Chattering Mind

Chattering Mind

Do We Need Altars for Spiritual Practice?

Lots of fabulous mail on my recent post about prayer beads and home altars. Basically, most readers contentedly catch sacred moments when they can.

Krista White meditates and prays in the “woods, washing dishes, waiting in line at the school to pick up my daughter,” she says, adding: “This doesn’t feel wrong to me as I don’t want to get too caught up in ritual and form, thus losing the essence of what feels most important–my connection to the divine.”


Stacey-Robin H. Johnson found the maintenance of a large home altar daunting: “I meditate and pray on the train in the morning.”

Priscilla Hudson believes it is wonderful to “allow the mundane to be sacred.”

Wilhelmenia Bell writes: “Prayer is a good way to relax in a higher divine power than your own being, knowing that there is always a place you can go and allow God to enter in.”

“God wants us to come to him just as we are, without any pretenses, conditions, idols, etc. I do prayerfully meditate upon His Word, but I do so freely with any breath that I take, whether it’s in the grocery store, walking my dogs, etc…” writes Kathryn.

Here are some new links for you to ponder: an article by Lama Surya Das on how home altars, while not mandatory, can be helpful, and here’s a Washington Post story about the variety of home sanctuaries out there. Then here‘s what appears to be a wonderful book about women and their sacred spaces, which defines altars so broadly that they can be collections of treasured photos and objects on a dresser. Now that, I do have. I’ll take some pictures and post them for you. Send me images of your sacred objects and spaces, or just describe them!

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Stacey-Robin H. Johnson

posted August 21, 2006 at 7:39 pm

Thanks CM! I’ve been thinking about my defunct altar this weekend, prompted by dreams of my deceased grandparents. I’m wondering if attempting this on a smaller more manageable scale would be timely right now. I’m not on the fence, so much as approaching it carefully and curiously. I’d love to hear more from other about their home-based spiritual practices.>

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