I grew up Catholic, so I’ve had some serious altar baggage to unpack.
And even after years of unpacking and even more years of standing on the soapbox of “There are no rules in spirituality”, I still avoided making my own altars.
My excuses sounded like:
I don’t have a special enough place in my house for it.
I haven’t found the right objects to put on it yet.
I don’t know the right things to do or say, so that it actually ‘works’.
When I imagine the version of myself who thought these thoughts and actually believed them, I wanna give her a love tap (anyone else remember your parents referring to “love taps”?).
There I was, preaching about how everyone should create whatever kind of spiritual life they wanted, while I was sheepishly avoiding something my heart was clearly calling for.
And then, at long last, it came.
The first altar I ever built was flanked by a pineapple on one side and 3-day old peonies squished into a narrow champagne flute on the other.
Maybe there was also one of those plastic souvenir cups you get from classy nighttime establishments, shaped like the Eiffel Tower.
Maybe it was stuffed with mardi gras beads. Maybe.
The whole thing felt slightly ridiculous and 1000% perfect.
I sat in front of my altar, lit a stick of incense, and played the first song that came up when I searched for the word ‘abundance’. When the song finished playing, I said a short prayer.
And that was it. The whole thing happened in less than 5 minutes.
My first altar ritual experience.
How should you get started? How should you begin “being spiritual” or returning to and reigniting your spiritual center?
Start reading the book. Buy the animal spirits card deck and pick a card. Sing the song. Go to a drum circle and bang a drum. Or let someone else bang the drum and notice what your hips do. Just start.
It doesn’t matter what you do. It doesn’t matter whether the words you say or the steps you take are ‘right’.
Because there’s no such thing as ‘right’.
There is only your intention.
Is your heart there for communion? Is your mind open to holy transmission? Are your eyes focused on SEEing?
If the answer is yes, then your words are perfect. Your rituals are ordained. Your requests are being heard.
Don’t delay because you haven’t had a session with that healer yet, or bought the proper yoga pants or read the fancy books.
Take 5 minutes. Or the entire weekend. But just begin.
The ‘thing’ you need might be in your fridge.
Or tucked away at the back of your underwear drawer.
Or sitting in your backyard.
Or it might just be your own voice. Your own hands.
You don’t have to go on a pilgrimmage to some distant place or have a guy in sweaty robes wipe oil on your forehead in order for you to experience the Sacred, right here, right now.
Just decide. Just begin.
My pineapple and I are rootin’ for ya.