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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Sigyn and Daisies + worry dolls

Recently I have written about how I associate Sigyn with Roses, and also about making a Daisy tincture for Inner Child healing work. Others have experienced Sigyn as a Goddess for helping heal the Inner Child, and I believe one way She does so is through Daisies.

On the day my Daisy tincture post went live I had a parcel arrive – a handmade worry doll. I went on the site originally because a friend had liked her tarot and ribbon-reading page on Facebook and it piqued my curiosity. While browsing the online shop I saw the worry doll and felt such a strong ‘Sigyn’ vibe that I bought her. Pink, pretty, girly, flowery things often (but don’t always) mean ‘Sigyn’ to me. There’s a side to Her (that others have written about too) that is almost like this beautiful, innocent, sweet, open-hearted young girl. And that part of Her is the one I associate with the pink, girly, flowery stuff. Things I used to actively avoid, but the last year or so I’ve been more drawn to.

When the worry doll arrived (on the afternoon the Daisy tincture post went live) I saw she came with a little card:

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The worry doll’s name is Daisy! I didn’t even notice she had a name on the listing, and yet I felt so strongly that this little doll was for Sigyn that I bought her.

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Summer Solstice oracle reading

I recently started a blog for weekly & monthly oracle readings, and ones for the New and Full Moons. It’s my own ‘style’ of reading, which won’t be for everyone, but I’m enjoying opening up to an old love in a new way. I tend to focus on personal growth, self-care and encouragement of individuality, so if you’re interested in these kinds of things you might like to take a look. If not that’s fine too!

It’s a new thing for me to share openly but it’s not new to me. It’s something I’ve loved doing since I bought my first set of cards around 12 years ago. I spent around four years in a spiritual development group where, amongst other things, we would practice card readings for each other. Unfortunately the group disbanded, and as my health deteriorated I wasn’t able to try out any others.
The last year I’ve been working with my various cards more and more, and earlier this year I kept feeling the urge to do weekly readings. I pushed it away but finally I couldn’t ignore it any longer and I set up a blog.

I may be changing the name in the near future. As I build up confidence I’m starting to be more open about parts of myself I’ve hidden away. This is one small part of the process of reclaiming my Self.

Anyway, here is my Summer Solstice reading: https://thepenguinstidepool.wordpress.com/2018/06/20/solstice-oracle-reading-for-21st-june-2018/

Wishing you well for the Solstice,
Michelle

Roses for Sigyn

Occasionally I will pick flowers and leave them out for Sigyn. At the moment one of our Roses has lovely peachy-pink blooms, so I decided to pick a couple and gift them to Her. I associate Roses with Sigyn because they’re linked to the heart and the heart chakra. Being a Goddess of immense compassion and love this symbolism seems very apt. The colours of these Roses speaks very much to that softness in Sigyn, balanced with the compassion and deep love… but Roses also have thorns, and as with others who know this Goddess, I have seen a side to Her that is fiercely protective.

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The day after I picked and presented them to Her the Roses started to wilt. I put them in a mesh tray in the airing cupboard so I can dry the petals for magical use.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

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

Reconnecting with Fire

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Over the Autumn, Winter and into Spring we had an open fire every night. Lighting and tending to the fire brought me closer to the element of Fire itself, and to Deities associated (and I associate) with Fire. Not only that but it brought me into a better understanding of the hearthfire, and how important tending that would be. The expression ‘hearth and home’ became something that had more meaning to me than it had before.

Where we lived previously we had a log burner, and I loved seeing the fire through the glass window, but I didn’t realise that even that was keeping Fire ‘contained’ and ‘removed’ somehow. When we moved to where we’re currently living and the seasons turned, having an open fire was a kind of revelation. Here Fire is not shut away, it’s a part of the room, and feels more a part of the home. Our open fire became the hearth fire, the home-fire. Even my parents said how much of a difference it made, how it made the house feel different; how coming together by the fire and tending to it as a family made the house feel more homely.

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Individual Practice

I am very much in support of a practice that caters to a person’s individuality. While tradition has its place it can, at times, place constraints on how people practice, and how they approach and work with Deities. Part of my aim here is to encourage people to discover individual levels of practice, and to provide ideas for different ways to connect. It’s something I’ve been doing since the beginning, though I didn’t realise it until very recently. It is something I believe in strongly, and while I respect traditional practitioners, there is more encouragement needed for people on non-traditional pathways.

Our connection to Deity and/or Spirit is unique, and that can often be downplayed. I’ve seen more being written about what constitutes ‘right practice’, but ultimately I believe in doing what is right for you and the way the Gods/Spirits work with you as the person you are. Your gifts, talents and strengths are unique to you, and your work and connection with Deity will reflect that.

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Devotional Tip: reminders

If you have a chronic illness that affects the memory, or even if you’re a busy person who gets caught up in other things easily, a little reminder can be a valuable tool for devotions. It’s not that devotions and our Deities aren’t important to us, but sometimes the mind (or memory) just doesn’t cooperate.

As a way to help myself I have made a little sign to leave out for Saturdays or Sundays – my usual offerings days – and other times I know I want to do special prayers and offerings, or to give thanks.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018

Equinox 2018 poem

Happy Equinox, everyone. May Winter’s pall make way for Spring’s more inviting shawl.

As it looked through the haze
The Sun saw it then;
The seed was a seed no more,
But with Spring’s eyes
It had shed its disguise
And was coming at last
Into bloom.
Out at last
From Winter’s gloom.

(c) Michelle G, Northern Tamarisk, 2018