what sacred spaces do you have in your home, she asked with a curious smile
I remember sitting in church as a child, fixated by the altar and the statues, mesmerised by the flickering candles. Back then children played what we saw and experienced, so I made altars and played church. My altars where decorated with artefacts that I found around my house, ordinary objects that took on new meaning, glass vases filled with huge dahlias, an old yellow chenille bedspread – the altar cloth, and stumpy candles gave the finishing touches.
Looking around my house the other day, I realised that I still have altars of sorts, but now I like to think of them as shrines or sacred spaces. My shrines are arrangements of talismans, and mementos, sacred souvenirs and pictures, objects that are meaningful to me, that remind me of things I don’t want to forget. Cherished pictures of my children, art that they have made, stones that they have given me, displayed on bookcases and shelves. I sometimes think that I would love a home decorated in ‘magazine’ style, uncluttered, free of dust catchers, but my displays evoke emotions inside me that are more important then having a neatly decorated house.
I have a little stuffed rabbit sitting on a shelf in my bedroom. My mom gave me the rabbit when I was writing my matric exams, he was smuggled into many more exams after that and saw me through university. Next to him sits a beautiful pottery church that I bought at an art show many years ago, it reminds me of the spiritual journeys I’ve been on.
I guess I should have picked up Noddy for the photo
I read recently in a book on shrines and altars, that to create a shrine, no matter how simply, is to make art. I like that idea, that my sacred displays are in fact art, created to represent my life, a way to pay homage to my life experiences, to remember occasions and events that have shaped my life. They are I suppose a visible representation of those invisible aspects of my life that I want to remember, just like art they tell a story.