"Sacred Space" Demystified: Reclaim your Secret Portals to Divinity

Optimize the Divine Feminine Paradigm Shift with SOUL SANCTUARY ALCHEMY

What exactly is "sacred space"? Sacred space is a phrase commonly used to describe any area of worship or awe that has been dedicated to a holy purpose to connect with what we consider to be divine or Godly. Churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and sanghas are the most common structures that religious and spiritual groups dedicate to holy purposes, but they are by far not the only types of sacred spaces that exist.

SACRED: adj. a: worthy of religious veneration, holy. b: entitled to reverence or respect. c: not secular or profane.

Beautiful retreat centers, gardens, and nature sanctuaries are increasingly more often used for transformation, healing, and spiritual purposes that are not associated with any particular kind of religion. And when we light mood candles, set up a meditation corner, practice yoga in a sunlit room, enjoy a bubble bath, collect and display objects with special meaning, listen to soothing music and/or read inspiring books in our favorite comfy chair, we are experimenting with creating, grounding, and holding sacred space in our homes and offices. Really what we are doing is intuitively learning to respond to our soul's yearnings for deeper connection by taking more self-care breaks and infusing sensual and relaxing moments into our hectic day.

Sacred Space for Refuge and Heart-Core Survival

Those of us who are highly sensitive and easily overloaded by the daily demands and imbalances of modern life need sacred space more than others for refuge and heart-core survival. We may have sacred spaces integrated in the home, office, yard, a nearby park, and in communal places where we regularly meet with like-minded seekers and practitioners.

If you fall under this category: No, you're not crazy, overreacting, or being difficult, nit-picky, or particular. Many of us need to regroup in a sanctuary, studio or study every. single. day. We're often more impacted and aware than others how much conscious treading is required to keep our heads above the water and escape the 24x7 relentless rat race that traps whoever is not assertively and actively resisting its allure and vicious cycle.

Being more attuned to our inner canaries can be a curse as well as a blessing. We are often more porous and vulnerable than others to being swept up into the powerful vortex of the daily grind if not anchored in hardy, time-tested spiritual wisdom. Or we may be more rebellious and stubborn in our resistance to status quo conditioning because our bodies may have less tolerance for it (and as our frequencies increase, we may need to listen even more carefully to our inner wisdom to remain strong and healthy).

Our sensitive alarm bells may also be our saving grace. There is evidence all around us, that, if we humans are left to our own devices, flashy objects, such as money, status, material possessions, popularity and success, become our go-to north star and answer to all of our problems, suffering, and dis-ease. While putting all of our eggs into this false promise, we don't realize that our grasping and lack of integration are precisely what creates these societal imbalances in our blindspots.

Lost in the Spiritual Vacuum of Modern Life

Most shared spaces--schools, service agencies, companies, parks, shopping centers, government buildings, public transportation structures--in modern, secular societies, like the US, are void of religious symbols or spiritual totems to ensure that these spaces remain "neutral" and feel welcoming to everyone.

These good intentions eliminate one problem but add another. It's easy to get lost in these spaces because they operate like a spiritual vacuum and often lack signposts, footholds, unifying goals and group consciousness that truly represent and serve everyone. Without a system of checks and balances that transcends our strong ideals, feelings, and beliefs, it becomes difficult to discern if a leader's or organization's passionate mission and goals are genuinely neutral, or circulating wounded, personal or culturally-biased energy through their messages and campaigns. Without an spiritual compass and home base, we can exclude and marginalize others and core parts of ourselves, and also become more susceptible to not-good-enough manipulations and messages.

This is especially the case if the oppressive ancient empires, feudalistic societies, and monarchies that our ancestors abandoned in search of happiness still fester in the deepest layers of our unhealed wounds. Some of these old-world wounds--crusades, torture, war trauma, religious, political, and economic oppression, and forced disconnection from our true nature and souls-- left our ancestors brutally denatured, lost, powerless, and psychically maimed and bitter. This has fueled their insatiable obsession for wealth as a means to level the playing field, purge their dark pain, and reclaim top-dog power.

A frenetic, deranged quest for freedom and redemption fed the roots of colonialism, slavery, imperialism, new variations of religious, political, and economic oppression, and the exploitation of land, resources, indigenous societies, and the sacred feminine. Sexuality, intuitive wisdom, feelings, natural cycles, psychic abilities, and alchemical understanding of energy were shunned and perceived as superstition, mental illness, witchcraft, etc. Women and people of color, who more visibly and/or energetically embodied these qualities, in particular, became the targets of this ignorance and maliciousness all across the globe.

How Ancestral Wounding Resurfaces

This old-world, deeply buried ancestral wounding is driving the huge existential angst and stress that surrounds work, success, and status in today's fast-paced and stressed out technocratic societies. How? Those who make it to the top proudly attribute their accomplishments and special entitlements to their own efforts, skills, and talents. They pride themselves for earning all that they've worked for. No one can accuse them for unfairly inheriting their throne, wealth, and power solely for having blue blood. Some practice cut-throat antics and politics as their hard-earned right for defeating their competitors on an obstacle course they perceive as fair, necessary, and just.

They lavishly enjoy and portray their prize possessions, power, and money as a universally desired holy grail, which simultaneously conveys to lower ranking worker bees that they have no choice but to comply, pay their dues, learn from those who made it to the top, and get better at playing the game if they want to keep their jobs and succeed. This victory option is often presented as the only exit and escape out of the rat race.

When bottle-fed these competitive game rules and this distorted mindset from birth on, we end up adopting them as our own. It's extremely difficult to go against what may feel like our true nature and own grain. We perceive our internalization of this pressure as "our own high standards." Our own "drive for 'success'". As being our "own worst critic." "Our "puritan work ethic." We own it as our innate desire and need to thrive and get. things. done. because we enjoy the rush of accomplishment when able to scratch the many items and projects off our lists. We can't tell if we are functioning at an optimal pace that's healthy or engaged in a silly race to our own grave.

I've been there. Even as a late-comer with more than a decade of deeply-absorbed counter experiences and more holistic and connected worldviews, I still fell for this, hook, line, and sinker, especially as an undergraduate and graduate student.

This cultural and mental conditioning can be terribly confusing and overpowering when told that it's a part of our logic-based, neurological wiring. It encourages us to remain in denial and disregard irrefutable pain signals. We perpetually try to outsmart the laws of nature and mystery -- by ignoring our own symptoms of physical dis-ease, heart-ache, and messages from our soul that something is wrong.

There is also a great deal of human variability that seems to be shaped directly by classical conditioning –– the grooves created by cultural values, habits, behaviors, intergenerational patterns, and our own glass-half-full or glass-half-empty mindsets which determine the direction we and our amygdalas will take. Researchers missed this caveat until now, because recognizing that reality is predominantly defined by our perception, not by actual events, remains one of the most difficult human concepts to grasp.

My rich multicultural background and always being a fish out of some body of water have greatly helped me. I've observed that indigenous and Maroon people who regularly face life-threatening dangers in the jungles of Suriname––and I bet people living close to nature in many other places, now and in the past––are more wild-cat like, calm and alert, connected and grounded in the power of their bodies and nature, and ready to protect themselves at a moment's notice. They're as aware of danger as they're cognizant of positive, intuitive guidance and opportunities for survival all around them. They seem to have a stronger proclivity toward the latter and when asked, said that fear of death, existential anxiety, and strong ego-driven agendas conflict with their spiritual and holistic worldview. Our angst and baseline anxiety, which they easily detect, seem to be the byproduct of living in a denatured, modern society.

Work-stress: an Unavoidable & "Necessary" Vice?

For instance, within our fast-paced, disconnected society, many people treat work stress as an unavoidable, necessary vice, and don't really have a sense where to draw a line until severely impacted and forced to quit and switch gears. In a large national study, more than half of American employees reported feeling burned out, overworked or overwhelmed at least some of the time and 70 percent say they often dream of having a different job.

"This study suggests that many American employees are near the breaking point--we hope that this will be the clarion call that brings the issue of overwork to the attention of business leaders and policy-makers throughout the country," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the nonprofit Families and Work Institute, which published the study.

A workaholic culture is as much upheld by those in power as by employees' "own standards," "aspirations," debilitating fears and lack of resources. In a 2017 study by Project Time Off, thirty-eight percent of employees said they want to be seen as a WORK MARTYR by their boss, essentially unchanged from last year (39%).

They were either afraid of taking time off or refused to take time off because of the competitive and demanding nature of their jobs. Two-thirds (66%) felt that their company culture was ambivalent, discouraging, or sent mixed messages about time off, virtually unchanged since 2014. They didn't want to return to a "pile of work," be seen as a loafer who wasn't pulling their weight, or deal with being penalized, skipped over for promotions, or positive recognition that could advance their position. Sadly, according to a Monster Poll survey, among U.S. workers who have the "Sunday night blues," 76% describe the feeling as "severe"--compared to 42% of European respondents.

Being caught up in the rat race means ignoring undeniable information that it's best to let the dangling carrot go and consider alternate possibilities that include better health and well-being.

Daring to Listen to Inner Guidance

Listening to inner guidance may mean standing up for yourself in ways you never dared to. It may mean asking for support or it may mean looking for a new job where self-care is a priority. The Project Time Off research study revealed that those who received support and planned time off from superiors were "very" or "extremely" happy with their relationships, health, well-being, place of work, and job.

It may mean working for yourself, and remembering that working for ourselves or working in the home--taking care of children or the elderly--does not necessarily insulate us from insidious, harmful messages than bombard us from every angle: through the media, through our relationships with clients, colleagues, community members, friends, other businesses, organizations, schools, and the many systems that we and our families are a part of.

How to Create Sacred Space for Respite and Resetting

Find a quiet spot in your home that can serve as a study, studio, or

sanctuary where you can meditate, pray, play, journal, paint, create, relax, or write. Look beyond the usual––your shaded patio, an unused room or nook, a shed, under a tree, by a flower patch or vegetable bed. Even the basement may be the perfect spot for your tranquil space. Start by cleaning it up well and freeing it from anything that would cause you to have negative feelings.

Home, office, and garden sanctuaries offer a peaceful and calm place where we can detox and decompress from the day. Adding sacred and empowered elements, figurines, trance-enhancing tools, fountains with running water, and some decorative items, such as a plush rug and plump throw pillows, can transform a generic space into a haven.

You can get more than a sense of comfort from these items. Soy candles and essential oils, for instance, have powerful healing benefits that can boost your innate healing potential. Looking at a burning candlelight flame can also get you into the right frame of mind for meditation or a good night's sleep. Include objects from nature that have special meaning to you, and plants that can clear the air and bring in powerful, grounding earth energy.

Embodying and Taking Sacred Space to the Next Level

As I mentioned before, IT IS POSSIBLE to create inner Sacred Space, what I call a Soul Sanctuary, that can offer us refuge, protection, and guidance, no matter where we are at and what's going on all around us. This is an ideal option for those of us who: have grown tired of licking our wounds and fighting the same battles, day after day; realize that the portals to the divine and nature reside within our bodies; want to alchemize their healing and potential from the inside out and overhaul outdated structures, systems, self-blame, self-doubt, and game-rules that are harmful to our collective well-being; feel called to embody a revolution and paradigm shift through their presence and by being the Sacred Space and portal to the divine where ever they go; and lastly, funnel their wisdom and power into a devoted practice, mission or cause that energizes and exercises their Oneness muscles and consciousness even more by tuning into the calls of our brothers and sisters in need.



Optimizing the Divine Feminine Paradigm Shift

Emerge with Grace and Guidance from the Sacred 7 Directions

I'm so honored, humbled, and thrilled that my signature Soul Sanctuary Alchemy offering-in-progress was featured in the latest Emerging Proud blog post. Soul sister, Katie Mottram, mental health provider, member of the UK Spiritual Crisis Network development team, creator of Emerging Proud, and author of Mend the Gap: A Transformative Journey from Deep Despair to Spiritual Awakening has been such a strong advocate of my work, is holding space for my big vision and ultimate Why, and helping me pull it all together. Check out what kinds of psychological, emotional, relational, and physical issues my clients have been able to resolve through my powerful Soul Sanctuary Alchemy program, and stay tuned for our exciting follow-up conversation scheduled for the end of the month.

Click here for a brief intro of Soul Sanctuary Alchemy:

Soul Sanctuary (def): A vast, one-size-fits-all embodied compassion container supported and guided by the 7 Sacred Directions and your dream team of personal guides to integrate transformational and soulful experiences that are often devalued, misunderstood, repressed, and/or rejected. An overview of the Sacred 7 Directions: the As-Above-So Below dimensions (Tree guide), the 4 elements: Air -Wisdom, Fire - Protection, Earth - Grounding, Water - Soothing, and the 7th direction, our Sacred Heart.


Sally Keys is a freelance writer who gave up a corporate job to focus on writing and well-being. She enjoys hiking and spending time with her family.


Loraine Van Tuyl, PhD, CHT, holistic psychologist, depth hypnosis practitioner, and shamanic healer from the Sacred Healing Well, is devoted to helping wisdom keepers, seekers, healers, and teachers dive deep into their self-healing potential and carve out their sacred dream paths in service of their dynamic whole self and the greater good.

Her memoir, Amazon Wisdom Keeper, is an eye-opening account of her spontaneous shamanic awakening and initiation during her graduate training in the mental health field. What gives her story an added twist is her ability to anchor into her rich cultural background and mystical upbringing near the edge of the Amazon rainforest when standing her ground, challenging indoctrinating double-binds in her field, and placing all bets on her spiritual integrity, intuitive wisdom, and clarity—each one severely tested after escaping the chaotic aftermath of a military coup in her native Suriname and losing almost everything that she knew and loved at the age of 13.