As I was going over the ADF website’s section for the Dedicant Path, I ran across some helpful information on building your home shrine. I had already begun to contemplate this, for I have a working altar already at home, including small satellite shrines I’ve always kept for various purposes, but, I realise my central Altar was already partially workable as an ADF-style Shrine.
In particular, the article by Julian Greene, entitled ‘Creating A Home Shrine‘ was quite helpful here. Following the article’s points, I have made some decisions and have slowly begun to implement a few changes in my own working Altar.
First, the article discusses choosing an altar table and cloth. Well, already, yahoo that I am, I’m deviating. My main home altar – the heart of my home – has always been my fireplace. It is made of native Texas limestone, quarried close by, and goes floor-to-ceiling, with both a workable hearth and a rough timber mantel. I’m not using an altar cloth – I’ve no desire to set it afire. So already, no table, no cloth. Off to a rousing start, aren’t I? Do I ever follow any directions?
I have, however, no problem either standing or kneeling before the hearth, so at least it is workable, in that sense 😉
Now to the Hallows!
The Fire (of Heaven, the Upper World) – Hmm. This one’s kind of obvious, as it’s a hearth. In the heart of Texas Super Summer, I use candles and candelabras in the firebox; at other times, I can, and do, build a traditional fire. This is also helpful to me to burn incense and such, as I have fierce allergies and the draft in the chimney prevents smoke from permeating the room, which I cannot tolerate. It’s also helpful for spellwork, as I can leave things burning for periods of time without worrying about being a fire hazard.
The Well (Of the Deep, the Lower World) – The Well, well… as I was looking at my Hearth, I realised I already have a Well on it. I have a beautiful Celtic Cross table fountain that is a representation of the Aberlemno Standing Stone Cross… a strong link to my Scottish roots and my Hearth Culture, with a deep enough basin for small offerings; and I always use the fountain during ritual anyway. However, it’s certainly not in a straight line with the Fire, because I’m not plunking the fountain in front of the firebox; it’s off to one side.
The Tree (Connecter of Worlds, the Middle World) – This one is a big tougher, although I could say that the greenery I decorate my mantel with, that is changed every season and always reflects the current season, could potentially represent the Tree. I’m not quite satisfied with that, however; it’s good, and I will continue the practice, but in addition to the collected greenery to match each season, I’m also doing an illustration to be hung above the mantel of a Celtic Knotwork Tree of Life. There are some nice designs out there, but, I intend to take the illustration further, and make it specifically an Oak, and make it very realistic, except for the fact that the limbs and roots will be in knotwork, and of course, you’ll be able to see the roots under the ground. It’s like one of those old M.C. Escher paintings that messed with perspective. It looks plausible, until you look deeply, and realise that it’s impossible… but it works. Since the article mentions that ‘…we are the world tree… so this item should reflect our personalities the most,’ I need to do the illustration myself, and do an original design.
Sacred Objects – Right now, I’m focusing on my Hallows. I do keep a few stones that have great meaning for me, that connect me to both my land here in Texas and my family’s roots in Scotland, but, other than that, I like simplicity. I may change this later, but, for now, it is enough.
Well, as I would say, ‘sin e’; I must get to work!