Friday, June 10, 2011

My Naked Altar

My altar is reasonably large. I like it that way... I feel like I can spread out my arms and still be "before" it, in a manner of speaking. I like having the option of space. But despite all that space, I have only five things on my altar: two illumination candles for rituals, a taper candle between them, for focus, my candle snuffer, and my Hammer. That's all.

I like that it is not cluttered. Clutter would, I think, make me feel a little claustrophobic. As it is, I feel like I can move my arm across it to light a candle without knocking anything over or needing to worry about shifting anything accidentally. Yet when I look at the altars of other people, I am genuinely surprised that they manage to get that much stuff onto them. I look at my sparse altar, and I really can't think of anything to add to it. Occasionally a stone will sit there in the middle, surrounded on all sides by vast empty space, or a necklace, or a piece of ribbon or string. Maybe a stick of incense, or a tealight candle. Anything else, and I feel almost like the focus of the altar is gone, that it's pulling in too many directions. That might be a construction issue... if the things on the altar are chosen well and properly arranged, this probably doesn't happen. I certainly look at many full altars and think they look beautiful, like lovely devotional creations to the relevant gods. That never seems to happen with mine. I even usually have trouble decorating it for the holidays.

I'm caught between feeling mildly inferior - my altar is not so pretty or so full! - and feeling overburdened by a cluttered altar. I'm not sure what to do about it. I like my altar well enough in its simplicity, but it certainly doesn't look like a devotional creation to my gods in the way that some people's altars do.

An unsolved problem - or perhaps a work in progress.

In other news, I've decided to start posting some of my "30 Days of Paganism", a meme that was going around like nine months ago that I still haven't finished yet. It will give me something to post, and it will help you, the reader, to learn more about me and the two faiths I practise.

May Your Gods Smile

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't worry so much about having a more sparsely decorated altar. I know mine has a lot of stuff on it, but it's things that I've picked up over the years that have meaning to me, and in general I tend to have multiple things that represent elements. I also have a fairly large cabinet that I use for my altar, so while there is a lot of stuff on it, there is still a good bit of space as needed.

    The reasoning behind the multiple items representing elements, is that at one point my altar was actually in a very public place, so at the time I needed some non-traditional items that would properly represent, but also not scream - this is an altar. Now I don't need them, but since I've used them for so long, they have sentimental value.