I missed this challenge, and since working with the divine is very important to me, I decided to focus on this challenge first.
I’ve kept an altar for Brighid for a while now…
but it always seems to end up a cluttered mess. I don’t really have a working witchcraft altar because of space restrictions, but the top of my dresser has been reserved for Her for at least a year now. An altar for a deity is a bit different than a working altar for witchcraft or an ancestor altar. My altar for Brighid looks very plain, but that’s the way I like it. Everything has a purpose and reason for being there and nothing extra is taking up space.
When my altar gets messy, so does my mind…
and I find this connection actually has a foundation in psychology. There have been a few studies done that link clutter and mental health, and that doesn’t even begin to surprise me.
The findings add to a growing body of evidence that clutter can negatively impact mental well-being, particularly among women. Clutter can also induce a physiological response, including increased levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. (source)
I know that when my room is cluttered I have trouble focusing on work – I work from home and my desk is in my room, so if my room is a mess so is my mind. The same goes for my altar. If my altar space is messy, then I can’t even begin to focus on my devotion and daily practices. There’s also the issue of it being out of site, out of mind…because my dresser is in my closet…but that’s a different topic
Today, I decided to clean it up a bit…
and it still needs to be cleansed, but at least right now it isn’t cluttered. I’ve got some pictures to show you of the before and after (please don’t judge the mess…) and I like to keep everything real. My altar isn’t fancy. It isn’t some Instagram-worthy photo that will go viral. It is real. It is raw. And it is mine.
Since it’s in the closet, a lot of things get piled on it, moved around, and just generally put there because there isn’t a lot of space anywhere else. I want to get some more shelves for my room, but I have a cat and she likes to climb and I’m afraid of what would happen if I had shelves with candles on them
I felt much better after cleaning up my altar and lighting some candles. The most important things on this altar for me and my honor of Brighid are candles of any kind (although I’ve found she tends to like either soft scents like vanilla or warm scents like cinnamon apple) and the crystal bowl. This crystal bowl gets filled with filtered water as an offering regularly. She would prefer whisky, but we’ve got that worked out because I can’t leave whisky out in the open like that.
The red fairy is on my altar as a representation of the Othercrowd. I know that’s not what they look like, but They get a representation because it is said that the Tuatha de Danaan are also sidhe, but that’s not generally agreed upon.
I also have my wooden pentacle I keep on my altar. This was a gift for my birthday a few years ago and it stays either on my altar or hanging on the wall above my altar. I want to get a triquetra one day, but I just haven’t. I also have my mini crystal ball (that I have yet to learn how to use) and my oil diffuser.
I have some crystals put away in a box and I keep my cauldron and mortar and pestle out, too.
Everything on this altar has a purpose and is practical, and that’s also a connection with Brighid. As a Goddess of the Forge, Healing Wells, and Poetry, I find that She is all things practical. If it serves no purpose, there’s no point in keeping it around and taking up space.
I’m glad I encountered the catch-up week when I did because it’s inspiring me to find a new place for my altar – or some things on my altar – that are not hidden away in a closet. This will make it easier for daily worship, devotion, and meditation.