By E. E. Warren
© 2020 E. E. Warren. All rights reserved.
We'll be inundated with a spate of articles about resolutions this year. Rather than an article on losing your COVID 20, or reforming your binge watching, or reading all those books on your Kindle list (all good ideas), how about an idea that might change things with a little magic?
Meet Louie-baba-ooey, my altar rock.
Altar rock, not pet rock, though he does prefer male pronouns.
We all choose our tools based on what calls to us. Otherwise, we would’ve left them wherever we found them, right? I found Louie at Turning Wheel in Baltimore. I loved the feel, the energy - the vibe I got when I picked him up. He fits in the palm of my hand perfectly, and I love his colors. I had no idea what he would become. He went from being a pretty bauble that sat on my altar to one of my most important tools.
Louie has been present at every magical working I’ve done since I got him ten years ago. He
long since stopped sitting on my altar. He’s carried with me.
As witchy types, we deal in intention and symbolic shorthand every day. It’s how magic is
underpinned. It’s not just words we say, or like a recipe: when you put all these items in a jar,
now light the candle and say these words...voila!...magic happens. Instead, when we place
objects together, our brain sees them as symbols, representative of ideas that we interpret and assign meaning to. That’s where the magic happens. It’s the meaning we have assigned, whether we know we did it or not, plus the intention we have for a particular outcome, plus the energy raised by our emotions/surroundings/actions that turns our thoughts into reality.
Now what does ALL THAT have to do with Louie?
I realized about nine years ago that Louie represented a ‘shorthand’ in my mind. Some items on my altar changed. Louie was a constant, and I realized that he had been there for all of it. To my mind, he wasn’t just ON my altar - he represented my altar. Once I realized that, I began to carry him everywhere. If I need to do magic on the go....I have my portable altar, Louie, with me. He represents all the magic I’ve done...will ever do....and all of the gooey, lovely power inherent in that.
He’s a calm place in the storm, like an altar/sacred space should be. He has the vibe he always had from the first moment he sat in my palm, plus the vibe he has accrued over years of standing in for my altar when I’m nowhere near it. It’s nice to know you can carry that feeling with you. It doesn’t need to be a rock, though.
One person I know does the same thing, only with a cute Tibetan prayer box necklace, called a gau. It sits on her altar, or she carries it in her bag, or better still, wears it; it does double-duty because it carries spells in it sometimes, too. Several friends made small travel altars out of Altoid tins. One of those tins has little rocks and charms in it, the other has a picture of Hermes, a birthday candle, matches, an incense cone, and some rosemary, all in a tiny bag.
Use what works for you - what has meaning for you. It’s not necessary to buy something, unless you want to; it’s fine to use what you have on hand, or repurpose something. It should be small and unobtrusive, easily carried with you or worn.
Whatever you choose, dedicate or consecrate it however you would any tool. Have it present at your workings, leave it on your altar when you can, and take it with you (or wear it) when you’re out and about. For me, normally I work in an office. They don’t tend to notice Louie if he’s sitting on my desk.
Having something like Louie can serve another purpose, as well. If you’re living life at what
seems like a hundred miles an hour, and it feels like you’re never home, and you barely have
time for any kind of daily practice, it can be a little lifeline to your home altar. How much would you love a way to connect with your deity, if you have one, or simply find a little peace in the midst of your day, wherever you are? Beyond that, many folks, due to the challenges of the past year, have found themselves adjusting to living situations where they may not currently have an altar at all right now, or are so disheartened by what they've been through that they find themselves lacking any desire at all to practice - all of which can be discouraging. If you’re at odds with either your schedule, your living arrangements, or even your emotions/motivation - a simple stand in for a regular altar might be just what you need to connect you to a manageable daily practice.
While some might argue that using a tool in this way is unorthodox, or not sacred enough...here’s this: sometimes the best tool is the one you have with you, that gets used.
Ultimately, that’s your mind and intention...and whatever helps you connect to the innate power we not only have, but are isn’t only a good thing - it’s a game changer. After the dumpster fire that 2020 was for most, starting off the year carrying something with you that helps anchor you to your inherent power isn’t just totally awesome, it’s a wee-bit bad-ass. I don’t know about you, but I can use some of that!
Happy New Year!