In today’s cleaning/cleansing, I reached the altar. As usual, when cleaning the altar, I start by taking everything off, physically cleaning it, then deciding what goes on the altar.
I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to altar building. Well, at least not general altars. I get a little more traditional when I’m creating a focus altar, when I’m working toward a specific goal or have spell work I want to do.
This, however, is the altar that sits in my living room, and most of the time it serves mostly as a place to hold me wishes, a place to show my faith, my respects. Generally it has candles and stones as a minimum.
I tend to collect stones on my journeys and as gifts and what have you. I have a large collection, most of which live in the Big Box O’Witchery that hides under my altar. I give them away frequently too, but never seem to run low.
So, once the altar is cleaned off and everything that’s been on it since I last set it up has been cleaned as well, I meditate for a few minutes with the Big Box O’Witchery open and I start taking things out and putting things in.
With a vast array of Pagan Stuff spread out around me on the floor, I contemplate what the needs are in my life, in the lives of those I love and then I reach for the cards.
See, I have a lot of various oracle cards that I don’t actually read from. They too live in the Big Box O’Witchery and I take them out when I need inspiration or new direction…or when I’m dressing a new altar.
Today I started with my deck of Goddess cards. I held them, shuffled through them, closed my eyes and felt my way through them until one just felt right in my hand. I pulled it out to find Kuan Yin.
Interestingly, one of the things I pulled out of the Big Box O’Witchery was a statue of Kuan Yin. So, I set that card next to the statue.
Next I pulled out a deck I don’t handle very often, a deck I picked up in Hawaii a lifetime ago, called Mana cards. I shuffled through those and just as I was about to pull a card, three of them landed in my lap.
The first was 32, Haumea, an earth goddess, mother of Pele…she represents support and nourishment, and she offers the gifts of insight, clarity and strength.
The second was 23, Laka, the goddess of hula. She brings inspiration and the card reminds us to make room for the muses to work in us.
The last was 40, Kāne, who is the creator of mankind. His waters are said to be restorative, even to restoring life to one who is dead. He brings renewal and a chance to begin again.
Lastly, I pulled out my animal oracle and drew the Bee, which speaks to community and organization, to building something and cooperation.
My next step was to address what else should be on my altar. I put away the big statue of Morrigan that usually lives there, and pulled out a much smaller one that used to be on my desk at work. I went through stones, and was drawn to mostly shells and blues. plus a piece of amber, and my labradorite sphere.
I started building then, putting Kuan Yin in the center near the back of the altar, on a box I slipped under the altar cloth. The Kuan Yin card is leaning against that box and in front of her are an arrangement of stones and shells. In front of that, the mana cards.
The bee didn’t get put on right away. First came the candles, just large glass candles like you can get at grocery stores and other places, one green, one red. I used to do yellow and blue too, and sometimes still do…but the red and green are pretty standard for me.
I also keep at least one chalice on the altar as well. I have a few I like. Today the unicorn one got set to Kuan Yin’s left and the Bee card was set standing against it. My two ravens chalice was put next to the small Morrigan statue to the right.
I also have several implements I’ve used in ritual, theater, etc, that usually end up on the altar in some configuration. My copper dagger and meat hook (yes, you read that right….I aspected Ereshkigal a few years back for ritual theater production…I’ve kept the meat hook) hold the front corners of the altar.
Rounding out the whole thing, I have a glass skull candle holder that was a gift many years ago with a small votive candle on the right near Morrigan and some incense is burning to either side of Kuan Yin.
It amazes me how much everything feels better once the altar is sorted. There’s more work to be done to declare the whole room clean, but it is lighter somehow I think.
Now onto the *other* altar in the living room: the entertainment center.