Monday, 17 April 2017

What do we bring to the altar?


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The Altar stands as the platform from which we launch ourselves beyond the mundane, it is the focal point where the manifest light of the divine is present within our Malkuthian reality. The Altar sits at the place of most light in the church, the place of the Sun (Son). At inner levels, the altar is the place of offering, but what is it that we bring to the altar?

On the physical Altar we may light incense, light candles and place food/ wine blessed as an offering to the Ancient of Days. At certain times of the year we may place seasonal flowers upon an altar in decoration, as a simple way of giving thanks to the gifts of the season. There is something in the action of placing objects upon the altar that almost automatically sanctifies them, making them holy. A candle lit on a dining table has the power to create intimacy, a bringing closer. Place the same candle on the altar and it takes on a deeper connection, placed upon the sacred table it agains brings a feeling of intimacy, but for those who spend time with such a light we realise it brings us into an intimate connection with the divine.  Thus when we are building the altar of the inner temple it needs to be a place of light, that when dwelt upon lifts our consciousness above the daily humdrum of life and closer to God/dess.  A physical altar needs no building around it to be sacred, the prehistoric landscape is littered with altars to long lost gods, these are places where people felt the natural closeness of the divine, earth altars to the Great Spirit.  Here actions, words and thoughts become sacred by the very presence of the divine.

So the altar is where we put things of the mundane world, in doing so they become sacred.  But what is the offering/ sacrifice that we make?  What is ours that no one else can give?

Ourselves, our service.  By placing on the altar of the divine our lives, actions, highs and lows. By presenting all we are to the divine in loving sacrifice we are not giving away our individuality, we are not opting out of our life leaving decisions to divinity. In laying ourselves at the altar, becoming that altar from which we sacrifice we take our profane lives and make them sacred.

'If you make an altar of stones for me, do not build it with dressed stones, for you will defile it if you use a tool on it.' (Exodus 20:25)


When we approach the inner altar, laying our lives upon its earthen presence we are becoming alchemists, we are taking the very base metal of our existence. We do not lie, we do not try to deceive ourselves as stated in the above quote from Exodus, we do not tamper with or try to create that holy offering, we just use what is there. In being open and giving ourselves, lives and existence to the presence of the divine we turn that bass metal into gold. Each day we can live in conscious awareness of the divine in all aspects of life and within ourselves. Every action becomes sacred, we are the candle that now reflects the light of divinity out to the world.

How do we do this?  First we create the space, the time once a day to reflect upon the light of life, that which is beyond time and space. We acknowledge, giving thanks for the gift of existence and then we offer in word, song and dance an open real expression of ourselves up to the most Ancient of days.


O Light Eternal
Take all that I am,
My pain and Joy,
My Winter and Summer,

Take my love, my thoughts and my breath.
Accept all that I am in loving sacrifice,
Laid bare upon the altar of life, the altar of spirit.
Receive now all that I can give,
That in waking, sleeping, work and play
All my actions may become hallowed,
In honour and adoration of thee.

Once we step into this practice we also have to listen, the Spirit will test us, in daily life there will be opportunities to assist humanity in acts of giving, support and nurturing.  When we offer ourselves upon the altar at the centre of the temple we give ourselves to the service of humanity, this sounds a huge an enormous task, on one hand it is, we live in a world full of troubles and trials. We can serve by lending support to causes internationally, we can also work locally from supporting local charities to just keeping an eye out for those in our community who may need support from time to time and by helping spread the word of what is good in society rather than focusing on the negative in life as the press tend to do…

A spiritual life is a life lived with intent, in offering ourselves upon life’s altar we step away from the pack and make the declaration that we want to live in the presence and knowledge of the divine, we connected to our own sanctity and we become light bearers….


Walk in Light


Rob

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