If you were to ask people if they have altars in their homes or gardens, most of them, at least here in the United States, would automatically say no. The word “altar” makes many people feel uncomfortable. Most people equate the term altar with religious or spiritual meaning. And with the exception of Roman Catholicism, most Western religions, Judaism, Islam, and many sects of Protestant Christianity, have equated religious imagery with idolatry.
And yet most of us have altars, as I think of them, in our homes. If you rephrase the question and ask: “Do you have a place, or several places, in your home where you put family photos and other mementos, like shells, a favorite rock, flowers, or well loved collections?” most people would answer yes. An altar can simply be a display of meaningful things or a place where you come to reflect on the things you truly value, that you set up in tribute to some cherished feeling. The objects on an altar are often symbols of larger ideas. Even family photographs are not just about the people themselves but also about your feelings toward that family, community, love, and friendship. It’s also a statement to those visiting your home as to what is important to you. To me it is a display that is set up with intention and full consciousness. Just a few example of altars or displays you could set up are:
- Spiritual or Religious
I realize that in my home we have “altars” everywhere. As a meditator I actually do have a meditation altar I visit every morning to start off my day. I have a visualization board in my office which I would call a manifestation altar. We have family photos in our main hallway and on our living room bookshelves. My husband, being a long time musician, has his collection of guitars lovingly displayed on the wall in his office and on stands around the house. I have fresh herbs and nature goodies displayed on my kitchen window sill. We have statues in our garden surrounded by flowers and other offerings, and I am surrounded by pictures of my family and friends here in my office as I write this. I think it’s less important how you set your altar up, and more about how it makes you feel. For me my “altars” are an expression of our life individually and together, the things we are grateful for and a place for me to pause and reflect. All of which is important to me to help keep me balanced and with my eye on what is important in my life.
Do you have altars in your home? What are they? Share your ideas and thoughts here by leaving your comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.
Check out these altars…