Originally I had been opposed to a prayer/meditation altar but over a few months, I realized I could really benefit from the centering that comes from having visual representations and elements to guide my thoughts. The items I have put on my altar give me a focus on the aspects that I feel are most important to me right now--what I'm working on, where I want to go, what I value. I realized in my altar I wanted to have a visual image of the Goddess and God. I really love the concept of the triple goddess because as I ponder a divine woman, she's not just a mother, not just a grandmother, but she has a complete knowledge and understanding and encompasses all the aspects of womanhood. In my Mormon.org profile, I describe how I see the Goddess.
I wanted to find something to visually depicted that. I searched for images using the term "triple goddess" and the artwork pictured below is the first that showed up. I like it more than the other pieces of goddess art that I've seen because it shows the dimensions of womanhood so well. The intensity of maidenhood, the softness and passion of motherhood and the calm wisdom of the wise woman all show how women are capable of all of those things at the same time. The wise woman has been all of those things and does not cease to be what she once was and she matures and progresses through the stages of wisdom.
|Available at Deseret Book|
At first I had my eyes set on this representation of the Triple Goddess but I'm not at a point where I can spend that much on such a beautiful statue. Perhaps the time will come that I will replace both of frugal choices with the more expensive representations that I first considered. Besides, I'd love to find a bronze statue of the First Vision rather than marble or plaster.
I printed out both of pieces of artwork shown first and framed them. I placed them on a carved wood table that had belonged to my great grandmother. Above the table, I have a metal work tree that to me symbolizes the tree of life and the progression to Godhood, Heavenly Mother, my ancestors and family tree.
|The Tree of Life above my prayer table|
Between the framed art, I felt prompted to put a wedding photo of my husband and I. It reminds me of the good that can be found in the temple endowment--that women are promised to become queens, priestesses, and goddesses (I basically ignore the "to your husbands" part because I reject the notion that women need an intermediary to relate to their Mother and Father. I just cannot believe that principle comes from God). To me, our wedding photo reminds me of our ability to progress and possess all the knowledge, power and ability of our Father and Mother. That's my goal in this life: to maintain the focus of where I want to go. It is my hope and my faith that together my husband and I can attain those blessings.
|Our sealing at the Salt Lake Temple|
But that leads into what is basically a need of mine: to remember that I am out of balanced when I think too much of the afterlife and the future. I need to find ways to be present in the hear and now. That's where Buddhist mindfulness provides me important lessons. I've also found in paganism, the ability to connect with the earth and value my time on it. I have an advent wreath placed in front of my framed pictures. The advent wreath is bronze and shaped with Celtic knots which connects to my Irish and Scottish heritage. I also decided to put in the colored candles with associate with the pagan earth elements (earth, air, water, fire and in the center spirit). I also have candles that are associated with the chakras (click on learn about more chakras and a pop-up page will come up) because I find focusing on which part of my seems out of balance is really helping in finding that balance. I've been focusing in the abstract spiritual world for so long that I need some concrete aids to help ground me.
|This advent wreath is available from Terra Sancta Guild|
Last thing on there is my aromatherapy diffuser. I turn that on with essential oils in it based on the needs at the time. Sometimes it for emotional stability, balance or comfort (lavender, rose or jasmine) but most often lately its been medicinal to help me get over the viruses and infections floating through the house. It would be more typical to use incense but I find I need the cooling water vapor to comfort me. I'm such a fiery personality that adding more fire is not a good idea and I'll be honest, I find incense smoke irritating to my lungs. The cool water vapor is so cleansing and healing, I much prefer it.
The table is really small so I kneel in front it using a small stool. Its actually a breastfeeding stool but I find its perfect to sit on. Its like using a yoga block to sit on one's feet and I find its the most comfortable position for me that I can sit in for long periods. Kneeling the Christian way just never worked for me without causing cramps and discomfort after a while which resulting in my prayers being cut off or less focused. Being able to relax into prayer and meditation goes a long way to having that time be sacred, meaningful and productive.
|With the stool for kneeling|