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Elements That Mythic Sacred Places Have in Common

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Elements that Mythic Sacred Places have in Common

A place is considered sacred because it is a site where something of historical significance occurred that shaped the world into its current form. According to Leonard and McClure (2004, p. 321), sacred places can be identified into nine different categories: emergence and migration sites, trails and pilgrimages, cultural survival locations, altars, vision quest sites, ceremonial and native dance sites, ruins, pictographs, and burial sites.

Many sacred places have a marker or designating stone that depicts where the event may have occurred at that location. For example, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, a marker has been erected that indicates where the very first gun shot was fired by a Union soldier during the Civil War. Similarly, a marker has been erected where United flight 93 crashed in southwestern Pennsylvania during the 9/11 terror attacks against the United States.

Many sacred sites have cryptic writings, often etched into the sides of buildings or into rock formations. Many caves and structures have been discovered around the world with these messages. The Great Pyramids of Egypt have many of these messages. The writings on the wall within these structures tell a story of kings and queens from thousands of years ago and what life was like for common folk living in that time.

Another common element among sacred places is crypts and tombs where respected individuals are laid to rest upon his or her death. In the United States, within Arlington National Cemetery, one will find the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. This vault is the final resting place for men who sacrificed their lives for the betterment of the country. Americans do not know who is buried in this tomb, but respect is shown through changing of the guard exercises and when the president of the United States places a memorial wreath at the base of the tomb on Veteran's Day.

Finally, many sacred places share the element of a secret power. For example, in Sedona, Arizona, individuals can take tours deep into the desert where the land and rock formations are said to have spiritual and soulful healing powers. It is in this destination that an individual can release the negative energy trapped inside his or her body. Other destinations have healing waters said to cleanse the body of the same negative energy. Individuals bathe his or her body in sacred rivers or streams and watch as his or her negativity flows away from his or her body.



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