Friday, March 13, 2015

An Introduction to Threshold Altar

An Introduction to Threshold Altar

Historically Hecate is a goddess of luminal spaces.  Doorways, entryways and gates were/are often graced with her presence.  It was thought that Hecate would protect those that passed through the gates and within the gates from harm.  These are some suggestions for creating your own entryway altar.


v  Image
v  Incense Burner
v  Incense
v  Candle
v  Offerings
v  Tokens

Image
An image for Hecate – This can be a literal representation of her in the form of her in human or animal form.  Many purchase items from online retailers or have a statue commissioned from an artist or sculptor.  A cost effective alternative would be to check local thrift/second hand stores for images of females that can be used to represent her.  For example, recently I found a statue of the “Blessed Mother” with a blue head wrap that stands about 12 inches tall in a second hand store.  I repainted the porcelain white skin and powder blue head scarf to a deep olive toned skin and a saffron colored head piece and now she is Hecate.

Incense Burner
The next thing you’ll need is a dish for burning incense.  I use a small dish that I threw on my pottery wheel.  Any non-flammable dish will do.  It can be something as elaborate as a metal dish with carvings or as simple as a piece of pottery.  The important thing is what it means to you.  Find something that you relate to and dedicate it to her.

Incense
Types of incense can vary based on accessibility and preference.  Many use frankincense and myrrh for Hecate.  I prefer to use white sage simply because I like the clean smell it gives my ritual space.  There are formal recipes that can be used to create incense specifically for Hecate.  If you wish to do this by all means take the time and add this to your altar.  However, do not feel that you need this one item to make your altar real.  Your altar is real simply because you created it with honor to her.

Candle
Small candle that can be lit safely each day and burn throughout the day safely.  I use tall seven day candles or large glass candles that are relatively inexpensive and safe to burn.  Some prefer red candles specifically for working with Hecate.  I use red for my main candle and for The Rite of her Sacred Fires.  For my threshold, I use what I have on hand.

Offerings
Some threshold altars can have a spot for offerings.  Typical offerings to Hecate may include honey, leeks, fish or garlic.  I recommend doing what makes practical sense in your situation.  I have cats who are known to jump on my altar so leaving items like fish for example, would be a recipe for destruction.  Instead of leaving perishables or spill-ables at my door way altar, I leave tokens.

Tokens
Tokens are small items similar to objects found in a mermaid’s purse or shaman’s medicine bag.  These are items that find their way to me throughout my day.  It may be a small sea shell that I found at a beach or park or it may be a small pebble that met me on a walk around my Sanctuary.  It may be a gift from a friend.  I have a key on a string of beads that was a gift when I became a Torchbearer for Covenant of Hekate that encircles my incense bowl.  I replace these items ever so often when I feel the urge to do so. 

Using the Threshold Altar
Each person will use their altar in different ways.  I have seen some being condemned for dropping their keys when they come in the door on their threshold altar.  To me, what a better place for my keys to be safely stored than in the presence of Hecate.  This is my daily ritual to her.

Stand in front of the Threshold Altar and clear my mind. I find a spot in my mind that is quiet and take a deep breath in. 

I light the candle and focus my mind on what the light of her torches may reveal to me today.

I light the sage off the candle’s flame and wave the smoke around her tokens and her imagery on the altar.  I focus on the smoke permeating the items on the altar, my space and my body with healing and prosperity.

I close my eyes and see myself making my way through my day with her energy around me.



A Threshold Altar is a space that we set up to remind us of the importance of Hecate’s presence in the choices we make in our daily life.  It is intended to be a place of respect and a place to focus our energy.  While each item is important and should be chosen with care, it does not need to be something that is made of gold or costs an exorbitant amount of money.  It should be something that means something to you.