Build your own altar
Fill your spiritual center with
candles, flowers, treasured photographs, childhood
keepsakes--a note from your grandmother written to you as a small
child, perhaps--all the things that have special meaning for you. Of, if
aspects of nature resonate most for you, bring pebbles, shells, or
dried leaves to your altar space. Don't worry, you can't "do it
wrong." This is all about you and you alone.
Create a sacred space.
The personal value of a sacred
space within your home rests in its ability to reflect and recall
moments that have disappeared in linear time, but that linger in memory
and feeling. An altar or sanctuary helps unify those fragments of our
lives that somehow unravel and disappear from view if we don't take a
moment every now and then to pay them the attention they deserve.
You may decide to dedicate
space on a corner table, and make a place to stop and reflect on objects
that matter to you, that hold deeply felt meaning. You may choose to fill
it with candles, flowers, treasured photographs, childhood
keepsakes, and a piece of coral found on a distant beach on a special day.
In the process of creating the space, you are honoring the objects
for their spiritual value, and you are honoring yourself for
recognizing their importance.
This tradition of setting aside
an inviolable area for personal treasures transcends cultures. In Japan,
where living space is as a premium, craftsmen long ago designed the
tansu as a solution to cramped living quarters. The stepped chest
made use of the space under a staircase. Today it continues to be
revered both for its architectural purity and its storage sensibilities and can
also be used as a home "altar." Not all enclosures need be works of
art. Their beauty often lies within. It originates in the intention
behind them, and it resonates in a feeling of wholeness that transcends place
and time and helps provide continuity and richness in all aspects of
Create a safe sanctuary
A wooden tansu, makes an ideal
starting place for a personal altar. Lacking a tansu of one's own,
however, there are many other ways to achieve the same effect.
Arrange your things on a small table, for example, or on a pair of
tables, a bureau, a shelf or two of a bookcase; even on a windowsill. Wherever
it feels calm and safe, that's where your sacred space needs to be.
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