Altars are places where something special can happen; where there is a concentration of attention and care that fertilises something sacred and intuitive. It's called poesis.
Altars are places to learn and tell stories about deep living.
• They are sacred, energized, special places for prayer, expression, meditation, retreat
• They are carefully chosen or assembled to allow for the changing of objects and materials which can take on sacred guiding capacities.
• They are spiritual work areas, Laboratories, literally: places to work, express and pray—to seek the intercession of spirit in human affairs
• They are portals between the worlds of Matter and Spirit.
What to do with an Altar?
• Express, Manifest, “Matter” personal and group concerns
• Seek Blessings for self, others
• Give Expression to the missing, deferred, rejected, overlooked
• Honor the Departed
• Honor Truths:
Impermanence (decay, change, rebirth)
Suffering (practicing to hold opposites as one)
Egolessness (practicing living in the present. Using gerunds)
• Express Appreciation for nature, change, living, beauty
• Sacrifice as a reminder of our oneness with everything
Ways to Compose, Re-Compose altars
LOOK AROUND and see how many you have ALREADY composed!
Where have you located special objects?
USE the Mother-Father Model (MATER-ial PATER-n)
Select Materials which have meaning and put them in some Pattern on the Altar. Do this many times
USE the Haiku Model:
o Use something Seasonal-Sensory-contrast/compare
o Express a Universal sentiment-allusion to Nature
o Be brief-technical-expressive subtle-indirect- yet with piercing clarity
What to put on an Altar start with the Elements:
• Water -- the life force: a tabletop fountain, sea shells, a chalice, bowl of purified water, fresh flowers or flower petals
• Air: feathers, wind chimes, reeds, incense, pictures of birds, fragrant herbs, music, leaves
• Fire: candles, fiery gemstones (onyx, ruby), Images of the sun (male) or small dragon figures, lights, ashes, charcoal
• Earth: honor the element of earth, houseplants, potted herbs, pentacles, stones, obsidian, red jasper, crystals, glass, mirrors, nests, salt for purification
• Spirit/Aether: photographs, toys, trinkets, religious symbols, important personal objects Po
"The creative process, so far as we are able to follow it at all, consists in the unconscious activation of an archetypal image and elaborating and shaping the image into the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present and so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life." Carl Jung