MOOD | IMAGINATIVE
My favorite part of making candles is dreaming up new things. Remember what it was like to imagine things? And then make them? As children we made things out of mud or cardboard or twigs. To play is to open up our minds. Like a bottomless treasure box, what’s inside is limitless.
Yule is coming! Instead of thinking of this time of year as a time to do things a certain way, I hope you think of it instead as a moment to explore new, magical ways of celebrating. I’m including a little list here for imagining a magical altar for Yule. Go on now—play!
All my love, always.
THE YULE ALTAR
Wherever you set it, an altar is an intimate expression of your experience with this celebration. There are no rules, only suggestions based on those who have come before us. Begin with what you have on hand or what you can find outdoors and build from there.
• A cloth of deep red, white, or dark green, perhaps with a bit of shimmer. Think of the sparkle of new snow in moonlight, the warm reds of pomegranates and cranberries, or all the many shades of green found in cedar, spruce, and pine.
• Items to represent all the elements—earth, air, fire, water. Some soil, a feather, your candle, and a small bowl of water are simple selections. You may have many other ways of representing the elements. Maybe you have a globe of our Earth in your home, an aquarium, or a potted evergreen to set at the center of your tableau.
• Pinecones, branches of pine and cedar. Leaves of oak and holly. Mistletoe can be suspended above your altar or placed in a vase with other greens. A bowl of pomegranates or oranges studded with cloves can be enjoyed for many weeks.
• Winter and sun symbols of icicles, snowflakes, golden discs, and bells!
• Strings of popcorn, handmade paper chains, wool-felted animals or ornaments.
• Symbolic spices and seeds—frankincense, star anise, cinnamon, juniper.
• Stones of garnet, azurite, clear quartz, and moss agate.
• Candles of all kinds and sizes to be lit and enjoyed each night.
• Personal spiritual items such as deities, amulets, talismans, or images.
• Something to represent both the feminine and masculine.
While altars are usually formed around items from nature, it can simply be a starting point from which you can begin your take-off! There are magical lights to be found, iridescent stones, mirrored objects, secondhand or antique finds, family heirlooms, old toys and trinkets.
Above all, make it a delight to gather items and create your altar. Simple is lovely. As is over-the-top elaborate. Let it be who you are and have a good time!
MOOD | STILL
Remember when you were a child and watched things? Maybe you stared at rain streaks on a car window, or the patterns made by wheels as they turned. You were once fully absorbed—and still.
I feel calm when I am absorbed by something. Even if my body is moving, I can be still at the center. To be in that place is easier at home. Here is a ritual for blessing your space. It is a good starting place. May you rest in a deep stillness.
All my love, always.
BLESSING YOUR SPACE
To feel at home. We know it when our body inexplicably eases. The heart then opens to a light shining as a warm summer sun. When at last we realize it is in our power to create a space that is truly home, we need no longer search for it. It is in our hands. As it has always been.
First, notice your body and breath as you take in the energy of your space. Make a mental note or a written list of what appears to pull energy from you, rather than feed you with fresh enthusiasm. If you have just an hour or an afternoon, make a single room or area feel better.
Gently clean and care for your space as though it were your body. In a manner of speaking, it is. Just as a snail carries its home, so do we—energetically. As you look upon your belongings, connect with the positive sensations they evoke—thrill, comfort, soothing, stimulation, calm, expansiveness, memory, grounding. Think about how these sensations feed your mind, body, and heart.
If you are not filled up by the sensations your possessions evoke, consider removing them from your space. Dust, sweep, wash. Know that your efforts are a practice of devotion which will feed and fulfill you as you enact change within your space and bless it by your actions.
You may wish to recite this affirmation or a prayer of your own as you clean and bless your space:
Place plays its part in the vital and common.
At a pinpoint on a map devotion is love
when hands wash across curves of the adored tabletop.
Great spirits live and breathe a caress first whispered house,
then resounded, sacred home.