Reclaiming the sacred


Sacred definition: considered to be holy and deserving respect, especially because of a connection with a god (Source: Cambridge English Dictionary)

Some of you may remember the popular Justin Timberlake hit “SexyBack” from many years ago. Wouldn’t it be nice if the same song could be remixed for our current times that replaced “Sexy” with “Sacred”. Only instead of the soft porn simulation we get with most modern video clips we could have an empowering video clip of people honoring all that is special, precious and revered in their lives. It could be a morning prayer, a shamanic initiation, a loving connection between two people or someone dancing in their living room to celebrate themselves. Now don’t get me wrong here. I’ve got nothing against sexy. Sexy is great. Sexy in itself is ‘Sacred !’. But that is certainly not how it is often portrayed in popular mainstream culture. One only has to look at the porn industry and how sex is often represented within that field. Sacred symbols such as love, connection, respect and honor are often replaced with force, degradation and disconnection.

But of course its not just sexuality that has been appropriated we can also find this alteration in the use of sacred plants and medicines. The most famous and well known example of this being Tobacco. Did you know that far prior to the modern commercial advent of cigarettes tobacco was used in a variety of ways that were very sacred. Some Native American tribes would use rising tobacco smoke as a method to communicate with spirit in sacred ceremony. Many South American cultures with links to shamanic practices still use pure tobacco as a sacred medicine to heal, protect and bless. So what we have in this case is a medicine that is also being used as a poison. In small amounts and used in the right context tobacco can be a powerful ally. However it is also highly addictive and when used excessively and out of context can cause serious illness and death.

Some of you might be asking what happened here? When exactly were these sacred rites hijacked, twisted and force fed back to us through the distorted projections of mainstream culture?

Whilst it is impossible to say exactly when the tipping point occurred here (sacred practices have and always will be abused to some extent) there is something that stands out as a key influence. That being ‘Disconnection’. The very act of taking something that is healing and empowering and using it as something that creates harm to yourself or others is not possible without some level of disconnection to the self. Stress, trauma, isolation, depression, and anger are just a few influencing factors that can contribute to us disconnecting from ourselves. Our body itself is a sacred temple that should be treated with the utmost care and respect. When we truly love and value ourselves we do not abuse our temple by treating it harshly or putting toxic things in it. In fact the level to which we care for ourselves and our bodies is a great reflection of just how far down the path of self love we have come.

When we look around society today we can see many examples of us treating ourselves and each other unkindly. Many of us know better but some of us don’t. This is particularly the case if we have been raised without any guidance or awareness of what is sacred. This is where we as a community must take responsibility to empower ourselves and each other to honor the sacred aspects of this earth, our bodies and our minds and spirits. By recognizing that the earth is sacred and we are fundamentally connected to it, we cannot separate the harm being done to the planet from the harm being done to ourselves. Re-connection on all levels is our key to reclaiming the sacred.


Jai Watson

Jai Watson is the owner and sole practitioner at Open Heart Wellness. He is a fully qualified Dr of Chinese Medicine (B.HSc, TCM), nationally registered with AHPRA and a professional member of ATMS.