It's Friday, which means time for another Pagan Blog Project post. Since last week's post served as a general introduction to this project, I wanted to focus more specifically on my spiritual practice this week. We're still working with the letter A, which, this week, stands for Altar.
I use my altar as a way to alter my consciousness and prepare for ritual. Having a permanent altar set-up helps me perform mini-rituals to connect with the divine during the day. Of course, an altar isn't necessary to perform a ritual, but having a designated sacred space can make it easier to get into the proper mindset for a ritual.
I also created a mini altar on my desk at work:
I find the stones grounding - they are physical objects that I can hold when I want to feel more grounded and centered. Seeing the stones on my desk is also a visual reminder to take a moment to breathe and center myself.
At home, I have an altar on one of my bookshelves in my bedroom. Currently it has a malachite owl (a birthday present from a Wiccan friend a few years ago), a small fairy statue (a gift from my aunt a long time ago), a candle inscribed with the word Wonder (a gift from the YMCA I volunteered at in college) and a small sea shell. I like including items that were gifts or have special significance, though I also have items I have bought more recently because I wanted a specific symbol. For example, I also have a stone etched with an image of the Greenman, which I bought recently, a small hematite bead in the shape of a Goddess and a stone etched with a pentacle. Then there are items that I have made, such as a knit bag that contains mementos from my first degree initiation and coven initiation.
Also on my altar is a card from the Wisdom of the Golden Path oracle. I rotate oracle and Tarot decks, and this is the one I have been working with recently. I try to draw a card every day, and then place the card on the altar for the day. In this way I interact with my altar on a regular basis.
Now that I have a dedicated Craft Room (and I use craft in a broad sense, in the same way I define it on this blog) I also have an altar set-up there. This altar is a small table, which also has a drawer I can use for storing magickal items when I'm not using them. I like to keep the altar space itself simple and less cluttered. The rest of my life is cluttered enough, so, for me, part of keeping the space sacred means keeping it simple. I place items intentionally because I want specific energy on the altar.
This is a previous version of my altar, which mostly included items I had made (including the clay triple Goddess symbol, wand, and centerpiece):
I try to rotate different objects and symbols, depending on the season or on my mood since I don't want my altar, or my spiritual practice for that matter, to get stale. I don't update my altars on any set schedule, just whenever they seem to need freshening up. As I have been thinking about this post I have also been thinking it's time to update both of my home altars again. Writing this has taken longer than anticipated though, so that will be tomorrow's project!