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What is an Altar?

Our first altar is our wombs, it is a space of potentiality and inward connectivity where we honor our divine nature. A physical altar is a space we dedicate to honor a relationship to an inner space outside our bodies. An altar is an area you choose to dedicate to beauty, creativity, intention, ritual, and spiritual honoring. Altars are places you can return to for commemorating the seasons, life events, changes, hopes, ancestral remembrances, nature, and more. Building altars is not something anyone taught me how to do although I do remember being at church when I was young and seeing some central point in the church that was decorated with some religious relics and maybe flowers. To me, it always left the impression of being a place dedicated to making an area for spirit to reside within a space, a reflection of an inner relationship to spirit made manifest in the physical reality.

I have always loved the beauty of nature and picking things up that I found in nature back to my space. Whether it be shells, rocks, feathers, pine cones, flowers, seeds, and even mushrooms, I always felt that natures beauty was so precious that I wanted to bring it back to my home or space to remind me of a moment in the forest or a day at the beach that delighted me. A moment of connection to existence through communing with nature has always uplifted me deeply. I intuitively began making altars with these sacred found objects in my room as well as collecting crystals, beautiful cloth, candles, and other art that I found especially beautiful. It felt good to make them as a form of expression, a tangible piece of art that felt alive and relevant to my life in any moment.

As I went deeper into my spiritual seeking, I met a teacher who taught me that my womb was also a spiritual altar within the temple of my body. She encouraged me to cleanse my womb with prayer and herbal baths and a ritual she guided me through to release old energies I had allowed into my sacred altar without checking in. She taught me to only allow the most sacred, beautiful and special people to share my altar with me. I had never learned or considered this type of attitude about my own body and my sexuality. It was a teaching that helped me to meet my soon to be husband, heal my sexuality and work through years of trauma, failed relationships and my relationship to my self and my body. Making an altar has a whole new context when considering it as an outward external representation of your womb space.

Making altars is a practice that provides me with time to be present with myself and focus on what is going on in my life in a creative and enjoyable ritual of self expression. Imagine building an altar as a sacred moment where you are calling the divine into your space to live and support your prayers and intentions for healing, happiness, and presence. In this activity of creating altars in your home you are infusing any space with beauty, prayer, intention and soul. These objects that are special to us can represent loved ones in our life, seen and unseen who are closest to our hearts and help us feel connected and supported. Feathers, flowers, tree branches, moss, lichen, art, sculpture, shells, photos, candles, statues, mushrooms, leaves, pine cones, stones, cloths, a musical instrument such as a singing bowl, rattle or a bell, anything goes on your altar as long as you love and cherish it.

Making an altar is a lovely moment for you to express your love of color, items that mean something to you, natures beauty, and to create a very personal art that enlivens your home and invites in the beauty of creation. I include altar creation in my work as I feel that is a very simple ritual that can help connect a person to their internal feelings in an intentional way that gets them out of their head and makes space for a practice that is artistic, therapeutic, and enjoyable. The symbolism you can bring into your altar is very personal and intimate to what you are dedicating it to. It can be very healing and empowering way of reclaiming your spirituality without the need for anyone to tell you what it has to look like or represent. An altar requires self care, it can be a physical representation of a relationship we are co-creating with spirit as a reminder the we have permission to tune in with ourselves, be quiet, listen to our hearts and align with beauty. We are also constructing a space in our home that can serve as an anchor for our hopes, dreams, and longings as well as our inner work. We can return to pray, to sit, to light a candle, sing a song or burn some incense when we want to connect.

Feel free to submit photos of your altar in the comments below!

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