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A home altar may evolve organically or it may be deliberately planned.  For those of us who would like to plan our altar Denise Linn's lovely book Altars: Bringing Sacred Shrines into Your Everyday Life can be a big help.

The book includes beautiful photos of every imaginable type of home altar to get your  creative juices flowing as well as offering a great list of possible altar themes.  These are:
  • Communicating with the Divine
  • Healing family relationships
  • Opening your life to love
  • Creating health
  • Honoring transitions
  • Creating abundance
  • Honoring ancestors
  • Opening creative channels
  • Commeration of achievement or loss
  • Celbrating religion or culture
  • Honoring the yearly cycle
  • Remembering loved one
  • Self integration
Because Linn is a Feng Shui practitioner her advice on planning includes solid guidance on altar placement and set up which I found interesting.

The book goes on to suggest various altar activities such as prayer, mantra, affirmation, contemplation, creative visualization and listening.  For my new altar I decided to focus on contemplation and prayer.  

I have two shrines in my home already.  One in the living room and another on the dresser top in my bedroom.  What I like about this third spot (set up on my grandma's old cedar chest and just below an east facing window) is that it isn't just to look at.  I can also sit in front of it and say a prayer.

One warning about the book: It could make you a little altar crazy.  While the new altar makes three, I am already thinking about a fourth - a family altar on the coffee table in the den.  While I won't call it an altar, it will be a great place to celebrate tradition and the cycle of the year.

I while post pictures when I'm done!




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  1. I like this one very much, the simplicity of it, and the lace, which always brings to my mind women's hands patiently creating something just for the beauty of it. My altars tend to get a bit too busy after a while as I add beautiful things, but I am in the process of simplifying. I don't know how long the simpler versions will last.

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  2. Thanks Tosca. I'm glad you like it! My altars tend to get busy over time which is one reason I kind of have three at this point :)

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