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Ask Your Mama

by Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more.

*Ask Your Mama™

Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Spirituality and Didn’t Know Who to Ask™


©Mama Donna Henes, Urban Shaman

A Question of Creating an Altar

Dear Mama Donna,

Here's my question for you: I always set up a little altar and do

some sort of ritual to consecrate my room and invite the muses to

enter. What do you do when you are about to embark on an

intense creative venture? Are there special things you place on

your altar? A special incense you burn, or a specific herb you use

to smudge the room? Special words you speak that you'd be willing to


- A spirit seeker in Wisconsin

Dear Ms. Spirit,

It is a lovely idea to create a special altar to bless your new creative venture.

There are no particular words to say or incense to light. The particular words are the ones that you want to hear and the herbs are the ones that you want to smell. This is your venture, your altar, your ritual. It can be anything that you want it to be — as long as it is meaningful to you.

There are any number of ways that you can bless your new enterprise. The techniques might vary, but the idea is always the same — to claim and consecrate your intentions by whatever means seem appropriate. As always, the quality of the attention that you pay to creating and using the altar has to mirror the purity of the intention.

Since you are already in the habit of creating altars, you clearly know how to make one. Trust your heart of hearts and your own deepest knowing that you will use exactly the right elements to express and further your dreams and plans. Only you know what resonates with your ideas. What is your venture? What are your goals and intentions? What speaks to you about these?

A good herb to burn might be sweet grass to invite in the sweet spirits and make them partners in your success. Or you might burn copal to raise the energy level of your commitment to the project. Or you can use juniper for protection for your venture. Whatever speaks to you is absolutely correct.

Put images and items on your altar that represent what it is that you are trying to do. Add a candle in any color that speaks to of your vision. Light that candle to energize your intentions. You can take this one step further by using a pillar candle in a glass jar. Use an indelible marker to inscribe your goal on it so that every time you light it, the connection between the flame and your intention is perfectly obvious.

A client of mine once told me that for as long as she could remember she had a burning desire to move to San Francisco, but she never acted on it. I suggested that she create an altar with images of San Francisco — pictures, maps, small toys symbolizing the cable cars, Fisherman’s pier, Chinatown, etc. She even drew her idea of a perfect San Francisco house. Every day she lit her candles and touched her dream house and blessed her goal. She finally made her move just six months after she began this intense practice.

As for what words to say, just open your mouth and let them flow in a stream of consciousness that becomes your prayer. Or put a favorite quote about pursuing your dreams on the altar. Or stand or sit at your altar and chant. Or sing an inspiring song. Or write an affirmation to repeat whenever you pass by the altar.

Or Or. Or. Or. You choose! In the end it is your intention and the attention to it that you express that is important.

I have every confidence that your altar will be beautiful and powerful, and precisely what you need it to be.

Best blessings on your new creative endeavor,

xxMama Donna

*Are you cyclically confused? In a ceremonial quandary? Completely clueless? Wonder no more. *Send your questions about seasons, cycles, celebrations, ceremonies and spirit to Mama Donna at: CityShaman@aol.com


Donna Henes is an internationally renowned urban shaman, ritual expert, award-winning author, popular speaker and workshop leader whose joyful celebrations of celestial events have introduced ancient traditional rituals and contemporary ceremonies to millions of people in more than 100 cities since 1972. She has published four books, a CD, an acclaimed Ezine and writes for The Huffington Post, Beliefnet and UPI Religion and Spirituality Forum. Mama Donna, as she is affectionately called, maintains a ceremonial center, spirit shop, ritual practice and consultancy in Exotic Brooklyn, NY where she offers intuitive tarot readings and spiritual counseling and works with individuals, groups, institutions, municipalities and corporations to create meaningful ceremonies for every imaginable occasion.





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For All Your Ritual Needs : MamaDonnasSpiritShop.com

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