BY LISA MARIE BASILE
If you keep an altar in your home, it may be a place where you naturally gravitate after work to ground yourself and get all that commute-work-capitalism off of you. It might be a place where you do spellwork. Or it might not be an altar for spellcraft at all; it may simply exist as a place where you keep symbols—reminders—of your strength, vision, and creativity, especially if feeling strong or wise or creative or happy isn't always easy (and when is it?).
For me, it's a little bit of each column—a place for me to be surrounded by my personal power objects in order to meditate and cast my intentions, and also a place where I can build a sort of mood board of my self at any given moment. I like to gather pictures of myself, crystals (these are from Myths of Creation) that I use as symbols for love and healing (for example), objects that represent my power—shells, seawater, perfumes—and other elemental bits (stones, flowers) from places that have symbolic power to me (like I always include a stone I got from a fisherman's village in Italy, a trip that was life-defining for me).
At my altar, I always write notes to myself in the present, mostly for things I need or desire or hope for currently. I admit I turn to the altar in moments of desperation (like, say, when I feel particularly troubled, anxious or sick), but I frequently try to do this with each new moon as a way to sort of get all those jumbled thoughts out of my head, down onto paper (a huge part of my craft), and into the universe where they can manifest. This new moon, I asked for strength and clarity in dealing with my chronic illness.
It's also really liberating and fun to create something beautiful made up entirely of your own vision—a creative and cathartic practice that, in itself, is meditative and reflective of your unique selfhood.
Would you like to build an altar? Here's what you'll need:
- Objects that represent you (a book, a piece of your jewelry a piece of fabric sprayed with your perfume)
- A candle to burn as you focus on your intention
- Oils (I use Moon Goddess Magick Apothecary oils). I tend to dab a bit on my wrists and on my power objects)
- Elemental objects to strengthen your intentions (a bowl of water, dirt, sand, shells)
- A note, handwritten, with your intention or goal
- A mirror for self-gazing and reflection
- A photograph of you, if you have one or would like to use one
LISA MARIE BASILE is a poet, essayist and editor living in NYC. She studied English and psychology as an undergraduate at Pace University and received a Masters in writing from NYC’s The New School. She's the founding editor-in- chief of Luna Luna Magazine (an online magazine & community dedicated to literature, witchcraft, the arts, and women). She is the author of a few books of poetry: Apocryphal, war/lock, Triste, and Andalucia. Her book NYMPHOLEPSY (co-authored with Alyssa Morhardt-Goldstein) will be published by Inside the Castle in November 2018 and was a finalist in the 2017 Tarpaulin Sky Book Awards. She is working on her first novella, to be released by Clash Books in 2019. Her poetry can be heard narrating the Into The Veil event video by Atlas Obscura. Her work has been nominated for the Best American Experimental Writing anthology and for several Pushcart Prizes. Her work has appeared in the Cambridge Writers Workshop anthology and in Best Small Fictions 2015, selected by Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Robert Olen Butler. Lisa Marie has been published in or syndicated by Refinery 29, Greatist, Bust, Bustle, Marie Claire, The Establishment, Hello Giggles, The Gloss, Ravishly, The Huffington Post, Cosmopolitan, and more. Work is forthcoming in the New York Times, Narrartively and more. FOLLOW HER ON TWITTER & INSTAGRAM.