For the respect and protection of ancestral sacred places.
Every personal history, every family history is marked out by places that take on a particular meaning in our lives. The places remain engraved on the memory:-
birthplace, meeting place, marriage place, burial place.
These places have, for us, another aspect. If we like to think about them with tenderness or sorrow, joy or regret, we rarely visit them without the silence that
almost touches the deepest part of our souls. These places have a sacred meaning in our lives.
But this is not only true in the life of the individual, it is also true in the lives of communities. Every culture, by means of tradition, anchors itself in the
collective memory, which finds its own sense of Self as much across time as across space. Time ripples through history and passes through what becomes sacred places. These sacred places are
places full of history, of lost battles, of wars won, of treaties signed and of pacts and alliances made.
It is important for man to hold onto this thread of transmission that gives him the gift of speech, the gift of his own soul, his history and his way of life.
Mankind is without a doubt, the only animal that has had the need to learn what he is and where he comes from in order to stand tall and speak his mother tongue. A man, cut off from other men,
doesn’t instinctively know the language of his fathers.
Thus, this transmitted meaning passes though the lives of people and cultures but even more so through the spiritual life and the soul. All faiths have their sacred
places where one can gather one's thoughts, transcending time. Sacred places carry the memory of their faith. They are like guardians, a link between our ancestors and ourselves, that we can in
turn, through mindfulness, pass onto our children.
These places have an essential structural role. They allow everyone to reflect on their past and we bind ourselves to everything that passes us and surrounds
We agree to acknowledge the sacred places of ‘the religions of the book’. Everyone agrees to reject the desecration of temples and churches, cemeteries and natural
places that are endowed with a strong ecological impact.
The old beliefs, the traditions, are no exception. They have their sacred places, their cemeteries and spaces that Nature confers upon them in order to embed their
dreams and their myths. Why do we downplay the spiritual role of some of these places? Why do we omit the traditional value of these places?
History tends only to retain the victor's version of events. But the loser is not always eradicated when he continues to believe, sending ‘meaning’ to a whole
community who drink from it.
Thus, it is the same for the places of worship of our oldest traditions, perpetuated by the depth of what they embody in each of us; we, the believers of the Old
Religions or simply those who respect traditions.
Our Earth bears the sites where our ancestors lived, worked, loved, suffered, prayed and were buried. Admittedly, these sites are often castles and cathedrals, well
known and protected by laws on historic monuments.
But all the other places, also sacred to our collective memory, have been ignored by the whole system of protection.
‘Nature is a temple where living pillars….’said the poet. We are many, bound to the trunks of its oaks, to its headlands and to its grasslands by a faith, by an
attachment to tradition, by a respect of ancestral heritage or by a sacred relationship with Nature.
The Native American peoples are acknowledged for carrying the beauty of belief through their relationship with the Sacred Earth. Why should we be more ignorant, more
'weird' in order to reclaim respect for this land that we love. They are for us places of poetry, of life, of knowledge and of prayer as they were for our ancestors and as they will be for our
Today, a number of these sites are threatened - Tara, Brocéliande, Gergovie, Carnac, Pointe du Raz etc. How many are today, put in danger by the dumping of domestic
refuse or quarrying and how many others by motorways or by hordes of disrespectful tourists?
These are the places in which our humanity is rooted and it has fallen to us, 21st century people, to conserve them, to protect them and to pass them onto
our children so that when the time comes, they will exercise their memory and remember where they came from.
It is our duty to make sure that future developments are not carried out to the detriment of the treasures that were the gift of those who came before us be it an
historical site, a trace of myth, an old belief or a natural gem.
The world offers a precious heritage of freedom and allows the outpouring of those secrets and traditions that never completely left us.
We are again articulate beings, no longer praying in silence, ready to reclaim that which is ours by indisputable right:- the protection and the safeguarding of
those places that are in France and in Europe, traditionally sacred.
For now, we are simply drawing up straightforward procedures, notably:-
That the Committee for the Defence of Sacred Sites be recognised and that this body should begin by drawing up a non-exhaustive list and mapping those sites
that are sacred in our cultural and spiritual traditions.
That this body is consulted on all development projects as an associated public person.
That the religious and sacred aspects of these sites, whether they are natural sites and/or are apparently unoccupied, is taken into consideration as a constraint in
the same way as protection of the environment, geology, economic activity and habitat.
That when it proves to be impossible to save a site it should legally be the subject of compensatory measures:- moving it or integrating works.
'Protection, is returning to the public its memory and its history' (DRAC)
The Committee for the Protection of Sacred Places.