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My Altar Addiction

I think I may have an altar addiction! I mean that in a joking way because, obviously, having altars is important to my spiritual practice--but sometimes it feels like a lot, like today.

Generally, I try and clean my entire shrine out once a year, give it a good dusting and vacuuming and throw away anything old or no longer useful. When I say shrine, I'm describing this small walk-in closet in our guest bedroom which is where all my altars are located (pictured). So, I started cleaning Friday and just finished today, Sunday--3 days later! To be fair, I wasn't cleaning the entire time and kept getting interrupted. Maybe some people would say I'm crazy or have OCD, but I think keeping your altars or any dedicated spiritual space clean is important. I think it shows how you view your spiritual life in general. Also, as a polytheist, I think it shows how you value the relationships you have with the spirits. It's a show of respect to keep things clean and tidy. Besides, if I'm asking for the help of the spirits, the least I can do is provide them a nice place to reside.

People may also say I'm crazy for having so many altars. How many, you ask? Well, let's see--there's 1) my main magickal altar on which I honor the Pagan sabbats, the Goddess and which holds personal power objects; 2) an altar for the Fae, the land spirits and house spirits; 3) an altar honoring the Cherokee, Catawba and other original human inhabitants of this land where I now live; 4) my ancestor altar and then, finally, altars for 2 Vodou lwa. Yeah, so that was 6--yes, I say was because I've added another! While I cleaned, I rearranged and made room for a 7th altar for another Vodou lwa.

Now, I don't use each and every altar every single day, but I have them because they give me a place where I can do my spiritual work, but they also remind me of what I consider important in my practice. Do I need all of them? Honestly, no, and there have been times when I've had far fewer altars. But since I have a nice shrine space, I've decided--why not?

The latest altar I added is for the Ghede, the Vodou spirits of the dead. I feel them calling to work with me again, and I think it's a good thing since I'll start my hospital chaplain residency later this summer. I'll be dealing with of lot of loss, grief and death, so I know I'll need to lean on the Ghede for strength and inspiration.

So there you have it--but I suppose it could be worse. I could be addicted to something like collecting Beanie Babies! Oh, the horror!

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