Altars as a Way of Life is sharing one of my favorites ways of bringing the power & beauty of reverence into our daily lives. I see altars as visual prayers, focusing intentions and praise on what you value , honor and love.
I will offer regular posts of altars I have either created or found, sharing my insights, impressions and inspirations gained from seeing life through the eyes of sacred intention.
Altars can be anywhere. They can take many forms, man-made, indoor or outdoor, and impermanent natural occurrences. For me to call it an altar, there is something harmonious and powerful that i can both see and feel. There is a synergy, a coming together, a resonance in that specific space. It may be a ring of flowers on the forest floor, a stacking of rocks in an arroyo, or a spider web glistening with dew. There is something magical and mysterious and otherworldly that elicits a sense of awe. It really is a visceral feeling in my body, I don’t always “see” them before they come to my attention. I was walking through the forest in my beloved Discovery Park in Seattle and my attention was literally yanked behind me to a large tree just off the pathway. There was a woven circle of twigs placed subtlety on a tree branch-I would not have ‘seen’ it the direction i was heading, but i felt the strong intention.
The first altar photograph above is one of my Ancestor altars. They are the ones who walked before us, and have influenced many things about our lives. I choose to give them respect and honor by placing them in a central part of my home. All of the Elements are brought together on this altar, feathers for air, stones and bones for earth, water in the cup, and candles for fire. Recognizing the Elements is a way to bring balance and harmony to our existence as we are simultaneously both earthly and Spirit beings. They are the basis of our lives, air for breath, water for blood, earth for bones and fire for our Spirit/life force. When we access their powers we are able to enhance those areas we need support in, and transform, release or integrate those areas we have excess or inconsistencies.
Altars can and do surprise us with their appearances. The photo of my Horse Drum by Soaring Eagle Woman http://www.soaringeaglewoman.com/ below is during a Medicine Walk I was on. When I saw the light coming through the back of the hide, it was a Hopi Kachina. I was stunned, the Kachinas are the Native American Hopi peoples Elemental Angels/Spirit guardians. This image pre-dates my draw to the southwest by about 2 years-our path may call us years before we actually arrive there. The earth altar above is in my beloved Rainbow Canyon here in New Mexico. I have taken many of my Painted Body images for my Oracle of Initiation deck in this sacred place. The altar has such a grace and presence to it, I had to take a picture.
I look forward to sharing the magical images and presences that appear through this process. MelissaBee