As we visit the various places and pockets of the natural world around us, altars abound! In reality, the designs of nature constantly arrange themselves into spectacles without any human intervention whatsoever.
For instance, do we need to wonder, “Who built this stream?” or “Who ordered these raindrops today?”
In other words, many of the world’s natural wonders had nothing “done” to them, they simply “are”.
This is a wise reminder for ourselves during times where it feels as though more “doing” is the solution to our restlessness, our dissatisfaction, or an uneasy sense of separation.
Perhaps the practice is to remind ourselves that we are human “be-ings”, not human “do-ings”.
In nature, we can invite any space to serve as an altar place.
This poem can be our invitation to calm and center, gathering our essence.
Especially as the Autumn season approaches us, we can visit areas of the city reserved for the integrity of nature, noticing the fallen leaves representing season change.
Check out these resources to locate such places.
RESOURCE: A complete listing a parks managed by the Seattle Parks and Recreation Departmenthttps://www.seattle.gov/parks/find/parks/parks-a-d
RESOURCE: King County Park Finder (click on the map)
RESOURCE: There are also many walking labyrinths in and around the Seattle area. Checkout this guide to locating labyrinths in Washington State: https://www.greaterseattleonthecheap.com/walking-labyrinths-in-washington-state/
Read more on walking labyrinths from an earlier Wellness Wednesday post.
“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” ― Frances Hodgson Burnett,
Have you ever tried creating a Nature Mandala??
Nature Mandalas are patterned arrangements of items, generally circular in shape, and are made up of leaves, flowers, stones, feathers, sticks, or anything else you are able to ethically gather up in nature (including back yards and parks!).
Basically, they are an display made of things found outdoors 😛
Let’s return, one last time, to our working definition of an altar…
“An altar is a physical object or set of objects placed in a purposeful way, and in a purposeful place, that have spiritual significance to you.”
In other words, Nature Mandalas are yet another form of an altar! One that lives within the natural rhythm of an impermanent environment.
The spirit of creating such an altar space can be uncovered by unpacking the word “Mandala”
Watch this video for inspiration and a demonstration of how easily Nature Mandalas can be created!
Perhaps the poem offered at the start of this post is a bit of a paradox to the title of our three-part series on Altars…
“Altar the World” vs. the poem’s opening line, “Do not try to save the world.”
It could be that the message underlying both passages is that our World (the planet and society) as it is today, simply is… as it is!
There are a host of obvious challenges in our culture, economy, and environment — one couldn’t doubt that there are problems in need of solutions.
Where does such grandiose change begin? What’s the center? Where does it stem from?
What about the soul-utions?
To alter our own perspective, attending to peace, honoring the fragility of our life and our surroundings… spreading the healing outward.
Potentially, that is the altar-ation every being craves…
My deepest intention in offering this series on Altars is to broaden the perspective on what counts as sacred, meaningful, and beautiful.
You can find altars in religious buildings, or you can carve one upon the exterior of a festive gourd this season.
The recognition is what matters most.
Thank you 🙏🍂🍁