What is Sacred?


I received a very interesting comment to my previous blog post which inspired me to write about the meaning of "Sacred."  This reader's question is as follows:

maybe you can help me. I consider myself a pantheist Witch as well. I have been debating what is sacred. what i mean by this is that I have always said that nature is sacred and all is interconnected and therefore also sacred but I am wondering if maybe that is just what has been drilled into me from childhood and not so much what I really believe?

let me explain.

i eat meat. i love animals but i love meat too, if animals are sacred and should be honored and respected does that not mean i should not eat them? what about animals i do not like, cockroaches, worms, spiders, i will kill them in a second if i see one in my house....

people are another matter, while i could see that maybe people are inherently sacred because they exist and are part of nature, i do not look at people as sacred, in fact, i see people as something to be used and abused (not do not judge me for this, i am simply being honest) i am a wolf among sheep so to speak.

I love the ocean, rivers, the forests, i love the rain but I hate the desert, i hate the snow, i am wondering if i really do consider nature sacred or could it be that i only find parts of it aesthetically pleasing?

what are your thoughts?
Rachel Burke


My response to these questions are as follows:

Hello Rachel!

Thank you for visiting my site and for leaving this comment!  I believe you have brought up some interesting points that cross many peoples minds at some time or another. 

The word Sacred itself is used in many ways and can denote something that is held in great personal regard or it can also indicate something pertaining to religious experience.  It is a word that is not synonymous with any one religion but rather seems to be the way humans have come to describe that essence or spirit or energy that they regard as divine, whether or not they personify that divinity. 

In regards to what I myself consider Sacred, I can only answer to that based on my own experiences, and I do so respectfully and without any attempt to convert anyone to my way of thinking and without judgement.  As a pantheist I firmly believe that all things are interconnected and that all things are indeed Sacred.  Yes that includes things that I myself don't find particularly pleasing.  I for one, prefer a cool autumn or winter night and bright full moon over a hot summery day where the sun is blazing brightly.  Just because I do not particularly like summer, does not mean it is any less Sacred.  To another human or creature out there, Summer is the best time of the year. 

To my mind, dislike of certain things in existence does not make those things less sacred it merely means you don't like them as much as other aspects of your experience.  Such as someone elses dislike of winter does not make winter any less special to me. Personal preference does not define sacredness.

As for animals, if you have read my blogs at all you will know that I am Vegan.  I am not perfect at being Vegan but I do my best and my primary reason for being vegan is because of my love for all animals.  I see no reason why a cat or dog should be held at a higher esteem over pigs and cattle or chickens.  Why do we eat one over the other? Why do some get a free pass to live out their lives simply because they are deemed 'more cuddly' than the western worlds idea of what is tastiest.  I also have a severe dislike for contemporary farming practices.  They are not good for the animals, the environment or the human beings who eat them.  

Now, as much as I feel this way, I do realize that there are locations on this planet where living a vegan lifestyle is quite nearly impossible, such as those frozen areas in the extreme northern regions of our planet.   I do however feel that there is quite a difference between contemporary factory farming and respectfully hunting for food, paying respect to the living creature which has lost its life so that a human may continue its own life.  All things being equal, as long as I am in a part of the world where I can live without animal products it is my choice to do so to the best of my ability. 

As for insects that you name as a creature you kill when you find them in your house.  I doubt many of us are any different.  I look at it like this:  If the bug is something harmless I leave it be, if it is poisonous I tend not to care if I kill it as I do not wish for my family to be harmed by it.  

That sort of leads us to people.  If a human being attempts to harm me or mine I believe it is absolutely my right and even more importantly my responsibility as a Mother, to defend (to the death if need be, although hopefully not! ) my/our right to be unharmed. That being said I have to say I disagree with you on the idea that people are to be 'used and abused.' All of the tragedies in our human history have occurred, in my opinion, because some human or group of humans decided for whatever reason to use and abuse another person or people.

I believe with all my heart that we are all equal irrespective of who we are. 
I truly believe that we should be striving to work together for the betterment of humankind and the planet and for that matter all existence. 

Now all of this being said, I also believe in our free will and that we are all each on a different path.  It is not for me to discern what another should or should not do.  I do fully believe that we should each strive to not harm each other.  I do not in any way mean that we should let others harm us without defending ourselves, but I DO mean that we should not be the ones to cause harm. Set your boundaries and guard them, but also don't encroach on another persons boundaries.

Yes I have very strong opinions on many things in this life of mine as I am certain most everyone does.  I quite literally ache at the harmful things people do to each other and shake my head at what others seem to think we should all believe.  However, the problems arise when one tries to force another to believe and do what they think should be done.  This is where I tend to get into trouble.  I have little tolerance for religious or political fundamentalism.   I can be very vocal against those who do their very best to enforce their idea of what is right on me.  I don't care how someone else wants to live their lives as long as they do no harm and leave me alone to live my life as I see fit. What riles me up is when others don't extend the same courtesy to me or anyone else for that matter..  There is a saying that goes, "There is no truth only perception."  Really we all live in our own little worlds.  These worlds are made of what we have chosen to surround ourselves with and include in our lives.  We have to live with these choices whatever they are. 

The beauty of free will and choice is that we can change our minds and take a different path when we need to.  The only way to live in our own worlds among other people who are also living in their own worlds is to do so WITHOUT harm where possible.    Strive for joy and harmony. Strive to be better than we were the day before.  We should do our best to see what is good around us and stop focusing on the negativity and the past hurts that have befallen us in our lives. 

Aside from all of this, acknowledging our own intrinsic sacredness also imparts a responsibility to honor that which is Sacred and to live in a respectful manner.  Again, these are just my ideas and opinions and I thank you very much for opening such a dialog!  

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