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[personal profile] twistdfateangel posting in [community profile] spiritual_woo
Mods, feel free to get rid of this if it doesn't fit or gets too preachy.


Every year, I come home from a 50 week town run to Pennsic War. If you've never been, picture the camp scenes from Kingdom of Heaven, the bazaar scenes from every Sinbad movie and Myth Adventures novel (funny enough, the author used to go), Hogwarts and a members-only Ren Faire. Surprisingly, its also one of the most spiritually charged camping events I've ever been to (some would argue for Burning Man, but I've never been). I live outdoors, fighting the elements and surrounded by the sounds of social interaction at its most primal and heady.

So, why in sam hill am I talking about it? Well, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to try and embrace my spiritual side a little more and I remembered my mother's brief foray into merchanting, where she made travel altars. She had used a set of Archangel note-cards made by an artist in our church as icons and I still had a box of the same in my bedside table, along with my other altar bits that I have no room to set up without a cat eating a candle. So, this evening, I set down to figure out what could survive two weeks in the cold, the wet, and the heat.

My chalice is a glass goblet that was a promotional for Lord of the Rings, with Arwen on it. A single stout windstorm would easily knock it off the table and probably smash it. A wooden incense burner is cheap enough and easy to replace at this event, but my wand is terribly brittle and my blade is currently non-existent. The one I use is such that someone might accidentally remove it to the kitchen. So, the wand, chalice, and kitchen-knife athame will have to stay home. Time to get primeval.

What did these tools start as? Well, depending on whether you view the wand as fiery or airy, it could either be an arrow or a stick used to poke up the fire. Same with the athame. A chalice was probably a shell, which came from water and could be used as a cup. Aha! Progress! I have a little shell from a trip to Ocracoke, that should survive being tossed in a storm. But, a grill lighter or a fire poker is an accident waiting to happen. But, while digging for other things, I found a crystal point, small enough to tuck in my pocket and hefty enough to not be a projectile. The athame I can live without or purchase there, if I find one I like. If not, a feather will do the trick, too. A crystal sphere will serve for Earth, no trouble.

The key here is portable. I've seen them in ziplocs and briefcases, but for a trip like this, I have a little leeway there. A few years ago, I found a box at a party store during the holidays with a meditating angel on it. It's served no purpose since, but it's much too pretty to part with. It's also a useful size. All my accouterments, down to my Tarot deck and rosary, fit inside. The only bits that don't are the candles, but those are easily packed in with my luggage.

I find myself thinking of my ancestors, Spanish soldiers' wives who came to Puerto Rico with dishes freshly altered for the Inquisition. How better to show you'd converted than by eating pork? Pig was the biggest land creature there, but you couldn't smoke it in the awful heat. Their pickling became our mojo de criollo, adobo with vinegar, an adaptation so clever, it's survived to beat out hot dogs and cheeseburgers as their diluted descendants' favorite taste. As a kitchen witch, that sticks in my mind. Adaption is how traditions survive. While I love my set up with its glass and crystals and frills, practicality is a must. In some ways, that makes what I have in that little box even more meaningful. It, like Pennsic, is proof that bull-headed human nature and curiosity can be as beautiful as any civilized creation.

Date: 2009-07-20 02:19 am (UTC)
bohemianeditor: an old-style typewriter (probably 1940s Remington Rand) (retro: good or evil)
From: [personal profile] bohemianeditor
Nice! :D

I suggest adding a compass to your travel altar (I bought a cheapie camping one for about $3). It became a necessity for me while setting up for an outdoor ritual at a festival, and no one could reliably tell which way was East!

For an athame, you could also use your index and middle fingers.


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