General Robert E. Lee explains the concept of “sacred geography” | YouTube

Sacred geography… one’s home territory, one’s homeland… the “soil” half of “blood and soil,” the two-pronged basis of nations and peoples, as they have been historically understood and experienced. The place one is willing to fight and even die for, because of what it means, the connection one feels for it, the history one shares with it. Even “liberals” of an earlier time – and not so much earlier, either, I’m talking the 1980s and even ’90s – would have understood, if you called it a “sense of place,” or “connection to one’s bioregion.”

We all have such a place. For many of us, it is the region in which we have grown up; to which we are joined not only by our own experiences, but those of our ancestors:

Sometimes, just our immediate family (I was the first of my family to be born in Maryland, but most of my life has been spent here, my parents lie in the ground here, and I deeply grieve at what it has become, and the thought that I might one day have no choice but to leave it… it will be a kind of exile, no matter where I end up); and sometimes, many generations of our forebears, as Gen. Lee speaks of in the clip above.

One’s sacred geography, one’s “home range” (to use an ecological term), should be source of comfort, reassurance, and stability. But when it has suffered disruption, and particularly when one is pondering the prospect of departing from it because of that disruption, to seek a place where one can find fertile ground to plant and tend the seeds that one is endeavoring to salvage from the wreckage, it can be a source of deep pain.

But either way, I pity those who do not have such a sense, of such a place. They are rootless and groundless, indeed.


N.B. What is “blood and soil”? Stephen Clay McGehee explains, from the perspective of Southern Agrarianism:

“Southern Agrarianism is a Blood and Soil movement. It takes in two of the most basic concepts in all of history: Our People, and the soil that provides the food that feeds our people. It means that, while we wish all the best toward others, our immediate family comes first, followed by ever larger circles of extended family, and then on out from there.”

In other words, it is not a concept / movement that teaches hatred toward others, nor does it seek supremacy over others. It simply places our priorities where they should be: on those closest to us, and on the land that supports us and them: the sacred geography of our homeland.

“Building, Dwelling, Thinking” – Heidegger

“Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build. Let us think for a while of a farmhouse in the Black Forest, which was built some two hundred years ago by the dwelling of peasants. Here the self-sufficiency of the power to let earth and...

If I may follow on with the architectural theme from this morning:

“Only if we are capable of dwelling, only then can we build. Let us think for a while of a farmhouse in the Black Forest, which was built some two hundred years ago by the dwelling of peasants. Here the self-sufficiency of the power to let earth and heaven, divinities and mortals enter in simple oneness into things, ordered the house. It placed the farm on the wind-sheltered mountain slope, looking south, among the meadows close to the spring. It gave it its wide overhanging shingle roof whose proper slope bears up under the burden of snow, and which, reaching deep down, shields the chambers against the storms of the long winter-nights. It did not forget the altar corner behind the community table; it made room in its chamber for the hallowed places of childbed and the ‘tree of the dead’ — for that is what they call a coffin there: the Totenbaum — and in this way it designed for the different generations under one roof the character of their journey through time. A craft which, itself sprung from dwelling, still uses its tools and frames as things, built the farmhouse.” 

— Martin Heidegger, “Building, Dwelling, Thinking” in Poetry, Language, Thought

I do not know enough about Heidegger to say anything about his philosophy in general; but I will say that – in my opinion – he is square-on in this!