Creating a Seasonal Home Altar

(I wrote this article for my art tile company's monthly newsletter, which you can read here. I wanted to share these ideas with you, too.)

It's traditional in Japan to set aside part of the family living space as a seasonal altar. This very ancient tradition can become a simple and lovely way to stay in touch with nature and create a sense of sanctuary in your living space. Choose a low traffic but highly visible area for your 'altar.' A mantelpiece, entryway table, or deep windowsill will work; a dedicated, built in area is ideal. I use one end of my kitchen counter which has a huge window above it, and is out of the way of most kitchen tasks. When choosing how to adorn your altar, keep it simple! A traditional household altar would have a seasonal floral arrangement, a seasonal scroll or picture, and perhaps a deity image or sculpture. I adore the simple serenity of the home altar in this vintage photo; a single bloom in a beautiful stoneware jug, a scroll, a sense of spaciousness - probably a late winter arrangement. Celebrate the seasons with your altar: you might display a big ceramic bowl of apples, a vase of maple branches, and a family picture of a special Thanksgiving feast for Fall; a glass hurricane lantern filled with shells, a crystal vase of fresh cut peonies, and a beach picture for summer, etc. This special area can reflect your spirituality, but it doesn't have to. The goal is to create a simple, elegant space where you can rest your eyes and spirit, and be reminded of your connection to nature's cycles.

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