Holy days are upon us in many traditions giving us an opportunity to arrange our meditation altar to reflect the holidays we celebrate.
Basic altar arrangement
Set up your altar so you can face it when meditating. I like to have a candle take center stage so that I can practice candle gazing or tratak at times - particularly in the evening when it is near sunset or already night.
During most of the year I prefer an ivory candle, but with the rich colors of Fall I choose cinnamon and orange moving into the deeper shade of red for my Christmas and Winter Solstice Candle.
And with the new calendar year, January 1st, I choose a white candle to match the snow - as I live above the 51st latitude and get to enjoy a few blizzards.
The light of the candle reminds me that warmth and enlightened attitudes nurture relationships.
Next, if you like scent, place an incense holder alongside your candle. I like to burn sticks of sandalwood, but that is my personal preference. The wafting smoke of incense reminds me of the transient state of attachment to earthly possessions - yes, they can all go up in smoke.
To depict a particular holiday or celebration I decorate the altar with flowers, plants or leaves. At Christmas time I use a few choice springs of holly with berries as I have a few trees in my garden. But with the rich abundance of nature's offerings year round there is always something appropriate to choose from my meditation garden.
If you have particular photos that inspire loving thoughts, add a few to your altar to bring a smile to your face and kindness to mind. What better gift to yourself than uplifting verses or photos to remind of those you love and to set a loving mood for meditation and after.
If you have other objects you find special or sacred, create enough space to display them. I have a quartz crystal a friend brought back to me from a pilgrimage to northern India that reminds me to be my clearest and best self - to best reflect the light of my eternal roots in Self.
Enjoy creating your holiday altar - make it reflect what uplifts you and gives you a boost of daily inspiration!
Interfaith Prayers and Meditations
Children's Prayers of Thanksgiving
Winter Solstice Meditation
Article by Susan Kramer
For offsite reading
Meditation for Teens and Adults
More than 70 offerings, from guided meditation techniques to on-the-go stress relief and relationship meditations interspersed with verse, and a section of special occasion prayers. 114 pages.
Meditation for all Kids
Sitting, walking, dance and group circle meditations, along with positive affirmations, verses and benefits of meditation for kids of all ages and abilities in a 100 page book with illustrations.