Altars: A Showcase

Altars: A Showcase

I’ve created many altars, shrines and ritual spaces over the years. Each expressed the unique needs and aspirations of who I was at the time of its creation, and each balanced the limits of my living space with the potential for aesthetic and spiritual engagement. For these have all been living spaces — spaces that were alive with their own energies and moods, spaces that shaped my understanding of myself and sculpted me into new forms even as I organized and cleansed and decorated and invariably made a mess of them in an ever-repeating cycle.

House-hunting in Seattle has put me in mind of these many different sacred spaces, and what new altars I will craft as I make a home for myself on the shores of a new ocean. So, while I’m nursing my jet lag and scrambling to pack, I thought this week might be a good opportunity to take a look back at some of those altars of old as I dream of inspiration for new ones yet to come.

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Blessings of Sunlight

Blessings of Sunlight

This past Alban Heruin (the Druid holy day of the summer solstice) I had the pleasure of attending the local ADF grove’s ritual to greet the sunrise — and though the rain and thunder put a bit of a damper on the event, our greeting the lightening dawn with offerings, song and prayer was inspiring all the same. Afterwards, I returned home and spent the day in meditation and creative work. Specifically, designing a tattoo in honor of my relationship with my goddess, Brighid, in her solar/stellar aspect.

The original plan was to design a small tattoo as a expansion for my shoulder where I have a older and very faded design in desperate need of being touched-up. On my other arm, the Celtic armband weaves in rolling waves in honor of my relationship with Manannan Mac Lir, as well as my ancestors who traveled “beyond the ninth wave” into diaspora on this new continent.

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Worshipping Nature in the Digital Age

Worshipping Nature in the Digital Age

At the heart of my spiritual life rests the deep knowing that ritual is a way of listening to the Song of the World as it moves through the earth and the land, and engaging with that Song as something holy, wholly challenging and transformative. Shared ritual is when we accept the burden and blessing of being embodied beings of this dense, physical world that gives us life, and when allow ourselves to respond in kind, to speak back to the natural world with its energies and currents and wild mysteries. Ritual is not for our sake alone, but for the sake of the whole world. It is for the sake of the solitude and silence that surrounds us, that frightening shadow of void and absence that makes us who we are, makes us whole.

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Shaman & Priest: How America’s Cultural Landscape Shapes Its Religious Institutions

Shaman & Priest: How America’s Cultural Landscape Shapes Its Religious Institutions

For several years now, I have thought of waiting tables as a hunter-gatherer kind of job. Each morning, I stalk my prey at their usual watering hole, serving up coffee and eggs with a sleek and casual smile; I am quiet, unobtrusive; I bide my time. My earnings are gifts from the gods of generosity and good luck, coming in unpredictable floods and trickles. I gather the silvery coins from the tabletops, I fold the bills into my apron pocket, and I move on again, cleaning, preparing for the breakfast rush, the lunch rush, the next herd to come and go. I’m no agriculturalist.

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