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Altar and Sacred Spaces

Altar and Sacred Spaces

Many places have a Altar or Sacred Space to hold energies, manifest and celebrate. An altar is a table or platform for the presentation of religious offerings, for sacrifices, or for other ritualistic purposes. Altars are found at shrines, in houses and religious places and other places of worship.

The first time the word altar is mentioned and recorded in the Hebrew Bible is that it was erected by Noah, although it does not specify that there was an altar. From the very beginning of the Celebration of the Breaking of Bread there were those who prepared for the celebration, assisted at the table and put things back in order afterwards.

However, Altars probably originated with the belief that objects or places (e.g., a tree or spring) were inhabited by spirits or deities worthy of prayers or gifts. Sacrifice to deities required a structure on which the victim could be killed and blood channelled off or flesh burned.

They are used particularly in paganism, Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, modern paganism, and in certain Islamic communities around Caucasia and Asia Minor. Many historical-medieval faiths also made use of them, including the Roman, Greek, and Norse religions.

In many traditions, photos of teachers, mentors, loved ones, or other inspirations are placed on the altar. Add rocks, crystals, gems, flowers, fruit, jewelry, totem animals, singing bowls, or anything that is special and meaningful for you.
A  Altar can have the elements such as Fire, Water, Wind, Air and Spirit represented. Earth is represented by the crop: The soul is fed by the various earthly aromas. Placing fruit or favorite family dishes on the altar provides nourishment for the beloved souls.
Wind is represented by a moving object: Paper- Mache is commonly utilized to represent the echoes of the wind.
Water is placed in a container for the soul to quench its thirst after the long awaited journey to the altar. Water is also used for the means of purification.
Fire is represented by a wax candle: Each lit candle represents a loving soul, and an extra one is placed for the forgotten soul.
Copal – Incense burned to commemorate Pre-Columbian history.
The Cempasuchitl-Marigold known as “The flower of the dead” blossoms in the valleys of Mexico during the months of October and November with a bright yellow color and is central to altar decorating. This flower aids the spirits to wander back.
Pictures are widely used in honor of the individual you are paying homage to.
The Skull – The common symbol of the holiday is the skull which is celebrated and represented by decorative masks called calacas. In addition sugar skulls are also tastefully created and inscribed with the names of both the honored and living recipients on the forehead as a means to remind us of our own mortality.
Altars can be just a reminder to give thanks or to remember a loved one past or present. They can be offerings to Gods or Goddesses and other things that matter to you and your loved ones. Such a beautiful way to celebrate, love and remember why we are here on earth.

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