Rising from the rich loam of winter’s great lessons and shedding old skin makes way for the renewal of spring, and we are gifted the opportunity to let go that which no longer serves us and to step fully into new rites and rituals which will nourish our rejuvenation. The ritual of creating altars transforms the common into consecrated and opens a conduit within the creator for the still small voice to flow through. With the focus of intention and purpose, an altar serves as a reminder to be present, to awaken within the dream and to feel the beauty which surrounds us.
Creating altars to the body and its dwellings establishes a communion between the spirit, the body which contains it, the spaces which protect it and the earth which nourishes it. These altars of gratitude and reverence need not be separated from us, placed only in a building devoted to religious purpose or set upon a mantel or in a corner of a room. We can create altars to our bodies through adornment. We can make altars of our homes through homemaking, consecrating all aspects of our life as sacred.
Tenets of Altar creation:
Awakening to the heart of your altar
To create beauty requires first that we recognize beauty in our surroundings. Mind-ful attention to the present and a gratitude for what is will awaken your spirit to the beauty that you are and the gifts that surround you. From this soft focus of loving attention you begin to see the beauty in your body, your home, your family, your life. Practice by sitting quietly and becoming mindfully aware of something beautiful about your holy vessel. Shine a light on your beloved so brightly that all the rest fades from view. Stay there. Hold the moment. Wash your soul with the gratitude, joy and love, which radiates from the object of your affection. Is it your eyes, your soft hips, your strong shoulders or the bend of your hair? This is now the heart of your altar.
Shine a love light
Holding the image of the heart of your altar as your muse, ask yourself, what would honor your beloved? What would consecrate it? Become still and listen. Your be-loved is asking for something. It’s reaching for you in gratitude for your loving at-tention and it is growing in stature. Your intuition knows what would complement the heart of your altar.
Curate by color and texture
Visual harmony can be created by the same handful of tools used on repeat. The most effective tool for creating order and harmony in the visual world is through the use of color. Nature does this with perfect precision. As your eyes become accus-tomed to sensing the delicate color and textural balance all around us, you will learn to replicate these patterns within your own compositions. This skill is intuitive, for the eye is a carefully calibrated instrument which creates the color it sees around it as it passes through our lenses. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder and you are created to see it and feel it through your holy vessel.
As you awaken to the color stories in your environment, notice how the intensities of color change through a landscape. The primary hues in any natural composition originate from a handful of rich neutrals. The palette changes by region and changes moment by moment in a harmony so subtle that until we look closer, the golden hills or the blue mountains or the green of the grass or the taupe of the soil and bark seem dusty and soft. The more intense hues are reserved for the flower, or the ber-ry or the fruit or the sky at sunset for a fleeting moment. Intense, rich color is an ac-cent. Texture also remains in perfect balance in our environment. Color and texture appear to answer each other, as if caught mid-sentence in a lively conversation. The freshly ground meal of the soil, the scabby layering of the bark, the smooth glossy leaf and the soft fur of the fruit. Notice too how the color intensifies as the propor-tion decreases. Your body also contains perfect color harmony and perfect textual balance. Replicating this natural balance in our altars creates harmony of our dwell-ings.
Become a curator of the holy vessel that contains your divine spirit.
Create a color story altar by starting with one feature. If a color is present in your natural compo-sition – your eyes, your hair, your skin tone, it will also illuminate your spirit in your adornment altar. Practice by focusing on the accent color of your eyes. Limit the number of colors in your adornment altar to one to three hues and three textures. Blessed with green eyes? Choose three shades of green from light to dark and change the value and texture as you layer them on. You are creating a relic of your body, consecrating it as sacred, so everything is as important in this altar as if you were standing before a divine being. The harmony of this altar will create a ripple effect in your vibration in our universe so regard the hidden layers of your altar with the same reverence that you attribute to the layers that are most visible. We are the sum of all of our parts. The lingerie under our clothing is part of your altar, if the frequency of your hidden layers matches that of the outer layers and matches that of the divine spirit within, you will radiate holiness. Think of how the colors and textures of your altar are speaking to one another. What song is sung by the silky teal blouse, knitted chartreuse sweater, the chase twill forest green pants, the chunky emerald and brass necklace and the cognac leather booties?
Honor indigenous materials
Consider materiality when selecting elements for your altar. Use natural indigenous materials that are handcrafted with loving devotion to keep the frequency of your altar elements in alignment. The energy of an object or a material or a product of nature that is shaped by loving devotion is in alignment with your holy vessel. This soulfulness is felt as much as seen. We intuitively understand the value difference of a handmade fabric, an earthen clay tile, an antique chair, an artist drawn sketch, a one of a kind piece of jewelry. We feel the connection with the maker, and sense the story in the life of the handmade. Honor your holy vessel with altars of the same quality. Consecrate your home with soulful everyday objects in order to live within a sanctuary worthy of your divinity.
Bravely edit that which no longer serves
As we enter a season of renewal, gaze upon yourself, home and life with soft eyes and awaken to the heart of the altars that you will create to honor your divinity. Al-low yourself to let go of the relics of the past which no longer serve your growth. Letting go of the old clothes or old furnishings or the accessories which once served your life is not a lack of gratitude. It is an act of faith in life’s abundant ability to al-ways provide for you what you need when you need it. This clearing of the past is a brave form of deeply reverent gratitude for the beauty that surrounds you and will allow the altars that you create of your favorite belongings and adornments to shine in their fullness. This single act of faith will begin to edit the clutter that threatens to shake the peace and joy and beauty which is your divine right. You will feel lighter, more peaceful, more purposeful.
Expanding on these tenets and applying them to every facet of your life creates a sa-cred sanctuary of your very being and the dwellings that you inhabit. This inten-tional act of devotion makes sacred our purpose and the resulting radiance washes all with a healing balm. Our very being-ness and our reverence and gratitude for life makes holy our temples and allows us to see others as holy vessels too. This soft focus and loving approach to the art of creating beauty becomes our most powerful act and our most effective mark. See your very life as a temple, consecrate your shrines with living altars and rejuvenate from the communion your radiance culti-vates with other divine beings.