Sacred Places and moving closer to Spirit

I saw in the news where a person  from a differing belief system led people to deface sacred stones in Russia.  These two stones known as the Maiden stone and the Goose stone have been held sacred for 5000 years.  The modern day miscreants spray painted “Idolatry is a sin” on the stones.  Their religion makes them think that their way is the only way, regardless that their great spiritual teacher, Jesus, gave them the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

I have traveled to many different sacred spots and hold each in high regard, whether I am of that faith or not.  Regardless if the space is a cathedral altar or sacred grove, a Mormon sanctum or a Buddhist roadside shrine, it should be treated with respect.  Sometimes sacred spots get reinterpreted by the popular religion.  In the case of these sacred stones, they were probably sacred to the ancient Slavic Deity, Veles.  Later they were reinterpreted to be sacred because the story arose that this was where St. George fought the dragon.

Spray painting on someone’s sacred spot does not bring you closer to God.  It separates you from your fellow man.  It sends an egotistical message of “I am better than you.”    The sacred can be determined by what moves you closer to Deity: goodness, love, respect, kindness.  As the poet, Mary Ann Pietzker said,

“Is it true?  Is it necessary? Is it kind?

Although the defiler of the stones may have believed it was true and somehow thought it was necessary, it certainly was not kind.  Nor did it follow the message of love that was the core of Jesus’ message.  So as an affirmation for the week:

“I treat others with goodness, love, respect and kindness, putting myself in harmony with Spirit.”

– Robin Rumi

Photo of Maiden Stone thru Wikimedia Commons from Khakhalin

Photo of Maiden Stone thru Wikimedia Commons from Khakhalin

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Walking the Winding Labyrinth of your Spiritual Path

Labyrinths go back in antiquity and across cultures; Greece, Europe, India, Egypt, early Native America, Russia etc.  People can confuse a labyrinth with a maze, but a maze has many different branches, whereas a labyrinth has but one path to the center and back out again. It is not a puzzle, but a meditative tool and ritual path.

One of the most fascinating collection of Neolithic labyrinths are located on an island around Russia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stone_labyrinths_of_Bolshoi_Zayatsky_Island
They are thought to be around 3000 years old and seemed to have served as sacred ritual locations. They certainly are on my travel wish list.

Closer to home is the labyrinth at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary near Artemas, PA. The process of traversing a labyrinth makes it obvious that they serve a meditative role. The rhythm of walking and the spiraling patterns moving in and out naturally produce a meditative state.  The Labyrinth at 4QF sits on the crown of a hill, overlooking the serene Pennsylvanian mountains.  It is 84 feet in diameter and its weaving 7 circuit pattern is  based on an ancient Cretan layout. Its mown meadow paths are slowly being converted to more permenant stone edging.

I have walked many labyrinths in churches, fields and woods.  Each time I find myself falling into that timeless state of kairos, sacred time.  It is as if the labyrinth is a path into spiritual dimensions, a way to untangle our thoughts, or a path to find ourselves.  As novelist Kate Mosse said,

“Pas a pas, se va luenh.
Step by step, we make our way.”

This also applies to our search for a spiritual path; sometimes we seem closer to clarity, other times it is still far away.  It can be seen as traveling  inward towards our spiritual center.  After we find spiritual wholeness, we journey back again into the world.

I wish you well on walking your spiritual path.

– Robin Rumi

 

Labyrinth at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary

Labyrinth at Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary

Wanderings on the road to Spirit

It was the most beautiful cemetery I had ever seen.  That sounds odd now that I write it down, but it was!  It had an air of unkept beauty; silvery Spanish moss hanging down, flowers growing in hidden crannies, and old carved headstones surrounded by wrought iron.  It was my first visit to Charleston, South Carolina.

Charleston, SC cemetery

Charleston, SC cemetery

I entered through the open iron gates wandering down a garden alley way, with myrtles arching over my head and flowering bushes lining the flagstone walk.  Some of the headstones were tottering, or being engulfed by the ancient myrtles growing beside them.  As I wandered the intricate paths, I read carved inscriptions for people who were born almost 300 years ago.  I noticed that it was connected to the Unitarian Universalist church.

It was on my next visit to Charleston, lured back by that beautiful graveyard, I attended a church service there.  I had been visiting and reading the holy books of many different religions and attending services at various churches.  I had heard Unitarian Universalists (or UU’s) were “kinda weird” but then again, so was I.  It was a very interesting, thought provoking sermon, but the best bit came over their coffee get-together afterwards.  (Which I now know is one of the few “sacraments” they have.) I asked the minister what they believed in.

Her words hit a chord, “We don’t have a creed.  We support you in your responsible search for meaning.”  It was like the scene in the Blue’s Brothers, where the sun beam breaks through the stained glass window and Jake shouts, “I have *seen* the Light!”  I was delighted, excited and practically walking on air.  I had found a spiritual home!  I had found other companions on this journey.  Folks like me, who read and wondered and tried on spiritual teachings to see how it fit their soul.

I hope you enjoy this walk with me as I tell you of some of my findings along the road to Spirituality.

– Robin Rumi