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Sunday, January 2

Caring for an Altar

For most on a Pagan path, we find it important to have an altar. The problem is, when that altar is left to the elements rather than taken care of on a regular basis, it loses the reason we set up the altar to begin with. I never really understood the importance of this until I returned to my family's home for the holidays. I had set up an altar in my room there when I started on my current path. Now that I only return to that home ever two weeks or so, I sadly have not done anything to take care of it or to re-energize it in months. Before I left to return to my home, I took a look at my altar and realized I had not touched it my entire visit. Seeing the dust that had collected there and the untouched candles made me realize there was no bit of the divine left there. When I returned to the place I live, I looked at my much used and very crowded altar and wondered when the last time I actually did more than just light the candles and offer a simple sacrifice to the powers that be. In our busy lives, it is so easy to let our altars fall into disrepair. The problem is, we get into a habit of lighting our candles or a stick of incense and thinking that the simple act is enough to recharge the energy and keep our spiritual lives going. The problem is, when we do not take the time to further our spiritual lives, that altar with the candles lit once a week or once a month is no better off than the one that sits and collects dust. While both of them offer a visual reminder of what we are supposed to believe, neither of them offer the religious fulfillment they were designed to bring into our lives. I have always taken the time to change my altar every sabbat. Now I realize, that isn’t enough. Even with a busy daily life, we have to take the time to pay attention to our spiritual needs. Is five minutes a day really too much to ask when dealing with the price of possible enlightenment? How long must we ignore our spiritual practice before we have to start back at square one because we have forgotten what we have learned? I know for 2011 I am going to do my best to change my outlook on life and remember that religion has always been my driving factor, and the way I live my life should not change just because I feel like there is too much to do. I encourage all of you to look at your religious lives with the change of the calendar as well. What is it that you find important. Do you take the time to make sure it gets the attention it deserves? It’s time to dust off my altar and revive the journal I left sitting to make the most out of my life. It’s a simple change, but could make all the difference. What is your change going to be?

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