Sunday, July 25, 2010

Your altar should be personal

A lot of those just starting out on the Wiccan path get this book or that one and start obsessing over following the directions in it exactly - finding the perfect items for rituals and their altar. But what they often fail to realize is that the most powerful altar is one the means the most to you - a personal altar.

So before you go hunting for all those items you want to buy, relax! First decide the best location for your altar. It should be one that is relatively "safe" - meaning a place that isn't in the main traffic zone of your home where it might be bumped or disturbed (or become a place to dump mail or keys) or where your children or pets will think its the perfect spot to play. And remember, you can have more than one altar depending on your path and what you want to use them for - an ancestral altar, meditation altar, or moon phase altar are all great supplements to your main, working, ritual altar. Perhaps you will want to create your ritual altar fresh every time you need it (practical if you don't want everyone in your house to know what you are practicing) instead of being set up permanently. So decide what the main focus of your altar will be (and don't be afraid to change it as your practice evolves).

Once you find a place and decide the purpose of it, start with a simple altar cloth - measure the flat surface you are planning to use and take a trip to the fabric store. You can often find remnants of very beautiful fabrics for just a dollar or two. Get some fabric paints if you'd like and decorate a plain cloth. Get several fabrics of different colors if you want to set up a seasonal altar. Let your intuition guide you and have some fun with it - your altar doesn't have to be serious!

Now that you have a cloth, most altars have 1 thing for each of the elements of the Craft - Earth, Fire, Air, Water and Spirit. Look around for things you already have that mean something special to you - they will already have great energy. Perhaps your grandmother's candy bowl is perfect for holding water or that beautiful sea shell you found on your trip last summer could represent water. Small fountains are also perfect adding the beautiful sound of water to your rituals.

Candles are wonderful, but not always practical depending on where you set up your altar or if you have cats that can knock them over (one of my cats set herself on fire and never knew it by brushing against my candle at the wrong time - I freaked more than she did and she only singed a few hairs). Perhaps a night light or electric Christmas candle would be a better fit for fire for you.

Air is usually represented by incense, but a feather found on a spring walk would do as well. A pretty potted plant or found rock or pine cone works well for Earth. Spirit could be represented by a candle, a pentacle (how about one made from twigs from the nearby park!), or any image of a God or Goddess that you like.

Beyond the basics, you might want to add special objects depending on the purpose of your altar. Ancestral altars are easy - photos or mementos of members of your family in pretty frames with a candle or offering dish is all you need.

Moon altars could have any shiny, round object to show the moon - for years I used a silver blown glass Christmas ornament with the hook and cap removed sitting in a tapered vase - I covered it with a black cloth completely during the dark of the moon, partially for other phases and let it shine uncovered during full moons.

Meditation altars can have anything that helps you focus - a statue, incense, candle or mirror are some ideas.

If setting an altar for a specific ritual or spell, again take a look around and figure out what represents the purpose of the ritual best to you - it will automatically be more powerful and just the process of considering objects and designing your altar can be magical.

If you are not going to let the altar set up permanently, find a pretty box to store everything in when not in use. Craft stores have inexpensive plain wood boxes of all sizes you can get and paint or decorate as you'd like. Perhaps you'll want to get several and store seasonal altars in their own boxes for when you need them.

Books are wonderful, especially when just starting out, but don't get too bogged down in what they say you "should" do - treat them as guidelines and let your own intuition be your true guide. Don't be afraid to mix things up and change them from time to time either. Enjoy the process and your magic will be that much more special.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Planning some updates

I'm planning to spruce up the blog a bit over the next week or so...fix the width of the header image for one thing!

New posts are in the planning too - looking forward to getting back to writing regularly. It's a creative outlet I've missed as I have been so caught up on the mundane things like paying the bills! Silly me!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Making Your Days More Magickal

We all do it - plan to do a ritual or study that new book just to get caught up in our day and at bedtime realize we never even said the briefest prayer or meditated for even 5 minutes. And every day promise we'll make time that day... repeat.

So how do you make your days more magickal? How do you find the time?

Take a look at your current daily and weekly schedules - actually take some time to write them down. What do you do every day right now? Be honest - if you veg in front of the TV every night for 6 hours...write it down. Not sure? Take a week and carry a notebook with you to jot it all down. 

Next comes evaluation. Look honesty at that schedule and see what is really serving you - do you HAVE to watch the news every night for 2 hours or can you watch the 30 minute evening recap or scan the headlines on the internet for 15 minutes? If there is a TV show you really enjoy and don't want to miss, schedule it in, take the time and enjoy it.  If there is a show you like, not love - do you have to watch it when it airs? These days most shows can be viewed on the internet whenever you want to and DVRs can record anything when its on to watch when it fits in your schedule (tip: record it and you can quickly scan thru commercials watching an hour long program in 45 minutes or less).

Cut out the fat from the list you made and narrow it down to the things you really have to do (like pick up the kids from school - a MUST), and the things you want to do (a WANT).

Next prioritize. Make 2 lists: MUSTS and WANT. Don't worry about the "I should do..." as often those are the things you *think* you should do (or others have told you to do) but really don't need to. Do you HAVE to clean out the refrigerator every week like your mother used to make you do...or can it wait for once a month? Include in your WANT list all the rituals, meditation time, and study time you want to do.

Next, create the schedule you WANT. Go thru the list and estimate the length of time you think that task will honestly take. Figure out when you want to do them. Take into account your energy level - are you a morning person able to zip thru things best first thing in the morning? Or are you more of a night person coming alive and being more focused after the kids are in bed and its dark? Schedule the hardest tasks during your peak energy times. 

Start small. Don't plan an hour long New Moon ritual when you know you are going to be exhausted by the time the moon rises. A 10 minute invocation said before bedtime can be just as powerful. Don't marathon reading that new book - read a few pages when you can (for years, the ladies room at work was my reading room - I'd read 2-3 pages every time I had to visit it). Look for those little holes in your schedule - the daily commute when you could listen to a book on tape, the times you are waiting for the kids to get out of school when you could read a page or 2, and prepare for them. Put a few books, notepads and pens in your car. Buy that book on CD you really want to listen to. Get a mini pack of Tarot cards or runes and carry it in your purse for a quick moment of reflection on your day.

Of course some things we cannot move - like the schedule set by your boss of when you have to be at work. But look for those times when you might be able to steal a few moments of magick - the 15 minute breaks many companies give you in the mornings and afternoons are great times to meditate or read a few pages. Find a quiet spot and take that time for yourself (setting a timer if needed). It's amazing how even 10 minutes of meditation can re-focus your day! Take a moment before you eat your lunch to appreciate the bounty of the Earth that brought that food to you. Every time you get in your car, take a moment and breath. 

If you can keep a few things on your desk at work, see if you can find something for each element - a small water fountain (or just a cup of water) or that shell you found on the beach, a candle or small battery lamp, a potted plant, that feather you found on your walk....for years I had a potted plant on my desk with a shell, feather, and led battery light tucked into it. Only I knew what it meant, but it was very calming. Take a moment when you get to your desk to acknowledge that "altar" and the energies around you.

If you can, try to schedule a few things the same time every day - the easiest way to build new habits is to do it daily the same time of the day. Want to learn Tarot? Pull 1 card every day and study its artwork, think what it means to you and jot it down. During your daily bath or shower, reflect on the element of water and what it means to you. When driving to work, open the window or sun roof and feel the Element of air blowing past you.  When walking into the office, think of the ground beneath your feet (even if covered by concrete, the Earth is there, below you, supporting you). Feel the sun streaming down on you and think about Fire. All these little daily things can become magickal if you just pay attention.

Keep a journal and put in what I call "magickal moments" - the hawk that flew low over my car when I was stuck in traffic. My cat hoping into my lap at just the right moment when I needed a hug. Whatever strikes you as being special. This is also the perfect place to keep and adjust your schedule.

Once you start looking for time to make magick, you will be amazed at how much you can find.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Shops in Orlando area

As the owner of an online only spiritual shop, I often gets calls for people looking for brick and mortar stores in the area. Here are a few you might like to visit if you are in central Florida. If you know of one not in the list, please add it to comments.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feelings shape our reality

As you can probably guess from the headline, I believe in the Law of Attraction and that what we think and feel shape our reality. And I've come to believe feelings - which actually I've never put a lot of stock into as I'm a more intellectual person than feeling - shape reality stronger than thoughts.

I don't really get depressed. But lately I've been going thru what I would classify as a slump, what others might call depression. I've been sabotaging myself professional and personally and no matter how much I've meditated and tried to think my way out of it, I realize my underlying feelings have been dragging me deeper. I feel poor - so my sales have slumped and I've screwed up several orders I shouldn't have for no reason other than forgetting to do something I should have. I've felt stupid (even though I've told myself I'm not stupid, I've just done a few stupid things). I've felt defeated and stuck and though telling myself I'll get out of it since I always do, I haven't been able to shake the feeling so the problem has persisted.

But...realizing it and acknowledging it is the first step to recovery, right? So I've made the first step today and will continue to work on it. I need to be out of the office today to help my father for a bit, so instead of looking at it as an interruption keeping me from getting done, I'll look at it as a chance to reflect on my feelings and start to change them.

What is making me feel poor - fix it! What is making me feel stupid - correct it! I know I can do I have to feel that I can.