Spring Magic: Household Altars and Sacred Spaces
by Danu Forest
Fitting time for the sacred, for the spiritual into our everyday lives can be tricky if it’s something new to us, or if our schedules are so busy we have little time at home for more than our practical needs. It’s easy to let the days roll one into another. Yet a little care and conscious effort can go a long way to infusing our lives with something deeper.
Having a small space put aside to use as an altar can be very helpful- this needn’t be ornate or take up a lot of space. A shelf or a mantelpiece can be very effective as a place to honour the sacred in our lives. Somewhere to place a candle perhaps and a few seasonal objects, or a photo or two of places we hold sacred or divinities that call to us, is a great way to integrate our spiritual calling in a solid physical manner. Choosing objects or images for such a space is also very informative- helping us to consider our spiritual calling at greater depth as we hone and simplify or build up and decorate the space accordingly. Such areas in our homes can be intensely personal. It may be neglected from time to time but equally it can be refreshed frequently or as the seasons change or our ideas and needs evolve. It’s interesting what happens when we have a sacred space in our homes, how something visible in our everyday environment encourages those extra moments of contemplation and connection, and we see we can weave the spiritual life and the mundane seamlessly together in simple moments here and there.
How we attend to our sacred space can also be a barometer for how well we are doing in our everyday lives. A clean and clear altar, with a candle lit upon it in gratitude for all the blessings in our lives, lit every night for an hour, might show us that we are living in balance, with enough time to honour our inner lives as well as our daily routines. A dusty sacred space ignored for weeks might show us that our inner selves and connection to spirit needs some attention and perhaps our work and other obligations are running our lives a little ragged. A very cluttered altar might equally say that we are calling to the divine rather more than we are attending to our earthly lives. Like the adage of Hermes Trismegistus, roughly translated as ‘As above so below’ -leading a spiritual life is all about balance.
At times of change and discord, or even as the season turns, refreshing the sacred in our lives can be very helpful to clear our inner vision as well as renew our connection to spirit, and is an opportunity to really empower ourselves and set our course through life according to our own hearts and souls. Making time to set up, or to clean and clear our altars, bring in fresh flowers perhaps and consider each item we have upon it and whether it is time to store or give it away or bring it into greater prominence is a very simple yet powerful act. It keeps us conscious and present and preventing any descent into spiritual complacency. By renewing the physical space we have set aside for spirit, we renew our commitment and revivify the currents that connect us to the divine, however we see it. We say to the universe, to all creation- we are here, we are alive and we call for the blessings of spirit even in the most mundane of moments…and we infuse our daily lives with magic.
Danu Forest is the author of The Magical Year. has been a practising druid witch and Celtic shaman for over twenty years, has been teaching Celtic shamanism and witchcraft for over a decade, and runs a shamanic consultation and healing practice. She is the author of Nature Spirits: wyrd lore and wild fey magic (Wooden Books), The Druid Shaman (Moon Books) and Celtic Tree Magic (Llewellyn), creates and teaches email correspondence courses, writes a “Danu’s Cauldron” blog for witchesandpagans.com, and has been published in magazines such as Kindred Spirit, Soul and Spirit, and Pagan Dawn. She is also an Ard BanDrui in the Irish Druid Clan of Dana, an ordained priestess, a druid grade member of OBOD (Order of Bards, Ovates (healers/seers) and Druids) and a member of the Society for Shamanic Practitioners.
altar, connection with the divine, Danu Forest, Self-development, spiritual practice, spirituality