Personal mythology, as outlined in Basics of personal mythology, is the sum of all one's most influential and relevant personal experience, converted into a spiritual vision of the path that led a person to where they are today, while creating building blocks for the future.
Sacred space is an element of religious experience in which one uses the essence of a place, existing or self-constructed, in order to reach a harmonious meditation with the elements of one's personal religious experience. My definition includes elements such as sacred sound/music, sacred rituals, sacred time as well as any and all tangible elements used as a method to achieve a deeper connection with the spiritual.
Utilization of elements of what I place under the umbrella of sacred space can be used to heighten the individual experience as well as to create a collective experience. It can be a valuable gateway to a connection between the individual and collective. The first step towards this is through shared personal mythologies, realities and perspectives and the acknowledgment of each as having equal value as expressed by equal but unique individuals.
Stories from one's personal mythology, and reflection upon those stories, can be a valuable tool for sharing and understanding individual personal mythologies. Sacred space takes that sharing and understanding to a different level. Just as certain ceremonies and celebrations in organized religions/collective belief systems helps people feel closer to elements of their faith, similar ceremonies can enhance the understanding of personal mythologies. They can also provide the opportunity to get closer to the elements of one's mythology.
Every year on June 6th, I participate in a ceremony, by myself, in which I use personally sacred elements to commemorate the night of my suicide and rebirth in 1994. Normally this involves selecting music, drinking rum and coke and staying up late to reflect on all I have accomplished since the night I came to believe my life was so completely pointless I needed to end it. The music is selected either from those songs I listened to that night or those which remind me of what I was feeling that night, which utilizes the sacred music aspect of the sacred space I enter into during the ceremony. The rum and coke, which I no longer really ever drink, is selected because that was what I drank to wash down the pills during my suicide effort. This is somewhat similar to communion, where one drinks wine to simulate the blood of Christ. These two elements usually help me attain a spiritual connection with what is ostensibly my mindset on the night of my death experience, which in turn helps me to get more in tune with remembering the spiritual elements of that night. This is the best example I have of how I use sacred space to make a deeper spiritual connection with personal mythology.
I've helped some people find a sacred space in which they can connect with the spiritual elements of their personal mythology and realize them as being as valuable as any ritual practiced in any organized religion. For some, doing so has helped them to focus and find inner peace and strength. For others it is too difficult to take the personal nature of the ritual seriously. I have also seen people who unconsciously find a sacred space connection with their personal mythology. It may be as simple as a regular visit to the grave of someone they love very deeply on their birthday, the anniversary of their death, or some other significant date in their shared history. They may put flowers on the grave that have certain significance. They may read a certain poem or tell stories. The grave is a connection to the spiritual and gives them a comfortable venue in which they can communicate with someone who, if they are listening, doesn't really need them to go to their grave to do so. This is the nature of sacred space.
I have found it easy to attach spiritual significance to places, dates, relics, stories and even words. There are those who attach great personal value to a certain verse from their religion's holy books. My personal mythology's equivalent of "John 3:16" is "If you give up, then what are the rest of us supposed to do?" Those words, spoken to me at a time when my life was coming undone in 1999, changed the course of my life and made giving up impossible for me. I speak those words to myself, remembering how they were spoken to me by Tammy so many years ago, whenever I feel the urge to quit instead of pushing forward with something I believe in. Making the leap from cherished memories to spiritual significance is the difficult part for many people.
What happens once we reach this spiritual connection with elements of our personal mythology is we realize that our personal mythology is connected to many other personal mythologies. This is the essential spiritual connection between the individual and the collective. Where I feel most organized religions go wrong is that they focus on the stories of others, usually long gone, rather than those of the participating congregation. The followers of the beliefs of the organized religion are expected to draw their own personal experience from the established stories. All too often, the focus is on the actions of what have now become symbolic figures rather than on the message they have given us.
In short, using personal mythologies, allowing them to naturally connect and intersect, is a more effective and positive way to build collective realities and mythologies than having existing, historical collectives dictate beliefs and realities to individuals.
The central purpose of the Heretical Convergent Church, a blight of blasphemy I intend to bring into the world, is to provide a space for the open merger and connectivity of individual personal mythologies. Once the nature of all personal mythologies are taken into account and treated with the same respect and dignity, true change will be possible, as constructed on the foundation of what I have come to realize is completely and utterly wrong.
May the heart of the law always outweigh the letter of the law. Amen.