Many of us use Altars. Some are for religious reasons (my Grandmother always had one in her home with beautiful Saints, Statues, Holy Water, Candles and a Rosary). Some are less conspicuous and seem to blend in with our décor but they are items we have of special value, they have a meaning to us and although no one else sees it, we know why they are there.
In Feng Shui some people choose to set up different types of Altars for their own "Sacred Space." Most are not elaborate and they all vary but to my clients, they all have deep and personal meanings for them. Some of my clients tend to use items that we would use in Feng Shui and address The Five Elements, an Auspicious Symbol, Color or Number. My clients do this to remind them that they have made Intentions to change the way they are living, thinking and feeling and are going to keep them. It can be a powerful, symbolic "message" to see this every day and they will also include Quotes and Words of Inspiration on here. They keep their thought positive and focused for the results they wish to accomplish.
The Altars used in the Hindu faith are often much more elaborate. While my Grandmother addressed her Saints, they also address theirs. Sometimes special rooms are created for these Altars and most of my clients of this faith will pray two to three times a day. An example of a beautiful Altar of the Hindu faith (Where we use Vastu, a method that also works on Energy and changes and is very similar to Feng Shui is used) is below.
In the Chinese and many other cultures they are taught to revere the ELDERS of the family. They have incredible knowledge and wisdom that we will not learn until we ourselves are elderly and have been though many of life's lessons. We are taught and it's an important principle in Feng Shui to "HONOR OUR ANCESTORS." Often times we will see that a client incorporates just that into their homes, with their own place of honor on a shelf or table. They may be actual pictures of someone special or an item that they owned.
I love the idea of honoring those much loved people in our lives who have passed. It gives us a place to go to speak to them and connect with them in our own special ways. To my clients that choose this, I do suggest that they keep it in one area of their home. Of course there is sadness left behind and having its own special place to contain that sadness does not have it filter through our entire space.
I myself have a small Altar but it is not something I use for myself or my beloveds but for my clients. While many Feng Shui Consultants follow ‘The Red Envelope Tradition' and I do as well, I ask my clients to remember that we are working with ENERGY. We ask for Red Envelopes when we are using a special blessing or "cure," one that has been passed down for many years and we are now passing it along to our clients. It is a form of Energy Exchange. I ask my clients to incorporate something extra, to include an Intention of what they wish to create from this consultation in each envelope. These are never read but are a further step in infusing their energy into what they wish to create....and they stay close by me for the following nine nights.
Sometimes a thought will come to me that I hadn't thought of before or I will see a room or part of a room differently then we originally discussed and will share this with my client. It sounds odd, I know, but when you're working with the sheer force of Energy, anything can happen!
If you plan to designate a space for an altar the Bagua suggests it be the left center of you home (when you enter from the front door). This is the area to Honor your Ancestors. I have found that is not always possible and believe any place my clients choose to put it creates the same Intentions.
Having an altar is a personal choice but it's something we do think about in Feng Shui. It may or may not resonate with you or you may choose different ways of incorporating one if you wish.
*Carole Provenzale has been a Certified Feng Shui Consultant since 1007 and is the Founder of Feng Shui Long Island providing Feng Shui Consultations on site for all of Long Island and New York City (NYC) and Feng Shui Distance Consultations by phone for Homes, Businesses, Apartments, Offices, Corporations, renovations, pre purchase, realtors and new construction.