My dears, I hope your altar is not a stagnant thing. I hope you use it every single day because it will change your life!
Altars are so important for keeping you centered on your personal mission DAILY. As your life moves, let your altar move. You'll know each day what items need to be on your altar and what items have been "fulfilled." You'll also have items that are heirlooms and permanent. Whatever is on your altar, know that it is a key tool to helping you better fulfill your purpose and mission, and using it every day will be one of the greatest blessings in your life.
If you look at the Before Photo of my altar (from a few days ago), you will see that using my right (dominant) hand to reach my water would lead to the incense burning the cuff of my robe or getting ashes on my cuff. With the Tao on the right side, I was often bumping into my athame. What was happening to my Tarot cards do you think? Yep. They were getting spearmint water dripped on them, which is super good for your Tarot cards, right? And my cauldron? Constantly getting ashes onto my altar cloth, of course!
So look how I rearranged it more to meet my actual use of the altar: I moved the incense slightly left and forward, with the water moved slightly right and back. I also moved my oil to the right. And the cauldron with ashes (representing the Earth element) is now beneath the altar, so I'm keeping the ashes easily off my altar cloth. My Tao Te Ching is now to the left, so if I get an epiphany about a verse, my athame (Air element and symbolic of mind) is pointed directly at it as a reminder to me throughout the day. And the Tarot cards? Safely out of the way of any water drops.
In short, your altar should be convenient and MEET YOUR NEEDS. And the only way for it to meet your needs is if you NEED IT AND USE IT.
Using Your Altar Daily Helps You Keep Your Shit Together
This altar/ritual work has been worth getting up at 5:30 in the morning for me. And going to bed no later than 9:30. It was not until I disciplined myself to keep a strict schedule that this daily ritual became possible and the rest of my day LITERALLY FALLS INTO PLACE. So with the exception of days where one of my kids has some surprise I am helping to deal with, GENERALLY my shit is together.
Help with My Daughter
This particular altar (with my accompanying rituals and spiritual practices today) has caused me to see more clearly the current situation with my daughter.
See the card I pulled for her? And yes, I have certainly been meditating on it. Because I love her so much and I see her going through this emotional teenager thing. She's my first (of five kids) that's really dealt with the overflowing emotions of a teenage girl. The other three are boys and had their own challenges. My Athena . . . well, her name tells you everything. She's more rational and wise and reasonable than I am most of the time. But my youngest is struggling, partly because I am an insanely powerful person, I have OFTEN fallen into the mistake of overpowering her with rationality. And that's simply not where she's at.
I have wanted to help her eradicate teenage insecurities from her life by saying, "I know how to do it and here's how you do it. Don't waste another minute of your precious wonderful youth being insecure." And of course all it does is make her feel worse and less supported than ever.
So what did I turn upon today in Tao and with her Page of Pentacles card on my altar and fresh on my mind? Verses 35 and 36. The first points to the fact that I was looking for a solid solution for helping her that would grab my attention:
But words that point to the Tao
seem monotonous and without flavor.
When you look for it, there is nothing to see.
When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear.
When you use it, it is inexhaustible.
When I read that verse, suddenly I realized I don't have to do some big thing or say some perfect "right words." She needs love right now, even though, to ME it doesn't seem like a miraculous answer or solution. But I have been looking beyond the mark. She needs a mom she can talk to; she doesn't need me to fix everything.
And then Verse 36 was direct advice to me about how to handle her growing insecurities:
If you want to shrink something (like teenage insecurity!)
you must first allow it to expand.
If you want to get rid of something,
you must first allow it to flourish.
If you want to take something,
you must first allow it to be given.
This is called the subtle perception
of the way things are.
What does my daughter need? A MOM who loves her and listens and doesn't give her advice 24/7. And yes, I certainly owe her letting her know that I have had a change of heart and trust her to work through this. And I am willing to be a listening ear instead of a constantly counseling mouth. And I just cried at my altar and thanked my Goddesses who are a high and best version of myself.
Our Altars Aren't Just Beautiful--They're Here to Help Us!
I am keenly remembering today that if we care for our altars, our altars (and our deities) will be better able to care for and inspire us about working through the challenges in our lives!
How do you use your altar, my darling? How does it make your life flow more smoothly and simply? How does it bring you peace? Please share your story in the comments.
Blessings to you, my dears!!!