I should say, though, that I don't really think of my space as an altar. I don't do magickal workings with it, or leave offerings on it. It doesn't really fit the definition of a shrine, either. I tend to think of it as my "Special Space". I put special things on it, and when I put things on it, they become special. But for the purposes of this blog post, I'll continue calling it an altar.
Here is what my altar looked like pre-refresh:
It's gotten a bit cluttered and dusty since I set it up just over a year ago. The fabric flower had fallen apart when it got too hot from the candle underneath. (Don't ever do that, by the way!) I put some pyrite crystals on there intending to use them in a work and haven't gotten around to it yet. Looking at them always reminded me of that.
In the spirit of the assignment, I tried to make sure I chose every item with thought -- from the statuettes to the cloth. Here is what it looks like now:
I replaced the Tao Te Ching cards with a statue of Lao Tzu. I placed it on an upturned cup which symbolises a mountain. When I first set up the altar, I would take a card and read it every morning. Now I have an app on my phone though, I'd stopped doing that. I prefer this reminder in the form of the statuette instead. The other major change is that I made a small shelf out of a box wrapped in fabric, to put the smaller items on. The feathers are all gathered together in a goblet, and most of the nature things are collected together on the right. I collected the pinecone when I visited Buda House, and the shells when I went on a trip to the beach. They both remind me of how I overcame my anxiety to go on these little adventures on my own.
Refreshing my altar was a really lovely experience. It was great to get rid of the dust and re-think the design. In a way, it was almost like re-thinking what's important to me. Ideally, I'd like to do it at the start of every season, and decorate it with different themes every time.