Ritual is part of my life, it's a way to stay connected to the timeless. For example, last week, In the middle of a move, I went for a walk in the woods and gathered seed pods to make a little winter nature mandala. It was an easy way to connect me back to the seasons at a time when things were feeling hectic.
This week, because we're focusing on our Ritual Candles, I'm sharing ideas on sacred space in the home, and in particular on home altars. I don't remember people having home altars when I was coming up, but in many cultures on earth they are common, and home altars are enjoying a resurgence.
Maybe the Whole Home is a Sacred Place
The big world is full of beauty - and messes and stresses. Our homes are shelters in the storm- safe places to remove our armor and be free. At home, beauty and consideration are the norm. I remember who I am and practice my gratitudes. Faultfinding is exchanged for supportiveness. Personally, to support the experience of sanctuary, I try to design a decompression buffer for people arriving from the outside. At the threshold, we take off our outside shoes, hang our hat, drop our burdens. There's something that brings a little delight at the entrance, some kind of seasonal surprise or magic.
Home Altars: Personal and Familial
Taking a moment everyday to touch into the more timeless aspects of life can bring a new sense of meaning, vitality and connection. The practice can be really simple. When I wake up, I pass by my own home altar and refresh the flowers, light a candle, say a morning gratitude, and set my intentions for the day. For me, on busy days, it’s a two-minute thing, and when there’s enough time, a longer practice with journaling and mantra.
A personal altar can be as simple as a cleared off shelf or dresser, or as elaborate as a separate room. My altar is a 2x4 foot area in a kind of den-like library room, where I keep my yoga supplies and favorite books. Focal spaces aren't just for adults: kids like ritual space, too. If you have kids or grandkids, you can help them to make an altar that’s meaningful to them. It could have pictures of relatives or reminders of things they love. You might also try making a family altar in a public part of the home - an entryway or a nook that always holds a vignette of beauty and remembering. You don’t have to buy much of anything. Grouping things from around the home, adding found objects, ephemera, natural tidbits of beauty and inspiration- this all supports making something that is personally meaningful. In this article, we write about all the traditional categories and elements to include as part of your altar.
- Earth- Crystals, Rocks, Salts, Minerals, Soil or Plant
- Water- Small Bowl, Rosewater, Water for flower petals
- Fire- Candles, Burning wood or sage or fine herbs
- Air- Things that fly or are carried on the wind, Birds, Planes, Seed Puffs- can be counted as part of the fire element
- Cosmos- Stars, Constellations, Galaxies, Time
- The Space Between- Some conscious representation of emptiness
- Sight- Beauty, Color, Balance- rainbow of color or targeted color
- Sound- Focusing Sound, Bell, Singing Bowl, Tone, Music, Drum
- Scent- Often with Candles or Wood- Essential Oils
- Taste- Drinking, Eating, Communion
- Touch- Smooth, Woven, Soft, Fabric, Cloth
Web of Life
- Reminders of beings that matter to you
- Ancestors, Family, Teachers, Guides
- Animals, Plants
- Photographs, Cards, Mementos
- Written Affirmations, Books
- Nature Mandalas
- Larger Crystal or Stone
- Artwork or Statue
- Symbols of Your Religion or Cosmology
On my current altar, my element representations are a stilbite crystal from @crystalmineralsindia, a single ombre rose, a collection of winter seeds, a bundle of sage and lavender I wrapped last summer, our new Rosebud Woman Elevate Ritual Candle, and a necklace that reminds me of the Milky Way. My sensory engagements include a singing bowl; a single stick of palo santo wood; a piece of a pale peach shawl. I have a photograph of my paternal grandmother on there now, because I am doing gratitude for her varying influences. The focal points are a big wooden statue of Ganesh, and a carved Mother Mary, as a representation of the divine feminine.
Making the Bedroom a Temple
There has to be a place in our lives for deep rest and sanctuary, where love and human connection and sensuality are emphasized. A place where we give ourselves over to each other (or to the inner sanctum of our lives, whether coupled or not). For me, this means clean surfaces, good and simple linens, limited electronics, great lighting, and immersive speakers. I leave the news and the laptop and any arguing on the other side of the threshold.
Transforming Work and Practice Spaces
Your desk, your workshop, your kitchen, your yoga mat, your painting studio. How do you make those spaces feel sacred and set aside? I work at a desk most of the time, and I can see my home altar from my desk. I try to have fresh flowers in view, a pitcher of water, keep the desk itself cleared of clutter so I can work on the important things and not be distracted.
We invite you to sink into true enjoyment, and incorporate some ritual into your day. Your joy and centeredness impacts everyone we touch.
PS Can you please share pictures of your #homealtars, #SacredSpace of #RitualSpaces with us on IG, and tag @RosebudWoman?