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Source: (consider it) Thread: Sacred Places
HCH
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The thread about relics made me think of this.

Are there places you regard as especially holy or sacred or spiritually significant? I am not referring here to the status of just any ordinary consecrated church building.

I have heard of people referring to places where many people died as "hallowed". I know there are people who think of some specific locations as holy, such as the Grand Canyon or the island of Iona. Indeed, I have read that Navahos may regard all of Navaho country as sacred.

Would you regard a neonatal ICU as holy? Or someone's kitchen garden?

If you can nominate such a place, would you expect that even believers of faiths other than your own would feel something special there? Is the sacredness of the place a characteristic of the place itself, or is it something you bring to it?

Are there traits of a location (remoteness, isolation, bleakness, beauty?) that make it more likely to be regarded as sacred? Are there traits that make it less likely?

I don't offhand know an antonym for "sacred", but are there places that strike you as being especially non-sacred?

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Brenda Clough
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Oh, that last is easy. Fast food restaurants. Airports. Bus stations. All noisy places full of people passing rapidly through on their way to somewhere else.

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Gamaliel
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That's interesting Brenda, because I once saw a modern art 'installation' which was making exactly that point, it seemed to me. What it consisted of was an incredibly slowed down video of people arriving in an airport arrival lounge (rather than a departure one) with Allegri's Miserere playing as a sound-track.

It was very striking and hauntingly beautiful.

There are places I've felt were 'special' in some way, even in my very low-church Protestant days ...

I remember being surprised to sense a 'something' at an ancient Saint's well in North Wales, for instance. No signs of tat or devotion, although I'm told there are some now - but some sense of the numinous or so it seemed to me.

Durham Cathedral and Lindisfarne the same, although these have very obvious associations in terms of the Christian history of these islands.

St Endillion's in Cornwall struck me that way too, even though I take the stories of St Endelienta with a pinch of salt.

Likewise some very early Christian grave stones at a remote spot on the coast of Dumfries and Galloway. St Ninian's Cave the same.

Some spots around my native South Wales and the Marches (Welsh/English borders) feel the same to me, but again that might have more to do with particular associations and memories.

Most of these are northern or Celtic periphery places and I suspect that plays into it.

Lots of places along the western seaboard from Cornwall up to Scotland resonate with me.

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TomM
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The phrase that always come to my mind in these sorts of discussions is T.S. Eliot's 'where prayer has been valid' (from 'Little Gidding').

I'm not sure I'd want to expand too hard on 'valid' there - it is certainly better poetry than it is dogmatics!

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Brenda Clough
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I remember going to the Catacombs in Rome, I think the Catacombs of Domitilla. There's a subterranean chapel dedicated to some of the saints once buried there. There was a steady flow of tourists (I was on a bus tour), tour guides, and the sanctuary was very simple, with folding metal chairs, probably because erecting permanent structures would spoil the historical site. But I was powerfully aware of the history of the faith, of the vast flood of believers of the past now gone to their reward, of being part of a huge company of saints.

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Brenda Clough:
Oh, that last is easy. Fast food restaurants. Airports. Bus stations. All noisy places full of people passing rapidly through on their way to somewhere else.

Yes, I've found that. For some reason I often used to find it easy to pray at the Elephant and Castle.

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HCH
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In one of the DVD extra of the musical "Phantom of the Opera", one of the people who worked on the film said that to her, the dancers' practice rooms at the Paris Opera (or possibly it was somewhere else), which had been used for many years, were haunted, not with ghosts but with the souls of the dancers.
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Gamaliel
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I went to Little Gidding once. There wasn't a soul around. There was a copy of 'The Four Quartets' on one of the choir stalls so I stood and recited 'Little Gidding' as though it were a piece of liturgy.

The hair stood up on the back of my neck. I was in tears when I reached the end.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
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Gee D
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For the ancient peoples of this land, and now for more and more of those who arrived more recently,
Uluru seen here in daylight rather than the more common sunset. A place of great calm and peace, even in the 40 degree heat of a summer noon; the sunset view will link you to a time before any people were on earth.

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Rossweisse

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I have Felt Something at a number of places, among them the tomb of Francis in Assisi, and at York Minster.

There are also places I think may be hallowed by much use - I don't believe that the bones of St. James are buried in Santiago de Compostela, but many thousands of pilgrims have been convinced of it, and perhaps they have somehow sanctified it.

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Golden Key
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I think one reason places feel special is that the thoughts and feelings and prayers of many people, over many years, sort of settle in.

Like walking into a church (preferably old) or an old building of any kind. Sometimes, there's a special feel. Some people pick up on it, and some don't. I figure that's down to individual wiring.

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I think one reason places feel special is that the thoughts and feelings and prayers of many people, over many years, sort of settle in.

Like walking into a church (preferably old) or an old building of any kind. Sometimes, there's a special feel. Some people pick up on it, and some don't. I figure that's down to individual wiring.

We feel that in places such as Heiligen Abby Church, which contains what is said to be a relic of the True Cross. Maybe it is such a relic, but over the centuries it has been venerated as that and the piety of these generations can be felt.

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sabine
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The Shawnee leader, Tecumseh, and his brother, known as The Prophet, encouraged and organized Native American people in my neck of the woods. The Prophet was said to have preached (as it were) from a rock that is now known as "Prophet's Rock." I've been there and have felt a distinct sense of spiritual power.

sabine

[ 12. January 2018, 02:48: Message edited by: sabine ]

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I think one reason places feel special is that the thoughts and feelings and prayers of many people, over many years, sort of settle in.

Like walking into a church (preferably old) or an old building of any kind. Sometimes, there's a special feel. Some people pick up on it, and some don't. I figure that's down to individual wiring.

I think rather it is personal and, of course, subjective interpretation.

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Gamaliel
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Of course, Susan Doris.

I don't think anyone here is saying that a 'sense of place' or atmosphere is something that is going to be as acute with everybody in the same way and at the same time.

One person's fish is another's poisson.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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hatless

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I remember occasional visits to places that have moved me, but it has been my knowledge about what happened there that has been important. Iona is very atmospheric, but full of strong associations; I went because it was Iona and I knew about its history, both ancient and Twentieth Century as I looked across the sound or stood in front of the Celtic crosses.

I have been moved by wild places: a beach on Harris, a village in Swaledale, another in the south of France, a mountain on Skye. But they have no religious significance I’m aware of.

Often what I have seen has jarred with what I expected. The Bannockburn monument disrupted any sense of place for me.

On the other hand, the Berlin Holocaust Memorial was powerful, even though its particular location is irrelevant.

I’m pretty sure I don’t get anything from the rocks or grid references of places, and if I saw the bed where Schubert died and believed it was Jimmy Saville’s last resting place, it would leave me cold.

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mr cheesy
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I think it is hard to get away from an association once it has taken root (personally, corporately).

A few years ago, I was quite moved at the site of a synogogue in the German city of Dortmund. Today it is an opera house, nothing much to see expect a stone memorial.

It felt to me like visiting Clifford's Tower in York. Incredibly sad.

Neither site really reveals their grisly history unless you have eyes to see.

On the other hand, for me, the last post at the Menin Gate in Ypres had almost no impact.

I don't think anything that anyone could say would change how I felt about these places based on my experiences of them.

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Enoch
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By a long way, the most numinous place I've ever been to, in spite of the the noise, ugly architecture and tat, is the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. Many of the other sites didn't work like that, but the Holy Sepulchre pole-axed me.

It would be hard to explain why, apart from the obvious point, the one thing about it which everyone knows, which is that it is empty.

Like others, I've also found Holy Island in Northumberland has 'got something'.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
The thread about relics made me think of this.

Are there places you regard as especially holy or sacred or spiritually significant? I am not referring here to the status of just any ordinary consecrated church building.

]
For me, the answer is a clear and unambiguous no. No object or place, in or of itself, is holy or sacred. It is only people who assign any such quality. We know that, say, a certain church was commissioned, designed and built; its history and use will have been documented, so we wil understand the reasons for this, especially if the history is long.
quote:
I have heard of people referring to places where many people died as "hallowed". I know there are people who think of some specific locations as holy, such as the Grand Canyon or the island of Iona. Indeed, I have read that Navahos may regard all of Navaho country as sacred.
I can understand their beliefs but these do not confer any ‘holiness’ (whatever that is – to the place. I count myself lucky that I have stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon and was able to survey its magnificence, but I did not imagine anything other than reality!! If I went to Iona, I would be interested to see it and hear from the people who live there, but any sacred-type adjective used to qualify it is a subjective one.
quote:
I don't offhand know an antonym for "sacred", but are there places that strike you as being especially non-sacred?
The Only words I can think of which are vaguely antonyms are neutral and natural!!
I hope and believe that I value places as much as anyone.

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SusanDoris

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Having read posts since my last one, I would add that yes, of course, I have been moved by visiting all sorts of places. Back in 1963 I was for about five minutes alone in the King's Chamber of the Great Pyramid and, as so many people had told me about the atmosphere there and that I would feel it, I found that no, no mysterious messages or anything came into my mind. However, it was just so fantastic to know that I was standing somewhere which had been there for so long.

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Dormouse

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I like the description of such places being "thin places" - a place in time where the space between heaven and earth grows thin and the Sacred and the secular seem to meet.

I know that this depends on your PoV as if you don't believe there is a "sacred" then maybe you can't see the difference in the meeting of sacred & secular But for me Iona was a "thin place" - I'm willing to admit that it was partly due to the circumstances.
I've heard others who were at the passing from life to death of someone they loved describing it as "a thin place".

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Anselmina
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I like Wordsworth's take on appreciation of place. He isn't pro-Christian, but in his poetry reflecting both the man-made, as in 'Composed upon Westminster Bridge' and nature 'The world is too much with us' he sounds the warning note to those who remain untouched by what there is in creation that can touch their hearts.

'Great God! I'd rather be a pagan suckled on a creed outworn' than lose the wonder of 'a sight so touching in majesty' - to mix poetic metaphors.

It may be a question whether it's a mere chemical connection in the brain that provides the satisfactory emotional response to something that moves us, or an actual spiritual resonance with something greater than ourselves; but I love his warning against the dangers of rationalising the enriching power of wonder and mystery out of human experience.

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hatless

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I find the suggestion that it’s something about the place in itself a distraction. What is important for me is the rich set of associations around a place. I think it’s the stories and meanings that carry the specialness. Why not enter into those more deeply?

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Urfshyne
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Many years ago, in preparation for an inter-denominational mission to our town, we used to meet in various churches for prayer. One of those locations was a Catholic convent, since closed and turned into a school. There were just a few elderly nuns who lived there, and we (nearly all protestants) had already been somewhat surprised by their awareness and openness in prayer.

After the meeting we all commented upon how, on entering the prayer room, we had been amazed by the atmosphere there. One just knew that here was a place where frequent and heartfelt prayers had been offered up over a long period of time.

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quetzalcoatl
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The evocation produced by a place depends a lot on my mood. The other day I walked down the high st, and the guy on the corner who plays rock guitar was doing a soft dreamy tune, and I had a golden moment, where everything looks alive, and everything is exactly as it should be. I don't bother about whether this is a rush of chemicals in the brain, I just enjoy it. But another day, I might go down there and feel flat, and the guitarist sounds awful. I suppose 'sacred' is not the right word here, but maybe numinous.

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Nick Tamen

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As the allusion in the "From" part of my profile might suggest, I find my feelings succinctly reflected in a snippet from Elizabeth Barrett Browning's (really long) "Aurora Leigh":
quote:
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God,
But only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round and pluck blackberries.

Without a doubt, there are some places—places that, as Dormouse says, some would call "thin"—where it may be easier for people to see the "bush afire." Some of those are places such as have been mentioned on this thread: places where history and cultural association have polished the patina of the divine. Then there are the personal holy places, where our own encounters with the divine may have been more pronounced. I have been to and been moved at both kinds of holy places, and I readily refer to them as "holy places." But to me, part of the challenge of visits to such holy places is to ask how I can be aware of the divine presence when I leave and go to places that aren't quite so "thin."

So yeah, I think there's the potential for the watchful to see the Holy in any place—even fast food restaurants, airports, bus stations and all other noisy places full of people passing rapidly through on their way to somewhere else. "Where cross the crowded way of life . . ." and all that.

[ 12. January 2018, 15:07: Message edited by: Nick Tamen ]

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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Sure, I think it's all these things and no, SusanDoris I'm not expecting any 'special messages' or anything of the kind and I don't think there's anything 'missing' in your response to these things either - be it Durham Cathedral or The Great Pyramid.

Yes, I'm a believer, a person of faith but that faith isn't based on any sense of genius locii or whether this, that or the other artefact conveys something ...

Perhaps I ought to mention on the relics thread that I found Wordsworth's skates on display at Grasmere profoundly moving for some reason - and I'm sure that was an association thing ... They're mentioned in his poetry and Seamus Heaney refers to them in one of his poems too.

I feel the same looking at song-lyrics, scribbled orders from the Duke of Wellington and notes by Dickens and Jane Austen on display in The British Library.

I'm not too concerned whether it's chemicals, pheromones or whatever else - it's what these things convey and how they resonate with us.

I once threw all Protestant caution to the wind and venerated the Kursk Root Icon along with the Orthodox, Akathists and all. Now, I don't believe for a moment that it was miraculously found embedded among the roots of a tree in the 12th century. But in some way I felt I was tapping into a deep vein of Russian spirituality and beyond that to events and stories from the time of Christ ...

Yes, it was to do with associations. But the wood and gesso and the ritual and song all worked together as part and parcel of the whole thing. I could break it all down into its constituent parts and analyse it, but why? I decided to roll with it and so I did.

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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quetzalcoatl
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Good point about Wordsworth's skates. On TV last night, they showed Lady Jane Grey's prayer book, which she took to her execution. Very moving, even via TV, and not (for me) because it was a prayer book, but it was something she hung on to, at the end. With her own notes in it as well. Poignant is an understatement.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:
Without a doubt, there are some places—places that, as Dormouse says, some would call "thin"—where it may be easier for people to see the "bush afire."

I've walked a battlefield and felt a chill, a connection to those who have sacrificed there. Only to later learn that the actual place was several fields over.
The "thinness" resides in us. Does this make the feeling invalid? No. If one feels a connection then one feels a connection.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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quetzalcoatl
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Yes, reminds me of Hamlet, 'Denmark is a prison', but not for everyone. There's nothing but that thinking makes it so.

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the main fear that flat-earthers face is sphere itself.

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SusanDoris

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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
Sure, I think it's all these things and no, SusanDoris I'm not expecting any 'special messages' or anything of the kind and I don't think there's anything 'missing' in your response to these things either - be it Durham Cathedral or The Great Pyramid.

Snip>

I'm not too concerned whether it's chemicals, pheromones or whatever else - it's what these things convey and how they resonate with us.

Thank you – most interesting post, especially that last part.
quote:
I once threw all Protestant caution to the wind and venerated the Kursk Root Icon along with the Orthodox, Akathists and all. Now, I don't believe for a moment that it was miraculously found embedded among the roots of a tree in the 12th century. But in some way I felt I was tapping into a deep vein of Russian spirituality and beyond that to events and stories from the time of Christ ...
Did you ever read that book by Mark Twain about his travels around Europe and about the many reliccs he was shown?!

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I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
The "thinness" resides in us. Does this make the feeling invalid? No.

I agree, especially if the "us" is understood, at least sometimes, to mean the collective "us." The "thinness" is there because our culture has prepared us to find it there and conditioned us to expect it.

And there's nothing wrong with that, to my mind. The interesting question to me is how we can condition ourselves to look for the thinness in places where our culture has conditioned us to not expect it.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Gamaliel
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No, I've not read that particular piece by Mark Twain but I do know of it.

As I've said upthread, I don't particularly have a problem with the 'idea' of relics in theory - after all, keeping or collecting physical objects that remind us of significant people, places and things is a very human thing to do ...

I suspect my squeamishness is more to do with cultural issues rather than theological qualms - I've found that RCs and Orthodox are not always as credulous in this respect as many Protestants accuse them of being. Some are. Others take a more nuanced view. Most I've met would certainly accept that there are plenty of 'fake' relics around.

I have less of a problem with icons, although that may sound counter-intuitive. As Dr Andrew Walker put it, 'we look through them, but not without them ...'

I can see the street out of my window but I need my window to see the street.

If that makes sense.

Of course, I can open my front door and walk outside but if I'm inside the house I need something to help me to look outside - and that's where windows help.

If someone doesn't want to use the window but go outside instead, then that's fine.

Nobody's forcing anyone to kiss icons or venerate relics - at least, not these days.

The story of the priest 'making' the little girl kiss the container which holds the 'Holy Hand' is disturbing and distressing. As has been said, the priest should, at the very least, have checked whether the kids were comfortable with doing so - and I can't think why he didn't. Even in a strongly Catholic community I'd imagine there might be some qualms about that.

My nearest Orthodox parish has a boulder given to them by a medieval Anglican parish which has - very surreptitiously, I might add - had a collection of them since at least the 16th century.

These stones were supposed to have once been loaves that the Devil used to tempt the 8th century St Bertram to break his Lenten fast. The Saint prayed and God turned the loaves to stone.

Now, one of these pebbles/boulders is kept in a basket alongside the icon-screen and the priest and others venerate it at times as they go past.

I know other Orthodox who find that a bit much, one even referred to it (tell it not in Gath) as their 'pet rock.'

So the mileage varies.

Do I believe that this stone was once a loaf of 8th century bread? No, of course I don't.

Do I think the priest and those of his congregation who venerate it as if it were are daft for doing so?

That's up to them, not me. Is it harmful in some way? Is it idolatrous? Is it leading them astray from the TruthTM?

Answers on a postcard please ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:

And there's nothing wrong with that, to my mind. The interesting question to me is how we can condition ourselves to look for the thinness in places where our culture has conditioned us to not expect it.

I understand what you are saying, but if you cannot find it here, then you have not truly found it here.

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So goodnight moon, I want the sun
If it's not here soon, I might be done
No it won't be too soon 'til I say goodnight moon

- A. N. Parsley, D. Mcvinni

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Tortuf
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Agreed lilBuddha.
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Raptor Eye
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quote:
Originally posted by Dormouse:
I like the description of such places being "thin places" - a place in time where the space between heaven and earth grows thin and the Sacred and the secular seem to meet.

I know that this depends on your PoV as if you don't believe there is a "sacred" then maybe you can't see the difference in the meeting of sacred & secular But for me Iona was a "thin place" - I'm willing to admit that it was partly due to the circumstances.
I've heard others who were at the passing from life to death of someone they loved describing it as "a thin place".

I expand this to say that some people have this kind of 'thinness' (whatever their size!), and writings, as well as places.

The places might be inside or outside, in quiet places or noisy ones. The writings might be in holy books, or magazines. The people might be of any background and in any circumstance.

Nevertheless, we know that God is very close. The spiritual impact is tangible.

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Nick Tamen

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# 15164

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by Nick Tamen:

And there's nothing wrong with that, to my mind. The interesting question to me is how we can condition ourselves to look for the thinness in places where our culture has conditioned us to not expect it.

I understand what you are saying, but if you cannot find it here, then you have not truly found it here.
Which I think is another way of saying what I've been trying to say.

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The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

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Latchkey Kid
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
For the ancient peoples of this land, and now for more and more of those who arrived more recently,
Uluru seen here in daylight rather than the more common sunset. A place of great calm and peace, even in the 40 degree heat of a summer noon; the sunset view will link you to a time before any people were on earth.

I understand for Australian aboriginals all the land is sacred. And they do not own the land, they belong to the land or are owned by the land. This seems to be a commonality among all the aboriginal spiritualities/religions.
There are special places such as bora rings for ceremonies, though many were ploughed up by disrespectful Europeans who probably saw themselves as Christians.

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'You must never give way for an answer. An answer is always the stretch of road that's behind you. Only a question can point the way forward.'
Mika; in Hello? Is Anybody There?, Jostein Gaardner

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Pangolin Guerre
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Every year, or, almost every year, a pilgrim dies on the way to Santiago, so there are memorials dotting the Camino. (In the middle ages it was thought that dying on pilgrimage meant that one skipped Purgatory.) I was walking through a pine forest, and happened upon a memorial to a German pilgrim who died some (ca. 30?) years ago of a heart attack, and on the site, or very near it, is a boulder about 1.5m tall, on which people leave a boot or a shoe. I found it tremendously moving. I have wondered whether, over time, these memorials will acquire coats of respect and prayer until they achieve veneration.

I have had a very strange experience at Stenness in Orkney which I can't express or explain.

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Gee D
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LKK, I agree with what you say. The relationship between the people and the land is the opposite to ours. AFAIK, there were no territorial disputes between the various groups. The "wars" in the Kimberleys during the 1930 of which Ion Idriess writes were over women, not land.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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mousethief

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quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
quote:
Originally posted by Golden Key:
I think one reason places feel special is that the thoughts and feelings and prayers of many people, over many years, sort of settle in.

Like walking into a church (preferably old) or an old building of any kind. Sometimes, there's a special feel. Some people pick up on it, and some don't. I figure that's down to individual wiring.

I think rather it is personal and, of course, subjective interpretation.
But what is wrong with personal and subjective interpretations? My belief that my wife loves me is based almost entirely on personal and subjective interpretations. But it plays a huge role in my happiness and in my conduct of my life. And is no less "real" for being subjective and personal.

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“Religion doesn't fuck up people, people fuck up religion.”—lilBuddha

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hatless

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Personal and subjective is arguably the best. Better, I think, than the idea that some places are thin is to say that some of us feel thin when we are in them, because we know the stories about them.

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My crazy theology in novel form

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Martin60
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I get over-moved. Irrationally. Sub-clinically. Stendhal's syndrome. I love it. It used to scare me in my too many fundy days. Like my flying dreams that I repressed so effectively they won't come back, I miss them. Luckily the Stendhal's doesn't go. I got it most recently just reading the word 'aubade' without even knowing the meaning because of the context; one of Stephen Donaldson's riffs in The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant.

I was in the D'Orsay in September and happily couldn't breathe surrounded by Monet and a single searing Sisley and couldn't stop blinking away tears. Nobody noticed but my poor wife. I got it big time first time in such contexts over 50 years ago in Honister Pass; I suspect puberty. I got it disturbingly watching Patton: Lust for Glory in '72. War can evoke it. I have to watch George C. Scott reading the weather prayer every now and again. 55s in, HOO boy! It's the music.

It's all about what we bring to the party. All.

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Love wins

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
Personal and subjective is arguably the best. Better, I think, than the idea that some places are thin is to say that some of us feel thin when we are in them, because we know the stories about them.

Sure. I don't see anyone here making any more claims for these places - unless I've missed something.

It's not as if these places are spiritually-radioactive in the sense that if you were to walk into them unawares you'd be overcome by the radiation or the 'fumes' ...

Although you might be if someone were wafting incense around ...

No, it's all to do with associations and of things being 'set aside' as it were.

I certainly 'felt' something at that Saint's well in North Wales but it may have been something to do with the remoteness of the spot and a whole range of other factors. It wasn't a well-known location particularly.

I've been to other holy wells and not 'felt' anything at all.

On a number of occasions I've seen the RC Exposition and Benediction thing with the Host venerated by the faithful. That really does mess with my head ... and my Protestant sensibilities go short-circuiting and sparking all over the place - but one one occasion I did 'feel' something very moving and profound ... perhaps it was the reactions and the devotions of the RC faithful present - I don't know.

These things can be 'contagious'.

It was certainly a 'thin place' for them and could have been so for me if I'd 'let myself go' as it were ...

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Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It's not as if these places are spiritually-radioactive in the sense that if you were to walk into them unawares you'd be overcome by the radiation or the 'fumes' ...

But is that true? When my wife first went to live in Senegal she went for a walk. At one particular place she had a definite feeling of "spiritual darkness". When she returned to her house she mentioned this to a colleague. "Oh, didn't you know?" she said. "That's where the witchdoctor lives".
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Raptor Eye
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There was a 'dark' place near where I used to live. When walking there, a shiver came down my spine. Someone I know fell off his bike there for what seemed like no reason at all. Later I found out that there had been an accident at that very spot - but was that the cause, or the effect......

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Be still, and know that I am God! Psalm 46.10

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Gamaliel
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
It's not as if these places are spiritually-radioactive in the sense that if you were to walk into them unawares you'd be overcome by the radiation or the 'fumes' ...

But is that true? When my wife first went to live in Senegal she went for a walk. At one particular place she had a definite feeling of "spiritual darkness". When she returned to her house she mentioned this to a colleague. "Oh, didn't you know?" she said. "That's where the witchdoctor lives".
I've heard other people say similar things. Thing is, if you accept that certain places can be 'dark' or retain some kind of baleful influence, then why can't the converse be true? That certain places retain a benign influence?

It always strikes me as odd that Protestant Christians are so squeamish about shrines, holy places, the 'Real Presence' in the Eucharist and so on yet don't bat an eyelid when it comes to 'discerning' malevolent influences in the atmosphere and so on ...

[Confused]

I think it was Curiosity Killed, though, who once told me about a particular location near here which she always felt 'unsettled' by - although she had not particular associations with it being a scene of a murder or a violent action of some kind ...

I'm not questioning your wife's story, simply wondering why it is that the baleful influence of a witch-doctor should be 'detectable' in that way whereas something very 'Catholic' such as Benediction and Exposition or a Saint's relic or something of that kind would be beyond the pale ...

Presuming that you find such things as being beyond the pale.

I'm enough of a 'supernaturalist' to believe that there can be baleful atmospheres and influences, but if we are going to go in for those, then surely we ought also to go in for the reverse - retained impressions of 'thinness' and so on in a more sacramental sense?

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Jengie jon

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The stories suggest Iona was sacred before it was Christian. It is almost a palimpsest with each generation of spirituality writing over with their own understanding. This over writing of meaning is perhaps one of the chief characteristics of Sacred space according to sociologists.

Is there something beyond that but I do know if I am feeling overstretched that I will seek out a place with trees. Ideally I would spend quite a significant time just being there, more often it is a brief walk or run through, yet I will seek them. So why do I seek out trees?

In Santiago de Compostela there is a hand print on a pillar made by the repeated placing of pilgrim hand after pilgrim hand on that spot. We do not simply feel the sacred by our very presence we alter the space. There is the sense we are story making in the space. What attracts us to creation of a story at this place apart from the stories that are already there? Why when we know we are part of story making do they still draw us?

No answers but a lot of questions.

Jengie

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Jengie jon

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Disquieting ones include Glastonbury, I can take the Abbey but the town just gives me creeps.

Jengie

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"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

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Baptist Trainfan
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But would you feel that if you knew nothing about its New Age/Joseph of Arimatheia connections and walked around with your eyes shut?

[ 13. January 2018, 17:43: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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