Making Offerings at the Mind’s Altar
Let’s face it, we are all extremely busy. Gone are the days where, after working a full time job, you could come home to maybe some light house work and a book. Now we’re always on a computer or phone and usually the screen is showing us something that will, undoubtedly, effect work the next day. For instance, as I write this article I am thinking about the homework I have to finish before my 10am appointment tomorrow, how much work I want to do on my thesis paper, what classes I need/want to take next semester and about a dozen other things related to work/school/physical therapy. So how is it that I manage to make offerings to the gods every day? Just a hint if you answer planning ahead and scheduling, you are so very wrong (ha! scheduling!). No, some days I don’t make it to any of my physical altars, though it is preferred. On those days I escape to the altar in my mind.
Having a mental altar is awesome; it doesn’t need to be cleaned, I’m never missing my lighter and is completely customizable whatever the occasion. However, it does not replace have a “brick and mortar” (and pestle) altar. What it does do is allow you to carry your worship with you without the need for a “pocket altar” and let’s you make offerings when they are needed, not just when you can get home.
For example, Wednesdays are very hectic for me. My day starts at 6:30 when Lacy gets up to head to work and it ends usually about 10pm when I get home. I’m typically out the door before I am awake enough to summon the energy for morning ritual and I get home with the sole intention of crawling in bed with a book for thirty minutes before I pass out; thus on many Wednesdays the physical altar gets left behind and the Mental Altar gets used. I have a break in my classes around lunch time and it’s typically devoted to stuffing my face while doing last minute homework. During this time I take a few minutes to meditate and follow (loosely) the steps involved in the Core Order of Ritual (COoR): First I center, this comes first mostly because this is a mental exercise. Typically I combine my centering with purification rite of taking nine deep breaths. Next I picture my altar, decorated for the occasion. Yesterday, I was asking for strength and wisdom so the altar was dedicated to Lugh and Brighid and the altar contained the things reminiscent of both them and my need. I remember the other kindred as well; the land spirits all around me and the honored dead in the other worlds. I said my prayers and offered only thanks. Doing all of this in five minutes, I came to and went about my day but without losing that feeling that I had done my little part in helping to maintain order, in my life at least.
What do you think? Is keeping an altar in your mind a good practice? Do you have your own ways of keeping up with offerings on those crazy days?