There’s a small room off my kitchen which serves as my temple and meditation space. It used to be a butler’s pantry, I think, or maybe a birthing room. Who knows? The house is very old, and is strangely laid out to accommodate the addition of various ‘indoor’ facilities as they were invented: first an indoor kitchen, and then an indoor bathroom, and so on.
Due to my upstairs neighbor having problems with the pipes over the winter, and challenges with freezing in the winter, the owner of the house asked me to set things up so that the plumber, the electrician, and the carpenter could get at the south wall of this room, so that they could install new systems to keep the pipes from freezing next winter. I agreed, of course.
Yesterday, I moved the accoutrements of my temple out of the space. It felt like a sacred act, to empty the temple down to the bare walls, to take down the presence lamp, and strip the altar bare before moving it to the other room. Other items got packed away in their storage bags, and put away in drawers and boxes. Nothing in the room is particularly valuable to begin with, but this treatment of objects — as precious, as valuable, as worthy of care and protection, as having a life and a worthiness in their own right — felt right and good.
There’s a custom in Roman religious tradition called the Cleansing of Vesta, where the temple of Vesta in ancient Rome was emptied of ashes from the eternal fire, and cleansed; and the ashes would be taken to the Tiber river and ceremonially released. I think there’s value in a periodic cleansing like this. It’s a little early in the year for this ceremony, but I’m glad I did it.