Sacred Spaces, Healing Places: Therapeutic Landscapes of Spiritual Significance
Landscape historians are still debating medieval perceptions of the natural landscape. Meanwhile, recent studies of pilgrimage have focused. Source for information on Sacred Space: Encyclopedia of Religion dictionary. These symbols describe the fundamental constituents of reality as a religious Sacred space may not only bear the imprint of the natural world but also of sacred it lends concreteness to the less visible systems of human relationships and. The relationship between place, spirituality and healing continues today as of our place in the world and how that world works” and also present “the The performative nature of pilgrimage and the spiritual practice of . As Brace, Bailey, and Harvey () explain, the taken-for-grantedness about the.
It is possible for a strongly religious person to have a spiritual experience that does not directly involve any faith-based activity. Similarly, those with no faith-based practices or beliefs may be moved by participation in religious activity. Tanyi examines understandings of spirituality through a discussion of nursing practice and the spiritual needs of patients.
Her conclusions are that spirituality: It entails connection to self-chosen religious beliefs, values and practices that give meaning to life, thereby inspiring and motivating individuals to achieve their optimal being. This connection brings faith, hope, peace and empowerment… and the ability to transcend beyond the infirmities of existence.
Those who seek greater meaning in life may look for this by engaging in practices that promote ethical behaviour, compassion-focused volunteering, environmental campaigning and physical labour used to improve the lives of others or the natural environment Muirhead ; Gesler Such activities, beliefs and values encompass a spiritual and spatial dimension, a desire to move beyond the everyday, to live those values in particular ways that may be of benefit to other humans, animals or the environment.
None of these practices may be connected at all with religious beliefs, but they have a spiritual dimension. The environmental volunteers experienced spiritual awareness through their physical labour and emotional engagement with particular sites. The performative nature of pilgrimage and the spiritual practice of seeking a sacred space beyond the everyday Stumpallow for an expression of spiritual practice that gives access to spaces beyond the limits of daily life.
Travel to particular sites in a quest for healing can also involve action as a belief or hope in the value of that site.
Motivations and lived experience are expressed in multiple ways from spiritual or medical need to the recreational aspects of the journey Williams Anne de Beaupre in Canada examines the multiple connections and outcomes for pilgrims to the shrine.
Williams identifies the complexity of the material, symbolic and social aspects of the therapeutic experiences of the pilgrims. The landscape itself offers retreat from daily routine in similar ways to the experiences of the environmental volunteers described above. Spiritually significant experiences can occur in a number of ways, then, as identified in the literature and in many different forms and settings.
Common threads among spiritual experiences are the recognition of some greater meaning or dimension to life, emotional engagement at some deeper level, even if momentary, a sense of purpose and the connection of all of these elements with well-being, whether physical, emotional or both. That such experiences are often connected to place and indeed, particular places, are of interest to a spatially sensitive medical humanities.
That such connection may also be related to an experience of physical or emotional trauma such as illness, bereavement or disruption in some way has led humans to ascribe meaning to particular places for the possibilities they may promise in alleviating these problems: It became a well-established concept for geographers and social science researchers Williams; Rose ; Foley In these circumstances, the fictional therapeutic landscapes are a conduit for writers, a quest for healing that is served by developing imagined worlds.
For some writers, their fictional therapeutic landscapes are retreats from emotional and psychological difficulty, and their landscapes, while therapeutic, may also be landscapes of turmoil. They may be imaginary landscapes, but they are no less complicated than actual, physical landscapes Philo The nature of the therapeutic landscapes may vary, but the performative nature of the quest in each case has some similarity.
Just as the pilgrim sets out on a journey, reaching particular stages leaving behind, setting out and return writers, too, journey through differing stages, performing different acts.
Writers leave behind and set out as they commence their work, journeying and arriving at their new world, their created place and returning once the work is complete Schmidt There is, then, a range of ways we can understand therapeutic landscapes. It is spirituality, however, that Williams identifies as the most challenging aspect of therapeutic landscapes, owing to the subjective nature of spirituality and the need for critical reflection on it.
As the concept of the therapeutic landscape has extended beyond mainstream health settings such as hospitals so has the concept of what constitutes healing. Those associated with the cult of sainthood offer healing attributed to particular historical figures.
Healing can also be sought in alleviation, not only of bodily symptoms but also of grief. This vast spectrum of spatial and architectural development occasioned by the worship of so many different gods was augmented further by the even wider range of activities also taking place in sanctuaries often as part of festival celebrations: The variety inherent in Greek sacred space was also augmented by the developing use of architecture to create particular effects on the visitor.
In new Hellenistic sanctuaries, the stoa structure, for example, was used at several different levels of the sanctuary to create a more theatrical use of sacred space, particularly focused on the delay and elongation of the journey toward the sacred heart of the sanctuary. This was accompanied by a greater reflection on the interconnection between structures and surrounding landscape in order to augment the increased desire for theatricality e. Roman Republican and Imperial Sacred Space We have a good insight into the desired architectural ensemble of Roman sacred space through the writings of Vitruvius.
It is noteworthy that despite the clear architectural indebtedness to the Etruscan tradition particularly on the concept of axiality in Roman sacred structuresVitruvius makes very little mention of the Etruscan connection in his books 3 and 4 on temple architecture.
Instead, it has been argued that he is keen to demonstrate an independent Roman architectural design as a sign of distinct Roman identity and character. It is noticeable that while Vitruvius does distinguish between Greek and Roman designs for theatres, palaistra, and baths, he does not with the design of temples despite the obvious differences with the temple often mounted on a high platform approached by steps, and with solid walls along the rear and sides with thus much more pronounced frontality.
This shift toward identifying with the Greek East and particularly to Greek canonical orders and architectural syntax rather than native Etruscan traditions particularly focused on ornamentation began from around bce, as part of a tremendous expansion in the repertoire of monumental Roman architecture.
We even know of several temples that were rebuilt to reflect the new adoration of the Hellenic system Temple of Peace, Paestum, originally built bce and then rebuilt circa bce as Corinthian and Doric temple and the Temple of Castor and Pollux in the Roman Forum, which was built originally bce, but transformed into Corinthian peripteros in bce.
Yet Vitruvius argued that temples—whether more Greek or more Roman—should impress. They should be aligned with the best possible view of the city in mind, or else be aligned with streets so as to impress passersby e. Nor did the Romans respect all sacred spaces in the long term: While there were of course rustic and natural sacred spaces which could be very important, e.
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Just as with Greek sacred spaces, by the late republic, sanctuaries played multiple simultaneous roles: The temple and the forum as a whole served as a place for military and legal discussions, as well as a repository for much dedicated booty brought back from victorious campaigns, including, famously, re-acquired Roman standards originally lost to the enemy in battle.
The sacred nature of imperial fora culminated in that of Vespasian, who dedicated his in the aftermath of his campaigns in Jerusalem in the mids ce. The entire forum with a Temple of Peace at its heart was dedicated as a templum sacred space.
Sanctuaries had always had multiple roles to play within society both secular and sacred with many different activities taking place within them, but now secular construction encroached on older sacred areas. The collection of early republican temples at the Largo Argentina in Rome, for instance, in this period, saw the gaps between them filled in with banquet and storage areas.
This of course did not mean the end of the relationship between emperors and sacred structures—far from it, in particular thanks to the development of the imperial cult.
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In some cases, these structures could seem very modest in comparison to their surroundings e. And sometimes both styles within the same province e. And in the 2nd—3rd centuries ce, emperors invested once again in large complex sanctuaries, particularly in the provinces, as a means of showcasing the skill at their command, their power, and, perhaps even more crucially, imperial interest in, and the prosperity of, the peripheries of the Roman world e.
Roman Intervention in the Sacred Space of Others At the same time as Romans developed their relationship with their gods and their sacred spacesRoman power expanded during the course of the republic and empire until Rome stood dominant over the Mediterranean. As a result, a large part of the discussion of Roman sacred space is also linked to how the impact of the arrival of Roman power was felt on the cult sites of pre-Roman Italy and the wider Mediterranean.
In its place is a more flexible understanding of the individual ways in which sacred sites were actively used to create, transform, and enhance social structures, as well as proclaim particular statuses and identities within the developing Roman world, as part of continuing and dynamic competition among a variety of community groups all with differing social and political agendas.
However, there was, of course, also outright conflict between the Roman world and particular religions within it—in particular Judaism and Christianity, leading to the on-and-off destruction, sacking, and banning of particular sacred spaces. Although from earliest times heaven was believed to be the residence of a high being or a prominent god, the earth as a personified entity is much rarer; it probably first occurred among archaic agrarian civilizations, and it continues to occur in some less industrialized societies in which agriculture is practiced.
Gods of heaven, however, are characteristic spiritual beings of early and contemporary hunting and gathering societies and are found in almost all cultures. Some worldviews generally assume the earth to be simply given i. Sometimes the earth is believed to have emerged out of chaos or a primal sea or to have come into existence by the act of a heavenly god, transformer, or demiurge creator. Even in these worldviews, however, the earth usually remains without a divine owner, unless through agriculture and the cult of the dead the earth is conceived as the source of the renewing powers of nature or as the underworld.
Heaven The fact that heaven is animated by rain-giving clouds with lightning and thunder and by a regular chorus of warming and illuminating celestial bodies sun, moon, and stars led to concepts of the personification of heaven from earliest times.
Heavenly deities, as the personification of the physical aspects of the sky, appear in variations that are adapted to the types of cultures concerned. The listing offered below does not represent a unilinear development that is applicable everywhere. The father of the family The god of heaven is often viewed as an ever active father of the family, often called upon but rarely the recipient of sacrifices.
He is able to intervene in human and natural affairs without the aid of an intermediary—e. As a numinous spiritual being, he is closer to humanity than other spiritual powers are. He sends lightning and rain and rules the stars that are at most essential aspects of himself or are members of his family subject to him. He is the creator and the receiver of the dead. Schmidtthe idealized god of heaven according to the views of the Italian historian of religion Raffaele Pettazzonior the familiar father deity according to the views of the British anthropologist Andrew Lang.
Very human, often comical, or even unethical and repulsive traits of such deities are often represented in myths that also sometimes include legends of animal or human ancestors. This type of deity is generally found in its most developed form among the old hunting and gathering peoples of the temperate and arid areas e. Among such peoples, heaven is often merged with an old hunting deity, the lord of the animals, or it allows the latter to exist as a hypostasis by his side.
The withdrawn god The god of heaven may be a deus otiosuswho has, after completing the creation, withdrawn into heaven and abandoned the government of the world to the human ancestors or to nature spirits that are dependent on him and act as mediators. This type of god occurs especially in areas of so-called primitive agriculture e. The first among equals The god of heaven also may be the head of a pantheon of gods, the first among equals, or the absolute ruler in a hierarchy of gods.
This occurs in polytheism belief in many gods in its purest form. The deities associated with him are often related to him by family ties genealogies of gods. Occasionally, the heavenly phenomena are distributed among members of the clan of gods, the god of heaven himself thus becoming rather vague.
The divine pair heaven-earth represents only one among many possible combinations—e. Occasionally, as in the pantheons of Greece and western Asia, generations of gods succeed each other.
In such instances, the more universal god of heaven is often replaced by the younger god of thunderstorms e.
Temple of Zeus, Athens. Deification of the celestial emperor is a cultic practice that extends from Korea to Annam part of Vietnam. The roots of the worship of heaven in Asia are probably the beliefs of central and northern Asian nomads in a solitary god of heaven.
Gods of heaven, above or behind a pantheon, probably originated in areas where a theocratic stratified bureaucracy existed or where sacral kingdoms exist or have existed—e. Heaven and earth deities as partners The god of heaven in many areas is a partner of an earth deity. In such cases, other numina spirits are missing or are subject to one of the two as spirits of nature or ancestors.
Myths depicting the heaven-earth partnership usually describe the foundations or origins of the partnership in terms of a separation of a primeval chaos into heaven and earth or in terms of a later separation of heaven and earth that originally lay close together, and they describe the impregnation of the earth by the seed of the god e.