Thursday, December 11, 2008

Setting Up an Altar

I've never really been motivated to set up an altar until now. Every time I meditate or chant recently, it just keeps popping up in my mind, "You need an altar, you need an altar."

So I need an altar. A sacred, consecrated space in my home.

Initially, I was hoping to set up an altar whose focal point was a gohonzon. But I have been trying to get in contact with my local Soka-Gakkai International and it has not been successful. I'm taking this as a sign. Honestly, I don't think I ever want to join any other organizations so even though it would be nice to have the gohonzon, it might be better if I just focus on building the altar with other elements.

I remember in Sacred Woman by Queen Afua there were some suggestions about how to set up the altar. I gave the book to my sister in law but hopefully if she's not using it, she can send it back to me.

I'm learning about the chakras, the color and stones associated with them. I definitely want to have the chakras represented on the altar. Maybe a cloth with all the colors? Maybe purchase a few stones that would sit in a bowl. I'd like to write out the affirmations for each chakra on one side of an index card and the function/qualities of each chakra on the other side, put them in a box of some sort, and have that on the altar.

The altar should definitely have something that represents life. A plant and water. Queen Afua suggests a feather to represent air. Candles, of course. Incense/sage/other herbs for burning, of course. Pictures of ancestors.

I'd like to have books that are important to me and have been influential in my spiritual growth and maturation.

My vision boards (which I have not even started yet) would be somewhere around the altar.

I also want to make a shawl that I would wear while meditating. The pattern I think I'll go with is the Serafina Shawl. I want to use a natural fiber such as wool or cotton. Maybe organic. Beautiful to look at and touch.

The challenge now is finding time to complete this project--getting the stuff, a little table, etc. The second challenge is finding a good place for the altar. I generally meditate and chant in the office but the office is small and I'm not sure what I could move around to accommodate the altar. Our master bedroom is not quite set up yet (and is actually being used as a storage space) and since the hubby sleeps later than I do, I don't want it in there because it may bother him. So I have to think.

In the meanwhile, I'm looking on the net, reading stuff. I've already found some great suggestions. I don't expect to find many pictures as I personally wouldn't feel all that comfortable photographing my own altar. But maybe I'll find some.


Raet said...

I love altars. However, I have been planning on making a dream board, never got to it though.
Sometimes I think I go altar crazy. LOL. We have them all over the house. Some for the directions/elements, east (fire), south (earth), west (water) north (air), Yoruba and Kemetic deities, Goddess Altar, ancestor/deceased family altar, and my own self reflection altar/my ori (my head).

For some reason my son has never bothers them. The altar room is my favorite place in the house. I like keeping all my meaningful books there. Even if I am in the altar room for 5 minutes I am re-charged.

80sBaby70sSoul said...

Girl...we are so alike its SCARY!!! I have also been hesitant about the gohonzon and have already purchased stones and put the chakras into a specific day of the week. That way, I can hold a stone that's associated with the day and the chakra and chant. I, too, want to do other affirmations and meditations and have my ancestors represented on my alter. And, yes, I will be using my "sacred woman" and "opening to spirit" book to guide me. I also plan on making 7 Buddhist beads thingys with stones for each chakra. OMG I have to call you!!!

Victoria Smith said...

Can you pist a picture of youf alter. I have never seen one.

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