Sometimes, I need to sit at my altar multiple times a day.
I put my eye glasses there when I'm about to climb into bed so that I remember to sit, first thing in the morning. I've noticed a bit of Pavlov's dog action happening with that - if I take off my glasses to clean them and go to put them back on again, I feel a draw to sit and meditate.
After I work with a client in the mornings, I go back, pull a few tarot cards, and sit some more.
Throughout the day, I find myself returning and returning. It's a safe place, a haven for my mind and heart. A place where I can rest and contemplate. A place for nothing to happen...for everything to happen...and for all things in between.
I have a bit of a Gemini nature when I go to sit - I usually never have the same practice twice in a row. Sometimes I just sit and watch the breath. Other times, I journey with a totem animal or ancestor. I may meditate on a Tarot card, or practice a mantra or mudra. Sometimes, I contemplate a situation or concentrate on an object until I see no separation between myself and the object.
My altar space is also where I go to carry out my Intuitive Reiki Sessions and Tarot Readings. So much energy and light is held here. I feel that same feeling of awe and peace that one may feel when entering a cathedral or monastery or the forest...a cumulation of magic, intention, and breath.
I have a few altar spaces scattered around my home. The one that feels most sacred is in my bedroom. It's away from the main area of my apartment, tucked into a corner. Upon it, I have my first set of mala beads. These beads hold the intention of my first 40 day mantra commitment, where I chanted two mantras to Ganesh during a summer and found my whole life shifted afterwards. I have a Buddha statue where he is forming the Wheel of Dharma mudra with his hands. At least one Tarot deck lives on this altar, along with a singing bowl, a prayer to St. Francis (in the green and gold book), and at least a couple of stones.
Another altar space is a bit more public, in the living room on top of my bookshelf. There I keep another mala from Escaping Stars, some crystals, a Kwan Yin statue, a couple of owl stuffed animals as a nod to my totem animal, and sometimes, my Tarot decks live here. I also rotate paintings that I have made in this space. Right now, I keep fox and owl watercolor pieces mounted onto wood blocks. If I need a quick spiritual tune up or check in, I pull up a chair to this space and breathe. I like to come here especially if I am in need of some of Kwan Yin's healing energy, or the wisdom of fox or owl.
And then, there are the tiny altars. While tiny altars find themselves popping up all around my apartment (on bookshelves, bedside tables, the kitchen counter, the bathroom sink, on top of the dryer....), the one on my desk means the most to me. There, I keep crystals, more malas, and spiritual reminders such as artwork or quotes on sticky notes. I also have a few magical goodies from Wild Grace here. Sometimes I'll bring pieces of other altars here to this space, to sit with me while I work.
Altars are a place I can return to time and time again, yet a different experience happens for me every time. Altars are reminders of my intention, reminders of my practice, reminders of the present moment, and reminders of the breath. They connect me with the five elements, and with myself.
Do you have an altar space? Tell me a little bit about it in the comments if so. I love to hear altar stories.
If you don't have an altar space...creating one is going to be the first activity in my upcoming 108 Days of Sacred Intention book. Find out more about my project here! I am planning on releasing the book for sale towards the end of November/early December.