Altar Your Perception

“I thank my ancestors for doing all they could to get me to this day.

I thank my spirit guides and guardians for their guidance and protection.

I thank my matron and patron deities for their blessings.

I thank the runes for their magic and mystery.

And I thank the Universe for allowing me to live in light and love.”

That’s the beginning of my daily devotionals that I deliver in front of my altar. As part of my spiritual path, I’ve cast aside and adopted different parts of so-called New Age spirituality. Altars are thousands of years old, yet they’ve made a resurgence with neopaganistic and Wiccan practices, and can now be lumped in with New Age hoodoo. I can’t get behind the whole “Mercury in retrograde” thing, it’s hard for me to take seriously anyone who says “Namaste”, but an altar...an altar feels very right to me and my life has changed since I started beginning my days in front of one.

Like I said, I’ve cast aside a lot of New Age spirituality but find my altar one of the most important parts of my spiritual practice. An altar is really any space that contains items of power that have meaning to you where you make some sort of spiritual dialogue with your higher powers, whether it’s just a few quick words or, in some extreme examples like the Aztec culture, blood sacrifices. Most people have altars in their home but don’t even realize it. Stands with family pictures, even bathroom sinks where they start their day.

My altar is a shelf about chest-high, high enough up so my cats can’t really jump on it. On the wall behind my altar I have pictures of ancestors, a framed picture of the first 8 four leaf clovers I found, a picture of my family crest, and more. On the altar is a collection of stones and crystals, my palo santo smudge, twigs & pine cones, statuary, my bag of runes, and a lot more that all hold special meaning for me.

I begin every devotional at my altar by smudging my altar, then myself, from foot to head. I have a crystal that was given to me by Brunswick Springs, which I hold in my left hand. With my right hand, I take a selenite wand and chant and inscribe runes over the center of my altar. During this process, I’m channeling energy from my left-hand crystal, through the selenite wand and into my altar. I then say the words above, giving thanks to all the spiritual partners, my ancestors, my guides, my deities, that make up my path, and ultimately the Universe in which we all exist.

From there, I set intention for my day. “I will walk through this day with courage, nobility, honor, truth, wisdom, strength, power, compassion, and love...and I will persevere through all that is set before me.”

I then pull the rune that will see me through the day.

This happens every day, and while I’m away from home for weekends or vacations away, I’ll always chant the words above, as well as my rune ritual. It’s become an integral part of my day and helps me set intention to walk through my day.

When I do rune readings for people, I’ll have clients that are in more need of a spiritual outlet than others. I think that most people can benefit from a spiritual outlet like an altar, just some more than others. For these people that I feel need a spiritual medicine of sorts, I suggest setting up an altar, and it’s a super easy thing to do. Set up a space where you’ll have some privacy, put some items on the space that mean something to you, whether from nature or your past or both, and spend at least 5 minutes of your day giving thanks and setting intention for your day.

It will help you persevere through all that’s set before you.

Josh Simonds