The elements of sacred space
Rituals can mark special moments in time—sunrise, sunset, new moon, full moon, name day, anniversary—or they may simply occur without regard for the time. In my experience, there are several elements that compliment each other to create and hold a sacred space for being and ritual.
A blanket, rug, skin or throw
Starting from the ground up, an intentional cover creates a rooting connection with the earth beneath you. If helps define the space you are calling sacred. It is the basis for your altar or place of being. I like to have my 'favorite blankets'—the ground covers I most like to settle into when I have the luxury of having them around. An element of a space that feels like home. Over time as you use the same blanket or rug, it will become steeped in the power of the sacred spaces you create upon it.
Choose fire that is sensible to your space. Camping, beaches and backyard atmospheres provide beautiful opportunity for large, striking fire displays, but a small assortment of tea lights or a single tall candle will do just fine. A nice ceremonial lighter or perhaps matches of a special kind can become part of your ritual. Bless the fire with oil before starting—I like to use Rose oil—by rubbing just a small dab on a log or across a candle rim.
You can evoke powerful sacred space by burning native medicinal roots/saps, incense, or woods (cedar, palo santo, etc.) as well as using essential oils. Try a variety of aromatherapies to see which resonate with you. Research the effects of different scents to better evoke the responses you desire. Once you find your favorites, use them most often. You will start to create a strong sense of connection between the peace and love you feel as sacred space and the scent itself. Over time, just smelling the scent can start to send you right into states of Loving Awareness. It's really a beautiful experience when it happens.
The vibration of audible sound can help still the mind and direct our awareness to Vibration in general. As this is all—everything we see—one big Vibration, this practice is certainly pointing us in the right direction! Sound can be soothing and, like scent, can build similar powerful associations over time. Intentional sounds can be made with small cymbals, singing bowls, rattles or drums. It is also healing to absorb the sounds of your environment—especially if you're lucky enough to be in a natural setting for your ritual. If you feel moved to song, sing! It is the most magical thing that can happen. Be full of gratitude for your song.
Offerings may take many shapes—simply bring something to offer. We don't even have to be specific about who or what we're making the offer too. It doesn't have to be a material good. Offering up an open heart will do. In many cases the right thing to offer begins to come to you by intuition or spontaneity. Whatever the configuration of an offering, it simply sets the intention that you have entered sacred space to commune, to exchange, to play and celebrate together with all that is.
Willingness to release all that does not serve you
Your own demons guard the doorway to sacred space. Courageous hearts befriend these demons, patiently listen to their criticisms and honestly work to grow from the insight. Ability to surrender to this growth in one's highest good takes you deeper into sacred space.
Gratitude for the gifts you will receive
We visit sacred space full of gratitude for every gift we receive in our highest good. This vibration harmoniously connects us with all that is and creates the optimum space for bringing our dreams and desires here to solid space. Vibrations of need, want, lack or pity are separating vibrations—in direct opposition to the goal of sacred space: connection. We connect through gratitude and thankfulness.
Ability to forgo every element
In all cases, improvise with the materials at hand. I've seen beautiful ritual occur with nothing but a few twigs procured on a hiking trail. I've experienced magic more times than I can count when nothing but silence and stillness existed. Logistical problems like 'not having your things' should never get in the way of holding sacred space.