Sacred Places Around the World

There are sacred places all over the world that have a unique quality and resonance. Some of these sacred places are unknown to most of the world. We all know about Stonehenge, in south-west Wales. The monumental scale suggests that there was great intention in placing the stones for a specific purpose.

Other, lesser known stone circles exist in places like West Africa. In the Gambia in West Africa, an unusual stone circle exists that is also a powerful testimony of great intention. To simply look at these stones is a powerful visual statement that I am quite sure extends far beyond the visual.

wassu stone circles The Gambia-photo by Shauna Mullalley

Wassu stone circles The Gambia-photo by Shauna Mullalley


What makes a “place” sacred? Is it a feeling that we get when we are present to a sacred site?¬† Or perhaps it is the sheer scale of form in what people created long ago. Another question that comes to mind is, “Why did people created stone circles?” Sacred places around the world do not merely have to be man made forms. There are also places such a the Himalayas, and Victoria Falls, and the great rivers of the world that command one to reflect and be still. These monuments in the landscape that people have placed or formed, are expressions of belief. This is what makes them so interesting. We know not “why” particular places were created, such as the Wassu Stone Circles in west Africa. What we do know, however, is that sacred places around the world exist because people throughout all time have been creating and expressing to communicate with the mystery of the inexplicable.

I have been most interested in this expression through the woven world of cloth. Although cloth does not remain intact as well as metal and stones, and other objects that man has created, it is divinely feminine, and as Elizabeth Barber says in her wonderful book, “Women’s Work,” cloth and textiles preceded the written word which is only 5500 years old, and perhaps preceded the spoken word, based upon the evolution of mankind. This makes textiles that have survived the perils of wind, water, sun, and moisture, a means of communication from people long ago to the people of today. Within these textiles are messages about beliefs, preferences, symbols and love, told through the way in which they wrapped the dead, and the colors and motifs used within the woven structure.

Sacred places around the world include places such as the Tarim Basin in western China. There, numerous mummies have been excavated with their textiles intact. The textiles tell an unusual story that connects us with these people that lived thousands of years ago. We see their clear intention revealed in the manner in which they wrapped the dead, and carefully placed families together. The story is told through the color of the textiles, and the manner in which the cordage was spun. It is a sacred moment to see them in their clothing some 3000-5000 years ago.

Sacred places around the world are known and unknown. Perhaps you have a few that you know of that are relatively unknown. What is your favorite sacred place in the world?


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