Greetings! This is the third of five installations updating my spiritual room. In my first post, before talking about the corner of air, I said that you don't really need stuff to practice. I also gave some samples of places where you can find your items for free or cheap! In the second installation about the corner of fire, I discussed the decision making process of setting up my room, including outside involvement from others.
Before I talk about the corner of water, I'd like to very briefly chat about incorporating my religion to other parts of my apartment. And yes, you heard right, I said apartment. I live in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in the suburbs of my city. While we've previously lived in a rental house, we've done the apartment thing before too. Renting is temporary for us as we'd like to have my husband's student loans paid in full before investing in a mortgage. But that means that I have to adapt my religious practices to where I am.
When we practiced in the rental house, I purposefully chose the basement as the circle room because of its large size and its connection to the ground. Today, I live three stories up so the ground is no longer beneath my feet. In fact, two other families are. How does one ground or cast a circle when so high up in the air?
If you'll notice in each update, the candles for each corner hang on the walls. All four walls extend in essence down to the ground. Because of this, we make the "circle" more of a square and consider the walls the edge. During full moons, I feel I have an advantage on the third level. The moon shines brightly and directly through the spiritual room's window. It's really kind of perfect.
However, while my spiritual room is a one-of-a-kind pagan experience, you might not even realize I'm pagan upon entering my apartment. While I'll touch on this subject at a later date with a walk-through of my living space, I want to note two special places that call my religion to light.
The first is my sabbat and esbat altar in the front room
While hardly no one who enters my apartment isn't aware of my religion, I think anyone who does often sees my altar as decorative. I keep this altar in the front room area for a few reasons. For one, it's in direct view of my daily working space. Secondly, when I host sabbat meets, we often have dinner and/or activities in the area between the bar and the front room, typically on a folding table to accommodate everyone. It's also my way of bringing a little paganism to the front room. Eventually, I'd like to have a small altar in each room dedicating each space to its intended purpose.
However, until that happens, my only other altar is currently located on top of my pantry next to the opening of our kitchen.
What's on it often changes by season. Currently, we have a lot of whole spices as well as some oils and honey on there. And boy has my lucky bamboo grown. It's almost as tall as the straw Kitchen Witch doll's head.
In the future, I'd like to install a wall shelf in the entry way for a protective altar, the bathroom for a cleansing altar, and have a small table in the bedroom for a calming, relaxing and peaceful altar.
Now onward to the western corner of my spiritual room!
As I have with the last few posts, let's take a look at the original corner of water.
Quite a change yet again! As with my original set up of the southern corner, I felt like the original western corner had very little in it directly representing the element of water. I wanted to fix that in my updates to this section.
My specific goal was to display some of the items I already owned, such as my cauldron, cork bottles, shells and coconut bowls. I simply had no room originally. All of the wall shelves you see I purchased from a thrift store for maybe a couple dollars a piece. None of them match, but I honestly kind of like that. It lends to the eclectic nature of the room entirely, as well as a representation of my spiritual path.
Because water is representative of intuition and feeling, I store my divination tools here, including my pendulum, my humble collection of tarot cards and my runes.
While I have six oracle or tarot decks, cards are not typically my calling. Many of these have been gifts. Of the six, only two of these did I buy myself. That includes the Fallen Angel Oracle, which inspired me when I touched them. It also includes the Tarot of the Druids. This deck was on my wishlist when I discovered it at Aquarius's Pagan Garage Sale for a mere $3. The deck is obviously small, but I like that! It's incredibly portable. However, since 99% of my friends rely on tarot and oracle cards as their means of divination, I chose a different route.
I prefer to throw runes, specifically Futhark wood runes. The set you see above is a set I hand made myself. I also own a set of wood-burned runes by Urban Crone, and a set of clay runes I also bought from the Pagan Garage Sale.
The corner of water is also where I store my library. It may seem small, but I often swap books out when I feel like I no longer need them. I typically buy my books used if possible to save on money and paper, looking for them on Amazon from respectable sellers.
A few items from the original corner have moved as well. This includes my soapstone crescent moon taper candle holder, which is now located on my kitchen altar because I bought a mortal and pestle of a very similar design. All the candles have been moved to the southern corner. And the bean bags had to be replaced. My poor dog had a terrible UTI when we first moved in. He never, ever goes inside but he started going in the bean bags and covering it up because he was concerned he'd be in trouble. I had the unfortunate experience of finding it when sitting down. They had to be discarded, but are now replaced with a beautiful blanket for sitting that was gifted to me by my husband.
Speaking of my dog, Artemis is the one I associate with the corner of west and the element of water!
Artie is my lovable 5-year-old Maltese Shit Tzu mix (Malshi) - I know only because I had a DNA test done for my birthday just last year! While Hermes was named because we found him in a mail room, Apollo was named after the bright sunny day, Zeus was named for crawling out of a storm drain during a lightning storm and our late Nyx was named for calling out to us at night, Artie was a little more difficult to name. We didn't exactly find Artie, though it feels no less destined. We rescued him from an abusive home. His name comes from his personality: we felt he was a big bouncing ball of white in Nyx's territory. I already wanted to name him Artie anyway, but disliked the name Arthur. So Artemis it was!
This is me and Artie the day I brought him home. I wasn't aware just yet of what he had endured, but I was about to find out.
When we got him, he was matted, malnourished, flea-ridden, bruised and scared of water and scissors. It was everything I could do to give him a bath and cut the mats out of his fur in the first week. He wasn't potty trained either, and someone had left him in a crate for so long that he felt like doing his business in a crate was okay. It took us a year to potty train him. In addition to that, he had poor leash walking skills. One day shortly after we got him, he completely busted a leash to chase after two labs and I had to save him from an oncoming SUV. It left me with some nasty injuries (WARNING: Graphic?):
I realize it seems like I'm spending more time explaining Artie than I have Apollo or Hermes, but I tell you all of this because I want you to understand where he came from. That's who he was, not who he is.
Notice the lack of a leash there? Though we were extremely cautious because I didn't want something happening to him, we took Artie camping last year leash free. I never worried about him running away from me; my bigger concern was nature than his freedom from the leash. Anymore, the leash is a formality because I legally have to have it on him. I believe he'd walk with us on his own given the chance, and he has proved it on numerous occasions such as the one above. I think this is the biggest representation of his change from the dog he once was to the dog he is.
He is now potty trained, flea free, groomed on a regular basis (and apparently so good at it that the groomers often train new recruits on him). He knows all of your basic tricks, like roll over, stay, sit, and shake, but he also knows high five, fist bump, stand, walk, dance, crawl and more! After working with him, I found the amazing dog inside all of the abusive mess he endured. He's so smart, understanding and lovable and happy! Not to mention, his abuse has left very little trace on his personality in how he handles others. He's not a fan of puppies (something about their excitement throws him I think), but he gets along with just about everyone else, especially cats.
This is our late tortie Nyx. Artie was the only one she would ever allow to cuddle her.
The primary reason I feel Artie is water is because of his healing and empathetic nature. When I don't feel well, he's the first one there to snuggle my nauseated stomach or warm my bruised feet. He's definitely got the healing side of water in him. I've never had a dog that comforts me when I'm upset and licks away my tears (we affectionately call it "I eat your sorrow.").
This is his "I need to poop" face.
He's definitely a special dog and I couldn't imagine my life or my spirituality without him. So I leave you today with a picture of Artie in his natural spot: the corner of water.