We’ve probably all come across sacred places or places of power. Sometimes they are in the natural world, in the wilds of ancient forest, on a mountain peak, under a waterfall. It is a place where we feel the spirits so strongly that everything within us gets elevated. Our energy field and chakras expand, we may receive communication from Spirit and etheric beings through our senses. The same thing can happen in places like temples, churches, gardens, even in the presence of works of art.
These sacred places are also available to us every day in our homes and yards. We create and cultivate places of power in our own personal spaces where we do spiritual work like journey, meditate, pray, compose art and music, and where we nurture ourselves and others.
Setting up an altar in our home creates a sacred space for us and nourishes our spiritual side. It literally makes a space for it in our lives. It acknowledges and calls in the Spirit helpers and teachers that we have relationships with, as well as those we want to develop relationships with in the future. It is a space to create magic, drawing in or sending out healing, holding the focus for intentions, honoring our journey. It is also a place to create meaningful beauty. It changes and focuses energies in the room, in the building, and on the land. I think of them as spiritual power generators.
There are an infinite number of ways to create altars. We can follow a formula and assemble ritual objects in certain areas of the space, as is the case when setting up a Wiccan altar or a Mesa from a Peruvian tradition. Or we can assemble them with any objects that are meaningful to us that we are guided to use.
Some have specific uses and may be temporary in nature, such as ancestor altars that we may set up on or near November 1st for All Souls Day. Near that time of the year I set up pictures of family members, loved ones and pets who have crossed over. Then I surround them with offerings of flowers, a little food and drink, and gifts they may have given me. Another temporary altar is a grief altar, which helps us acknowledge and process through a time of grieving. When we feel that the time is right, we may disassemble them with gratitude and closure. Some people make their ancestor altar a permanent part of the space and honor them as part of their daily practice. I also always set up an altar when I am teaching a workshop. Not only does it hold the intention of the class, but also energetically charges the objects and supplies for the class. The beauty of altars is that we make them to fulfill whatever we need in our spiritual lives.
My first altar thirty some years ago was very small, a spot on my dresser for special stones and other objects. I didn’t even realize it was an altar until much later. Then I moved it to its own space with intention. As my practice expanded, so did my altars. One is dedicated to the Goddess, another to Reiki healing, one is a Mesa. I keep a seasonal family altar in the living room and even my car has grown a portable one around the dashboard composed of feathers, stones, shells, sacred herbs and oils. They are all energetically connected and fed by my main altar where I sit in daily meditation and journey connecting to Spirit.
When we work with an altar, they become places of power. Our blessings, gratitude, prayers, intentions set up a beacon that draws in power from our spirit helpers and beings that love us. The objects on and around them increase in power as we use them. The definition of power that I am using here is a place where benevolent and beneficial Spirits gather or dwell. It is energy that enlivens, elevates, heals and strengthens. It expands and adds to our well-being. We in turn can share that energy as we do our work out in the world.
Eventually we realize that the power of our altar is embodied within us. We are our sacred space.
My autumn Mabon altar this year
To help you tend to soul issues that may manifest in physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of your life, and to give you tools to empower your path to harmony and well-being.
-There are so many kindredspirits doing the work out there. I include these links to help our community connect with one another.
SACRED HOOP Magazine Guide to Shamanism Compilation- http://www.sacredhoop.org/Pages/FreeGuide.html
Kitzie's podcasts include interviews with artists and kirtan music. I love attending her weekly Satsang group and the New World Kirtan Band concerts -
My friend and herbalist mentor, Lawrence Birch is a Certified Clinical Herbalist, plant whisperer and shamanic practitioner. If you need custom tincture blends or are interested in a wildcrafting apprenticeship, he is the teacher extraordinaire:
Roger Wheelock and Gayle Ruth are shamanic practitioners and teachers in the Pachakuti Mesa Tradition. https://www.rainmother.com/ I am grateful to be able to take part in ceremony with them, and to support their love for the Peruvian people through the World Ayni Association.