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Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in home altars

Posted by on in Paths Blogs
Shrine Keeping

I have a cow shrine in honor of my mom in her room-- her former room. The suite. It's full of cow things she owned, but not all of them because they don't all fit.

About a month after her death, while I was falling asleep, I suddenly envisioned her in my mind's eye, smiling and shining. Her hair was its natural red color as it had been years ago, not the solid white I had gotten used to seeing before she died. It felt like more than my usual vivid imagination. She did not try to communicate anything, and it only lasted a few seconds, but I felt like I was seeing her, really her, in death. And that upset me, because I had been sure I had set everything up right for her to have a quick and easy passage to her next life (because she had often said religion was stupid, and she didn't believe in an afterlife or any gods, so I figured she'd be upset if she had to hang around in an afterlife being wrong for very long.) So of course I reached inside for Sigyn and Hel, and they reassured me: yes, that was really her, and yes, she has already passed on. She was not at that time still hanging on waiting for her desired oblivion. The dead experience time like the gods do, not like living people do. Even though it only took her a few days after her death to pass completely through Hel and on to what was next, she could still look in on me a month later, to make sure I was going to be OK. And what she saw was me curled up with my sweet kitty Happy. So, that was the most OK I could possibly be. Now I was glad I saw her, and that she saw me. It didn't mean she was stuck trying to pass over, it was just a brief visit out of time.

Later that month, I received her ashes. I placed them on the cow altar, along with pictures of her, one of the silver candles from the Death and Butterfly ritual, and the bottle of Patron with which to toast Hel and Hidden Goddess perfume to bless with in Hel's name. The photo above depicts that ritual. I told each of the three items where they belonged: the ashes in the butterfly urn were in their permanent home and would stay with me, the ashes in the rose urn were in their permanent home and would go to my brother, and the ashes in the box would be scattered. I made sure there were neither any lingering soul pieces in what I'd received, nor any bad energy. I had to mentally take the lavender broom to the pain and sweep it into the black hole in space. I double checked the energy in the ashes and their containers later and they seemed to have a normal amount of presence, that is, mom wasn't in there-- she had gone on already-- but it wasn't the kind of empty that would drawn things to a vacuum. During the ritual, I toasted to Hel, and to Audhumla and the cow spirit, and to my mom, and I said that I knew that mom had already gone to where she was going next but I already knew that time did not work the same way for gods and the dead as it did for me, so if mom wanted to tell  me anything this was the time to do that. She spoke. She told me she had seen her next life before she went to it and she was happy. That reassurance was a relief. It was not only a relief knowing that she already knew she was going to be happy in her next life because while she was in Hel's realm she could see ahead in time, it was also a relief to know she didn't have any other messages for me.

I left her Shrine of the Great Cow Mother up and made occasional toasts. I knew that eventually I would take it down so someone else could move into the suite, so it was not made to be permanent, but it was operating longer than any other altar I had put up in the house before. Usually when I did holiday rituals I took the altar down the same day, or perhaps the next day. I kept the portable working altar that was just big enough for ritual tools and a bottle in my room, but I kept it covered. This one was still powered, and one morning I went in to open the blinds and curtains for the house plants and felt dark energy in that room. I flicked it away at once, and felt carefully to be sure there was no bad energy on any of the ashes or anything else on the altar. There was not. It didn't come from the ashes or the altar, it was attracted to it from outside. I then performed another ritual, this time focused on the gnome (the land wight of my land) and on Audhumla. I asked the gnome to reinforce his protections against vampiric entities looking for power to eat, and I asked Audhumla to bless her altar and keep bad influences away from it. After that, the power of the shrine didn't draw anything in that wanted it as a snack.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Your Personal Samhain Altar

On October 31, the veil is thinnest between the two worlds of the living and the dead. It is of vital importance to honor the dead. One way to do this is to create a special altar for this day, a tradition that comes down to us from the Celts among others. Create a new shrine just for this occasion with a chest of table in your home where people will see it and acknowledge your ancestors. On the altar, place photos, letters, and any mementos that will bring the energy of your late loved ones close.

 Place candles on the altar and light them during twilight. While it may seem uncomfortable at first, talk to your ancestors and tell them about what is going on in your life. Share memories and speak about whatever you feel inspired to speak of—grief, hopes for the future, troubles, all you need to share. Take as much time as you need with this. Place the bowl of water with white flowers—gardenias are an excellent choice—on the altar and leave it overnight.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Bright and Happy Home Potion

The moment you enter someone’s home, you can almost immediately tell how happy a household it is simply by the smell, A dwelling with the fragrance of chocolate chip cookies or a freshly baked apple pie is one you may well want to visit often. Similarly, a space redolent of the bouquet of stargazer lilies or bouquets of  roses is one where the inhabitants take care to make their home attractive to both the eye and the other senses. There are lots of little things we can do in regard to “energy maintenance” for our home. To sweeten any mood, this recipe works wonders on you or anyone in your environment that might need a lift. Combine the following essential oils:

 

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Witchy Crystals: Power Stones for Your Personal Shrine

By building a crystal and stone shrine, altar, or power center in your home, you will create a place for daily conjuring, rituals, and thinking. This will set the stage for you to focus your ideas and make them grow. Having a shrine in your home allows you to rid yourself of personal obstacles and invite friendly spirits. Your shrine will spark your inner flame and bring daily renewal. The more use an altar gets, the more energy it builds, making your spells even more effective. Prosperity stones should be to the far left on the altar, in the money corner. Romance crystals should sit to the far right on the altar. The rest of your altar should consist of meaningful, personal symbols. They should reflect your spiritual aspirations. I keep fresh wildflowers in a vase, a statue of a goddess, abalone shells, a magnetite obelisk, and a rock-crystal ball on my altar.

 

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
Abundance Stones for Your Altar

Your altar is the nexus of your magical powers; it is also your medium through which you give gifts to the Roman god of abundance, Jupiter, also known as Jove. Jupiter is a rain and thunder deity who also controls fertility. He will rain abundance down upon you if you gain his favor through ritual observance. His “jovial” qualities include leadership, jollity, generosity, expansiveness, and a royal manner. Your middle finger is your Jupiter finger and you can also increase your fortunes by leaving a ring on your altar overnight and then place it upon the middle finger of either hand. Ideally, for the best result, it will be a green or gold stone such as peridot, tourmaline, or citrine. If you can find a statue or bust of Jove, you should place this symbol on the right side of the altar, accompanied by the image of an eagle, which is the ideal prosperity altar emblem, as the eagle is Jupiter’s bird totem. The eagles of Rome and America are this royal bird of the king of gods. Lapis lazuli, the beautiful blue stone beloved of the Egyptians, is also sacred to Jupiter. The alchemical symbol for this stone is the astrological sign of Jupiter in reverse, and the blue of the lapis stone is associated with the blue of the sky god. You can increase your prosperity by remembering one of the most basic principles of prosperity: By giving, so shall you receive.

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Posted by on in Culture Blogs
How Different Are Pagans?

Just how different are we, as pagans, from other people?

For the most part, I'd be inclined to say: Not very.

But sometimes I wonder.

In the introduction to his 2017 Stonehenge: The Story of a Sacred Landscape, British archaeologist Francis Pryor talks about how the compartmentalization of modern life makes it difficult for us to understand how, for the ancestors, religion could imbue every aspect of existence.

Almost nobody in the modern West, he writes, would build or maintain an altar, let alone a chapel, at home. At most, a religious devotee might say prayers before going to bed. And of course the reason for this is that religion in the modern Western world has ceased to be a part of daily life (20).

I actually laughed out loud when I read this. Virtually everyone that I know has at least one home altar. For many of us, the real problem is altar-creep: the tendency of altars to sprout on every horizontal surface in the house.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    I think you are right. I think some form of Pagan spirituality is the natural way we tend to respond to the world and to spirit.
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
  • Steven Posch
    Steven Posch says #
    Over the course of the last (nearly) 50 years, I've watched old tribal institutions and ways of doing things reemerge--sometimes a
  • Gus diZerega
    Gus diZerega says #
    Very true in my experience. Some people bemoan the demise of an integral society whereas many NeoPagans are recreating one, on a
Put a Wreath On It: Creating Your Magical Home

Adorning Every Door

As we witches know, a wreath on the front dooir is much more than decorative.  A wreath can be for protection, as a talisman, a symbol of the home you are about to enter and for any reason you might devise. A wreath on your door sets the stage for magic throughout your home. Even if you (like me!)  are not a crafty witch, try these easy ideas for your magical home or as gifts for your pagan pals. 

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