Archive for the ‘altars’ Category

I’m back from a lovely weekend in the Mohawk Valley.  I was able to visit my family and some friends who graciously invited me over for tea.

I stayed true to my oath (vow?  Perhaps I should have gone to Seamus’ workshop at Wellspring…) and performed a full ritual this week.  Because I was away from my altar I used my traveling altar.  I had been using the little dishes some tea lights came in as offering bowls.  When the candles were used, I decorated them with different designs.  I offered some oil Friday evening as part of my ritual.  Actually, that was pretty much all I had to offer because I can’t fit much in the little box that is my traveling altar.  I left the oil in the dish over night and it seems to have weakened the plastic.  I’ll have to rethink this…

In other news, I tweaked the color of the links.  It should look better!

[ For my LJ friends, please visit me at: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/ ]

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I wanted to share a couple photos with you*. The first is of my in-progress traveling altar.

It’s made from a small wooden box purchased at a craft store.  I painted it with two coats of dark green.  It probably could have used more but live and learn.  I like my little amateur triple spiral on the top.  😀  I have yet to work on filling it with anything, but I’m hopeful to finish it by next weekend.  I’m supposed to be in Utica for a reiki workshop and will be staying over night with my parents.  I hate being away from my altar during such visits.  I feel less than pious.  I’m planning to put two candles in it – one to represent the fire and one for keeping Brighid’s flame should I be away from home on such a night.  I’m considering using an LED candle for that in case I’m in a hotel.  Lighting a tea light for a quick devotional is one thing, but leaving it on for several hours is quite another.  I was hopeful that my husband would draw me a picture of a tree but, alas, he has been distracted by video games.  I’ll have to think of something else.  I would also like to find something to represent the well and an offering bowl (a tiny one).  Maybe even a vial of salt and oil?  Oh and matches.  Can’t forget the matches!

The second photo is the most recent shot of my altar.

Everything is pretty much the same as the last photo except that, instead of my fairy wand acting as the tree, I finally hung the tree tapestry my husband gave me.  Isn’t it lovely?  I think it makes my altar. There are still changes I would like to make.  For example, I could really use a better storage system below.  I’m also not keen on keeping my matches on top but, due to the mess below, it is the most convenient place to keep them for the time being.  I also need a dish to put under my three-wick candle.  Once it shrinks, my altar will be in greater danger of burning down without one!

Other things on my alar that I love-

My sister designed a print of the prayer I say every morning and evening.  It’s framed below my tree.  The harp represents An Dagda.  The doll is Brighid.  (I’m planning to make another at some point.)  The cauldron is from my brother-in-law (to be).  The wooden carving of the horned man is something my husband made.  The rock is from the mountain he proposed to me on.  The little cauldron holding my matches (by Brighid) is from my mother’s toy stove.  The little white statue under Brighid was made by my sister-in-law.  My offering bowl (absent from the photo) was given to me by an old Pagan friend, Bruce.  Lots of beloved mementos make up my shrine. 🙂

* For my lj friends: http://adfcatprints.blogspot.com/

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Crafty Day!

Brighid has lit the fire in my head today!  Surprisingly, most of my creative energies have been focused on painting.  I did sew a pencil case for my husband today but that’s about it.  (Sewing plaid continues to be a challenge but, the more I do it, the better I get!)

I worked on a wooden magazine holder.  It’s shaped like a house and I want to make it look like a stone cottage.  I put a first coat of gray on it before bed last night.  Today I started to paint in the stones.  I don’t intend for it to hold magazines but take-out menus.

I’ve also worked more on the old frame I rescued from the garbage.  I painted a coat of pink on it earlier in the week.  Today I used some of my favorite paint (shiny, sparkly green!) and painted the wooden applique leaves.  I’m planning to color the flowers white with yellow/gold centers. They remind me of chamomile.  I’m still not sure what to write in the space I sanded out.  “Be whimsical…”  “What if…?”  “Imagine…”  “Imagine if…”  “Dress up!”  I want it to be whimsical and go along with the theme of dressing up.  I attached wires to the frame and I’m planning to hang earrings and necklaces from them.

Some of you may remember my desire to create a traveling altar.  I’ve taken steps toward that by finding a small wooden box.  I’ve given it two coats of dark green.  It might need a third, I’m not sure.  I’m planning to cover it in swirls.

The box is large enough for two tea lights which is what I desire.  One will act as the sacred flame and the other will dedicated to Brighid in case I’m away from home on my flamekeeping night.  I’m not sure what to use for a cauldron and a tree.  A part of me desires to find/paint/draw a tree on a bit of paper that I can lean against something.  Perhaps I’ll enlist the help of my husband now that he has all his pencils in a case I made for him.  A gift for a gift, right?

In other Druidic news, I’ve taken on my first mentee!  I’m very excited about this because it will be just as much a learning experience for me as it is for him. I hope that my being a novice mentor doesn’t bother him.  I’m confident that my experience tutoring in a writing center for several years and my education background will be helpful to us both.

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Where do my offerings go?

It is true that I live in northern, rural NY. However I still live in an apartment. I feel like I live in a tiny suburb. It’s former military housing and looks like a development. All the buildings are practically carbon copies. There is a forest here and I have access to it, but it’s a bit of a walk from my doorstep. So where do I put my often biodegradable offerings? I don’t want to flush them because there are concerns of water pollution, even if the offerings are biodegradable. I don’t want to throw them out because that seems less than pious.

My solution has been to create a small sacred place outside of my apartment, on my patio, for offerings to go. This has been a learning experience with various pros and cons. It started as a small clay pot filled with dirt, stones, and a fairy statue. At some point, a liquid offering froze in a crack and shattered a chunk of the pot. It wasn’t looking good for a month. I wasn’t sure what to do… Today I converted a red metal pail into my offering pot / mini fairy rock garden. There are also some shiny gems and bits of silver in there. I included shards of the old pot to create some continuity. I’m hoping the metal will be better able to withstand the occasional liquid offering in the cold. Although, since the shattering incident, I’ve been giving more incense offerings. Even so, I nailed some drainage holes into the bottom.

It still doesn’t look all that amazing. In the spring and summer I want to surround it with flower pots and maybe even paint the pot a different color.

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We took the weekend to visit some of our tribe in Utica. We spent a majority of it with my parents which was lovely. We had a belated birthday dinner for my father and watched a couple movies with them. We also spent some time with some friends/in-laws. I’m not sure what to call them now. Friends? Family? Both? I like calling people close to my heart my tribe but only a handful of people don’t look at my cross-eyed when I use that expression. All the same, hanging out with loved ones was very enjoyable. The only downside is that we missed an invitation from our neighbors to come over and play cards. They seem like nice people and are all in a similar life stage. We keep missing their social gatherings due to previously planned engagements or lack of foresight. (The last time we found out about a party we had already showered and settled down for the evening… Thus we didn’t really feel like doing anything else.) I don’t want to come across as flakes to them and I would *really* like to make some friends up here.

Anyway, going down to Utica made me realize how much I need a traveling altar. I’m adding that to my list of projects now! I did a lot of my devotional work in my mental nemeton (although I did fall asleep one night…) It worked but I would have liked the altar to help me focus.

Speaking of creating a traveling altar, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the purpose of undergoing the Artisan Guild study program. In addition to learning more about art history, theory, and methodology, one of the goals is for students to develop a “personal integration and understanding of the arts as spiritual practice” (from the Study Program). This is what I feel I truly need. I am already aware that artistic expression is very important to me. Creating is a magical practice and the end result is something that expresses my spirituality, love of life, and, quite often, my love and awe of the Kindreds. I’m realizing that I want to better tap into that energy. Part of that will come, I’m sure, through a greater understanding of how my ancestors created things. But I would also like to develop rituals that become part of my personal religion – rituals that nourish my inspiration, further bond me to my muse and patroness, and make art even more of a ritualistic part of my life.

With these goals in mind, I am hopeful to begin the study program soon. In addition, I am also hopeful to begin the Initiate study program. I need to finish my letter of intent. I’m a little nervous about submitting it, but I know that, even if my elders don’t think I’m up to the challenge yet, I will have ample opportunity to improve and reapply. I’m tenacious and stubborn when I want to be. Growing in my spirituality is important to me and, as an academically minded person, study and knowledge motivate me.

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Site Update

One more update today! I updated my website. I added photos of my current altars. Enjoy!

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I’m not finished with it yet, but here is a photo of the Brighid cross project I’m working on.

The pattern on the brown/gold fabric may not be the best for the project but I’m determined to see it through and perhaps add some embroider to embellish it. I usually don’t do things like this – appliqué and quilt techniques are new for me.

And here’s a photo of my Brigihd altar so far. This isn’t anything Imbolc specific – I’ve been adding to it since moving here. It’s situated over my stove for obvious reasons. I do my flame keeping here.

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