Friday, 6 January 2012

A is for Altar and About Myself



I have many Altars/Shrines in my house. I love them and find them a brilliant focus for living your spiritual path daily. Whenever I catch a glimpse of one of mine it makes me smile, think about my chosen deity, give thanks or repeat an affirmation or mantra to myself. I think these small daily connections are really important. The pictures above are of my main house Altar. Its dedicated to 'Elen of the Ways' the Goddess with whom I'm Priestess too.

I have been walking my Path for nearly 20 years (scary!) I first started to explore other spiritualities in my late teens being drawn to Native American philosophies and alternative healing. I eventually took my Reiki 1 & 2, which opened up a whole bunch of doorways much clearer than when I'd previously looked through their cracks. I began walking my Pagan Path much stronger, working closely with the Green Man and a Lady who used to come with him but never gave me a name. Her vision was always so clear, an autumnal woodland full of ancient oaks, a carpet of browns, gold’s and coppers. Her dress of autumn oak leaves an amber acorn at Her throat, cascading flame red hair and a pair of antlers crowned Her head. Now the Green Man use to appear to me a lot....and sometimes he was antlered and sometimes he wasn't. But my Lady always had antlers! When I tried to find out any details in books or on the internet I would always draw a blank and still She never gave me Her name. I knew my Lady wasn't Cerridwen, Brighid or Rhiannon (to name but a few) so I carried on my practices just refering to Her as My Lady. Two or Three years down the Path of working with Her I attended a Pagan Federation Conference in London  Whilst there I stumbled across an art card depicting an antlered female wearing a dress of green leaves and a greyhound at her side. Although I knew this wasn't ‘my’ Lady it was the first piece of art I’d ever seen with a horned Goddess and I bought it immediately! That was ‘Elen – by Judith Page’ this was my first encounter with Elen that day, what I didn’t realise was that it wouldn't be my last! I continued wandering around and ended up in an exhibition by the British Visionary Artists. As I came towards the end of the wonderful displays, I came face to face with the most amazing vision. There in the corner was a portrait of my Lady!!! I couldn't believe it! How someone could paint that which I had ‘seen’ for so many years. I asked the artist who it was? His simple reply was “May I introduce you to Elen?” I burst into tears!!! That artist was Iain Lowe and his painting and teaching helped me deepen my Path with Elen, My Lady.

My workings with Elen have come along way since then and She has guided me to some wonderful adventures. I have been running wonderful workshops and weekend retreats devoted to Her for the last three years and Her community is growing! I was lucky enough to walk a part of Her sacred track-way 'Sarn Elen' in Wales last year and I have some amazing adventures planned for this year!!! But I digress.....




My next little Altar is in my Kitchen. I was so blessed a couple of years ago to receive one of the gorgeous 'Source' Goddess statues from my Goddess Girlfriends :o) I was so chuffed!!! I couldn't believe it I'd wanted one for SO long! I don't know why but She has always lived in my kitchen since. I bought Her the beautiful slate bowl to sit in and filled it with Rose Petals, to represent love, and whenever I'm in my kitchen or cooking a meal I light a candle inside Her and let Her energies fill my workings. A small but very powerful gesture, I promise!




This is my little Altar/Shrine in my Hallway. I was drawn to the Buddha head and there's a guy that knows a few things about Spirituality and Life Style huh ;o) Next to him sits my beautiful, bountiful annointing oil Goddess. Her dish has been especially glazed for me so I can use it to hold my Elen Annointing Oil. Whenever I walk passed Her I can just dip my finger in then dab my third eye or rub it through my hands and  brush it energetically over my aura. 



My final little Altar is in my bedroom. I've always had a little eclectic altar, normally devoted to Love, in there. But I've just recently decided to change it over to a Peace/Gratitude Altar. One of my lovely Goddess Girls bought me this gorgeous Peace Candle and the white silver bowl on the right (actually she has bought me all three of the bowls, at different points) as a Yule gift. The bowls each contain water from the Red and White Springs in Glastonbury and I've placed the Peace candle in the other. I wanted to use the candle for something really special and decided to use it as a gratitude candle. Lighting it each evening as I write in my Journal my gratitudes for the day. I feel that by giving thanks daily I show my appreciation for all the wonderful things that come into my life.

Altars are such a wonderful tool for honouring your Spiritual Path and Journey and mine often change depending on where I am on the Path or what is influencing me at that specific time. Mine also change and reflect during the Wheel of the Year and the changing of the seasons. At the moment they're quite minimal (except the main house one) but that's more because I'm in a place where I need to de-clutter, procrastinate less and focus more right now.


In case you might be interested my Goddesses (except the Elen one that was handmade for me) and Peace Candle came from this fab shop in Glastonbury.
http://www.starchild.co.uk/

15 comments:

  1. A lovely blog Sam, thank you. I too love altars and have quite a few in the house xx

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  2. I'd love to have alters all around my home. But I found it impossible with kids around.

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  3. Thanks for your comments lovely ladies! How old are your kiddies Salem? I have two myself a girl (8) and a boy (4) Altars and Children is often an interesting combination its amazing what little 'additions' I often find ;o) lol

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  4. I have one permanent one - you have quite inspired me to introduce a few more x x x

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  5. I immensely enjoyed reading this post and viewing your wonderful shrines and altars! Very beautiful! When I pass mine, I smile, too, and find myself thankful.

    I have no children (yet) but a Ferret instead. He's taught me about placement and dangling things, like cloth. It seems that his goal in life is getting to my altars. But having him (and having to ferret proof) is preparing me for children. lol. Blessings.

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  6. What a beautiful article, Sam. I enjoyed learning a little about you and your Goddess and look forward to getting to know you better through this project.

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  7. I love every one of your beautiful 'minimalist' altars! I really enjoy the way that the simple nature of them makes them very focussed. You've definitely inspired me to install some around my own home. At the moment I don't have a single (permanent) one! Cool post - thank you!

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  8. Thanks for your comments :o) its great to get some feedback. For me personally having kids running around I need to keep it simple. But having them dotted around the house also gives me more room for expression and focus. My main house altar is definitely my most elaborate and where I would do my main workings though.

    The Pagan Blog Project is such a fab idea and great reading about everyones different takes on subjects! Loving it :o)

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  9. I also love all your altars! I am intrigued also by the idea of an antlered Goddess... I have an abnormal attraction to antlers, and when you mentioned Elen, I felt a little pull, so I will be exploring what that pull meant for me. Thank you for a wonderful post!

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  10. I really like the alters in the different places throughout your house - I too do this and at work.

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  11. Love the photos! Thank you for posting an inspiring post.

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  12. I absolutely LOVE your kitchen altar, how beautiful. Something that I'm having my eyes opened up to with all of the altar posts with the PBP is that there doesn't need to be just one dedicated space for your spirituality in your home. That you can spread it around a bit. I'm hoping to be moving soon and love to redecorate. I think I'll definitely be working this into my new decorating plans!

    Kourtney
    http://paganpagesbloghop.blogspot.com/

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  13. I love your statuettes/figures. They all have a great life and energy to them. Really uplifting story to hear about how you knew Elen but didn't officially know her name for quite some time. I struggle with this a lot and it's good to be reminded that in time all things fall into place. It's a lovely connection you have to her :)

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  14. I love all your altars/shrines! You have some gorgeous pieces!

    I'd like to invite you to play a game. I was tagged and now I'm tagging you in turn. It's a question-blog-game. I hope you don't mind? You can visit my blog and read my post; you don't have to play, but I'd love to read more about you... and it's a fun idea for a blog post. http://keltikmystique.blogspot.com/2012/01/ive-been-tagged.html

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  15. what a lovely post, Sam!
    I am preparing my art nook altar, and myself, for a painting journey latter today, focused on Black Madonna.
    One member of the group mentioned her sense of connections with Isis and Elen "GøddésS of the pathways" .... so I needed to do some research of my own....I realized I had heard of her... lover your description of how she appeared to you!
    My grown daughter is Mary Ellen, so I knew I needed to thread my way to Hee.
    Brïght BLéSSïNgS!

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