In my old residence, I had altars in every room – a special place of blessings, set aside for the spirits and the Gods. I recently moved and many of the altars were packed up and set aside for redeployment in my new home. I had set up an altar for my Lares and this was the first altar I had set up in my new place.
It was interesting that while I still had a sense of my old Lares – my old household spirits – the whole Lares phenomenon felt keenly different. I spent a number of days trying to identify the difference and it finally struck me: the Lares that I was sensing in my new place were a combination of some of the old from my last place and some of the new, from the new home. This house has been in the same family for a hundred years so some of the spirits here are pretty well settled. I believe one or more of the Lares from my old place came along, but the sense I have is that the main spirit stayed behind, connected to the site and not necessarily linked to me. I guess this happens with such things. The new combination of Lares also feels protective, but in a more subtle way.
My new Lares altar has many of the components of the old one, yet differently arranged, and perhaps that made a difference. It is one of the funny things about moving – nothing ever seems to come back together in the same way.
I was speaking with a friend the other day and they said to me “Why don’t you set up some small places of solace and peace like you used to have?” I pondered it for several days and decided to set up some altars, not quite like my old ones, but similar enough. I set up an Ancestor Altar in the kitchen with the requisite offering vessel with offerings of alcohol and fire with a carving of the Earth Mother and a picture of my grandmother. It is in a quiet place in the kitchen and it radiates solace and peace.
In another room, I set up a small altar to Cernunnos. I have a wooden carved image of Cernunnos and I surrounded him with stones, a leaf, an image of a leaf, an ADF membership card signed by Fox, my ogham, an image of the Sun, and a globe which has the constellations on it. Land, sea, and sky are represented.
I decided to use some liminal spaces to create another small space of solace and peace. I found two images of the green man, a moss agate sphere on a small stand, and a small green obelisk. I put this in a corner of the stair case, right under the window shade, in a window that faces east. First light every day touches these green men and bless this liminal space that everyone walks by. To date, no one has noticed this altar, not even the cat, ever on patrol. I consider it a stealth altar.
I guess, at the end of the day, when one creates altars of solace and peace, the area surrounding them become places of solace and peace. I look forward to finding more places to honour the divinities in my home and in my world.
I really, really like that phrase – oases of solace and peace. Beautiful. I have them dotted about my home as well – Hestia in the kitchen, Ancestors on the mantel, Zeus and Hera together in our bedroom (for the Hieros Gamos), Quan Yin, a sort of informal Aiki spot in the living room (when I have cleared more space in my practice area I will establish a proper kamidana)… and a small herm where the driveway meets the street. Plus the large flat altar stone that was rescued from the site of another house being constructed in the neighborhood and had to be moved up the street by handtrucks.