Ceremony is a way to create sacred space to reflect, celebrate and honor. It assists us in stepping outside of space and time, outside of the chaos of the external world. An Altar created within a sacred space and with intention is a way to be in ceremony.
The Altar I describe below is to help guide you in stepping outside of space and time to reset, create space within for your inner knowing to rise, bring forth balance, activate healing and to experience what it feels like to come into contact with all the divine support that is available to you.
Creating Your Altar
Find a space in your home or on the land where you live. A space where you can step away for a few minutes to take a time out from the external world. It is within this space where you will create an Altar. If you are traveling, you might create a small portable Altar to take along with you.
Find a bowl, plate or cloth. This will be the foundation for your Altar. Gather a few items that symbolize the type of energy you want to bring into your life. Place these items on your Altar. You can even pull a card. Your Altar can be super simple or elaborate. The power is held within your intention while you create it. Let your imagination run wild and see if you can have fun with the process of creating it!
On a small piece of paper, you might also write a Mantra (a short phrase or affirmation) for yourself and place it on your Altar. When spoken, Mantras hold a frequency within the words and in the sound of your voice that energizes your intention. Here's some examples but you do you: I relax and enjoy the experience that is unfolding for me now / My freedom is an inner space of peace / I let go of any need to control others reactions or outcomes / I am enough.
Energizing your Altar
Once your Altar is set up, you are ready to energize it with ceremony! Light a candle, if you have one. Take a few really good deep cleansing breaths. Create Sacred Space by naming, invoking, singing, dancing, whistling or blowing in those you are called to call in, whatever comes to you - Animals, Plants, Trees, Water, Mountains, Winged Ones, Stars, Ancestors, the Directions, Guides, Color, Elements, etc. What you are really doing is calling your own awareness present to all that is. When that feels complete, take a moment and become aware of the energy and space around you. How has it changed or shifted?
Now notice the items you placed on your Altar. Sense into them - see, touch, listen, smell, taste. What do you perceive - what information comes to you? You might ask - 'Show me how to bring this into my life', 'Show me what I am not seeing about this' or 'Show me how to let go of this'. The guidance may come right then or it may unfold over time. Watch for signs and journal your aha moments as the ways open for you.
When you are ready, sink into your heart center and say your Mantra a few times, witnessing the sensations the affirmation evokes within you.
When you feel complete, blow out your candle, feel your feet and notice how you feel just now. Take a moment to send gratitude to the beings you called to Sacred Space, who are here to wildly and divinely support you.
Being in Ceremony
I invite you to come back to your Altar daily, repeating the process above or in whatever way you track is best for you. You can add or remove items at any time. Working with your Altar in this way keeps the energy (your intention) within the Altar enlivened.
What I have found most powerful working with Altars is the exchange of energy - the energy I use to create it and the energy I receive from working with it. It is living, breathing and alive. As I work with my Altar, the moment of peace I experience there stays with me in a nourishing way, creating a greater sense of interconnectedness with the support around me.
The Q'ero shamans of Peru call this energetic exchange "Ayni" (right relationship or reciprocity). Working in Ceremony and with Altars brings balance into your life and right relationship between your inner sacred world and your outer world. Hiyaya (Glory to the Heart in Quechuan)!