July 29, 2023

How To Create Sanctuary


We all probably know that feeling when we’ve been out in a crowd, or too long around nervy and frantic people – we tend to get the jitters too, and feel tired and drained. We’ve probably all learnt ways to combat this, ways of grounding ourselves and putting up energetic shields so that the chaotic energy of certain places, people, and situations won’t touch us so well, and hopefully won’t sink in.

Doing this is fairly easy, with practice, and I go over the steps for it in my guide Ground & Centre. It’s energy work, and we do it in the beginning by using our imaginations – because what do I always say about imagination?

That’s right. Imagination is the gateway to the other worlds, and to energy work.

Here’s the quick run-down from Ground & Centre on a simple way to ground ourselves:

1. Find somewhere to be steady where you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes. You can stand, or sit, or lie down – whatever your physical condition allows and feels most right to you. Once you’re good at this, you’ll be able to do it anywhere anytime in practically the blink of an eye.
But for right now, if you’re standing, begin with your feet comfortably about shoulder-width apart. Make sure you’re well-balanced and steady. Let your arms hang loosely at your sides. Take a similar, relaxed posture if you’re sitting or lying.

2. Let yourself be aware of your breathing. Slow and deepen your breaths, calming and steadying yourself. Breathe slow and deep. Pay attention. Breath is the life of the world, a prayer, a spell, an incantation. Breathe in slowly, to the count of four. Hold it to the count of four, let it out, counting one, two, three, four.

3. Close your eyes and focus inwards. Be still and let your attention mark how you are feeling. Mark how your body feels, its aches and pains, if any, its vitality, and strength. Seek then how your energy feels and describe it silently to yourself. Does it shift and flow freely through you? Or can you feel disruption, prickliness, the staticky discomfort of the unwanted energy?

4. Underneath that disorganised, clingy energy, feel the strong, clean, and bright essence of your own self, your own energy. There will always be at least a thread of it there. Think of it as light, and send it downwards, out through both feet, and into the ground like roots. Now you are properly steady.

5. It’s time to move that unwanted energy. On your outward breaths, mentally push it downwards. Down through your body, down your legs, down into your ‘roots’ and out into the soil.

6. Breathe slowly and deeply and expel the unwanted energy and emotions, clearing them down and out of your body.

7. Feel yourself get lighter and brighter as you clear away all that unwanted energy.

So, we know how to guard our energies against outside pressures, but it’s also possible to do this the other way around – to affect the atmosphere around us.

I’ve just moved into a new house, and part of settling in means not only setting up all my things, putting books on shelves, making sure I have somewhere to work, but there’s another facet to making my workspace congenial for my writing – and that’s working on the atmosphere of the room.

In our last place, for most of the year I had no dedicated writing space. I ranged around the house trying out places, but because none of them were private spaces, I was making do, rather than working in an optimal space.

The new house we’re now renting is an old beauty and one of the rooms is an old-fashioned library, with fireplace and shelves and shelves and shelves for books. This, much to my pleasure, is to be my new writing space. I’ve put my books on the shelves, installed my desk in the corner for all the business work, and set up the writing space at one end of the sofa (I don’t write at a desk, but find it more comfortable to sit in an armchair or on a couch).

I’ve set up my altar, and there’s really only one thing now to work on – and that’s getting the atmosphere of the room right.

When I come into my writing room, I don’t want to bring the cares and concerns of the outside world with me. I need a space that feels safe and serene, that is expansive and sacred. That’s the best atmosphere for working, particularly as I work on the Wilde Grove books – all of which deal with an expansive metaphsycial world, and some scenes of which are written in a light trance.

I can’t so well enter and enjoy states of calm clarity and gratitude if I am covered in the sticky burrs of the world we live in, a place where division seems to exist as often as community. So, I deliberately foster an atmosphere of calm, sacred serenity in my room, meaning that when I come in to work, the atmosphere wraps around me and makes it easier to feel grounded and clear, ready to work, or pray, or just enjoy the break.

Ideally, my whole house becomes a sanctuary like this, but I usually begin with my writing room. If you’re wanting a space where you can go and feel calm, a space where you can just be, with the door shut out on the clamouring world, then I highly recommend that you try this too.

Choose a room, or space within a room, and put something there indicative of your intention to create a sanctuary. For me, this is my whole writing room, but really, it is the altar that is the central focus. But you don’t have to have a whole altar. You could choose a chair by the window where the light is often pleasing, and put a vase of flowers there, or interesting statue or sculpture or glass bowl to catch the sun.

The key is to mark the space in some way. It’s easier to begin, if you do this.

Now, sit in this space you have created, whether it is a corner or a whole room. As you sit, let your breathing calm. Let your thoughts go where they will for a minute or two, not giving them attention, but concentrating on your breathing. Let your gaze wander over the things you have set in your space, all the while breathing slowly, deeply, in and out, without strain or struggle. Just sit and breathe. If your thoughts become intrusive – with worries and cares – tell yourself calmly, that those thoughts are not for here and now, and move them aside. Sit inside your body, breathing, letting your eyes rest on your space.

Feel your body, and let it relax. Tell your body what a good job it does getting you around, even if it struggles. Tell yourself how glad you are to have a heart full of grace, even if it feels careworn. Tell yourself how pleasant it is to sit there in this space, this soft, sacred space. Let your lips curve upwards into a small smile. Let your shoulders loosen, for right now, there is no burden for them to carry. Let your breathing be steady, in and out. In and out.

Feel your calmness radiate out from inside you, filling your corner, or your room. Feel this serenity, let it fill you so that you will remember this feeling. It feels good. Breathe extra deeply and let the breath out in a sigh that relieves some of the tension that you carry around with you. Here in this space you have created, you are safe. It is a sacred space, one that you easily fill, for really, this is your natural state. Calm, clear, safe, filled with grace.


Now, whenever you come back to this room, or this space, let yourself remember this feeling – your body will automatically relive it – and let it fill yourself and the room around you, because remember that your energy doesn’t end at the boundary of your skin, but swells further, and can influence the air around you.

Repeat these moments of calm in your sanctuary; repeat this remembering of feeling whenever you enter the room, and soon you will find that the room itself has taken on your air of calmness, of stillness, of sweet, soft safety. You can let it wash over you as you enter, and if ever you need a quick refresh, or a longer wallowing, you now have the space for it.

Eventually, you’ll be able to conjure these feelings and atmosphere wherever you are, and radiate them around yourself, finding steadiness and security in a world that often seems to want the opposite for you.

Be blessed, my friends.
Be steady, and calm,
Full of grace.

Katherine Genet is the author of the Wilde Grove fiction series. She has been walking a pagan path for 30 years and is a shamanic Druid, spirit worker, and priestess of  Elen of the Ways.

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  1. Janice

    I love this. We have a tiny home but I have a space inside and outside that resonates calm for me. Thank you Katherine ????

  2. Shirley

    Thank you for yet another beautiful podcast Katherine. I am in a strange emotional place at this moment in my life. Your podcast has helped me to remember the positivity and peacefulness that I always had and felt throughout my life regardless to what has surrounded me, and to which lately I am struggling to hold onto. I am in a ‘what is happening to me’ type of phase. So thankyou for the calmness you exude via your podcast. ???? x

    • Katherine Genet

      When I was a child, my ambition was to be a serene person (I was an odd kid). Achieving this comes and goes, because life has its bumps in the road. But we hang in there and keep at it, don’t we?

  3. Patricia Ann Williams

    I have created a room just for me this year, It has everything I need to calm me, A chaise to sit on, a desk to write in my journal, all my herbs candles, incenses, Tarot, books etc. As soon as I walk through the door peace envelopes me.

    • Katherine Genet

      That is such a wonderful thing – to be enveloped in peace on walking in the door. It makes such a difference in life.

  4. Abi

    Lovely! When I clean my house, at the end I sing mantra’s and prayers in each room and spray it with Happy flower essence…..my whole house and garden become a circle of light that way…..

    • Katherine Genet

      That is a lovely thing to do! I’m trying to get more into singing prayers and so on, even though I am no singer, but it feels right to do it.

  5. Jody

    Hi Katherine! I am so grateful for the book “Ground and Center” I was just reading it last night. I am somewhat new to meditation or at least I feel new. I have never had anyone tell me that it starts with the imagination and that has helped me more than you know. When I would meditate or do a guided visualization, I wouldn’t see anything, and I kept wondering why everyone in my class was having all of these experiences and seeing things, and I wasn’t. But I have a great imagination, and can imagine characters and places when I’m reading books, especially your books! (That image above looks close to how I imagine Erin’s cottage to look). So now that I know that we use our imaginations to begin the journey, I feel much more excited about it! I love your Wilde Grove books SO much, I am on “The Singing” right now. It would be amazing to one day be able to take a class or something with you on your meditation and magical practices as well as learning about Elen of the Ways. Thanks again and have a great week!


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