Little Altars Everywhere

kitty altar“A sacred altar in your home can serve as a focal point for meditation or simply a refuge where you return when you need a spiritual boost.  It provides the space to lay down the burdens of your everyday life and just BE.  By dedicating space in your home to spirit, you coach your mind…and your loved ones… to believe that peace, serenity, and connection with the Divine is an ever-increasing priority.” ~ Ramdesh Kahr, Spirit Voyage blog

Refuge from the outside world.

Earlier this month, I started my 29th year of Buddhist practice.

For nearly three decades, I’ve had a sacred space in my home which allows me to practice Buddhism, morning and evening. I go to a couple of meetings held in other peoples’ homes about twice a month, but the roots of my practice are in my home. My altar serves as a place of peace, meditation, solitude, connection and joy. I plug into the golden stream of life force and my own inner wisdom when I am seated in front of my altar. I can hear my heart there.

I sit down and converse with my soul every time I chant.

The way in, is within.

When I was a kid, it was a curiosity to me to think that one needed to go to church to connect with God (or higher power, spirit, mystery, goddess). Why go anywhere when that great glowing light exists inside each one of us? All we have to do to find it, is quiet ourselves and become still. Then we can hear the multitude of luminous messages life’s sending our way.

To me, a home doesn’t feel safe (or like a home) without a place of spiritual grounding and solace. I can’t imagine not having an altar in my home. As a woman, it is a place where I can not only pray but also receive guidance.

It’s a place of sustenance and light. It feeds and sustains me as I go through my life.

Sacred Altar

Sacred space.

To create your own altar, first consider the purpose for which you will use it. Then collect things that you love and that remind you of what you are working on accomplishing through caring for your spiritual life.

Some altars contain vision boards or personal photos.

Mine has the last birthday card my father wrote me, which we found next to the bed where he died. It also has an autographed photo of Elton John that one of my students got for me when I was hospitalized last year, as well as other family photos.

Some altars center around candles, feathers, crystals, carved bowls or cut flowers. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) altars are typically dedicated to the life of a loved one or several loved ones. They often include photos, mementos, flowers, bread, beer, sugar skulls, and hand written notes and letters. Every one I’ve ever seen was completely unique, though often filled with splashes of bright color.

Some people use statues of the Buddha or Christ or Mary or Kuan Yin as centerpieces.

For others, perhaps they have photos of a beloved pet or a child they’ve lost.

Truly, it depends on your sensibilities and what is important and sacred to you.

An altar is a reckoning place.

The point is, your altar should reflect you.

There’s no right or wrong way to create a sacred space in your home. There’s only what feels right to you.

A peace beyond price.

So, cover your space with small treasures. Find that perfect table covering or piece of lace or tie-dye. Fill a vase with sunflowers or eucalyptus. Smudge the house with sage or burn sandalwood incense. Light candles, ring a bell to clear the air and chase away anything you do not want to share space with. I had a friend who does energy work put a red thread around my entire house so that only supportive entities and beings and my angelic guides are allowed in.

Once your altar is ready, christen it by reciting a prayer or a portion of a poem, a sutra, or a selection from your journal.

This is a place of sustenance for you.

When there, feather your nest. Quiet your soul.

Step out of life’s chaos and soak in silence.

This is where you do your heart work. This is the place where you can deep-sea dive, swim, or just float.

Here, you are both the oyster and the pearl.

© 2014  Shavawn M. Berry All rights reserved

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