Making a Healing Altar

I created an altar recently expressly to convey comfort and courage to a friend valiently doing battle with stage 4 cancer. She’s a Wiccan priestess, and her friends, family and followers are united in prayer to give her strength. If anyone can beat this, she is the one.

I chose the goddess image in consonance with her faith, rising on butterfly wings that symbolize transformation. The three minerals are jade, for good fortune, rainbow obsidian, for the strength of firey elemental energies, and blue lace agate for serenity. The furnishings of the temple reflect the furnishings of her temple-like home.

The materials for the shrine came from last year’s greeting cards, a 2006 calendar, a scrap from Benida Solow’s lace and trim box, and a collection of small treasures and minerals that Tracy Dove gave me a couple of years ago. Tools: small sharp scissors and Aleene’s Tacky Glue (Benida’s hint: you can make extra-viscous glue at home by placing ordinary white glue in the freezer until it reaches the degree of thickness you prefer).

The small, lightweight box is made entirely of handmade paper made with flowers mixed into the pulp. The belt is printed with a Tibetan (or Celtic) knot symbolizing the eternal mystery. I received the box at Christmas time, containing a gift from Tibet Moon shop in Fairfax, California. Since the altar is light and small, my friend is able to take the altar with her when she attends medical appointments.

I signed it on the inside cover in gold ink, and added a postcard with the dancing goddess from the cover of my book Living on the Earth.