Religious sacred spaces seek to create structures which reflect or bring into physical existence their specific understanding of the cosmos.  Since ancient times religions have utilized monumental forms to create sacred space.  Mountainous structures and immense sculptures made from stones of the earth express the experience of yearning for the divine.  Long lasting materials show longing for the eternal. Religions build a microcosm of the universe and in so doing invite the divine to reside there in constant and timeless relationship with their members.  This sacred space becomes a means for members to experience communion with the ineffable, with divinity, and with each other, bringing their own “I am” into union with the numinous.  In entering religious sacred space each person removes themselves from the mundane and returns, if only for a moment, to the All That Is in a way that engages all of their senses and enfolds them in something larger than themselves.  Those who work with the Akashics will recognize this as a physical manifestation of the Temple of Life.   And as with monuments only the powerful and the wealthy have the ability to construct such edifices and paeans to the numinous so they contain message as well.  Ancient governments used them to create community, secure power, and deify their family line through all their descendants thus creating divinity on earth and another form of eternity.  Religions use them to consolidate and promote their own form of community as well as support manifestation of their espoused divine principles in the world.  Communities use them to create identity and proclaim their values and perspectives.

The properties of monuments, memorials, altars, and personal sacred space can be seen in religious spaces in the form of temples and churches. They create monumental space for community to enter into.  They provide aspects of the divine for individuals to experience through their size and grandeur.  They provide message in the art and iconography they display, teaching religious concepts, moral structures, and right action through religious language and pictorial art.  Statues of religious scenes such as the Pieta in St. Peters, statues of Hindu deities such as Ganesh, Russian Icons of Saints and the Madonna, stained glass windows in cathedrals depicting religious scenes all tell stories through symbology, forming meaning and message through placement within the structure. Each figure, color, posture, clothing item, gesture and decoration has meaning that tells us about an aspect of life, of divinity, and suggests ways in which we should strive to live.

But such edifices have no true meaning, no life, if they are not utilized by the community.  Like memorials these spaces are for people, for individuals to come together experiencing the numinous individually and sharing that experience together.  Like memorials the life of the sacred edifice is in its people.  It is what they bring to it which creates communication with the divine and builds relationship which affects all aspects of the divine.  Without devotion, without open hearted conversation within the structures, even if that be silent meditation or whispered prayer, the place is only a place.  It becomes nothing more than a building full of dust and echoes. And in homes, which to some spiritualities are the true religious sacred space, spirit abides.  If religion is not just a hobby, but a lifelong dedication, an identity and a personal practice, then the home becomes the heart of religion and therefore sacred.