My spiritual and ritual room has been a labor of love, evolving with my own beliefs and maturation over the years. Before I show you my new spiritual room, I'd like to quickly take a walk down memory lane at previous incarnations of this room, starting all the way back in high school and college with my first altar.
My Spiritual Room: A History
High School and College
My original altar, a solid wood nightstand, was scavenged from someone's curb around fourteen or fifteen years ago. I originally ensured it played the part of a nightstand during the day by filling it with textbooks and having my boombox and phone on top. As I aged, I let it become a bit more like an altar, including candles and my BOS, though still artfully disguised. When I moved out, my husband and I didn't have much room or time for our religions, so we set them aside until...
This was my first real "spiritual room" of sorts. It's still just a few items and primarily storage, but it worked out well for my needs. The room itself was large and had a support beam in the middle that served as the center of all of my circles. This is when I started using lights around the room to symbolize when the circle was open. Eventually, this rental house sold and we had to leave it. When we looked at renting apartments, we specifically chose one with enough room that I could take one for my own.
The second and third incarnations of my spiritual room served as more of an altar room. It was still mostly spiritual and witchy storage, as well as keeping primary altars, such as my ancestor and memory altar. I also kept my plants here as a small garden. But, as most of you know, this apartment was dreadful. I was sick. The pets were sick. Eventually, we left and decided to try renting houses again.
Finally, these awful photos, aside from what you can see in the background of sabbat posts, are the only reminder I have of the spiritual room from the Witchy Cottage. The circle room still mostly serves as an altar room here, though I'm beginning to see hints of it turning into what it is today. I had planned on taking new photos to at least update my blog. However, shortly after we were told the owner had lost his job and needed to move back in, the basement flooded.
We had to quickly pack it to save the furniture and I lost any chance I had to properly document it.
When we moved to Terra Luna, our current rental home, I decided to completely transform my spiritual room. I wanted it to look more cohesive and have a design conducive to ritual. One of the most important parts of ritual for Circle of Fountains, and even in previous circles of mine, has been calling upon the elements.
And so, with that concept, I introduce to you the 2016 ritual room!
|Click the image above to view!|
However, I do have long-term plans to fill this space a little bit. Above the area, the main air duct in the house limits what I can place there. I find that that's rather appropriate for this corner, so I'm not too upset. That being said, I would like to eventually decorate this area with hanging bells and feathers. Until that time...
Air is appropriately decorated with yellows and birds. It also includes a dream catcher my aunt created as she's 1/4th Blackfoot (and I 1/8th).
During ritual, I often place a small white cat figurine at the base of the support beam that represents Hermes, my familiar as pictured above! As a cottage witch, my home and everything in it is so intimately connected that I didn't find it possible to have a spiritual room without referencing my familiars. This is particularly important to me because this room is elementally focused and I associate each of my familiars with one of the four elements. Hermes, our white Siamese, is most certainly air. White with yellow eyes, he's quick, light on his feet, chatty and sassy. The trickster of the group, he's particularly attached to books and altars. He's our lightest-weight cat while being also the largest; somehow, this seems particularly poignant to his being air.
While air is minimally decorated, the other parts of the spiritual room include more symbolism, decor and tools!
Fire's area is a little condensed by the half-bath door and the doorway into the theater, but that simply means I had to build upward! Upward is the perfect direction for fire as that's the exact direction the flames move. This brought in the need for wall shelves and tall storage. Decorating this area was where I began feeling the need for everything to look more cohesive. While I still have many of the items from the previous spiritual room, I mostly kept shelves that were black for this incarnation. Here's what fire looks like now!
... especially when it's decorated with tons of red, yellow and black candles. Of course, these candles are simply on display and only get used if needed for ritual. Instead, as a tribute to fire, I light these candles instead:
Above these candles, you'll find the first wall shelf.
This stores an incense burner, ashes and various herbs in boxes that reference fire.
The decorations for this area's lantern and cloth include a fiery orb covered in red gems and red, glittering butterflies.
As with all corners, the fire corner includes a small figurine referencing my familiar Apollo. Apollo is our youngest, and a little spark of craziness in our household. Black with yellow eyes, he's passionate in everything he does. If he's in a loving mood, he's the sweetest, most attached cuddler you'll ever meet. If he's in playful mood, watch your feet! He zips through the house for hours, sneaks into things he shouldn't and is led entirely by emotion.
Apollo's figurine as the perfect place to set a vial of ashes from a memory letter for my familiar passed - Nyx. Nyx was also associated with fire. She was a feisty, angry ball of hate and loathing, but genuinely loved us and we her. Where Apollo is the passionate, loving side of fire, Nyx was the embodiment of getting burned by the flame. We will always miss her.
Water is the first element that has plenty of space to work with. However, I wanted to avoid too many altars against one wall, so I opted for minimal wall shelves. My trip to Florida when we first moved into this house couldn't have come at a better time, as it gave me a chance to college a multitude of items to decorate this area. I was, of course, careful to avoid any small beachy shops as they tend to have cruel ways of capturing multiple starfish and killing them. Instead, many of my items are more representative, including...
These starfish! These are actually not real starfish but gorgeous holiday ornaments that perfectly fit the watery theme. The orb is hung by twine and includes shells, sand and a rolled up parchment letter.
This starfish was a gift from my aunt while I was down in Florida.
To the left of this shelf is a clear orb of water hanging from the ceiling, but it somehow didn't make it into the pictures!
This is the second water wall shelf hanging to the left of the lantern. This one includes my chalice and cauldron.
It also holds my figurine of Artemis, my dog. I associate my Maltese/Shih Tzu with water because of how emotionally intuitive he is. If I'm upset, Artie comes running and "eats my sorrow" (licks up my tears). I've never had a dog so attached to me, so lovable and happy and people oriented. This social little pup is obsessed with Circle Sundays. The minute the first circle member shows up, he's practically bounding with joy. All he wants is for everyone to be healthy and happy, and he will do anything his little heart can handle to make that happen. Somehow, I associate his long, flowing hair with water. Plus, he absolutely loves everything about snow, so that's a plus.
This is probably my favorite part of the room. Maybe it's because I'm earth-oriented, because I'm a Virgo or because I've always associated my path with nature, but I couldn't wait to put this part together. Earth has a nice, cozy corner in the north situated between water's wall and the stone fire place. I did my best to take advantage of this corner as much as possible. But first, let's start with the ornaments that decorate the lantern and cloth:
Faux acorns made out of paper and yarn, and faux moss! I love the way this looks.
For this area, I chose wall shelves that ground downward rather than build up in boxes. These shelves house a myriad of earthy features.
There are several vials of herbs in this area.
I also keep my corn-shaped jars and vials of soil over here. You can see to the right of these that I've been hanging dried flowers behind glass as well. I actually have a few more of these to add!
Fur, skulls and pine cones round out the wall shelves. In fact, this fur is chinchilla fur, and was a gift from a Witchy Words reader! Thank you, Celeste!
This corner is also home to all of my besoms, my mushroom-decorated teapot and my wheat-shaped candle holder.
On the right side of the lantern, I have a small shelf with a few items, including both of my corn dolls and my owl lantern. Of course, there are tones of pine cones everywhere.
And, as always, here's my little ode to my familiar Zeus, who's conveniently playing with a wolf tooth necklace - also a gift from that same reader. Beyond Zeus's coloring as a brown-tinted tabby with green eyes, he's the most grounded, patient, practical cat I've ever met. He's a level-headed worrywart and likely the leader of our pets if there was one. When Apollo was young, Zeus played "Mister Mom" and taught him all the ways of the household. He's both structured and loving, and is likely the reason that all of our pets get along so well. Never mind that Zeus is a boulder of a Maine Coon mix at a solid 17 lbs.
The left shelve has both water and fire elements where the right self has water and earth. I can't really file the shelves as one certain element because each represent two. These shelves also serve as storage for stones, herbs and jewelry, as well as all of my pagan and witchcraft books.
The new spiritual room has some new features that haven't been available before! The first of these is the fireplace:
The fireplace has been a fantastic addition because we can utilize it during ritual. In fact, this was the first year that my circle was able to burn our Yule logs during ritual!
How exciting is that!
When not in use, it serves as a great altar place for various candles.
And the area just to the right of the fireplace is perfect for the Yule tree during that time of the year. So we can even have a tree specifically for the spiritual room now!
I have to thank Vera, one of the local pagan community members, for gifting us this gorgeous crescent wreath as a housewarming gift. It's real, so I don't know how long it will last, but I'm positively in love with it! What a perfect way to symbolize that this is the spiritual room for our new home, Terra Luna.
This little space to the far right of the fireplace is being used as a "divination corner." It has its own table and chairs for those who want to read and not sit on the floor. It also has a hutch storage for all of my divination tools.
Particularly when we do esbats and have the Novices with us, we consider this area part of the "circle," even if it does seem removed. The protected area ends at the stairway and encompasses the entire room.
That concludes my updated spiritual room for 2016! This room has been almost fifteen years in the making and has transformed in so many amazing and unexpected ways. I leave you with a picture of my familiars lounging in the room, as they often do.
Thank you for reading!