A is for Altar

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Pagan Blog Project bannerAfter some pondering, I decided to take up the idea of the Pagan Blog Project. The idea is rather simple. There are 52 weeks to the year, and 26 letters to the alphabet, which makes two weeks for every letter. So every Friday, we are post a blog entry about something related to paganism that starts with the respective letter. (If you’re interested in a more detailed version of how this blog project works, check out this page.)

I’m considering this a welcome writing prompt, even though I’m not actively calling myself a pagan. But I guess I still fit the general idea of one closely enough to attach myself to this project. I have already enjoyed reading posts from several of the other participants. However, I’m not signing up for the newsletter, and I’m certainly not joining Facebook. I’m also not crazy about using the banner except this one time as I announce my participation. That said, I will tag my posts accordingly, and I will put up links to my posts over at the Pagan Blog Project website. If I happen to finish a post on a Saturday or Sunday instead of a Friday, that’s how it will be. Just so you know what to expect from me here.

Strictly speaking, weeks 1-3 are already over, but I’ll try and catch up before next Friday.

As many other participants have done before me (there are links to other “A” posts here and here), I’ll start with a post about my altar.

I rebuilt my altar two weeks ago after letting any altar-like place in my room get covered in dust, blocked by furniture, or otherwise fall out of use. So far, that has happened to all of my altars sooner or later. The setting up was always the most important part for me. After that, I would leave things as they were until I felt an urgent need to finally clean all the pieces and recreate the altar. More than once, the cleaning took up so much time that I never set up a new altar but instead had an empty space where it would have gone, and a tray full of disconnected potential altar material that now collected dust again. You could call it an unplanned altar of disorientation and lack of focus – sort of appropriate to my state of mind but not quite satisfying.

This time was the first time that I built an altar with the intention of actually contemplating the themes represented on it as part of my daily spiritual practice. I had been aware of that concept before but never seemed to fit into my daily life (I guess I was a bit too hung up on a rather restrictive idea of how a “proper” regular interaction with one’s altar should look like).

This time, however, things were different all of a sudden (yay! breakthrough!). Without even planning it, I ended up setting the altar in a different place, a place that I had incorporated into my daily spiritual practice already. You see, I drum (almost) every morning to the four directions and the elements I associate with them, to the Earth, the Sky, and to my Animal Guides. On rare occasions that takes up to an hour but usually it only takes between two and ten minutes, depending in how much of a hurry I already am. Since I set up the new altar, I’m now spending a part of this morning ritual reminding myself of the themes I find on  the altar. So far, I still have to consciously remember to do that part, but the visual reminders sure help a lot (although I’m not sure why it took me so long to find out that visual reminders work really well for me as a very visual thinker)!

And it does make a difference. I now feel more connected to myself and my spiritual path and to the themes I’m currently working on for more time during my regular work days.

P.S. While I’m showing you a picture of how my altar looked when I set it up (there have been two additions since then), please don’t expect me to name or even explain its contents to you. I understand any curiosity anyone may feel, but I’d rather keep these details of my current spiritual practice private.

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