Altars come in many forms, from dashboard Devi’s, rear mirror angels and saints to shrines on bedroom dressers and elaborate ritual altars. Temples of various faiths maintain their sacred spaces with devotion, incense, symbols, and hope. Altars are wherever you create sacred a sacred space to hold your prayers, gratitude and dreams.
On the eve of the Spring Equinox, why not take your altars outside? It’s what the Goddess would do! Spring equinox festivals such as Beltane and May Day celebrated the returning fertility of the land, animals and crops by decorating bushes, each other, and May poles with ribbons, flowers and sea shells. The veil is thin during equinoxes, and it is rumored that fairies are wont to emerge and play tricks on humans during the spring equinox. So why not build them somewhere lovely to play so that they keep from playing little tricks on you!
For this fun project, you’ll need some seeds or small potted herbs, flowers, or plants of your choice. Gather potting soil, fresh water, crafty knick-knacks such as buttons, recycled materials and little statuaries of fairies, gnomes, mushrooms, etc. I found these miniature garden statues at my local craft store.
- Choose the goddess you’d like to invoke with your altars. As queen of the fairies, the Goddess Diana is a good choice. You could also work with a fertility goddess, such as Venus, Aphrodite, or Oestre, the goddess of rebirth. As you build your altars and watch them grow, pray for abundance, blessings, and grace in every aspect of your life. My daughter is a devotee of Diana, so we chose to create our garden altars in her honor.
- Do a little research on your chosen Patroness. Motherhouse of the Goddess’ “Goddess Portal Pages” are great for this, but you can find wonderful information on the internet—from research, stories, blogs and photographs on your chosen deity. What colors does your goddess like? What flowers and herbs? What animals and symbols seem to surround her? Your research will help you decide the theme of your garden altar. Diana is the goddess of the moon and the wee fair folk (fairies), so we created miniature fairy hollows in leftover flower pots from last spring’s planting.
- Get creative. What kind of garden altar would your goddess like? What kind of space and resources do you have to work with? What would you like to attract into your life this spring? You could glue buttons onto the flower pot, or paint it with bright colors and add an favorite inspirational quote. You could dedicate a flower bed to the project if you have one and plant a plot of spring vegetables to for Ceres, the goddess of the harvest, of create a miniature butterfly garden in honor of the Butterfly Maiden, goddess of transformation. You can even nurture a potted plant, hanging plant or terrarium on a windowsill or sunny table top. You might simply add fresh flowers to your existing altars. All that matters is observing the new life of spring and bringing that freshness and beauty into your spiritual practice.
- We gathered natural materials lie twigs, moss, stones and snail shells from along our neighborhood canal to decorate our fairy pots. What can you find on a nature walk through your local environs?
- We purchased the mini furniture on sale at a local craft store, but you can use old dollhouse furniture or make your own from recycled materials
- We planted packets of mixed wildflower seeds in our pots, and my young daughter has particularly enjoyed watering the soil. She runs out the front door every morning as soon as she wakes up to see how much the plants have grown and squeals with delight at every new sprout, leaf, and flower. It is truly magical to watch dry seeds turn into beautiful flowers!
- Trust your instincts and have fun! Don’t forget to water your new garden altars, and as you do, meditate on what is new, tender, and emerging within yourself. How you can you practice self-care and allow your delicate dreams to blossom?