Jax has written about ancestor worship and her ancestor altar. I talk to my ancestors often, especially this year, but I have yet to set up an altar. I’m in a nice big house now, which I have all to myself, and I have the “real estate” to dedicate space for my altar in a way that will speak to my inner faith and my inner fashionista. I’m trying to decide where in the house to put it. Should I put it somewhere central? Or somewhere easy to access? Some place Feng Shui-ish? Or some place that will fit all the stuff I want to include? Really, I need a place that will satisfy all of these things. Now if I could just find it.
A few weeks ago, Hjortronsylt* described his altar in a guest post on TPP, “It enjoys a natural place in our daily life and during most gatherings.” I really like that description and have been leaning towards a central location so my altar can also feel naturally placed. I have two spots in mind — each using a different definition of “central.” One central location I have in mind is central to the house, but not central to how I live in or use the house. It wouldn’t be a “natural place in…daily life.” The place I’m considering that’s easy to access IS central to my daily life, but wouldn’t garner the attention during gatherings I think it deserves. This is where I keep getting stymied. Since this is my first ancestor altar (and since I hope to be in this house for a few years), I want to do it right.
I sort of know what I want to include on the altar: photographs, gifts from kith and kin, family-inspired personal treasures, etc. Both “central” spaces have enough wall and floor space for this parade of items. Although, as my mother pointed out last week (in her comment), all of my fashion choices are inspired by family. I suppose the entire house (because of the decor), and everything I own is a testament to my ancestors and their influence on me. Maybe I don’t need an altar, after all! Maybe I’m living in one and have my entire adult life! 😉
But, I really want an ancestor altar. I haven’t been systematic about connecting with them since I started practicing ancestor veneration. I’d like to add a bit more “practice” to my veneration, if you know what I mean. And so I continue to think about where my altar should go.
What do you think realm? Should I choose place-central, where the altar will be “well attended” during social gatherings? Or should I choose use-central, where the altar will be “well attended” in my daily life? I haven’t found much in the way of guidance from the Interwebs, so please share your thoughts!
* Hjortronsylt is a part of our local Heathen fellowship. Our gatherings are usually at his home. His Heathen name is pronounced like [HZHOR tron siült] and it means “Cloudberry Jam.” Heathens are so cool!
+ Featured image, ancestor or gods altar in Tet, North Vietnamese home.