One of the first creative activities of God was to play in the dirt.

clay-work as spiritual practice

It was through this holy activity that people first took shape; humans from the humis.  As creatures made in the likeness of God, we have been imitating God’s creative example since. From children’s mud-pies to adult’s vases and chimineas, the human family has long known the powerful spiritual practice of creatively playing in dirt.

Of course, the potter and the clay are classic images from Christian scriptures.  Their relationship is a visceral archetype of an intimate hand’s-on presence by God within the emerging life of each person. It is also a hint that the actual work of creating pots and other things from clay can become a meditation for us with regard to understanding the sacred work of Spirit in our pliable lives of faith and function.  

Potters will sometimes speak of how each or their creations is an incarnation of prayer, an intuitive act of consciously allowing Spirit to mindfully work through humble actions and skills of the potter in order to transform unshaped earth into new forms with new purpose.  On one potter’s Website, she notes, “My work exists as I hope I do, to add brightness and ease to life, to assist, to serve, to comfort, to celebrate, to enliven.

Are you looking for a new spiritual practice to reignite your spiritual life?  Perhaps one answer is to take a pottery class, and learn to pray through what takes shape in your hands.

Take a look at the portfolios above, that include what others have created with clay for sacred purposes.


12 photos

cups and mugs

12 photos

liturgical brick work

7 photos

tea urns

6 photos

Check out this Onbeing article, regarding working a pottery wheel: