Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 03

Not everyone has space for a large altar setup, and if you have to share the space with others, if you’re visiting (or have visitors), or if you’re on the move, having an elaborate setup isn’t always possible. In this series I’m going to be sharing little ideas and photos to inspire you for your own devotional space. Use them as general inspiration, adapting them to suit your needs, the items you own, and your Deities.

They’re highly portable, and you can put them in a pouch for when you’re on the move. If you have guests they shouldn’t freak them out too much, or you can quickly put them away for the duration of their visit. If you’re away from home they’re easy to pop into a draw while you’re not using the room.

This week I’m talking about symbolism. Items of a symbolic nature draw on the myths and associations of a Deity to add a more personalised setup. Animals, different forms a Deity takes, items they use or are known for, elements connected to Them, and items representing Their nature can all be drawn on. Below I give some personal examples so you can gain some inspiration for your own sacred space.

For Loki I made a mini Snaptun Stone. Not only is this one of the few depictions we have of Him, but it represents His connection to fire, and reminds us of the story of how His lips were sewn shut by Brokk the Dwarf. The Fool’s Gold is a play on his modern nickname of Trickster, and the mythological parallels between Loki and other Trickster figures. In the words of J.R.R.Tolkien, Loki teaches us that, “Not all that glitters is gold.” Finally, the fox is another modern association with Loki, but due to their reputation for being wily, sly, sneaky but intelligent opportunists I really feel they are a good fit for Himself. This fox pendant is one I bought on Etsy from TheNatureJourneyist.

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For Sigyn we have the eponymous bowl. It is made of Moss Agate, and I have written before about the connection I feel Sigyn has to this stone. I also have some little paper and wire Roses. Roses speak of love and the heart chakra; both attributes associated with Sigyn in Her role as a Goddess of devotion and compassion. The Rose Quartz heart I have for similar reasons. I also have a dove because there is something about the ‘pure’ and ‘good’ symbolism of doves that I associate with this Beloved Goddess. There’s also a strong energy of Hope around Sigyn, and I believe the dove represents that too. There’s a purity and goodness in Her nature, and I personally have also found her not only to love birds, but to also have strong connections to them.

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The final example I have is for Hella, Jormungand and Fenrir. All are pretty obvious if you know about Their symbolism and mythology, but at the same time they are effective. The drinks coaster has Medieval inspired wolf decoration, the beaded lariat is very snakelike, and the skull represents Hella’s Underworld and death connections perfectly.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

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Minimalist, Small-space & Travel Altar Ideas – 02

Not everyone has space for a large altar setup, and if you have to share the space with others, if you’re visiting (or have visitors), or if you’re on the move, having an elaborate setup isn’t always possible. In this series I’m going to be sharing little ideas and photos to inspire you for your own devotional space. Use them as general inspiration, adapting them to suit your needs, the items you own, and your Deities.

They’re highly portable, and you can put them in a pouch for when you’re on the move. If you have guests they shouldn’t freak them out too much, or you can quickly put them away for the duration of their visit. If you’re away from home they’re easy to pop into a draw while you’re not using the room.

This week I’m talking about jewellery. Pendants and brooches are multi-purpose, and can be used as decorative items as well as worn. Pick pieces rich in the symbolism associated with a particular Deity or pantheon. This ties in the personal aspect, and means that even if you don’t have much space for your altar, or it needs to be discreet, then you can still have a powerful energy present.

There are plenty of options with jewellery as to how you can use them. You can wear them and few will guess they’re a devotional piece. You can hang them from a hook, a pole, a picture rail or on a Deity statue. You can turn them into a little display. You can turn them into a keyring. They’re easy to pop onto a nightstand at a hotel or guest bedroom, and in the morning you’ll be wearing them again.

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With brooches you can be a bit more creative. As well as wearing them you can attach them to things you can’t with other pieces of jewellery. Want to encourage dreams of said Deity? Attach the brooch to your pillow. Want to be sneaky or playful? Add a brooch dedicated to Khepera (or another insect or ‘climbing’ Deity) to your curtains. You can also pin them to bags, scarves, cloaks, coats or wall hangings. Because of the pin on the back you may be able to add them as a detachable element on the end of prayer beads.

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(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Sigyn & Moss Agate

When sorting through my hoard of spiritual information I came across some notes I’d taken from a magazine article a number of years ago about the uses of crystals in the home. Imagine my surprise when I came across the following:
Kitchen: Prevent accidents – Moss Agate is highly protective and stabilises the fiery energy associated with cookers
 … also associated with maternal love.
What better stone to connect with Sigyn? She stabilises Loki’s fiery energy and devotes herself to his care when he is imprisoned and bound, and she is a mother of two sons. Now this is where things get either strange or synchronous, depending on your personal beliefs: back in April I was trawling ebay and came across a small Moss Agate bowl, which I thought would be perfect as a devotional gift for Sigyn. I didn’t even think about the stone it was made of, just the bowl itself, which is one of the central symbols of her story.

Sigyn Moss Agate
Why I didn’t think to look up the properties of Moss Agate escapes me, as usually I research these kinds of things straight away. To rectify this I have now done a bit of research and thought I would share my findings.

Moss Agate is a stabilising stone, and helps to bring peace to those who experience mood swings or those with a lot of emotional drama in their lives. ‘No matter how difficult those circumstances may be, Moss Agate gives insight into the reason behind them.’¹ If you think about how much Sigyn went through not only with Loki, but losing one of her sons to become Loki’s fetters and the other to a curse, these properties seem very appropriate.
Moss Agate is also beneficial for people convalescing after an illness, or in recovery from addiction.² Its energy is said to be supportive, and what else is Sigyn but supportive? She married Loki, obviously knowing his character, and she stayed with him throughout his ordeal in the cave.

‘It is a stone of new beginnings and release from blockages or spiritual fetters’¹ – One of Sigyn’s heiti is ‘incantation fetter’, and she stays with Loki through all the time he is bound, until his escape from his fetters at Ragnarok. Following on from this, Moss Agate is also said to encourage you to try one more time, ‘inspiring with new ideas after a period of stagnation.’ Sigyn never seems to give up, even after the binding of her husband and the loss of her children. It’s a stone of endurance and persistence, but also of optimism.

Moss Agate is also associated with plants and agriculture, a possible connection for those who believe Sigyn may have Vanir ancestry, or a link to nature. It was used in Persia to help crops grow, ‘as a good example of sympathetic magick,’³ due to the plant-like appearance of the inclusions in the stone. It also helps to open up awareness to the devas and Nature Spirits.

¹ Crystal Bible vol 1, page 48
² The Book of Stones, page 11
³ Crystals: Healing and Folklore, page 159

Sources:
Crystal Bible vol 1 – Judy Hall
The Book of Stones – Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian
Crystals: Healing and Folklore – David Rankine
Notes from an article called ‘Crystal Palace’ in ‘Spirit & Destiny’ magazine – unfortunately I didn’t write down the article’s author, or the issue number.

Why Amethyst For Isis?

Amethyst is a fairly traditional crystal to use in connection with Isis, but most times the reason behind it is not explained. Isis is often referred to as ‘Great of Magic’, and even succeeded in tricking the great god Ra into giving her his secret name; a source of power. She is also a goddess of healing, restoring life to her husband Osiris’s body long enough for her to conceive their child, Horus. In modern Pagan and Wiccan mythos she has also become the symbol of the divine matriarch, psychic initiation and a symbol of the moon. She is also considered part of a holy triad alongside the resurrected Osiris and their son Horus.

Amethyst is widely touted for its psychic, protective and magical properties. It is also a facilitator for furthering magical and arcane knowledge, as well as being an all-round healer. Amethyst is known as a stone that can regenerate the energy of depleted crystals and, ‘acts as a barrier against lower energies,’¹ as Isis protected her infant son from the threat of his uncle, Set. So there you have it, some of the reasons why Amethyst and Isis are such a good match.

Amethyst is relatively cheap in comparison to a lot of the newer and rarer crystals and is widely available; a perfect addition to your Isis toolkit.

¹ The Book of Stones, page 29

Sources: – The Crystal Bible, vol. 1 – Judy Hall

-The Colour Guide to Crystal Healing

– J.S. Stuart -The Book of Stones – Robert Simmons & Naisha Ahsian