was a time when I took it down because of a “then” husband who was new to my life and spirituality and could not fathom the reason for it being there; and so I, being an idiot at the time (ah de only reason mi can come up wid why mi did so fool fool fi do wha mi do), took my altar apart.
Weeks after I did this, my oldest child’s enemy took ill. She was then admitted into the hospital. It was 3am in the morning and I sat around my dining table crying. The doctors had no clue what was wrong with my daughter. There I sat in my dimly lit home as huge tears plopped loudly onto my white dinning table, and I felt my enemy’s heart fold as I clutched my chest in distress. I looked over to the corner where my altar (desperate for it’s comfort) once stood and realised that it was not there.
It was within that dramatic (worthy of an Oscar moment, the whole dramatic action of it, albeit real) moment that I realised that I had done something very wrong, and that my daughter would be alright, I just had to fix the problem. I had displaced my spirits, to whom that space belonged to for many years, and suddenly I had cast them away. I made a promise to resurrect the space, and requested that they release my daughter. (Please note that it was not their intention to harm her, she was never harmed, but they had to communicate with me for me to realize my mistake and they chose to do it this way).
Usually your sacred space is a place where you embrace your spirituality and connect with your divine. It is different from your personal space, where you are at the ATM and the weird guy behind you breathes over your shoulder. I used my house because of who I am, and throughout my house all and everything there is my connection to my source. All who live with me are respectful of that as they too share the space and embrace all that it is. However within my home, there are even more spaces where I alone sit, I alone meditate, I alone venerate, I alone heal.
We must create that space, not only for us, but for those who are with us in their non-physical form. This is why I tell people if you have an altar, screen it off. Allow it to be a place of refuge for you, a place where you are comforted with it just being there. Entertain your astral family there and be at one in the ever loving space. See the space as a filler to you who are an empty vessel, yet your vessel is always ready to be filled whenever you go there. Know that this space is your earthly connection to your divine, and therefore you must respect it. Others around you must respect it.
The husband and I divorced and he cried one day, asking why did I leave? I narrowed my eyes and looked at him, my head cocked ever so slightly as a memory filled my mind… a memory of a day he had come home vexed that he had to ask me for gas to drive my car. He had called me from outside, too ashamed to ask me in front of my children. Shame made him come upstairs, where he threw a tantrum about his money situation (he was lazy and proud – what a combination). While he cussed that day as I sat silently in the sitting room, he then went and kicked my Ogun pot.
I was appalled, but it was after then that I realized that he had just kicked himself out of my life. There was no turning back. Before the year ended I had thrown him out. It was the faithful NYPD (Ogun) who assisted me in successfully doing so. Ogun Yayyyyy!
We do a disservice to ourselves when we do not have or create our own sanctuary. In a time like now, where most of us are waking up, it is important for us to have the time and place where we plug ourselves in to our consciousness and unplug from the world.
Some Important Things in the Creation of Your Sacred Space
- Keep it clean (physically and spiritually)
- See it as a holy place
- Close it off. Allow no one to enter and defile the space
- Go there often. Interact with the energy you have called or created there
- Sing, pray and dance there
- Be you in this space. Never hold your self back from your reality.
- Commune with your God there
- Be at peace there
There are no disappointments in life only lessons learned!
Ọwọ́ ọmọdé ò tó pẹpẹ, ti àgbàlagbà ò wọ akèrègbè. /
A child’s hand can’t reach the shelf as an elder’s can’t enter a gourd.
[Everyone is crucial; no one can do it all, but together we can do more]
All religions are valid as long as it teaches peace and love…Obara Meji!