Whenever I get specific questions via email, I tend to reply directly to the individual. However, I’ve received the same inquiry from five different people in the last few weeks, so I’m choosing to answer it with a post. Here is the first (the others are very similar): “Dear Magaly, your altars are personal, calming and very unique. I want to create something similar for the Winter Solstice, but I’m always worried that I’m not doing it right. How do you choose your altar things?”
The short answer would be that I don’t really choose things. It might sound bit silly (and a lot cliché), but I let altar items choose me. For instance, yesterday, I was chosen by something on the wood:
I was in the kitchen making dinner while Jacob mounted my favorite wee silver hammer on the back wall of the cubbyhole where I keep my mortar and pestle. “Baby,” he said, “is this where you want it?” He was holding the hammer at a forty-five degree angle; handle down and to the right.
“The other way around, Love,” I said. “I want the head to be higher than the handle.”
“Okay,” he nodded as he eye-measured the spot I had suggested.
“Oh my,” I said, grinning. “Look at that.” I pointed at a pattern on the wood.
“And right on top of a phallic symbol,” Jacob smirked. “Try this angle,” he suggested, guiding my head a few inches down. “Doesn’t it look like she is on her back, and you can see her breasts from between her legs? She has nipples and everything.”
“She does,” I said, and traced the outline with my finger.
Yep, my Wicked Luvs, I’m all smiles. Not only is my lucky silver hammer successfully mounted in my kitchen, but it sits in the company of a very sensual picture of the Goddess.
I used to be terribly jealous of Debra, from She Who Seeks. For she shared a miracle in which “the Goddess was recently featured in a long overdue cameo on . . . (wait for it) . . . a pancake.” Well, Debra Luv, eat your heart out. You got to blog about the “Sacred Yoni (Vulva) of the Goddess manifested in golden panfried goodness!” but let’s face it, gods on pastries are sooo passé. I, on the other hand, have the fresh pleasure of being the Witch with the Sacred Female spread in all her glory... on my wood. See?
Yep, I rule ;-) Um... another lovely view of the miracle...
In all seriousness, my Wicked Luvs, the image (which, by the way, might look like an apple cut through the middle to a less
made me happiest because it turned a simple cubbyhole into a nook of magic. It
has history now. And I’m not just talking about the empty wine bottles whose
contents Jacob and I shared during the first days of our rekindling, or the
statues from his travels to Thailand or the pestle and mortar I use to spell and
to make our meals, or the hammer which I keep as a symbol of one of the most
important things that has ever happen to me… I’m referring to the new history: at the fact that Jacob and I noticed something
special, together, and while making an old house into our forever home. Like holidays exist
because people celebrate them, homes (and
accidental altars) become sacred because we make them so.
Here is another simple altar which happens to be the one I hold closest to my heart:
The bottle contains hemp rope, orange peels, a handwritten note, a rock Jacob gave me many years ago, leaves he has collected for me, a willow stick from a tree Jacob planted when he was a kid, and a few other things. The painting was created by Gina. It was our first housewarming gift. The small metal circle is formed by my wedding band inside Jacob’s wedding band. The two rings are held together by a braid made of three ribbons which came with presents from three women who mean the world to me.
Can you feel the strength in all these symbols? I bet. They are not powerful because I planned every bit, but because they have meaning. The same will be true for my altar for the Winter Solstice, which I will set up circa the 13th of December: it will have things that are important to me and to the ones who I choose to share my life with me.
Have you checked out Gathicadays 2012 yet? One more day to go ;-)