by T. Y. Chambers


I’ve travelled the world
searching for items for my sacred altar

A slab of worn wood 

paint peeled back 
placed in the corner of the room

A reminder to pray
A mirror to my soul
Take me back home to God

Meticulously placed beeswax candles resting in the four corners 
A scattering of Turkish rose petals 
An English yew tree branch
An autumnal cluster of leaves
Our Lady, calmly standing amidst the chaos
Arms outstretched in surrender 
Here was my holy altar

But then I fell in love 
and I discovered my moon-like heart
which waxed and waned

And when I experienced the dark,
prayer was my light,
Palms touching was my way back home,
The bow of my head was my surrender,
 My knees on the ground 
my truth
And so all the candles
And leaves
And roses 
Fell away 
until it was just me kneeling there

And it was then I learnt 
that my heart is my altar

And in my search for God 
I looked for sacred space
A place where the Divine speaks its 
Where I could dance between ancient oaks
 And pray on mountaintops 
And draw the Goddess down

But then my niece was born into this world 
And her holiness was evident in her every breath
Her divinity pervading her every glance
Her Godliness 
still in her touch and her smell 

She had been created in sacredness 
A literal sanctity that is the womb

I knew I had found my sacred space within me

So then I searched for The Word
A snippet of wisdom that would remind me of home
A map that would guide me back to where I had come from
A holy story 
to connect me to God

Until one day I decided to read my heart
And listen to the rush of the blood through my veins

Sometimes, I was soaring over ancient Palmyra
and breathing in the fresh scent of Damascene jasmine

Sometimes I was underground
so alone with what I had done that my memories seeped into my flesh
And my regrets burned into my muscle
Until I realized my story had been written on my bones
And it is this story that is now my holy book
Its words 
The Words of wisdom I spent so long looking for

I have given my whole life to my search for the sacred 
And discovered myself.
My body is the temple 
my altar stands within
My womb is my sacred space

The words on my bones 
are the words of God
And the wisdom they contain 
is my own
Here is the sacred woman 
and this is the truth of her

So to you sister 
I bow