Creating an Altar

August 11, 2008

I had told the programming director at Easton Mountain, where I live, that I would like to create an altar near the southern edge of the property during Gay Spirit Camp. He agreed to put it on the camp’s schedule.

A few days before the start of camp, I collected rocks.  This was sacred work, so I did it naked, except for socks, shoes and a cap.  I prepared myself by smudging with the smoke from bugning sage, and I smudged each rocks that I gathered.  The first rocks  had been used in a sweat lodge.  Many had cracked into interesting shapes.   It wasn’t until I had gathered about half the rocks that I realized how appropriate it was to use these rocks in a south altar – as fire is the element of the south.  I also gathered some larger rocks that had been part of a wall. Wherever I took rocks, I left tobacco.


The Collected Rocks

The Rocks from the Fire Pit

Around noon of the day scheduled to create the altar, we had heavy rain, but by the scheduled time, it stopped and sunlight was breaking through.  One man beat a drum as we walked to the place selected the altar.  I offered a prayer that everything would be done in a good way.

At the site, I stripped, though others remained clothed.  We checked the direction with a compass, then placed large flat rocks at the southern part of the space.


The Flat Rocks Which Became the Altar

The Flat Rocks Which Became the Altar

Next we used medium-size rocks to create a circle in front of the altar.

Finally we placed small rocks on the altar to form a rough medicine wheel.

That night, I invited those at the camp to visit the altar.  I prepared a sheet with directions for finding the altar and suggests for visiting it.  I’ll post these suggestions next week.

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