Creating an altar space

The shamanic altar is a place to honor the spirits and show them you welcome their presence. It can be used by you as a focal point for meditation, communion and to add a powerful aesthetic to a room. Altars can be physical or digital. The guidance in this post is about physical altars.

Here is a simple guide to help you build your home altar:

  1. Decide upon the intent. What is the primary purpose of the altar?
    • Is it a place to make offerings?
    • Ask for blessings?
    • Clear your mind?
    • Find peace?
    • Seek insight?
  2. Choose the location. It can literally be anywhere in your house:
    • on a furniture surface
    • on the floor
    • on wall shelves
    • What’s important is that it feels right to you.
  3. Select the basic implements:
    • Start with a base. This can be a cloth cover, a rock slab, or even circuit boards. Something that signifies the boundaries of the space.
    • Altars will typically need to have items for receiving offerings, such as a goblet or bowl. This can be something natural like made of bone or a simple metal or even something very modern like an electronic lock-box.
    • A candle is a useful tool for signifying that you are spending intentional time before it. Or perhaps you prefer an LED light that you can control with an app on your phone.
    • Another implement is a bell, chime, or even a USB speaker that you use to  play whatever sound that signifies purifying the space.
  4. Select the adornments. These are decorations that creates your altar’s “theme”, that beautify the space and enhance it’s sacred feel:
    • Small items of personal significance to you such as crystals or jewelry
    • Carvings relevant to your intent
    • Small found items such as rocks or bottle caps
    • Tools such as a knife or a compass, a remote control

After assembling your altar, dedicate it with your first offering. What you offer is your choice. The most important thing about an offering is that you value what you offer. The altar works best when you also build a habit to interact with it at specific times. This can be daily, weekly, twice a month, etc. Whatever you feel is the appropriate amount, define that from the beginning and stay with it.


Some things I have learned

Spoiler alert: This is my understanding. If it doesn’t feel right to you, let it go. There is no value in debating spiritual matters. I am sharing this for the benefit of those who are seeking to learn different beliefs, in search of their own understanding. The thing to keep in mind is that what we believe is the choice we need to make at the time we make it.

Urban shamanism is not a religion. As shamans, we do not worship gods. We do not pray to deity. We communicate with spirit entities on behalf of others to help them in this world. We request guidance, insight and healing in order to benefit our communities. Here are some of the things I have learned through working with those spirit beings:

  • The universe is not divine.
  • There is no universal “love” or any other emotion.
  • There are no gods or goddesses.
  • The universe does not punish us, nor does it reward us.
  • The spirits shamans work with are kin.
  • We are spirit entities who are experiencing the world, the universe, from the perspective of physical matter and energy.
  • Everything we experience while being “alive” is for the purpose of learning and having fun.
  • Many of the spirits we encounter have experienced countless “lives” here.
  • We choose to be here, in this state. While most of us purposefully forget who we really are while we’re here, this identity we accept is just temporary.
  • Often we meet others here in our physical lives that we also know as our true selves.
  • The spirits are energy beings, just like us but are not directly experiencing the world as we are. Some know us in our true form and stay close during our trip through the middle layer.
  • The spirits want to help us, but typically will not interfere in our experience unless asked.
  • Shamans are able to perceive outside the experience of the physical world, and interact directly with those entities who are not currently inhabiting this layer of being.


Runecasting Services

10runeI’ve been casting runes since the late eighties. I have experience with multiple forms of divination but I really connected with the runes. I use the Elder Futhark runes and do a wide range of layouts in person, but online I offer a five-rune cross and a ten-rune Celtic Cross layout.

When doing a reading, I prepare my space with personal talismans and other items to help me clear my mind and be receptive to the message. I will then focus on the question being asked as I shake the rune bag.

The rune cloth I have before me has a line down the center. I will pick the runes that are face up, starting with those closest to the line and closest to me. Each one, in turn, gets placed into its position in the reading layout.

If I do not have enough runes face up, I will take all of the remaining runes and cast again, following the same selection process until I have the required number of runes.

Typical questions are about relationships, money or health. But I do not restrict questions. You can ask anything. The readings are meant to help you see things with an outside perspective, but I will not tell you exactly what you should or should not do. We must all make our own choices. I only help you to see possibilities.

If you would like to purchase a reading, visit the Runecasting Services page.

Updating our self-code

From a technoshaman’s perspective, we are all part of the source code. We are akin to a self-programming AI. We are powerful and adaptive. We literally have the ability to rewrite our core-self at our free discretion.

But the majority of us simply do not. For example: as a child, someone experiences a trauma. They revise their code to see the world as a dangerous place. But years later, they have grown up and the world isn’t as dangerous to them as it was when they were young. But they never update themselves and continue to live with an unnecessary restriction of still being afraid of the big and dangerous world.

This isn’t uncommon at all. Here is a familiar example:

A person of {Gender A} has a serious negative experience with an individual who is {Gender B}. The person makes an emergency self-patch and now mistrusts the next {Gender B} to some degree because of sloppy coding. Instead of just fixing the issue with the one individual, the person makes a sweeping nerf to all {Gender B}. You could also substitute gender with race or some other attribute such as nationality or even political affiliation.

We must evaluate our self-code daily. Anytime we have an unsatisfactory interaction or we are unhappy with ourselves or our situation, this is an internal bug report and should be addressed. Neglecting our own revisions, patches and updates can leave us with errors and crashes.

What didn’t work? What could have made the outcome different? What do I not like about my situation? What can I do to change it? To change yourself, you need more than a general wish to change. You need specific goals.

  • I want to weigh this much. NOT I want to lose weight.
  • I want to stop this bad habit. NOT I want to get healthier.
  • I want to react in this way to this situation. NOT I want to react differently when I’m angry.

Nobody makes us feel any way. We are responsible for the choices we make. We cannot control everything that we experience, but we can absolutely control our choices and actions in response to those experiences.

How we revise ourselves is how we define ourselves.

The Bottom Layer (or lower world)

This is an overview of my explorations into the layers of our world that are perceived by the spirit sense.

Journeys always begin in the central layer. This is what we can detect with our physical senses, the “real world”.

The bottom layer is very closely related to the central layer. When the physical senses dull and our perception of the central layer fade this is where we typically first find ourselves. It is the “inside” of the central layer. It is the energy of the world we live in that we cannot detect with our physical senses. Rocks, water, trees, animals, the air itself: these things take on an altered version of themselves.

Continue reading The Bottom Layer (or lower world)