Building an altar is a meditative, grounding and nourishing practice that enables us to connect inward in order to listen and hear our own prayers, and to focus on our intentions as well as what we are ready to release. We will meet once a month around the time of the new moon, to work with the energy of the new moon, connecting into our intentions, prayers and things we are ready to purge.
You will need to gather things from outside on your morning or weekly walks, things you find on the ground, or cutting a few flowers or leaves here and there if you need, remembering to take no more than 1/4.
During these walks try to let your mind wander, and not searching or grabbing things to take, but rather see what calls to you. Let your mind wander and relax. Anything can be gathered that is organic matter and can be placed back into the earth. We also can use spices, herbs, rocks, shells, wood, sticks and so forth. Placing all of these items in a very meditative space where we begin by first meditating and grounding and focusing on our intentions.
We bring seeds to symbolize what we would like to plant in our life, grains to symbolize fruition and sustenance, and other items that we use in the kitchen to symbolize things like protection, releasing and so forth.
We place all these items either on a large leaf or just using a large piece of paper. We can also just place this altar and make it directly into the earth itself if we have space in our yard. Otherwise we just use a large piece of paper and with a meditative practice we focus in on our prayers and intentions as we create. Focusing on what we would like to release let go of and what we like to bring more into our lives.
The ending of this ceremony is to Then fold the paper up tight with string and we can offer this to the earth in someway either burying into the ground, or leaving it at a body of water or in the forest.
This is a very meditative practice as we are creating our prayers with our hands, and it also helps us connect to the place where we are in the earth and to our bodies. It is Very grounding, helps us to clear our mind, get us into our creativity, and then we practice releasing our gift back to the earth.
Building Altars is a beautiful practice that enables us to connect to ourselves in a different way than our everyday mundane activities. Altars are a place where we can offer gratitude, release grief, ask questions or just offer our medicine back to the earth herself and offer to something that is greater than all of us.
Here is a list of items you will need, feel free to bring whatever else is calling to you and use any other symbolic meanings of items below:
1 large piece of paper
1 large banana leaf to build altar on, if you can’t find that’s okay, the paper will work
Leaves (at least 15 leaves about the size of a bay leaf to symbolize the different directions, and to symbolize things we are ready to release/purge)
Seeds (the future, things we want to bring into fruition)
Grains (fertility, abundance)
Nuts (sustenance, spiritual, physical and emotional sustenance and strength)
Dried fruits (ancestors)
Corn or cornmeal (earth and earth based spirituality and indigenous people)
Sweets (honey or chocolate to symbolize the sweetness of life as well as an offering to the earth as she loves sweets)
Dried beans or legumes (protection)
Any plant medicines we like to work with, or kitchen herbs and spices
Rosemary (remembering who we truly are, deep ancient memories)
Sage (clearing, cleansing and protection)
Turmeric (cleansing, purifying and protection)
Lavender (uplifting, calming and soothing)
Rose (the great mother, compassion and love)
Flowers (beauty, grace, blessings)
Shells (our body)
A bell, shaker or other sound making tool
Florida water or rose water, or essential oils
String, to wrap our bundles of prayers up into a gift we can offer to the earth. We can either work outside if we have that option, or indoors and place our bundles somewhere outdoors later as an offering.
Shannon Knorr has been teaching rehabilitative Pilates, Yoga and embodiment for almost 2 decades. She has completed a 500 hour advanced yoga training as well as having a degree in Dance/Movement Therapy.