Making (Altar) Time


Do the Gods come to you, do they whisper in your ears, “Stay strong!”

Do the Gods come to you, do they whisper in your ears, “You can do this!”

Do the Gods come to you, do they whisper in your ears, “You are beautiful!”

Do the Gods come to you, do they whisper in your ears?

Something does. Gods. Goddesses. Spirit. Your own soul. Something whispers. Are you there to hear it? Are you making time? Or are you caught up in your busyness? Are you sunk in apathy? Curled in fear? Racing the clock?

We must. Make. Space. We must. Take. Time. We must. Remember. Soften. Open.

We must listen.

Then we must engage. Set our intention. Move toward action.

Without time at the altar or the meditation bench, without space listening to the ancestors, or Goddesses, without centering within ourselves…we can become automatons. We lose ourselves and are bewildered by the world.

There is a lot of pain and anger in the world. There are many things to fight for, and much to grieve. The altar gives us the ability to return to our core values. The altar gives us a place to remember meaning. The altar allows us time. We need some precious time.

Cultivating spaciousness means we can set clear intentions and make better choices about how to act. Cultivating openness means we remain curious about all things we do not know, rather than frustrated by not knowing the right way or the right thing.

Cultivating presence means our relationship to everything – inside and out – comes closer to continuous flow. My molecules meet yours while barely trying. And the cosmos says: "I am with you. I see you. I hold you. I will help you strengthen, and grow."

Today, take a breath with me. Today, open to your heart. Today, clean out your inner ears and listen.*

We are full of wonder:

"Wonder" by Emeli Sande and Naughty Boy


*If you would like support with this process, I offer soul readings and also currently have space for a few new spiritual direction clients. This work is tailored to your particular soul needs at this time. It is up to you...

24 Responses to “Making (Altar) Time”

  1. Cathie Rayes

    Thank you for this, most especially the first two lines. Thank you for reminding me, thank you for passing on the message. I appreciate you so very much!

      • Cathie Rayes

        I’m so very glad you are able to listen when I am not–and that you’re willing to share what you hear. 🙂

  2. Sean Donahue

    I love this . . . and the other side of the coin for me is finding the altars that present themselves in surprising times and places in my life. My daily practice at my formal altar grounds and aligns me. And some of the most profound moments I have with the Gods have come in the shower, at the gym, in the car on long drives, walking the dogs in the forest, any time and place where there is enough solitude for my attention and awareness to open.

    • Thorn

      Sean, I fully agree! I find presence woven throughout the day as well – and anything can be an altar. Often for me it is the 16 burner stove at the soup kitchen while I’m scrubbing it!

      *And* time at the home altar makes it more likely for us to be open during the day, I find. The practice of presence helps the practice of presence.

  3. Evodia Silverwood

    Couldn’t agree more! Coincidentally I just wrote a journal entry on this very topic!

  4. ahmarah

    Thank you Thorn. When times get intense as they have just recently, my tendency is to hunker down and power through. And even if i take the time to sit at my altar it is often a perfunctory visit. I needed this reminder. And the video is gorgeous!

  5. Anne Brannen (Pandora)

    Oh, yes. It’s crucial to give space and time for the voices.

    I like it that mine are so nicely direct. But also hilarious. I gather that’s a direct result of my own character. No matter who or what they are, when they come through, they come through our own filters. Our job is to keep the filters as clean as possible; not possible, in a human form, to be without them. The brain itself is a filter.

    So mine are often Very Funny.

    • Thorn

      Yes, we all have filters. Practice does help me keep my filters clean(er). Lack of practice muddies and muddles things.

      I am so glad your voices are Very Funny! We need that kind of humor.

  6. John Luther

    Credits for the artist and song would be nice to have.

    • Thorn

      That info doesn’t come through on the video? Sorry about that. It is “Wonder” by Emeli Sande.

      • John Luther

        No. It didn’t when I watched it. Thank you for the information and the post.

  7. Katrina

    Yes! I love reading the comments, and remembering that altars come in many different shapes. It’s odd to me how often I keep having to re-learn, re-remember things like that. I have a beautiful peice of artwork over the stovetop in my kitchen for that very reason–it is a place (I want to remind myself of this) of power and presence for me. Some people find it an unexpected place for art b/c it gets spattered with cooking oil, but I love that it occupies such a central, “mundane,” much used space.
    LOVE,LOVE the music and video!

  8. Amy Shea

    A beautiful reminder that I tend to forget, making the time, remembering to make the time. To listen, and to acknowledge those whispers with action. So important, and yet so easy to let slide. The soul can not open if the soul is neglected. I needed this message, this reminder to pay attention. Thank you.

  9. Rick Loftus, M.D.

    Thorn, thanks for this. I’ve mentioned before here that lately my morning practice has been chanting while driving to the hospital, so I guess that makes my car dashboard my altar! And sometimes it’s even praying “Holy Mother” while standing in the shower, which I guess makes my rubber duckie my altar boy/girl.
    This past couple of months have been really hard at work, feeling very stretched, but I have found that when I call to the Divine, She answers. It’s seemed especially important to be calling to Her everyday in the tough times–like listening for the foghorn on a stormy night, that’s when you need to hear it most.

    • Thorn

      I am so glad you are finding ways to reconnect. When we need it most it can be easy to skip.


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