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March 31st, 2004


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06:27 pm - Altars and costs
I'm lying in bed, looking up at my altar. It's nicely done. I can count up the amount of money I spent on it, even.

The tree ran about $120.
The statues, well, four of them, came to about $110.
The other two statues were about $50.
The altar-cloth was free (it's an old dish rag my mother gave me).
The votive candles run about $.75 for all three, and the votive candle holders are about $1.25.
The candles and holders for the deity statues ran about $4 all told.
The incense holder was $4.
The well was a Wal-Mart special: 2 for $.75.
The offering bowls were about $2 for all 8.
The Golden apple was $3 at an after Christmas sale.

The shelving that they're on was probably the most expensive investment. Frist, there were the shelves itself, about $24 for all three.
The brackets were the killers, though. At $7 apiece, they ran almost $60.

So, in grand sum, the altar probably cost about $400, if you add all the expenses and then throw in whatever I paid in tax.

That is, of course, only taking into account this incarnation of the altar, and only what is on it right now. It of course leaves out the house I bought so I could make it permanent, and the paint I bought for the walls to put behind it.

There are cheaper ways to build an altar. There are probably better ways. Of all the people who have built altars, I think I know this better than most. After all, I started out with three bowls and a stick.

So why did I end up spending $400 on this one altar? Why am I already considering a larger, better altar outdoors, and estimating the initial cost at around $250? What on earth would make me so crazy as to do this over again? Isn't one expensive altar enough?

Gods, I don't know. Deep down, I think it just feels right. I love my altar because it shows me my physical love of the deities. It sits in my bedroom, and daily shows that I must be mindful of the deities. It is the first thing I see each morning, and the last thing I see each night. I start my day kneeling before it, and I end my day in the same position.

When I prepare to face my day, I stand before my altar and whisper prayers and thoughts. I sometimes speak my fears or concerns. I remember those who need strength.

When I prepare for bed, I quietly consider the events of the day, again whispering prayers and thoughts of thanksgiving. I discuss my successes and failures, and remember good friends and loved ones.

I suppose what the altar is to me is a place where I can go to be myself, to stand before the Gods as the mortal I am, flawed, imperfect, but willing. It is a place that none intrude to, and where I can go when I need to.

There's nothing in the price of the altar that makes it holy. The number of digits left of the decimal point don't increase it's holy worth by anything, really. Some of the most impressive altars I've ever seen are simple and free, actually. But this is how I felt I needed to build my altar, and that's what's important about it to me.
Current Mood: irritatedirritated
Current Music: "Honey Do", -JB
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[User Picture]
From:rhiannon76
Date:March 31st, 2004 05:07 pm (UTC)
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you're giving me visions of a new kind of home decorating show, all about designing altars on a budget. shrine saavy, perhaps? or maybe trading sacred spaces? i bet hgtv would run it. ;)

in all (well, more) seriousness, i think this newest altar of yours is lovely-- and not because of what its components cost, but because of the work you put into creating it, and how therefore it reflects your personality and practice.
From:ravenlaughing
Date:April 1st, 2004 08:40 am (UTC)
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Trading Sacred Spaces? OMGs, I simply Loooove the idea!
From:vampyrecandy
Date:March 31st, 2004 09:06 pm (UTC)
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I can't imagine having such an elaborate sacred space ... The fact that you put so much effort into it amazes me- that's really, really awesome- if I was your deity I'd be awed, but then I'd want more ;-) ...

Oh, I am making a new comic, you might be in it!
[User Picture]
From:sparkliedragon
Date:March 31st, 2004 09:55 pm (UTC)
(Link)
Hunh. Maybe I'm just so used to seeing all of CedarLight's altars, but that one looks normal. And functional. Nice and neat and functional. Ooh, I'll get pictures of my fledgling one up, just because I have homework to do and I want to procrastinate.

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