Tag Archive | shamanism

Where is your altar?

Do you have a personal altar? Where do you have it set up?

The altar is where we honour Deity, where we show our respect to Spirit, or where we make an appeal to Ancestors.

It can also be where we focus our intention and attention for spellcrafting.

My personal altar sits in my lounge/bedroom. It holds the tools and symbols I like to use for my religous practice and my healing work.

altar to herne and brigid

Household Altar

This is not, however, a working altar. Those I set up as they are needed, using whatever tools need to be used at the time. I may take bits from the household altar for these impromptu altars, or I may need nothing more than some sage or palo santo.

If I am doing deep healing work I will bless the area around me with white sage or palo santo and sit in the centre. My altar is not a physical object thing at this time, but my Sacred Garden between this world and the Otherworlds. Here I am able to do amulet readings and give and receive healing. I can also just sit and commune with those OtherWorld creatures and beings who have chosen to come share this space with me.

Like the hidden room in the Harry Potter books, this Sacred Garden has everything I need for the work I need to do at that time. Lately, this has been a warm pool with lots of squidgy mud for sinking in. Other times it may have a small pool with lots of soft grass all around, or boulders, or a waterfall, or a cave. If I am there to give or receive healing, a healing table appears. If I am there to speak with the Amulets, they are both here in real time where I am drawing them from their bag, and there in Sacred Space where I am listening to their messages.

Since I do a lot of my healing work in the client’s home, I have put together a simple portable altar that I can bring with me – within it I have battery candles (it’s not always possible or wise to have a real flame), sage and palo santa for cleansing (if I am able to light it, otherwise I have blessed water), essential oils, and other bits n bobs that I may need. The whole thing is kept in a small toolkit bought for £5 at an arts and crafts store.

What about your altar? Do you have one? Can you have one where you are, or does it need to be hidden? Does it exist in physical space, or only in your mind? Do you see it every day. or is it tucked in a corner where you hardly ever look? Is it where you do your magical, healing, or religious work, or do you have a different altar for that?

What can you tell the world about your altar?

Here are some other posts that I have written about altars.




It’s Not All Rainbows and Unicorns

The Pagan Experience: What do you define as your “place in the world”? How does that inform your spiritual pursuits?

rattleAh, the age old questions. Who am I? What is my place and purpose in this world? What do I want to be when I grow up?

These are all questions that I thought I had the answers to when I was a teenager. You can imagine my shock when I got to be in my late 40s and had to find the answers to these questions all over again.

In thinking about this particular topic, I am reminded of the lyrics from an ABBA song, “Thank you for the music“:

I’m nothing special, in fact
I’m a bit of a bore.
If I tell a joke, you’ve
Probably heard it before.

This is what I thought of myself for most of my life. And though I can sing, it isn’t a strong talent, unlike the woman character referred to in this song.

No, I have another talent, One which after years of doubting and years of worrying that people would think me a fake or a fraud I am finally coming to embrace fully and accept in myself.

What is my place? I am a Healer. My place and purpose is in serving others who seek healing. Right now at this moment in time, my major focus is on serving women who are seeking healing from past events, women who are wanting to release old behaviours, thought patterns, and emotional blocks that are keeping them from making conscious choices about their futures. Eventually, as I continue my training in the area of Soul Midwifery, this will expand to working with women who are dying in helping them to make conscious choices for themselves in order to have a good death and in doing psychopomp work. I am able to pull on all of the skills I have developed over time, as a nurse and as an Energy Healer, and as a Pagan witch, to do this much needed work.

My practise as a Pagan witch and my calling as a Healer are both very closely intertwined because in both I am working with and moulding Energy. I use practices learned as a Pagan and witch to improve my skills as a healer, and I use my skills as a healer to enhance my practices as a Pagan and witch. This is why you might just find me scratching a Reiki symbol on a candle as part of a spell or calling in Energy both from deep within the Earth and from the Skies above when channelling it for Reiki. The shields I use when doing Energy healing work were learned through creating my witch’s circle. The ways I have of raising energy in circle were learned in part from pulling in and moving Energy for healing.

While I have had teachers, for the most part many of my skills as a healer and as a Pagan witch were developed intuitively. The advantage of developing skills intuitively is that I didn’t have anyone around telling me that I couldn’t do something a certain way. So I just did it. The downside is that I didn’t always learn the best or most efficiant way of doing some things.

This hasn’t always been the easy way. There have been hardships and troubles. Both Reiki and shamanic healing practices talk of the “illness” that a practitioner goes through. In Reiki it is the Reiki cleanse that one goes through after receiving attunements, in shamanism they talk of the shaman’s illness or death. Both refer to the same thing though – a shedding of your old ways of thinking, being, and doing to make way for a new awareness. For me, this shedding and sickness came in the form of a severe emotional and mental breakdown, and from having everything that I thought made me who I was stripped away. I literally had to rediscover who I was, and my place in this world, from the ground up. It was damned hard work, and to be real honest there were times I didn’t think I would be able to survive. For a long time I could do nothing more than put one foot in front of the other and try to make it through each day. Anyone who has dealt with chronic pain and depression will know just how much hard work that can be.

I have skills, but I don’t claim to be all-powerful or have all the answers. All I can share with others are my opinions and my experiences. I have more questions now than I had 25 years ago when I first started out on this path. And in some cases, I don’t even know enough to know what the questions are supposed to be.

And that’s okay.

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If you would like to learn more of the healing service I provide for women:

Sacred Visions

You can also read my healer’s blog at The Healing Room.