Los Angeles artist, J. Michael Walker, has spent the last several years of his life researching the names of the 103 L.A. streets named after saints. From his research he has made a collection of ink and seriograph images along with poetry depicting the saints in unique and contemporary contexts. The culmination of this project will be an exhibition at the Autry Museum early next year and the publication of a book entitled All the Saints of the City of the Angels: Seeking the Soul of L.A. on Its Streets.
What I find intriguing about this project is the artist’s attempt to find the spiritual essence of a place, or, rather, to find his spiritual essence within a place. Perhaps this search is one in the same.
Whatever direction the search, I think it is critical that we, in order to be fully human and whole, need to find that place of “sacredness” where we can encounter and experience the realm of the spirit. This special place can be a physical locale, an established place such as a temple, church or sacred grove, or a mundane place that we have made “holy” for ourselves—a park bench where we rest and feed the birds or a cozy chair in front of a fireplace.
How do you find this place? May I suggest taking a few moments to consider a few questions. Ask youself:
What would my sacred space be like? Is it a real place? If so, where? Is it an imaginary place? Pretend you are describing this imaginary place to someone. Does the space ever change? If so how? What or who populates the space? What can I bring to this space to make it special? What do I take away from it?
Once you have established your space—either a physical place where you can visit or an imaginary one that you visit in your mind’s eye, make it your practice to get to that place as often as you can.
Wherever you go, find yourself there.
Some sources for inspiring you in your search for a sacred space:
Lori G. © 2007
The images above were taken by me at the San Fernando Mission, established in 1797. The mission resides on a street named after this saint.