For me, my home is my temple. It is where all the most important things in my life happen. It's where I raise my children, entertain beloved guests, prepare and eat food, write, read, learn, teach and worship my Gods. It's also where I was married, where my children were conceived (but not born, alas) and where I retreat from excessive heat or cold, from rain, from the general unpleasantness of modern life such as traffic, politics, gossip and mean people. Here, nothing intrudes unless I let it in and if I don't like it, I can put it back out again. Here is my sanctuary, my sacred place.
Sometimes there is a difficulty in remembering that, but this is no surprise. We humans are busy people and in our hurry, we have forgotten the sanctity of many things. To remember the different-ness of one location from another, sometimes it requires a change in ourselves. An outward representation of how we feel about a place.
Do you remember Mr. Roger's Neighborhood? At the beginning of each episode he came home and took off his jacket and put on a comfy sweater and took off his shoes and put on comfy slippers. I'm sure he wasn't doing it on purpose (though maybe he was) but in that simple act he was demonstrating the sanctity of his imaginary home.
Although in America taking off your shoes at the door, whether exchanging them for house shoes or simply going sock clad, is an option more related to how muddy your yard is and how much you dislike vacuuming than anything else, many cultures take their shoes off at the door as a matter of course. Taking off your shoes shoes respect not only to the person responsible for keeping the house clean, but also to the house itself. Dust and dirt bring in the energies from the outside, outside the sanctuary, that may disturb the native energies.
Wearing special clothing also indicates the sanctity of your location. There was a time when Pagans and Christians alike dress in their "Sunday best" or ritual garb to go to services. Now most people show up in street clothes. It's no wonder the sanctity of the home is lost. When I was a child I was required to shed my school clothes in favor of my "play clothes" the moment I got home from school. This created a very obvious division between the world outside, where I had to dress according to what my mother deemed appropriate, and home when I could be myself, wearing what I found most comfortable. I continued this practice when I worked as a data entry drone. I couldn't wait to get home to shed my pumps and blazer in exchange for a comfy house dress and sandals and when I was a dog herder I took this a step further and showered the moment I got home to save my family from smelling what I did all day. When I emerged from the shower, freshly dressed in clothing I chose, I knew that I was home, in my sanctuary.
While it may seem such a simple, mundane thing to do to change your clothing (or even just your shoes) when you walk into the house it has a profound psychological effect. It tells your subconscious that you have entered a different place, perhaps even a special place. The more luxurious and comfortable your new garment (or footwear) the more special the place. Maybe it's even sacred.
More like this
Comments, questions, criticism?