Hell Notes for Beauty

Beauty|Spirituality|Lifestyle

Anatomy of a Spiritual Altar

8.31.2016




What is an Altar?
An altar is a sacred space that you can dedicate to a specific energy/entity for ritual, spiritual manifestation & development. Shrines and altars have existed since the beginning of time and are central to many ancient cultures & religions even to this day.  An altar is a place of self-contemplation, meditation, prayers, a place of honor for those we love and respect.

Ultimately, an altar is a focal point where you comfortably “Altar” your consciousness. Your altar is a place where you’re able to not only recognize the 10% of your brain that you use, but also activate the subconscious mind, the other 90% of the brain you don’t use which is your spiritual, higher self.

Who can use an altar?
Anyone can set up a spiritual altar.  You do not need to be an advanced occultist or initiated into any group for you to set up an altar & be successful with your altar.  It is a personal space where you can build relationships with your inner self and the divine world around you. It's about building intuition and self trust.





When do you use a spiritual altar?
A spiritual altar can have many purposes.  Personally for me, it’s my refuge from not only the world but also myself.  Often times we create ideals and thoughts in our minds about ourselves & the world around us and need moments to step outside of ourselves and examine the life we exist in.
  
Are you who you really are or are you who others say you are?

These are the type of questions that come up when at your altar. How genuine are you really living out your life?

I use my altar daily where every morning I take a moment to breathe & acknowledge my higher self. It’s also the place I go to when I’m having difficulties and need answers that I’m unable to get from myself at the moment. It can be your source of inspiration, when you want to reconnect with your ancestors, become a better person, etc. The purposes are endless and unique to you only and should not have any bearing on validation outside of yourself.

Where do you use a spiritual Altar?
Your spiritual altar should be placed in an area clear of distractions, clutter and people who may not have productive comments or thoughts toward your altar or spiritual development. It should be a place where you’re able to express your troubles, emotions, dreams, desires without judgment.  It’s a place where you and your creator congregate periodically to examine the progress you’re making on your path.

How do you use a spiritual Altar?
As mentioned there is no right or wrong way of using your spiritual altar, but there are a few basic guidelines which sets the foundation for your altar. In the beginning your altar will be minimal, but as time progresses you will notice your altar progressively grow with personal objects to you or to the specific energy you have dedicated the altar to.

The items you choose to place on your altar are mere tools & symbols that speaks and activates your subconscious mind. You are an altar onto yourself.  The tools you need for advancement are within you. With an altar you are simply projecting to the universe the elements that makes up the energy that already exists inside you.

Caring for your altar: I normally clean my altar at least once a week.  You can pick any day of the week that best suits you. Cleaning means changing of the water, wiping away any dust or remnants from offerings or rituals and smudging incense to clear and purify. This is also a good time to set the tone for your week ahead or start/end of your day.  Prayers, affirmations and development are the things you should be working on your altar periodically. 

Items to place on your altar: As mentioned you can place any item you’d like on your altar.  For beginners, there are certain guidelines you can follow to help get you started.  I started my altar when I was 17 years old. I had just moved out of my house a few months prior (yes, at the tender age of 16) and that New Year I had a few spiritual experiences which led me to the basic set up of an altar.

Below are the significance and dedication for each cup on your spiritual altar.  

From the book: 
Tapping the Power Within: A Path to Self-Empowerment for Women By Iyanla Vanzant

Glass 1: Ori, the spirit of your head
Glass 2: The spirit of your bloodline (ancestors)
Glass 3: The spirit/essence of masculine energy
Glass 4: The spirit/essence of feminine energy
Glass 5: The spirit/essence of the inner child
Glass 6: Karmic spirits (spiritual energy from past existences)
Glass 7: Spirit of the creator, the god head that established the divinity of your life and all life. (Largest Cup)



The 7 cups are traditions of the Yoruba/Lucumi/Santeria traditions. The spiritual altar is called a "Boveda Espiritual" translated as, "Spiritual Vault". Its where you store what you value most, your personal power, intuition & dreams.

It was my first experience with "organizing" my spiritual lineage.  We all create altars subconsciously in one way or another using images & symbols of things we're attracted to.  I always found myself as a child creating shrines for butterflies, unicorns and as I got older moved on to other symbols.

Your altar is a reflection of you and the universe around you.  All the elements that exist on this planet also exists within you.  Here are the main elements to your altar.

Spiritual Focal Points

1. Water (Feminine Principle)
  • Receptive/Passive energy 
  • Carrier/Conduit of energy and vibrations
  • Represents movement 
  • Fertility, Initiation
  • Water Absorbs, connects
  • Use as a portal or gateway to realms
  • A place to "house" or contain entities
Uses of water on altar: Use as a conduit to communicate with spirit.  Water also represents the feminine principle of nurturer, soothing and renewal. Use during libations to call and honor ancestors and spirit guides.

2. Fire (Masculine Principle)
  • Alchemy + Transformation
  • Third Eye + Illumination
  • Guiding Light
  • Passion
  • Action + Beginnings
Uses of Fire on altar: Fire is used in the form of candles and colors, be it red, black or white known as the primordial colors. It's a symbol of life, passion and activity.

3. Air (Masculine Principle)
  • Activation of thought
  • Transporter of thought
  • Breath of life
  • Prayers +Affirmations
  • Aromatherpy
  • Conscious Breathing
Use of air on Altar: Burning candles or incense is a great way to manifest the air element on your altar. It shifts energy in any space to bring clarity and movement.

4. Earth (Feminine Principle)
  • Grounding
  • Heaviness, obstacles
  • Time, memory
  • Established powers
Use of Earth element on Altar: Crystal and plants are great symbols of the earth element for any altar.  Crystals hold memories or rather "crystallizes" information in time. Plants + soil are representations of growth, death and renewal. 


Boveda Espiritual + Shrines +Ancestor Altars

A spiritual altar & an ancestor altar are known to be used interchangeably.  In addition to a spiritual altar, I also have an ancestor altar which is slightly different in set up but used for similar purposes. An ancestor altar is set up on the floor/ground and in most traditions the ancestors essence is housed in a sort of walking stick, known as Egguns.  

Where a spiritual altar is to elevate guardian angels, god's appointed guardians, spirit guides and ancestors, an ancestor altar is used to ground your energy and a place of reverence and recognition. All shrines and altars are centers of elevation. Elevating your spirits & self to higher vibrations and projections.  


Offerings: An offering is a sort of sacrifice or connection you make with the entity or energy you have the altar set up for.  For an ancestor altar you may want to set up things your ancestors liked.  I place coffee, bread rum and many other basic items as offerings to the spirits.  Offerings "feeds" or rather empowers the energy you're working with. Sacrifices can come in many forms. You can give up a bad habit that is preventing you from elevating thus starving the lower self and feeding your purpose.

Common types of offerings:
  • Food you cook (give as an offering to give thanks for providing food to your family)
  • Crystal, stones, gems: They carry vibrations you can charge at your altar ans use.
  • Liquor: Ever heard of wines and spirits? Liquor like many things has essence or spirits that enliven the ancestors and spirits.
  • Bread: Symbol for abundance, life and the cosmic body.
  • Flowers to bring life and new energy to your altar
  • Photos & symbols of the energy you work with.
  • Prayers: Any prayer will do.  Prayers are forms of offerings as you're pouring yourself into the moment.



As with every person, every altar will be different. Each item you place on your altar speaks to your subconscious mind.  You should not expect too much from your altar as with the items you place on your altar are symbols, so are the day to day experiences you have.

Spirit speaks in many forms and it is up to us to be aware, conscious and accepting of the symbols and messages being given to us. If you're in constant pursuit of trying to define or identify your spiritual experiences you'll end up losing the point.  The point is you must allow the experience to reveal and define itself to you.






Sources:


Tapping the Power Within: A Path to Self-Empowerment for Women

By Iyanla Vanzant


Shrine and Altar: Establishing Your Personal Sanctuary for Spiritual Awakening, Self improvement and Divine Contemplation
by Yuya Assaan-Anu

Ganesha Prosperity Spell + Solar Plexus Activation

8.05.2016



▼ What You Will Need ▼

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□ Yellow Candle

□ Ganesha Photo or Charm

□ Essential Oils
  ○ Clove Oil
  ○ Cinnamon Oil
  ○ or Oil of Choice

□ Herbs
 ○ Ruda
 ○ Chamomile
 ○ Sunflower Petals
 ○ Sunflower Petals

□ Honey

□ Sesame Seeds

□ Yellow Citrine Crystal

□ Fire/Heat Proof Plate

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Herb to Know: Rhodiola Rosea + Why it's my Favorite Adaptogen

7.29.2016










Herb to Know: Rhodiola

Scientific Name: Rhodiola Rosea
Species: Rosea
Other Known Names: Golden Root, Arctic Root
Plant Uses: Roots & Flowers
Origins: Siberian Mountains

You already know...yes another adaptogen.

Venus Rising + Planetary Influences Ritual

7.22.2016



Venus is the Roman Goddess of love, fertility, beauty, success.  Working with her personally, I've been able to overcome many bad habits and learn how to be led by my intuition.


Silver represents the moon goddess and is very healing to the physical body due to its conductive nature. Receptive Energy: Attracting, quiet, calming, soothing, promotes meditation, spirituality and inward reflection. Grounding and peace energy. Psychic awareness, promotes love.

Beauty Note: Caudalie Instant Foaming Face Cleanser

7.16.2016



Born from the potent ingredients found in grapes, Caudalie may seem new to us at Sephora, but in the ultra fine French skin care world, they've made a name for themselves for over 20 years. Caudalie Instant Foaming Cleanser ($28) was an impulse buy at Sephora. I hate to admit it, but I'm a sucker for those bins at the check out lines where they always seem to get me with one sample/mini product of some kind or the other.

Happens all the time!

At the time I had been dealing with a lot of irritation & inflammation on my face and although I had switched my moisturizer, I was still experiencing some irritation and suspected my face cleanser.

I had been meaning to purchase a cleanser at my holistic skin care store, but never got around to it, I impulsively picked this up in hopes that it would work. At fist I was skeptical about this cleanser's claims because I wasn't too familiar with the brand or reviews but what had me sold was that the bottle indicated it was free of parabens & does not include irritating ingredients like sulfates and others.




Caudalie's skin-care line is based on the polyphenols in red wine, distinctively the compound resveratrol which has been proven to help beat the effects of aging, such as dry & dull skin, wrinkles and premature aging due to sun damage and it's also a powerful antioxidant.

The Brand & its ingredients

How to use Hemp for Health & Beauty

7.08.2016





Hemp has got to be the most demonized and misunderstood plant on the planet.  You would never think that with the strong ban against this plant that the United States at some point thrived economically, due to Hemp aka Marijuana production.

Hemp was grown throughout the United States for industrial purposes from fabric, food, bio fuel and many more essential uses.

 It is also said that the Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper and farmers were encouraged to cultivate and grow hemp due to its varied uses and durability from ropes and building structures among many medicinal uses as well. It also got the U.S. through WWII.

 So why the aggressive ban on such a self sufficient & fruitful plant?

Social, political and monetary reasons, contributed to the worldwide ban of cultivating this plant which led the  misinformation about not just hemp as a drug, but other medicinal plants as well.

Today, a lot of information is resurfacing about hemp and how we can use it in virtually everyday products you can imagine from the foods we eat, beauty products we use and even the clothes we wear can all be derived from this one plant.


What is Hemp Protein & will I get High!?

D.I.Y Grapefruit + Cocoa+ Vanilla Sea Salt Body Scrub

6.23.2016



D.I.Y body treatments with Salt doesn't get much notice considering its use in skincare dates back to thousands of years where even Cleopatra indulged in Salt beautifying treatments due to its healing properties.

Beauty Note | Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer

6.07.2016






Foundation primers are a recent discovery for me and a makeup favorite of the moment. As you all know, I'm on a mission to discover new, natural, organic & toxic free beauty & personal care items. Luckily, Juice Beauty has become a very reliable brand when it comes to those qualities.

For the longest time I steered away from foundation primers because I always felt like it was an unnecessary step, too many questionable ingredients and might make my skin look too "cakey". After receiving a sample primer & trying it out for some time, I realized the purpose of having a good primer under your makeup wasn't so unnecessary after all.

Primers smooths out your skin, improves texture and helps my makeup last longer with little to no touch ups. Although its not a step I do everyday, it is something I make sure I incorporate during those special events where I may wear more makeup than usual.

What is it?                      Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Illuminating Primer $36.00 for 1 fl oz./30 mL

Ingredient of Note PHYTO-PIGMENTS
Antioxidant-rich vegan makeup powered by an organic base of botanical juices, waxes & powders infused with natural whole PHYTO-PIGMENTS™, age-defying serum and cold-pressed oils to deliver vibrant color, illuminate skin, smooth lines & wrinkles and blur imperfections for a flawless complexion and naturally beautiful radiance. 

Organic • Vegan + Cruelty Free • Silicone Free •  Paraben Free •  Fragrance Free • Free of Artificial Dyes

Why are there Toxic Chemicals In my Feminine Care Products?

6.04.2016






A few weeks ago I came across this article where Johnson & Johnson awarded a woman’s family $72 Million dollars due to the many years of using the company’s baby powder which contributed to her ovarian cancer and death.  Turns out Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder (among many powders) contains Talc, a known carcinogen.

And that stuff is for babies?

I've also read a few articles where hundreds of lipsticks that were tested for heavy metals were found to contain high levels of lead, a neuro toxin and aluminum among other questionable chemicals.

So…all these toxins.…who’s regulating and who’s benefiting?

5 Ways to use Turmeric Root

5.14.2016






Tea has seriously become my obsession in these past few years.  It's such an easy and convenient way to connect with a variety of herbs + spices allowing you to become more intimate with the healing properties of many herbs as opposed to just popping a supplement capsule or pill.

Drinking tea regularly has improved my digestion, bloating and curbs my sweet tooth.  Its also a nice way to get a boost of energy at the start of my day as well as a relaxant before bed.

 One favorite tea I'm revisiting today is Turmeric Tea.

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