Tuesday, April 27, 2010

On the Alteration or Altars

Sparked by Jason's Altar Post:

Like many a pagan household, most of our horizontal surfaces are monopolized for altar space. We have bed side altars (mine, currently a shambles much to my dismay, I am only starting to piece it together), Statues of Shiva, Parvati, Ganesh, Murugan, Kali, and Durga in the kitchen, and the Greeks seem to like the dining room. Our windowsills are also taken up, as is a special table for Yemaya. At the tippy top of the tallest book case is "Skull Head Island". It's where we keep our skulls.

Our prosperity altar lives inside a book case. It gets less attention there than it should, honestly. Out of sight, out of mind. Though I do regularly fill up the cash box.

We have been thinking of consolidating for a long time. But how? See, the problem isn't so much a cognitive dissonance as the subject of space again.

We recently downgraded space and thus with it, altar space. This presents the challenge of fitting "10lbs of stuff in a 5lb bag", as my dad would say. Harmoniously condensing is difficult. I've condensed before.. I've arranged harmony before.. but I've never harmoniously condensed before.

One giant altar is out of the question, currently, though my palms itch to make one. We have nothing big enough, nor the space to put it... yet. It's going to be a challenge, but a good one. Moving scattered dispersion into focused effort.

For my personal sorcerous practices I have small diaspora kits with everything I need in a handy tote size. Everything can be fit into an average backpack if needed. The biggest box being the bin of spell components that Deb and I share, and even then, those are only the components that have no business being in the kitchen cabinet. But usually all I will need to do is get the correct box, unpack, work, repack, and get on with my day.

With the nomadic lifestyle I've lived for the past few years I've learned to keep what is necessary, and scratch the rest. I have hated this process. I've wanted a household altar as much as I've wanted a household to tend it with, but admittedly this paring down process has made me much more frugal with what I keep.

We do have a "Spare Oom" that I admittedly was planning on making it a fortress of cerimonial doom, until I was asked, "Where are my Gods going to live?" to which I paused, stammered, and looked genuinely confused.

Apparently the Lady of the House wanted equal space and representation, and it couldn't all be about me.. Lame. As much as I always wanted a room dedicated to spiritual work, she's always wanted a sewing room. We compromised by making it an all purpose room that we are still sorting out slowly. This way, though no one gets exactly what they want, no one is unhappy either. In reality we each wanted a place to retreat to, a veritable zone of comfy cushions, and cocoon of things we like. We decided on a place of concord, where we will do our best to make a zone of infinite peace.. or something like that.

The process will be a great exercise in the blending of our lives and our spiritualities, because though we are Partners in this, magically we are very alien to each other at times, even though we have heavily overlapping Pantheonic interests.

I've always liked that word: Pantheon. Litterally: All the Gods. All of our Gods, all of our influences, all of our shared work in one place. It's a really nice thought. We'll still have our own working altars, and private shrines in the house, but the harmony of just the right fit will be glorious once it's done.


Rufus Opus said...

I've been without formal altar space for months now, and it sucks. I've got more stuff than I have tool boxes to store it in. Having "The Box" to conjure the spirits with has been a godsend.

We have a lot of traffic through our house from the local school community. Kids of parents who are on the PTA board spend the night, or just come over to play video games. There is no such thing as a room that is "off limits" to kids, because as soon as they hear that, they go in at the first opportunity, and locks don't keep out curious 7 year olds.

Can't have them carrying tales of daggers, cups, incense, and weird talismans back to their parents, plus the parents always want to do an inspection of the home their kids will be spending the night at, even though they don't call it that. The grand tour of the home is a normal thing among parents, and even though you can usually skip a bedroom or office, it's hard to explain why you have a padlock on the door of a room that's out of reach of the kids (who will just grab the key and a chair when you leave them with the babysitter anyway).

I was thinking of the garage, but the neighbors have a tendency to walk right in when I'm crafting out there. I've already had to explain about the copper and tin talisman molds on a number of occasions.

I envy your ability to have a Skull Head Island, but I wouldn't REALLY want to sell the kids on ebay just to be able to have altar space.

The intimidating temple of doom room with a sewing machine in the corner cracks me up.

Gordon said...

Nomads and altars. I hear you. Oh, how I hear you.