The Power of an altar ~ offering reminders, tools and focus
This is my altar:
This is my other altar:
How can an altar be a helpful tool for reminding?
Why do we need to be reminded?
I will begin with why we humans need constant reminders of how to stay balanced, aligned with our hearts and connected to our spiritual essence. Well...I probably don't need to go into this too much—I suspect as you read this your mind is eager to come up with the why's. Perhaps you listed, media, consumerism, adult responsibilities; like paying bills, taking care of children or others. Then there is this constant energetic buzz of technology, traffic, and just sheer busyness. Wow! Distraction, disruption, and dissonance!
I'd like to add that the above list may be longer for some and smaller for others, it is dependent on how sensitive you are and how aware you are.
In no way I am stating that needing reminders is a bad thing, it is a natural thing and it is a good thing to REMEMBER :)
Let's consider how an altar is uber useful for reminding.
From a visual perspective: Having an altar that is in a place that you often see, that you make an intention to pay homage to when you see it. It catches your eye, attracts you. For example, I have my main altar on a shelf at the end of my entrance. It is the first thing I see when I enter. It totally catches my eye, particularly the picture of my husband and I.
From a changeable perspective: Change brings energy. Make an effort to add and take away from your altar, changing it when you feel the inspiration, or on special occasions. I recently added a onesie to my altar, to refresh the conceiving energy and because I thought I was pregnant. Not yet...now the onesie offers me great hope and reminders to stay on course.
How it initiates practices: Practice deepens brain grooves, or clears a path in the forest of the mind. An altar can be a reminder to practice a spiritual act, like going to the river to cleanse your crystals, or picking cedar with deep gratitude to add to your altar. I have a singing bowl on my altar that reminds me to practice chanting and being in sacred music.
How it can hold special recognition: An altar can be added to or made specifically for dedication or recognition of a loved one, of calling in a particular energy, such as fertility. To honour a time of year, like solstice. Let it be a place of celebration.
What about tools and focus?
How to use an altar in meditation, yoga, and circles.
Some of what I touched on above can be interpreted as tools and focus, and there are also deeper ways to harness the power of an altar. I often use an altar as an anchor in a circle, or for a meditation. I find it particularly supportive when I am offering therapy sessions online. I sit next to my altar with a candle burning and sacred sage clearing. As I am guiding and connecting with the person, I look to my altar for guidance and courage to serve through my heart and with integrity.
The photo below is of an altar in the center of the room that held the cohort of my MSW in the Indigenous Field of Study. The energy of the medicine wheel altar kept us on track and able to process a great deal.
To end I would like to highlight that on a journey of healing and transformation, and as my husband Luke recently pointed out, integration, I know with utmost certainty, that I need reminders. My altars travel with me too, I have a small bag I carry with me always that keeps me connected to my higher self and to the peace my altars hold so completely.
It is important to acknowledge your altars and show gratitude for their holding power. I offer flowers, I dust and clean, as well as pray with gratitude towards my altars.
In my work as a healer, therapist, guide of transformation, I often encourage the creation of an altar at home and to carry with you. Maybe it is just a piece of jewelry that speaks to you. Such support can be found with intentionally connecting to that jewelry and to your altar!
Thank you for being part of my life and engaging in my blog. Love and Light!
If you would like a free consult with me, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out my online form at margoleeburton.com. We can talk and I will share what I offer and if it is not a good fit, I will offer other suggestions to get you on track.