Satisfied with my work...I joyously left each altar for the fairies to find and use in prayer.
I was not raised in any traditional religion...Born Jewish, I rarely was taken to any house of worship and by the time I was 11, I was so DESPERATE to make a connection to spirit that I spent my leisure time making altars for fairies.
I collected religious items, as much as I could...calendars with dates of Jewish holidays, a star of David to wear around my neck...an incense burner for my own childhood meditation...but my search for that feeling of being centered and connected continued and grew and became more urgent as I reached the page of 13...
Not surprisingly...I was eventually dissatisfied...and so...like so many seekers before me...I studied some Baha'i, Hinduism, Buddhism, Paganism...honestly...I was 'ism'ed out!
Discouraged...I left my passion to cool on a windowsill and went about my life...
It was looong after college that I had a revelation about the way that I connected to spirit. I wanted to start meditating regularly and decided that a 'focal point' would be a great way to start! OMG! I could have my OWN altar!
I excitedly traveled to a lovely artsy town and found a shop that sold all kinds of spiritual things...my eyes kept darting back to a fabulous figure of a many-armed woman...who...I later found, was the deity Kwan Yin. The Goddess of Compassion, the Jewel in the Center of the Lotus...she would become my spiritual mother.
I began with a teeny table in my bedroom...she sat there, elevated with a single stick of incense beneath. My ninja cat knocked her over and so my altar was moved, this time to my dressing room where I had purchased a 3 shelf bookcase...so beloved Kwan Yin then had room for more incense, a bell, and a few containers for offerings.
Still yearning for more...I decided to move the entire altar to a new space in my dance studio...I found a wonderful built-in shelf that could feature my growing collection of Kwan Yin statues, Ganesha, photos of departed loved ones, my singing bowl, many incense burners, candles....and...the list goes on!
But...sigh...something was still missing...
While this new altar space is lovely and serves my purpose well, I have to admit that I still yearn for more. Was it the feeling of being in a room specifically for the purpose of prayer? Was it the ornate furnishings and church-like appeal of the carved altar that drives me?
I've decided that this isn't an issue of ego or avarice, but of feeling...of being in 'that place' that helps you feel the most connected. I realized that I had not yet created my own spiritual home.
When visiting the Rubin Museum last month, I was treated to their Himalayan exhibit, which included the most breath-taking relics, statues, masks and, the crowing jewel, an altar room. The feeling I had standing there was beyond description...I cried because it was so beautiful...I knew that my goal was to achieve this kind of 'womb' like serenity and beauty in my own altar...someday...I will...for now...I love an appreciate my little imperfect space and the great spirit and energy it brings out in me...and I also realize that the most perfect altar space...is between m