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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Family Altars - Your Family Needs a Place to Gather

Wednesday, July 14, 2010
As some of you may know a while back I ran a newsletter on the topic of Building a Stronger and More Spiritual Family. I wanted to share an article from that series since we are coming into the dark half of the year, a time that I feel should be more about family gatherings.

We have talked about many things up to today. About building traditions, about worshiping and praying together. But family needs a place to gather together. I know that many of you are thinking that is what the Home is for, and you would be right. But inside the Home a Spiritual family needs a gathering place for their spiritual purposes.

One of the things that you can use is the Family Altar. A small table that acts as the central location of spirituality in your house. The only thing to remember about the Family Altar is that there are no rules for how one of these should be built or look. They should each be as unique as the family is. But here are some suggestions to start with:

The family Deities should be represented. If you haven't found who those are then you can just have representations of the Goddess and God on there instead.
There should be a representation of the One. The principle that the Goddess and God are the two parts of. If this is not part of your mythos, then you can exclude this.
A spot for the Ancestors and Elders should be reserved as well. You can mark this with a candle or a small lamp and an offering plate. You can also include pictures of some of those that have passed on.
The family should have something to represent it. In FWTI they use the family light, which can be lit to bring the family together. But you could also use a symbol that everyone can touch as they pass by to remind them of the fact that they are connected to the rest of the family.
You may also want to have representations of the four elements as well. Whether you use colored candles or actual physical symbols of them.
Another suggestion is the Family Book of Shadows. Which should be a compilation of rituals and traditions of the family. You can also put photos of each member of the family (ancestors included) and photos of different rituals and trips that the family has taken.
You can also decorate the altar with symbols of each of the seasons and/or Sabbats.

Now as you go ahead with the building of your family altar. Just keep a few things in mind;
Put it where the most traffic is. It does no good if the family is not reminded of it.
Use it. Build your rituals around it. Pray at it. The more that you do these things, the more "spiritually charged" the Family Altar will become.
I have always found that simpler is better. The more on it, the easier it is to knock something over and the less "working" room there is.
Do not worry about getting it "wrong". If it "feels" right then it is "right".

So lets get out there and build our Family Altars. Your family is becoming Stronger and More Spiritual and they need a place to gather in your Home.

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