Your Altar: Creating a Sacred Space for Prayer and Meditation / Sandra Kynes. – Llewellyn Publications, c2007. – 197 p.
Many people who want to dedicate a shrine to Isis or another goddess are not sure how to go about it. They worry there may be standards or injunctions pertaining to correctness of organization and contents, and they want to get it right.
This lovely book anticipates and answers most of those questions. It discusses the purpose and concept of altars from an interfaith perspective. Its goal is to inspire the imagination, and to encourage creativity and personal adaptations. The author explores the topic so sensitively, and presents such a variety of altar designs and concepts, that the devotee will feel encouraged to confidently design an altar perfect for them.
Both new and more experienced devotees will be intrigued by the results of the author’s survey of home altars.
The altar layouts in this book are based on numerical associations that evoke different energy dynamics and qualities, adding another dimension to our experience of the altar. The designs are based on number of parts or components, from 1 to 9, making up the altar.
The first chapter, “Altar Work,” provides general background and introduces the author’s experiences with altars. It includes a fascinating discussion of the dimensions of meaning and energy awakened by associations with numbers, sacred space, and form. The purposes of altars are also discussed, as well as a variety of ways to set them up. Meditating at the altar is also covered.
The next 9 chapters are each devoted to altars consisting of that number of parts. Each chapter includes an exploration of the traditional and mystical significance of that number. Included are examples of how an altar of that number of parts expresses itself, and how to balance its energy, make use of alternative matrices, etc. There are abundant diagrams, information tables, and lists of attributes and correspondences for each number.
There are 2 useful appendixes. The first contains a history of altars. The second contains information on how to prepare crystals for use. There is a good-sized bibliography for continued study, and an index. The work is well referenced and documented.