An Altar In A House Of Worship To Honor Our Ancestors…
The word Altar comes from the Latin Altārium, meaning – high and also to the Latin Adolere, which means – to ritually burn or sacrifice. Nowadays, the Altar is the place for non-sacrificial religious rites such as communion or weddings, and is a metaphor for offerings. They do not have to be big and fancy; they can be so subtle that even the people you live with can be unaware of their existence. The purpose of an Altar is an area of focus. Here is a small area within your home which serves as your outward spiritual focus. It reminds us that there is far more to life than the everyday striving for survival and success. It is a place where the small objects that are sacred and meaningful to us can be gathered together and treated with respect.
ALTARS = An elevated place or structure, as a mound or platform, at which religious rites are performed or on which sacrifices are offered to Ancestors. A usually raised structure or place on which sacrifices are offered or incense is burned in worship —often used figuratively to describe a thing given great or undue precedence or value especially at the cost of something else sacrificed his family life on the Altar of career advancement.
Altars could be natural objects or man-made constructs. Four materials are recorded as being used in Altars: Stone – Earth – Metal & Brick. An Altar could stand alone, or it was located in the courtyard of a shrine. Altars were places where the divine and human worlds interacted. Altars were places of exchange, communication, and influence. Sacrifices were the primary medium of exchange in altar interactions & the essential act of external worship. The act of sacrifice moved the offering from the profane to the sacred, from the visible to the invisible world.
Altars can be placed anywhere, on top of a dresser, a window sill or small table. Simply create an empty space and slowly, carefully, place upon it the items which are special to you. Maybe a crystal, a cloth of inspiring color, flowers, a candle, or whatever feels appropriate. Now you have created your own personal sacred space. When you light your candle and gaze upon your Altar, it will help you to remember who you are and why we are here. Altars serve us as a great source of strength and focus for the Light.
In the fast pace of today’s world there is a growing need to reconnect to the sacred elements of life. An Altar can fulfill this need through being a powerful visible representation of the spiritual energy that surrounds and sustains us. It serves as a kind of reminder of our connection to spiritual realms.
Creating and using an Altar can be an effective means of forging a connection to higher powers. This can help infuse the most ordinary aspects of life with a divine sense of meaning. An Altar dedicated to increasing your spiritual awareness can become an energetic point of convergence for symbols that propel the human spirit forward. It can be used as a place to pray and ask for divine guidance, a place to listen to messages from the spiritual realm and a place to give thanks for blessings received.
Creating an Altar is a sacred way to call spiritual energies into your home. It reinforces your intention to invite more peace, serenity, and love into your space. It can be used for prayer, meditation, chanting, or just a place of sheer beauty and connection to the Divine. Once you create your Altar, make a daily ritual to meditate or pray near it. Use the sacred energy you’ve created to remind you of your highest spiritual intentions as you honor Mother Nature – Connect with the energy of Air – Fire – Earth – Water. Sometimes the theme for your Altar will come to you in an unexpected way.
Building Altars For Personal Transformation = Creating an Altar with the intention for transformation is a powerful way to keep your focus on your intentions. We make altars all of the time. Some we create on purpose, some out of routine habit. The photos of your family on your hearth is an altar as such as the extensive altars inside of a place of worship. “An Altar can simply reflect your spiritual truth back to you or it can be a working altar which holds your intention and prayers”. An Altar for transformation might address losing weight, healing a breakup or divorce, calling in more financial prosperity, a new relationship, a new project, or even the archetypal energy you want to invite into your life.
The very foundation of these spiritual teachings is the Law of Personal Responsibility, which states in part that we are responsible for all our experiences. By the laws that we establish with our thoughts, acts, and words, we are the creators of all our experiences. In other words, our experiences in life are reflecting back to us where we are in consciousness. In addition, great emphasis is placed upon understanding how our minds work and how we may more effectively use our minds in a way that it has been designed to be used. The teachings of this philosophy help us discern between the thoughts of our mind and the gentle promptings of our soul.
These spiritual teachings are filled with inspirational quotes, affirmations, spiritual sayings, and spiritual exercises. The spiritual light of the Living Light Philosophy illumines a path to a conscious awareness of our own soul, our own divinity, but it is up to us to make the effort to walk upon that path.
THE SPEAKING POWER OF AN ALTAR:
Life and death lie in the tongue. There are people who have the authority to speak over others. An instance is the authority of parents to either speak blessing or curse over their children. There are two ways of speaking over someone: Benediction and Malediction. The first means Blessing and the second means Curse. There is undoubtedly, power in speaking. Speaking does invoke or incite what is said, but there is something that gives spiritual essence to what is being spoken, and that is an Altar.
Altars give spiritual voice to every speaking. Through blood offered on an altar, spiritual entities affect physical beings. It speaks life for us over and above every malediction that any other Altar speaks against us. But we connect this altar through sacrifice. Altar is a place of sacrifice. Not all sacrifices are of blood but every sacrifice whether bloody or not, has a life! Quality time spent with Ancestors can be the Altar through which you connect the everlasting Altar. The underline is that you need to sacrifice on an altar that will connect you to Ancestor’s Altar.
The Power of a Personal Altar: Men who build and oil their Altars, never get deterred by, nor become victims of, the frictions of life. An Altar is a place not necessarily physical set apart for interaction with the spiritual. It is a place where our lives are powered. Our speed in life depends on the power of our Altar. If we don’t raise our own Altar, we’ll become a victim of another man’s altar. In a typical traditional African setting, each child has an Altar built for him by his parents. It is on this Altar that prayers, incantations, and most importantly, sacrifices are made for him until he gets to a reasonable age, when he’s left with the responsibility of running his Altar.
Quite evidently, those families that take their Altars seriously, lead more notable lives and stand out in the community. This Altar concept is also seen in most other religions. This therefore, lends credence to the fact that one’s personal Altar is the taproot of his spiritual life. The deeper this taproot, the taller your life grows; the more resilient you get, the more you boom and flourish, and the more relevant you are to your world – just like the palm tree. Little wonder the bible says “the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree.” The palm tree has an extremely deep tap root.
Finally, we learnt that it is sacrifice that makes an Altar. Without sacrifices, an Altar is powerless. There’s no access to the spiritual that costs nothing! Our Altar is the place we first dedicate our offerings, and our seeds to Ancestors. May the holy spirit of Ifa opens our eyes to this spiritual truth.
Reference Sources: Wikipedia = Awo Falokun = Google Search/Photo