The adherents of most religions gather for rites and rituals in spaces and places they consider to be sacred or powerful.
In some mainstream religions, that may be a church or mosque, whereas in Wicca it is usually a magic circle, and in Druidry, it usually is a nemeton.
However, knowing how to create a sacred ritual space can be especially tricky for those new to Druidry. One reason for this is that the druids of old never wrote down how they did it – and neither did anyone else.
This makes it difficult for anyone who hopes to follow a historically accurate or authentic reconstructive path. In this case, the important thing to remember is inspiration.
All Is Sacred
For many modern druids, the whole of the natural world is sacred, although certain sites such as forest glades or springs may be viewed as particularly powerful. In such a view, the creation of sacred space is redundant.
In some Pagan and Wiccan traditions, practitioners perform their rites in magic circles that were cast for the purpose. It may seem like little more than semantics, but there is more to it. Whereas a nemeton is a ritual space open to the sky, a magic circle is a protective space that may be envisioned as being surrounded by a wall of flame. Thankfully, such things are not needed to play pokies in Australia.
The circle’s function is not only to be a setting for the ritual; it is also understood to contain and preserve the energies raised by practitioners for spells and other magical work.
Creating Sacred Space
There are different ways in which druids who want to create a sacred ritual space can do it. One way is to use a rite from another Pagan tradition with a similar view of nature and the planet.
Another way is to create a rite of their own based on a rite used by a similar tradition. The third way is to be inspired to create a format of one’s own.
Suggested elements to include in such a preliminary rite include the actual or imagined demarcation of the area, prayers of blessing and protection, an acknowledgement of the cardinal directions or the elements of fire, earth, air, and water, and the invocation of one or more deities.
Some druids may find it helpful to trace the bounds of the circle or other ritual space using a staff or wand. Others may prefer to do include the four elements. One way of doing that is to carry a candle or burning incense, and to sprinkle water mixed with a small pinch of salt, along the perimeter.
Tools For the Mind
Whatever the approach, it is important to remember that all ritual and its associated elements, from the space itself, to the tools that are used, are tools for the mind. Often highly symbolic, they resonate with our unconscious mind, set the mood for ritual drama, and assist in maintaining focus on the mental state needed for spiritual communion or the working of magic.