I have little altars everywhere. This morning I started snapping pictures of these collections of magic. Each contribution marks a time in my life that has presented me with clarity, a connection to the earth, or profound gratitude.
In the heart of our home, at the crossing of the four communal living spaces, lies our nature altar. Presiding over this collection is a lovely creature with feathers in her hair and a harvest in her jug. She was given to me by a family friend, shortly after the birth of Big B. I thanked him, secretly thinking that her porcelain features wouldn't last a week in our newly childproofed home. I put her here, simply for un-touchability, until I could decide what to do with her. The gravity of her gracefulness pulled these objects in, one by one. Some recent editions to this altar hold special magic for me. The ball of red yarn is something I am most honored to be the keeper of; it has traveled with me to eight Mother Blessings, with two more approaching. The silver item that resembles a candlestick is actually a monaural, or Pinard horn. It was given to me by a foremother of modern American midwifery, who used it to hear the hearts of babies in the bellies of women in Russia. And added to the collection from the New Moon Circle just last night is the amethyst in Buddha's little lotus flower. Other altars reinforce my connection with my children, and with their births. This homage is situated directly behind my desk. It fosters creativity for me, reflective of the honor it has been to help create two amazing little people. In this altar are birth goddess prints from my friend The Visionary, an image of my mother carrying my sister and me, and stones and gifts from Papa, Big B and my dear friends at my Mother Blessing for little b.At that Blessing, my own birth altar was created with gifts and blessings from the women in my circle. This incredible display gave me strength during my labor: I faced this altar as I birthed little b, right in this very room.A smaller birth altar has found its way to the top of our piano, where little hands cannot get burned by open flames. Each time a friend is in labor, we light a candle for her journey, and to welcome the new baby. There is usually a bit of ju-ju that accompanies this candle. What began as the welcome for one baby has stayed, and morphed into welcomes for many others. Sweet Papa gave me this tiger-eye laughing Buddha for Mother's Day a few years ago, and I felt like it needed to travel with me. Several other special objects have followed suit. Most of these were found on beach days: sea glass, a special shell, sand dollars. The stones were given to me by Big B, with requests for their placement here. And tucked behind that shell is a piece of rutilated quartz from a New Moon Circle at Rose's house long ago. These items all bring a bit of magic into our daily travels. A smaller travel altar hangs from our mirror, made of fun, bright, playful items that remind us to laugh and adapt to whatever the day's journey brings.Big B is a thoughtful benefactor to all of the altars in our home, and has gathered a small collection of his own. Among the objects of his affection are his three laughing Buddhas, given to him by his cousins, who share his fondness for them. His altar also holds two signed childrens' books, his first broken board from Tae Kwon Do, a special marble he bought with his own money, a snowglobe from Mama, and a piece of petrified wood from Papa. I thank Mama Bird for reminding me of my affinity toward these collections at last night's New Moon Circle, where I set up another familiar altar. It is only after having photographed and described these groupings of magical things that I realize that each tiny item has found its way to exactly the right place. Sort of like we have."An altar in our life, alters our life." --H.H. Swami Tejomayananda