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Donna Henes

Virtual Altar
by Donna Henes

I fly, I soar, I zoom through the skies in my dreams and in my shamanic journeys, but I am not a great flyer on planes. So when I do venture onto an aircraft piloted by someone else, I have a whole series of little protective rituals to help get me from point A to point B in one piece.

Before I leave my house, I bless myself on the back of my neck, a point of great vulnerability. I also bless my home, my animals, and my altar to be safe in my absence. When I get to the airport, I bless myself with a swig of vodka that I carry with me in an antique flask. And upon entering the plane, I bless that, too, with protection oil.

Queen of My Self by Donna Henes

But most critical of all is my travel altar, also known as my amulet bag. This is a pink brocade Chinese silk packet filled to the bursting point with the charms and totems that inspire, calm, and empower me wherever I may be. Just feeling its considerable bursting-at-the-seams weight in my purse gives me confidence and a sense of security.

A few years ago, while waiting anxiously for a flight, I reached for my pocketbook altar bag only to discover to my absolute horror that I did not have it with me. Omigoddess. What to do? I was determined to reassemble my amulets and recreate my altar in my mind. That way, I might still connect with and concentrate on its power.

So I removed myself to the cocktail lounge where I sat at a table and summoned up the contents of my travel altar one by one then listed them in my Guadalupe notebook:

  • A crow’s foot. The one I took from a road kill crow. It is my mature wisdom.
  • A little tin airplane with a black silk tassel. The one my five-year old niece told me was going to help me fly.
  • A gold pin that says ritual. A gift from Tommy Sullivan (R.I.P)
  • My gramma’s diamond ring that I always loved, but could never wear.
  • My Navaho ring. A gift from Kay that has all the symbols of Spider Woman, my vision.
  • A piece of polished moose horn. From my time in the north woods bush at Thunder Bay in Canada.
  • A city stone. An odd shaped double stone from Omar who gave it to me because I "like stuff like this."
  • An Egyptian scarab. From Daile for long life and long love.
  • A lock of Bud’s hair. For love and protection,
  • A crown feather from my fine feathered friend, Ola. A Queenly offering.
  • An amythyst pyramid to focus my intuitive senses.
  • My rainbow crystal to channel light.
  • A citrine crustal to mediate the dark.
  • A peona seed for power.
  • A cowry shell for creation.
  • A blue ball for purity.
  • A worry doll to take away my troubles.
  • A Cunt Goddess for sexual healing.
  • A Tibetan skull carved from a skull to remind me of earthly impermanence
  • A copper lidded jar filled with healing soil from Chimayo.
  • And medals of Guadalupe, Mother Cabrini, an angel, and the Venus of Willendorf.

Ah. Putting them on paper made me feel much better. There they were, all present and accounted for. I turned the list over and Inscribed my affirmation on the other side:

"I am safe.
I am calm.
I am centered."

I lit a bar match to ignite my intentions. And toasted them with another bit of vodka. Then I folded my list into my pocket and went to board my plane. I stepped into the skyway that afternoon with the same sacred calm and sense of cosmic rightness that I always feel after praying at my altar. I was connected and protected. And I actually enjoyed my flight.

© Copyright 2004 Donna Henes.  All Rights Reserved. 

The Moon Watcher's Companion by Donna Henes

Donna Henes
Donna Henes, Urban Shaman, is the editor and publisher of the highly acclaimed quarterly, Always In Season: Living In Sync with the Cycles. She is also the author of Moon Watcher's Companion, Celestially Auspicious Occasions: Seasons, Cycles and Celebrations and Dressing Our Wounds In Warm Clothes, as well as the CD, Reverence To Her: Mythology, The Matriarchy & Me. In 1982, she composed the first (and to this date, the only) satellite peace message in space: "chants for peace * chance for peace."

Mama Donna, as she is affectionately known, has offered lectures, workshops, circles, and celebrations worldwide for 30 years. She is the director of Mama Donna's Tea Garden & Healing Haven, a ceremonial center, ritual consultancy and spirit shop in Exotic Brooklyn, New York.

For further information, a list of services and publications, a calendar of upcoming events and a complimentary issue of Always in Season: Living in Sync with the Cycles. contact:

PO Box 380403
Exotic Brooklyn, NY 11238-0403 
Phone/Fax 718-857-2247
Email: CityShaman@aol.com




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