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Home Altars - How To.. Guidelines

Home Altars - How To.. Guidelines

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:39 am

By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Wednesday, March 30, 2005 - 07:06 pm:

Home Altars – how to make them

Creating an altar at home is a personal thing and there’s no right or wrong way. (Where have we heard that before?) Keep in mind that if you want a magical or a spiritual life you have to go after it, create it, practice it. Altars are one form of expressing our inner nature and of course, our desire to unite with our concept of deity and Nature. An altar is sacred space, set aside for a special purpose.

The 1st thing to determine is your purpose for creating the altar as this will drive everything else. Ask yourself what your goal is and what is your intention? Some examples for creating sacred space:

To honor and commune with Deity
To meditate
To make material or spiritual offerings
To recognize or invoke the 5 elements: Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Spirit
To celebrate a holiday, birthday or anniversary
To commemorate a life-changing event
To remember loved ones
To connect to & express your inner child (think toys)
To manifest healing or empowerment to overcome situation
To raise or sustain power for a magical goal
To perform Sabbat & Esbat rituals
To honor your power animal or spirit guide

Choose a location for your altar that will serve your purpose and be convenient to get to or you won’t use it. Privacy is a must-have for a meditation altar. Your space should be safe from kids, pets and visitors. Any space where two flat planes or two worlds intersect will serve, such as an indoor windowsill, ledge or corner, or outdoors look for the base of a tree where earth & sky meet, or a shore line where earth and sea meet, or a raised place where land and sky meet. The intersection of surfaces represents the intersection of two-worlds, the visible and invisible, mundane and sacred, the physical and the astral, and means that the two worlds are one in time and space and within you.

Decide if your altar is going to be a temporary one, portable or a permanent feature as this will determine your limitations. For example, a temporary altar will be dismantled after it has served its purpose, a portable altar will probably be stored and transported in a lidded box (hat box, beer case) or even in a draw-string bag, basket or back pack. A permanent altar will be part of your indoor furnishings or outdoors will be at a place that you have ready access to in all weather.

Determine if your altar will serve double duty as a working space for rituals or spells & provide enough uncluttered surface for you to work in.

Decide how you want to represent Deity & your connection to Nature. A formal image only symbolizes deity because we think it does, otherwise a goddess statue is just a lady. Any object that calls to mind the power and attributes that guide your life will serve. For example, besides statues, drawings and photographs, you can use a holey stone, bowl of earth or grain for the Goddess and a pointed stone, leafy branch or staff for the God. A bowl of water with a floating candle can symbolize the Light/Spark of Deity (candle) & the Waters of Life (H2O) that manifest in Nature’s forms (bowl). An empty bowl might symbolize the invisible Presence of life-force in all Nature. You could even use Barbie and Ken dolls. Bouquets of flowers, grains, fruit and potted plants also symbolize the forces of life. A 2-pronged, fork-end stick can represent the life-giving union of two-into-one where the fork joins.

Choose items to place on your altar that represent your goal or theme. I like to have one altar, one theme for clarity. This is where you get creative & make the spiritual eye candy happen. You can have as much or as little as you want, but use only what really has personal meaning to you. If you have Craft tools (Athame, Wand, Cauldron, Pentacle) decide if you want them displayed or kept under-wraps & protected from invasive handling.

Colors and textures create vibrancy and can be keyed to your theme. A general color relationship guide is similar to spell correspondences: for example, to express wealth & prosperity, use gold or green; for physical health a robust red can stimulate healing, or use grass green for nurturing and for emotional health use rose-pink, menatl health - use yellow or light blue, or for spiritual health use cobalt blue; for romance pink & salmon, spiritual purposes use violet or purple. A mix of black, silver, & clear glass works well with the moon.

Include a storage box or basket to contain odds and ends like incense (or use an infuser & oils if smoke bothers you), candles, matches, pen, paper, favorite poems or scriptures, & prayer beads (used for mantra recitation). Provide yourself comfortable seating. Be sensible and use only fireproof candle & incense holders and keep matches away from children.

Prior to use, the altar should be purified to remove any negativity. An indoor altar surface should be cleaned with a salt/water mix & carefully dried. Salt is corrosive. Do not use more than a quarter teaspoon of salt outdoors as it will kill anything green it lands on. Washing with lemon juice and water or smudging with sage is an alternative. Maintain your altar. Keep an outdoor altar tidy and swept or raked. Indoors, replace spent candles & dried-out floral bouquets. Clean up spilled ashes and candle wax and keep the brass polished. If you don’t like “house-work”, keep that in mind when creating your sacred space & keep it simple.

Things to remember:

Use fireproof candle and incense holders. Don’t leave candles unattended. Don’t use alcohol based perfumes or products near flame. Keep flames away from cloth, paper and flowers.

Cats are inquisitive. They eat live plants & floral bouquets and steal tiny, sparkly things. Tails & whiskers will burn. Dangling or trailing ribbons are considered toys.

Keep the taller items in the back so you won’t knock them over.

You can create “candle gardens” by placing a mix of pillar & votive candles together in a bowl or on a mirror glass. Candles can be inscribed or charged for your goal.

Glass “pebbles” or marbles can add sparkle. Opaque stones act as anchors, crystals move and transmute energy. Woods stabilize. Metals guide and empower.
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Re: Home Altars - How To.. Guidelines

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:39 am

By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Tuesday, April 5, 2005 - 09:23 pm:

A little more to finish the thought train:

Symbolism (just some basics)

Earth can be represented by stones, sand/dirt, woods, fruits, and grains as well as your pentacle & the colors green black or brown. Air can be symbolized by your wand, incense, balloons, feathers, birds, fans, flags & the colors yellow and sky blue. Fire is obviously flame & candles, but also lava rock, red/orange glass, light-bulbs, a battery, “sparklers” & fire crackers, and the colors red & orange. Water again is obviously H2O, but also the cup & cauldron, sea shells & sea-weed, or water animals like dolphins, whales, ducks, snakes, otters and fish. The colors are deep blue, green. Spirit can be represented by any item that is personally symbolic, but the colors are white or purple. Early rituals used a “spirit light” of a flame in a sea shell. The concept of a perpetual light, one that is never allowed to go out, represents deity’s omnipresence.

Goddess colors are white or silver for Her as the Moon, and white-red-black for maid, mother and crone. She is also seen in wells, springs and lakes & a simple bowl of water can represent Her. The underworld, Crone aspect can use crossroads, roots, caves or wells for the underworld. Her most common flower symbols are any white (Moon) flower; the 5-petaled rose and the lotus. The 5-petals represent the 5-point star. The planet Venus (Her symbol again) travels a path in the sky every 4 years that forms a perfect pentagram. Very early Goddess figurines were bird-headed possibly in relation to observation migration cycles, & cycles of the seasons which are Goddess rhythms. Animals that literally change from one form to another like tadpoles into frogs, caterpillars into butterflies, and eggs into birds or reptiles are Goddess symbols.

The colors of the God are gold /yellow of the Sun, sunflowers & marigolds; also earth & forest greens. He is Pan, the goat-footed & Bacchus, god of wine. He is Osiris, seen in the natural cycles of crops that die and are re-born with each planting and harvest cycle. The annual cycle (wheat especially) also represents the Goddess’ Descent and Ascent in the Eleusinian Mysteries. Earlier Descent/Ascent stories of the Goddess Innana followed the annual cycle of Venus as it went below the horizon – thus into the underworld – and reappeared. Her lover Tammuz was observed in the grain cycles.
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Re: Home Altars - How To.. Guidelines

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:41 am

By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 03:50 pm:

Vastu Shastra

Purpose / Direction to place altar / Color

Abundance, Prosperity / N /Green, Gold
Spirituality / NE / Gold, White
Health & Wellbeing / E / White, Gold
Life Changes, Transformations / SE /Silver / Red
Career & Recognition /S / Red, Gold
Helpful people, Universal Support / SW / Orange,Red
Creativity & Knowledge / W / Blue, Yellow
Relationships, Marriage / NW / Yellow, Blue

Items on Altar / Placement of items on altar

Air symbol / NW / feather, fan, incense, bird
Water symbol / NE / vase or bowl of water, fish
Fire symbol /SE / candle, lava-rock, matches
Earth symbol /SW / stones, plants, statue

Offering plate or bowl /center /Symbol or phrase stating goal
Personal symbol of goal / behind offering / Photo, clip art, memento

To empower the altar, use psi-energy ball loaded with intention or make nine passes of the
mudra (thumb holding down 2 middle fingers with pointer and pinkie fingers extended.)
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Re: Home Altars - How To.. Guidelines

PostAuthor: TheWiseHedgewitch » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:41 am

By Bonnie (Bonnie) on Tuesday, June 28, 2005 - 05:55 pm:

Sorry that little blurb on Vastu Shastra was so abrupt - but I figured if you were at all interested you'd want it as a separate piece...and I was interrupted as usual. :)
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