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Creating Sacred Space

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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal

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Buy the audiobook of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science at https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9798368952246-atheopaganism

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S4E22 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science Based Paganism. I'm one of your hosts, Yucca.

Mark: And I'm Mark.

Yucca: And today we thought that we'd come back to some of the practical, we've been talking a lot about philosophical ideas and things like that, and we thought, let's do something that is really more kind of hands-on. And it's been a long time since we've talked about creating sacred space.

Mark: Right. And that. It's kind of the precursor to everything that we do in a ritual context, right? Is to set the table emotionally and psychologically for us to do the work of a ritual. So we thought that we'd come back to that and talk about it some more. Because it's kind of an elusive concept until you experience it and then you know what it feels like and it's easier to do the things that are needed in order to experience it again.

Yucca: Right. Yeah, it is, it is really all about your experience of it and your experience of it's probably gonna be pretty different than somebody else's. I mean, there are some things that are fairly universal to us as a species but a lot of the associations, the things you're gonna be working with will be very personal.

Mark: Right. When, when we talk about some of the things that are universal to us as a species, some of the things that contribute to that feeling of a sacred space are low light conditions, which tend to lead us to want to speak in hushed whispers which is probably a remnant of our desire not to be eaten in the dark,

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Flickering light like candlelight or firelight.

Light.

Yucca: Go on. I was gonna say rhythmic noises or the white rushing noises of water or things like that.

Mark: yes, like the surf or waterfall or any of those kinds of things. The sense, particularly kind of rich the sense of incense or burning herbs can be associated with those kinds of things. So it's very sensory and historically, I mean, many of these techniques have been developed, cultivated, and really refined by, for example, the Roman Catholic Church and the, the Eastern Orthodox churches.

They, they really know what they're doing. That architecture that leads your eyes to gaze way up and statuary where you're, you feel very small in relation to it. And the low light conditions and the incense and the, the Gregorian chanting going on that's got those beautiful rhythmic, trance inducing kind of qualities to it.

All that stuff. And then Protestantism threw all that out. And I don't feel much when I go into a Protestant or say a a, a Mormon church, but I'm sure that people who follow those traditions do.

Yucca: There's certainly been some experiences that I've had as a guest in some Protestant churches that, that felt like, like, yeah, wow. They're, they're, they're getting this ritual thing. Especially one that I think of as a, a Christmas Eve, one that I. Went to several years where they turned the lights down and everyone had a candle and was holding the candle up together and singing.

I think it was like silent night that everyone was singing together and some of those real kind of iconic ones. So I, it's, it's not as common with the Protestant groups as we see with the Catholics, but, and I don't have. Any experience with Eastern Orthodox. A lot of experience with Catholics, so, but, but that's still done, right?

I think it's something that humans want to do. Whatever our particular background is, we, I think we seek that kind of experience out.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: to a certain extent we do that with sporting events as well. I'm not a big sports person, but it, you know, when I watch other people involved in that and the rituals behind that, I go, oh wow.

I recognize what you're doing. This is familiar.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, that's very true. Yeah. What, what I think of this as being like, is the creation of an emotional framework,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That makes it possible for transformation to happen, right? Because ritual is a transformative process. we go into this trans state when the conditions are right, and then we do something that either feels like. You know, recognizing the seasons and connecting with nature or healing some wound that we've suffered previously, or aspiring towards, you know, confidence and competence as we pursue some goal. All of those are the kinds of things that that ritual can do for us. And of course in the case of theism, there's just that worship thing, right?

You know, just getting into that state and then feeling very worshipful towards your, your God or gods. Which we don't do, but my guess is that the feeling is very, very similar to what I feel about the cosmos and the earth. The same kind of humble. Awe-inspired reverence,

Yucca: Yeah, that would be my, my guess as well. Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about how to create this space.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. There are a lot of different pieces. That can go into this. I mean, we just threw out a whole bunch. There's actually a document, it, it's in my book as well the Ethiopia Paganism book that describes many of the different attributes that can go into the creation of sacred space and a ritual. The, but the primary ones to me in terms of. Moving into that state are a sense of safety and privacy.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: You're not gonna have people come barging in who aren't a part of the process. You're not gonna be mocked. Or attacked or any, any of that kind of thing. You, you, you feel a solidity in your place which enables you to open yourself up and become emotionally vulnerable.

Yucca: which means that depending on your living situation where you're creating this space may be very different. Right. If you live by yourself in a three bedroom apartment, maybe you have a whole room that you dedicate to this or you live with a whole bunch of other people. You live in a family situation or a dorm situation, and maybe it's something that you do privately in the bathroom.

Because that's the only place that you can have a little bit of time and space to yourself. And so how permanent or not the, your setup for the space is gonna be, is gonna depend on that kind of situation,

Mark: Right, right. And places in nature are also very good for this. You just have to make sure that they're secluded enough that you're not gonna have people stumbling across you while you're doing your thing.

Yucca: And that you're safe with the other inhabitants of whatever that place is that you're in, right? That you've checked around. There's, there's no snakes hanging out that are right under the rock there, or you know, this isn't bear territory or something like that.

Mark: Right. Yeah. So I mean the beach or the woods or the desert or You know, a, a mountaintop, all of those are wonderful places to do a ritual. And we do that, it helps us to do a symbolic declaration of the space, the most common one in Pagan. Spaces is the, the casting of the circle, right? Where, you know, there's actual movement.

You go around the outside of the circle some cases with a knife or a sword, or a crystal or a feather or something,

Yucca: Right. Sometimes you literally sprinkle people like to sprinkle like sands or salts or things like that as well.

Mark: Right to create the psychological impression of a barrier

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that protects your privacy and safety. Yeah. So those are, those are things that you can do to, to, to help to create that circumstance. I've, I've had experiences, well, I had one experience of this ritual group. This was when I first got involved with Paganism.

It was probably like the second or third time I ever went to a ritual. And they, they were, they were way out in the country, but they actually tried to do a ritual on land that wasn't theirs. And I didn't realize this until later. And everybody was looking over their shoulders all the time and, There was no sacred space.

There was no ritual state. There were, it was terrible because there was not that sense of safety and privacy.

Yucca: So they were concerned that the, it was private land and that the. That somebody was gonna come and, and ask him, what, what are you doing here?

Mark: Yeah. Hoo them away or, you know, shoot at them. Who knows? But so, so don't do that. You know, use public land or,

Yucca: Just out of curiosity, was it like a really, like special spot in terms of like

Mark: it was a, it was

Yucca: like what.

Mark: of a, a rise of a, of a grass covered hill that commanded a, an incredible view. For 360 degrees you could see for miles in, in all directions.

Yucca: is curious, what would in, what would get somebody, what would inspire somebody to risk that

Mark: Yeah, I'm, and, and, and how did the person that organized this discover it in the first place? I don't know. But yeah, it was a weird, it was a, a weird experience and it taught me a lesson that you can't do these things if you don't feel safe.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. And so I think that reminds us when we are organizing Ritual to be really mindful about that kind of thing and the different needs of the participants in the ritual, right, because you're talking about feeling safe in terms of, you know, not knowing if you're gonna get kicked off or not, but there's also other forms of safety.

There's the emotional safety that plays that, that is just as important when it comes to our experiences and how, how effective our rituals going to be to how do we actually feel about this. So if I don't, if I'm trying to do a ritual about self-healing or something like that, and I think I'm gonna get mocked, Or I'm worried about being judged by the person next to me, it's probably not gonna be as effective.

I'm probably not gonna be able to get into that space.

Mark: Right. Or if you're non-binary and all the invocations are gender essentialist,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: right? I mean, there are a variety of kinds of inclusion that we need. There's multiple axes of inclusion that need to be addressed as well as the kind of physical safety and emotional safety in relation to what's outside the circle.

There's also what's inside. And we, and we wanna make sure that that is also facilitating of people feeling at ease and, and able to open themselves.

Yucca: Right now in, in most cases though, it's probably gonna be just you on your own right? Or in a small group. But I think that we can, you can still kind of take that idea and think about it with yourself and how you might be feeling once you're in that space.

Mark: Right, right. And there are techniques that you can use to bring yourself into a state of radical presence. So you're not thinking about, you're not worried about the future, you're not thinking about things that are going on elsewhere. You're not, you know, Obsessing about something in the past. You're just very, very present in doing what's right before you. And we were talking before we started to record. The use of the senses

Yucca: Right.

Mark: can be very helpful in that.

Yucca: Yeah. So using that as a framework, thinking about the classical senses of, alright, so what, what am I seeing? What am I hearing? What am I smelling? What am I feeling? Perhaps maybe not in every case, but what am I tasting? If there's something involved with that, if you're drinking something or, or if there's a component that you're bringing in.

And that's a really nice framework to use for setting up the space, either if it's a permanent space that you're setting up. Or if it's going to be a, a temporary moment, right? And just taking a moment to take those into account and then be a little bit more aware of them. That really just helps bring us to being really present in our, in our bodies while we're doing the ritual.

Mark: Right, right. So let's say you're going to do a solo ritual and you go out in the woods and you find a place that's. Isolated enough that other people are not gonna be coming out there and you find a stump and you put a cloth over it and you build a focus, an altar, right, with symbols of the things that you want to do in this ritual. And it's aesthetically pleasing to you. You're looking at it, it's in the woods, which are beautiful. So there's this whole kind of drinking in with the eyes component. And you can hear the wind in the trees. Maybe you're near water so you can hear some of that babbling brook sound as well. There's the smell of the, the warm pine needles or oak oak leaves or whatever they are.

You can augment that by lighting, maybe some frankincense and that sweet kind of temple incense scent. Begins to transport you into a more intentional, kind of focused space. I've, one of the things that I've used in group rituals is either a single sip of wine or a single semi-sweet chocolate chip for a taste in vocation.

Sometimes in group rituals, they, they do what's called a purging, which is sprinkling with water, sometimes scented water. And what you usually do is you use a sprig of some kind of herb like rosemary to flick the water onto,

Yucca: it in flick, dip flick. Yeah.

Mark: right. And that sensory feeling on the skin. As well as the scent that comes from it also gives you that feeling of immediacy and being in your body and being right there present in the moment.

Yucca: Right. And if you have the opportunity to taking your shoes off there and just feeling the forest floor between your toes or. Or leaning up against the tree and feeling the bark and the texture of that and just noticing the wind on your skin. And maybe, you know, tasting, we were talking about tasting with food, but you can taste the air too. Be careful about tasting plants that you don't know.

Mark: Yeah. Don't do

Yucca: Don't. But maybe if it was like a pine needle or something like that, that you're pretty confident about, you could get that intense taste there. But yeah, don't, don't go eating or putting random plants in your mouth. They're, the vast majority of them will not make you feel good.

So,

Mark: Right. So that is, those, those sorts of techniques are the things that we use to create what we call sacred space. It's a very It's a very pleasurable state to be in. I find it to be very reverent and anticipatory in a way. Like, you know, there's a, there's a sense that something wonderful is about to happen. It just lends a richness to ritual practices that that I just really treasure.

So, I would invite you to experiment with different ways of inducing that sense of sacred space. Personally I like to live in a context that's very much not, not kind of the full on implementation, but. My room is decorated in a way that, you know, when I light candles, it's this very kind of, sort of place.

And and I, I just enjoy that. It, it helps me to feel more of a richness in my life. You may feel the same, you may want to do something similar or you may have a little box that's your portable focus kit. You take that to wherever you create sacred space and do your work there, and both of those are perfectly great,

Yucca: Right, and you don't need objects either. You can do all of it just with your, just with yourself, right? The, the tools are nice, but they're just that, they're just tools, right?

Mark: And you have tools built into your body. You you have breath. Yes. Right. I have seen and experienced creation of sacred space just with a deep inhale and then blowing it out like a bubble. Just, and then there you are inside that, that bubble space safe and protected and, and and cared for protected.

Yeah, I said that. So, you know, be aware of that. You don't have to have a lot of stuff. This, these techniques are really about working with our psychology and our bodies are able to do that on their own.

Yucca: Right. Well, I think this is a good place for us to wrap up for today. But we do have a couple of announcements. So your book is ready for pre-order, right?

Mark: It is my book round. We Dance Creating Meaning through Seasonal Rituals, which will be released next April, is now available for pre-order on the Luellen website. We'll put a link in the show notes. And I'm really excited about it. And apparently they are too. They say they really love the book.

So I'm I'm psyched. It's kind of an outlier when you look at the the Luellen page. It's full of all kinds of supernaturalist stuff. But they're publishing mine too, and I'm delighted. I'm, I'm just so excited to be working with them and, and having this book come out. So that's one thing.

Yucca: And we had a. Ethiopia, pagan Society Council meeting recently. And there will be a, what did you call it? A changing of the guard.

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: So I have been the chair for three years at this point. And I'm gonna be passing that on at this point. Still be on the council, but gonna step back from that chair position.

So,

Mark: Right. And John Cleland host has graciously agreed and been elected to take over that chair position. He was the vice chair, for those first three years. So he's taken that over. Michael O'Hara is our our vice chair now,

Yucca: Who's been on the podcast several times,

Mark: yes, he has. And Rachel, w and c went, are the other two officers?

The the sec, the treasurer and the secretary, respectively. And then there's several other others of us like me who are members of the council but are not officers.

Yucca: Right,

But stay busy doing lots and lots of stuff. We have a lot of projects. There's lots of volunteering in different capacities and all of that, so,

Mark: it's so exciting and every time somebody new comes on board as a volunteer, I just, I'm reminded all over again. Wow. What a great group of people. These are just so, they're so fun to hang out with and they're interesting and the conversations are great. And they're just so kind of

Yucca: Just discreet people

Mark: good-hearted people.

Yeah.

Yucca: and we always talk ourselves into more work. Every time we get together, here's a new idea that we, we've gotta do.

Mark: That's true.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: Well, since I am working now, I'm having to put some boundaries around that from what I've been doing before. But so far everything seems to be working out okay. I'm doing a rework right now on the Ethiopia and hymnal. Which is downloadable from the blog site. I'm adding a bunch of sheet music in and a bunch of new chants and songs.

Yucca: Oh, and the audio book.

Mark: Oh, right.

Yucca: I think that that would probably be of interest to our listeners.

Mark: I, in the last weeks before I started my new job. I realized that I wasn't going to have a big block of available open time anytime soon once I started the job. So I took a back burner project off the back burner, which was the recording of an audiobook of my first book, op, paganism and Earth Honoring Path Rooted in Science, and I recorded the audiobook and it is now purchasable from everywhere you get audiobooks except audible.

Because Amazon,

Yucca: Alright

Well gimme a link and I'll put that in the show notes for people for your preferred location.

Mark: I should let you know the main reason that I didn't go with Audible as well is that they have extremely restrictive licensing requirements that give them exclusive right to distribute the audio book for something like three years or something.

Yucca: Seven.

Mark: is it seven? Could be.

Yucca: yeah. Unless they've changed it recently.

Mark: Well, I wouldn't imagine them changing it to improve it, so, yeah. Anyway, it's,

Yucca: That might have been if you created it through the, their platform where you can hire a voice artist

Mark: Oh, right, acx.

Yucca: that might be what I'm thinking of, but,

Mark: Yeah. But in any case, I wanted, I. Chirp and Libro FM and you know, all those different outlets to be able to sell the book. So now you can go to any of those kinds of places and find it online.

Yucca: Well, that's great.

Mark: Yeah, it was, it was a fun project to do. I had to lock myself in my room for several days and read the thing into a microphone, but now it's there.

Yucca: Yep. Well, and that'd be great to have it in your voice too. I always really appreciate when the audio books are read by the author because you really get the, the meaning a little bit more just in the way that they say the sentences.

Mark: I, I agree. And in this case, the whole story about how I came to Ethiopia, paganism is all in the first person,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: so it really wouldn't make any sense to have an some other narrator. It really kind of had to be mean. So anyway, it's in the can, it's up on the web, it's all, it's available now. So if you have a commute and want to read the book but don't have time or while you're working, whatever that's an a resource that's now available to you.

Yucca: Yep. All right. Well, thank you, mark.

Mark: Thank you Yucca. Always wonderful to talk with you and we'll see you next week.

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The Wonder Podcast द्वारा प्रदान की गई सामग्री. एपिसोड, ग्राफिक्स और पॉडकास्ट विवरण सहित सभी पॉडकास्ट सामग्री The Wonder Podcast या उनके पॉडकास्ट प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पार्टनर द्वारा सीधे अपलोड और प्रदान की जाती है। यदि आपको लगता है कि कोई आपकी अनुमति के बिना आपके कॉपीराइट किए गए कार्य का उपयोग कर रहा है, तो आप यहां बताई गई प्रक्रिया का पालन कर सकते हैं https://hi.player.fm/legal

Remember, we welcome comments, questions, and suggested topics at thewonderpodcastQs@gmail.com.

Buy the audiobook of ATHEOPAGANISM: An Earth-Honoring Path Rooted in Science at https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9798368952246-atheopaganism

Preorder ROUND WE DANCE at https://llewellyn.com/product.php?ean=9780738775364

S4E22 TRANSCRIPT:----more----

Yucca: Welcome back to the Wonder Science Based Paganism. I'm one of your hosts, Yucca.

Mark: And I'm Mark.

Yucca: And today we thought that we'd come back to some of the practical, we've been talking a lot about philosophical ideas and things like that, and we thought, let's do something that is really more kind of hands-on. And it's been a long time since we've talked about creating sacred space.

Mark: Right. And that. It's kind of the precursor to everything that we do in a ritual context, right? Is to set the table emotionally and psychologically for us to do the work of a ritual. So we thought that we'd come back to that and talk about it some more. Because it's kind of an elusive concept until you experience it and then you know what it feels like and it's easier to do the things that are needed in order to experience it again.

Yucca: Right. Yeah, it is, it is really all about your experience of it and your experience of it's probably gonna be pretty different than somebody else's. I mean, there are some things that are fairly universal to us as a species but a lot of the associations, the things you're gonna be working with will be very personal.

Mark: Right. When, when we talk about some of the things that are universal to us as a species, some of the things that contribute to that feeling of a sacred space are low light conditions, which tend to lead us to want to speak in hushed whispers which is probably a remnant of our desire not to be eaten in the dark,

Yucca: Yes.

Mark: Flickering light like candlelight or firelight.

Light.

Yucca: Go on. I was gonna say rhythmic noises or the white rushing noises of water or things like that.

Mark: yes, like the surf or waterfall or any of those kinds of things. The sense, particularly kind of rich the sense of incense or burning herbs can be associated with those kinds of things. So it's very sensory and historically, I mean, many of these techniques have been developed, cultivated, and really refined by, for example, the Roman Catholic Church and the, the Eastern Orthodox churches.

They, they really know what they're doing. That architecture that leads your eyes to gaze way up and statuary where you're, you feel very small in relation to it. And the low light conditions and the incense and the, the Gregorian chanting going on that's got those beautiful rhythmic, trance inducing kind of qualities to it.

All that stuff. And then Protestantism threw all that out. And I don't feel much when I go into a Protestant or say a a, a Mormon church, but I'm sure that people who follow those traditions do.

Yucca: There's certainly been some experiences that I've had as a guest in some Protestant churches that, that felt like, like, yeah, wow. They're, they're, they're getting this ritual thing. Especially one that I think of as a, a Christmas Eve, one that I. Went to several years where they turned the lights down and everyone had a candle and was holding the candle up together and singing.

I think it was like silent night that everyone was singing together and some of those real kind of iconic ones. So I, it's, it's not as common with the Protestant groups as we see with the Catholics, but, and I don't have. Any experience with Eastern Orthodox. A lot of experience with Catholics, so, but, but that's still done, right?

I think it's something that humans want to do. Whatever our particular background is, we, I think we seek that kind of experience out.

Mark: Mm-hmm.

Yucca: to a certain extent we do that with sporting events as well. I'm not a big sports person, but it, you know, when I watch other people involved in that and the rituals behind that, I go, oh wow.

I recognize what you're doing. This is familiar.

Mark: Yeah. Yeah, that's very true. Yeah. What, what I think of this as being like, is the creation of an emotional framework,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: That makes it possible for transformation to happen, right? Because ritual is a transformative process. we go into this trans state when the conditions are right, and then we do something that either feels like. You know, recognizing the seasons and connecting with nature or healing some wound that we've suffered previously, or aspiring towards, you know, confidence and competence as we pursue some goal. All of those are the kinds of things that that ritual can do for us. And of course in the case of theism, there's just that worship thing, right?

You know, just getting into that state and then feeling very worshipful towards your, your God or gods. Which we don't do, but my guess is that the feeling is very, very similar to what I feel about the cosmos and the earth. The same kind of humble. Awe-inspired reverence,

Yucca: Yeah, that would be my, my guess as well. Yeah. So let's talk a little bit about how to create this space.

Mark: Mm-hmm. Mm-hmm. There are a lot of different pieces. That can go into this. I mean, we just threw out a whole bunch. There's actually a document, it, it's in my book as well the Ethiopia Paganism book that describes many of the different attributes that can go into the creation of sacred space and a ritual. The, but the primary ones to me in terms of. Moving into that state are a sense of safety and privacy.

Yucca: Right.

Mark: You're not gonna have people come barging in who aren't a part of the process. You're not gonna be mocked. Or attacked or any, any of that kind of thing. You, you, you feel a solidity in your place which enables you to open yourself up and become emotionally vulnerable.

Yucca: which means that depending on your living situation where you're creating this space may be very different. Right. If you live by yourself in a three bedroom apartment, maybe you have a whole room that you dedicate to this or you live with a whole bunch of other people. You live in a family situation or a dorm situation, and maybe it's something that you do privately in the bathroom.

Because that's the only place that you can have a little bit of time and space to yourself. And so how permanent or not the, your setup for the space is gonna be, is gonna depend on that kind of situation,

Mark: Right, right. And places in nature are also very good for this. You just have to make sure that they're secluded enough that you're not gonna have people stumbling across you while you're doing your thing.

Yucca: And that you're safe with the other inhabitants of whatever that place is that you're in, right? That you've checked around. There's, there's no snakes hanging out that are right under the rock there, or you know, this isn't bear territory or something like that.

Mark: Right. Yeah. So I mean the beach or the woods or the desert or You know, a, a mountaintop, all of those are wonderful places to do a ritual. And we do that, it helps us to do a symbolic declaration of the space, the most common one in Pagan. Spaces is the, the casting of the circle, right? Where, you know, there's actual movement.

You go around the outside of the circle some cases with a knife or a sword, or a crystal or a feather or something,

Yucca: Right. Sometimes you literally sprinkle people like to sprinkle like sands or salts or things like that as well.

Mark: Right to create the psychological impression of a barrier

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: that protects your privacy and safety. Yeah. So those are, those are things that you can do to, to, to help to create that circumstance. I've, I've had experiences, well, I had one experience of this ritual group. This was when I first got involved with Paganism.

It was probably like the second or third time I ever went to a ritual. And they, they were, they were way out in the country, but they actually tried to do a ritual on land that wasn't theirs. And I didn't realize this until later. And everybody was looking over their shoulders all the time and, There was no sacred space.

There was no ritual state. There were, it was terrible because there was not that sense of safety and privacy.

Yucca: So they were concerned that the, it was private land and that the. That somebody was gonna come and, and ask him, what, what are you doing here?

Mark: Yeah. Hoo them away or, you know, shoot at them. Who knows? But so, so don't do that. You know, use public land or,

Yucca: Just out of curiosity, was it like a really, like special spot in terms of like

Mark: it was a, it was

Yucca: like what.

Mark: of a, a rise of a, of a grass covered hill that commanded a, an incredible view. For 360 degrees you could see for miles in, in all directions.

Yucca: is curious, what would in, what would get somebody, what would inspire somebody to risk that

Mark: Yeah, I'm, and, and, and how did the person that organized this discover it in the first place? I don't know. But yeah, it was a weird, it was a, a weird experience and it taught me a lesson that you can't do these things if you don't feel safe.

Yucca: Right. Yeah. And so I think that reminds us when we are organizing Ritual to be really mindful about that kind of thing and the different needs of the participants in the ritual, right, because you're talking about feeling safe in terms of, you know, not knowing if you're gonna get kicked off or not, but there's also other forms of safety.

There's the emotional safety that plays that, that is just as important when it comes to our experiences and how, how effective our rituals going to be to how do we actually feel about this. So if I don't, if I'm trying to do a ritual about self-healing or something like that, and I think I'm gonna get mocked, Or I'm worried about being judged by the person next to me, it's probably not gonna be as effective.

I'm probably not gonna be able to get into that space.

Mark: Right. Or if you're non-binary and all the invocations are gender essentialist,

Yucca: Right.

Mark: right? I mean, there are a variety of kinds of inclusion that we need. There's multiple axes of inclusion that need to be addressed as well as the kind of physical safety and emotional safety in relation to what's outside the circle.

There's also what's inside. And we, and we wanna make sure that that is also facilitating of people feeling at ease and, and able to open themselves.

Yucca: Right now in, in most cases though, it's probably gonna be just you on your own right? Or in a small group. But I think that we can, you can still kind of take that idea and think about it with yourself and how you might be feeling once you're in that space.

Mark: Right, right. And there are techniques that you can use to bring yourself into a state of radical presence. So you're not thinking about, you're not worried about the future, you're not thinking about things that are going on elsewhere. You're not, you know, Obsessing about something in the past. You're just very, very present in doing what's right before you. And we were talking before we started to record. The use of the senses

Yucca: Right.

Mark: can be very helpful in that.

Yucca: Yeah. So using that as a framework, thinking about the classical senses of, alright, so what, what am I seeing? What am I hearing? What am I smelling? What am I feeling? Perhaps maybe not in every case, but what am I tasting? If there's something involved with that, if you're drinking something or, or if there's a component that you're bringing in.

And that's a really nice framework to use for setting up the space, either if it's a permanent space that you're setting up. Or if it's going to be a, a temporary moment, right? And just taking a moment to take those into account and then be a little bit more aware of them. That really just helps bring us to being really present in our, in our bodies while we're doing the ritual.

Mark: Right, right. So let's say you're going to do a solo ritual and you go out in the woods and you find a place that's. Isolated enough that other people are not gonna be coming out there and you find a stump and you put a cloth over it and you build a focus, an altar, right, with symbols of the things that you want to do in this ritual. And it's aesthetically pleasing to you. You're looking at it, it's in the woods, which are beautiful. So there's this whole kind of drinking in with the eyes component. And you can hear the wind in the trees. Maybe you're near water so you can hear some of that babbling brook sound as well. There's the smell of the, the warm pine needles or oak oak leaves or whatever they are.

You can augment that by lighting, maybe some frankincense and that sweet kind of temple incense scent. Begins to transport you into a more intentional, kind of focused space. I've, one of the things that I've used in group rituals is either a single sip of wine or a single semi-sweet chocolate chip for a taste in vocation.

Sometimes in group rituals, they, they do what's called a purging, which is sprinkling with water, sometimes scented water. And what you usually do is you use a sprig of some kind of herb like rosemary to flick the water onto,

Yucca: it in flick, dip flick. Yeah.

Mark: right. And that sensory feeling on the skin. As well as the scent that comes from it also gives you that feeling of immediacy and being in your body and being right there present in the moment.

Yucca: Right. And if you have the opportunity to taking your shoes off there and just feeling the forest floor between your toes or. Or leaning up against the tree and feeling the bark and the texture of that and just noticing the wind on your skin. And maybe, you know, tasting, we were talking about tasting with food, but you can taste the air too. Be careful about tasting plants that you don't know.

Mark: Yeah. Don't do

Yucca: Don't. But maybe if it was like a pine needle or something like that, that you're pretty confident about, you could get that intense taste there. But yeah, don't, don't go eating or putting random plants in your mouth. They're, the vast majority of them will not make you feel good.

So,

Mark: Right. So that is, those, those sorts of techniques are the things that we use to create what we call sacred space. It's a very It's a very pleasurable state to be in. I find it to be very reverent and anticipatory in a way. Like, you know, there's a, there's a sense that something wonderful is about to happen. It just lends a richness to ritual practices that that I just really treasure.

So, I would invite you to experiment with different ways of inducing that sense of sacred space. Personally I like to live in a context that's very much not, not kind of the full on implementation, but. My room is decorated in a way that, you know, when I light candles, it's this very kind of, sort of place.

And and I, I just enjoy that. It, it helps me to feel more of a richness in my life. You may feel the same, you may want to do something similar or you may have a little box that's your portable focus kit. You take that to wherever you create sacred space and do your work there, and both of those are perfectly great,

Yucca: Right, and you don't need objects either. You can do all of it just with your, just with yourself, right? The, the tools are nice, but they're just that, they're just tools, right?

Mark: And you have tools built into your body. You you have breath. Yes. Right. I have seen and experienced creation of sacred space just with a deep inhale and then blowing it out like a bubble. Just, and then there you are inside that, that bubble space safe and protected and, and and cared for protected.

Yeah, I said that. So, you know, be aware of that. You don't have to have a lot of stuff. This, these techniques are really about working with our psychology and our bodies are able to do that on their own.

Yucca: Right. Well, I think this is a good place for us to wrap up for today. But we do have a couple of announcements. So your book is ready for pre-order, right?

Mark: It is my book round. We Dance Creating Meaning through Seasonal Rituals, which will be released next April, is now available for pre-order on the Luellen website. We'll put a link in the show notes. And I'm really excited about it. And apparently they are too. They say they really love the book.

So I'm I'm psyched. It's kind of an outlier when you look at the the Luellen page. It's full of all kinds of supernaturalist stuff. But they're publishing mine too, and I'm delighted. I'm, I'm just so excited to be working with them and, and having this book come out. So that's one thing.

Yucca: And we had a. Ethiopia, pagan Society Council meeting recently. And there will be a, what did you call it? A changing of the guard.

Mark: Yes.

Yucca: So I have been the chair for three years at this point. And I'm gonna be passing that on at this point. Still be on the council, but gonna step back from that chair position.

So,

Mark: Right. And John Cleland host has graciously agreed and been elected to take over that chair position. He was the vice chair, for those first three years. So he's taken that over. Michael O'Hara is our our vice chair now,

Yucca: Who's been on the podcast several times,

Mark: yes, he has. And Rachel, w and c went, are the other two officers?

The the sec, the treasurer and the secretary, respectively. And then there's several other others of us like me who are members of the council but are not officers.

Yucca: Right,

But stay busy doing lots and lots of stuff. We have a lot of projects. There's lots of volunteering in different capacities and all of that, so,

Mark: it's so exciting and every time somebody new comes on board as a volunteer, I just, I'm reminded all over again. Wow. What a great group of people. These are just so, they're so fun to hang out with and they're interesting and the conversations are great. And they're just so kind of

Yucca: Just discreet people

Mark: good-hearted people.

Yeah.

Yucca: and we always talk ourselves into more work. Every time we get together, here's a new idea that we, we've gotta do.

Mark: That's true.

Yucca: Yep.

Mark: Well, since I am working now, I'm having to put some boundaries around that from what I've been doing before. But so far everything seems to be working out okay. I'm doing a rework right now on the Ethiopia and hymnal. Which is downloadable from the blog site. I'm adding a bunch of sheet music in and a bunch of new chants and songs.

Yucca: Oh, and the audio book.

Mark: Oh, right.

Yucca: I think that that would probably be of interest to our listeners.

Mark: I, in the last weeks before I started my new job. I realized that I wasn't going to have a big block of available open time anytime soon once I started the job. So I took a back burner project off the back burner, which was the recording of an audiobook of my first book, op, paganism and Earth Honoring Path Rooted in Science, and I recorded the audiobook and it is now purchasable from everywhere you get audiobooks except audible.

Because Amazon,

Yucca: Alright

Well gimme a link and I'll put that in the show notes for people for your preferred location.

Mark: I should let you know the main reason that I didn't go with Audible as well is that they have extremely restrictive licensing requirements that give them exclusive right to distribute the audio book for something like three years or something.

Yucca: Seven.

Mark: is it seven? Could be.

Yucca: yeah. Unless they've changed it recently.

Mark: Well, I wouldn't imagine them changing it to improve it, so, yeah. Anyway, it's,

Yucca: That might have been if you created it through the, their platform where you can hire a voice artist

Mark: Oh, right, acx.

Yucca: that might be what I'm thinking of, but,

Mark: Yeah. But in any case, I wanted, I. Chirp and Libro FM and you know, all those different outlets to be able to sell the book. So now you can go to any of those kinds of places and find it online.

Yucca: Well, that's great.

Mark: Yeah, it was, it was a fun project to do. I had to lock myself in my room for several days and read the thing into a microphone, but now it's there.

Yucca: Yep. Well, and that'd be great to have it in your voice too. I always really appreciate when the audio books are read by the author because you really get the, the meaning a little bit more just in the way that they say the sentences.

Mark: I, I agree. And in this case, the whole story about how I came to Ethiopia, paganism is all in the first person,

Yucca: Mm-hmm.

Mark: so it really wouldn't make any sense to have an some other narrator. It really kind of had to be mean. So anyway, it's in the can, it's up on the web, it's all, it's available now. So if you have a commute and want to read the book but don't have time or while you're working, whatever that's an a resource that's now available to you.

Yucca: Yep. All right. Well, thank you, mark.

Mark: Thank you Yucca. Always wonderful to talk with you and we'll see you next week.

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