Sunday, November 06, 2011

Creating Altars

I love the idea that my home is sublime, sacred. I have set up altars throughout to recognize this. The ancient Greeks placed altars in homes, marketplaces, public buildings, and sacred groves. I have altars outside in the gardens also, but I am not going outside today.

At the entrance, or front door, there is a small patio that is screened in. I have a few items here that show my respect to the seasons, the elements, and the Earth and Heavens. In this little spot, I also put together a meditation for the season. I place this on the altar. Well, it really is an old wooden table given to me when the neighbor moved. So, by now, you have the idea of the type of altar I have created: humble.

This Autumn, I have been enamored with the idea of Echoes of ancestors, of voices of the past. This altar piece has bones collected on a walk. They represent, of course, the bones of those who have gone this way before us. The feathers carry their words, their ideas on flight. The pieces of wood, willow, ignite passion and thought, and again, ideas. This piece upon my entrance way altar shows my welcome of the Echoes.

I have in my craft room another altar. I use it to meditate upon more personal matters. These days I find the need to meditate upon being free and what that means.

I recently have left my job, the “work week.” I now have time to engage myself in my art and my Etsy shop. I also love my connection with being “the keeper of the keys,” the housewife. Really.

This altar changes. But for now I meditate upon the concept of being free, Rumi’s love, the violet light and putting all of these together in my craft.

By the way, that is one of my I Ching dolls, Earth. She is almost done; I need only to adorn her with her symbol and attach her I Ching hexagram card. I have two other dolls, Deep Water and Earth/Mountain that will be on Etsy soon.

This is our House Altar. It is along the sideboard by the dining table. Tom and I are always added things from the beaches and the woods and the forests.  We believe that the unique feathers, rocks, empty turtle shells, seaglass, seashells, and things like that are gifts left for us.

Sometimes, we pick them up and carry them for awhile, only to leave them in the area found. Sometimes we leave them just where they are found, only admiring their beauty for awhile. And, sometimes we decide to bring them home. Through the years these nature gifts have found their way to this altar.

But, on this table, this altar, we enjoy the seabeans, the feathers, the roots, and fossils along with the shells and seaglass that we have collected close to home and far away. You can see the jars of seabeans and shells. On the wall is the giant root into which we place the feathers from many states and mountain ridges. We, too, adore, crows and ravens, and love the added images. All these collections add to the story of our life, Tom and I.

I have one other little altar that changes almost daily. It is for sure the one that I meditate upon the most. It is above the sink. The kitchen sink windowsill.

I have thought for a time that it would be a most interesting book of images or even a blog posting to gather, of people's windowsills above their kitchen sinks. I do feel mine is an altar and honor it as such. I honor daily that I have fine, healthy food to eat and clean water to drink. Water out of a faucet and not from a well or a stream miles away, taking hours of my time to gather, and then it's sanitation questionable is one of the best things in life.

I honor that I can choose organic food most of the time. I honor that my family is joyful and Tom and I "dance" in the kitchen as we prepare and clean up our meals. I honor the breeze that comes through the open window and cools the kitchen and carries the smell of curry throughout the whole house. I love to honor this altar with fresh cut herbs from the garden or a nosegay of flowers from the gardens. In the Summer, this altar always has new seashells and seaglass. In the Fall, marjoram or night blooming jasmine. In the Winter, orange blossoms. In the Spring, feathers. I love to keep empty bottles on the sill so that the light shines through. I try to keep blues and aquas in the area around the sink to honor water.

gem tree from heronsmoon on Etsy

Well, these are my altars. They may be small, but they are meaningful; they keep me centered in my home. We don’t need to go far to make a space sacred, a place that helps us stop and catch our breath in order to bring our mind, our heart back to center.



  1. So glad I ck'd & found ur blog! Ok putting it in my google RSS Reader! TY 4 pics & reminder to cre8te altars that r meaningful to me!

  2. I just love this post. The idea of altars throughout your home is such a lovely one. I think I need to purposely create an altar....

    The idea to share photos of the windowsill above a kitchen sink is a neat one!


  3. Your home sounds so peaceful and balanced, Brianne. I do not have a windowsill, but a little shelf above the sink where I tuck items in here and there.
    Enjoy your time at home creating!

  4. Dear Brianne,
    They are all wonderful, but I do believe my favorite is the windowsill altar. My kitchen, being the heart of the home, is a most sacred place. I too dance in the kitchen with my fella when we're cooking and cleaning. It's truly a most happy and blessed space.
    Thank you for stopping by Harmonie House. I'm sorry you're having trouble commenting. Keep trying, for my friend also had issues, but managed to get a comment in!
    In the meantime, be blessed and blissful!