For some, particularly ladies, the favorite way for staying in tune with Nature is through the Moon. Others tune in primarily on the eight holy days. There is another really effective way to deepen the connection. That is through the elements.
Summer is fire season. If it appeals to you, you may wish to have a seasonal altar to the elements. Read on and I will share ideas on how to create a fire altar.
Not so long ago, life revolved around the hearth. The hearth gave warmth, protection, and food to the household. Medicines were prepared here and illnesses tended to. The hearth was the heart of the home, and fire was the center of the hearth.
Many cultures had a goddess (or sometimes even a god) of the hearth and rituals associated with tending the fire. For example, ancient Rome had an eternal flame dedicated to Vesta, goddess of the hearth. Should the fire go out, it was a sign that Vesta had withdrawn her favor and the city would suffer. The Vestal Virgins who tended the flame were in essence caring for the welfare of the city.
And each woman who tended the hearth did the same for her family.
Today most of us don’t cook with open flames or heat our homes in this way. There is no hearth, so our connection to sacred Fire may be limited to the sun, candles, or a bonfire on holy days. To remedy this, you may wish to set up a Fire altar for the duration of the season.
I can give you some ideas how to do this, but it’s going to be far more useful to personalize it to work with your ideas, your environment, and your culture.
Where to Set Up Your Fire Altar
The obvious choice is on the mantle of your fireplace or perhaps in front of it if your fireplace is blocked off. If you don’t have a fireplace, you could use any tabletop or flat surface.
The south wall is another appropriate location, or somewhere where the natural sunlight hits it.
You could even do it outdoors so that it’s closer to the elements. If you like big displays, this could give you more space to spread out. My suggestion is to place it somewhere that you will interact with it daily.
What to Place on Your Fire Altar
Here are some ideas for what you can place on your fire altar.
Colors: red, orange, yellow, gold
Plants/herbs: sunflowers, marigolds, basil, saffron, cinnamon, pepper, primrose, rosemary, hyssop, garlic, rue, cumin, coriander.
Crystals: sunstone, fire agate, ruby, red jasper, garnet, rhodochrosite
Other Articles: candles, electric candles, cauldron (to hold the flames), incense, aromatic plants or wood to burn, dragons, salamanders, a phoenix, bee
Gods/goddesses: Apollo, Hephaestus, Helios, Ra, Sekhmet, Oya, Huilu, Zhurong, Agni, Jowangsin, Brigid, Lalahon, Alaz, En, Eate, Sethlans, Logi, Hestia, Vesta, Chantico, Gedi, Pele.
How to Tend Your Fire Altar
This is another item of personal preference. You may wish to do a daily meditation here. You could contemplate how Fire energy is showing up in your life, give gratitude to Fire, or do some fire gazing to see what you can see. You could also speak to the Fire.
Doing a longer “meeting” with Fire on the full moon may also fit into your practice.
Getting to know the elements is a way to feel more connected to the world around you. The elements are the building blocks of everything else. When you have a relationship with them, your sense of belonging and intuitive knowing increases.
- The old school view is that a fire altar must have a perpetual flame.
- Having a god or goddess in your life is a responsibility. You can’t neglect them. You have to get to know them and serve them in the way that they want to be served. So, if you put one on your altar, make sure that you can devote the necessary time to the relationship.