Once considered the domain of stalkers and the abjectly religious, home altars are starting to be mainstreamed much like yoga and meditation were twenty years ago. To quote the domestic goddess Martha Stewart, that’s a good thing. A home altar can be wonderfully restorative, whether you’re seeking a fresh start, feeling overwhelmed, or grieving a significant loss.
An altar is a sacred space. This does not mean that you have to believe in a higher power, but it’s useful to believe in yourself–your ability to heal and to receive support. In the age of online everything, it helps to have a physical place to channel dreams and strong emotions constructively so they don’t hold you hostage.
“I think altars are appealing to a wider range of people because we’re experiencing a more chaotic political climate and an oversaturation of technology,” says my good friend Cat Cabral. A self-proclaimed “modern witch,” she is the author of Chronicle Book’s upcoming The Spells Decks. “There’s an increased need for control and self-mastery, and they’re a tangible way to get in touch with the elements and our deepest feelings, especially since so many of us are disconnected from ourselves and the outdoors.”
As is so often the case, I agree with Cat. An altar is a visual reminder of nature’s power as well as our own. It’s a physical reflection of who and what we love, and who and how we want to be. And that’s the best sort of practical magic.
A few guidelines to creating an altar of your own. Continue Reading →