Beyond the Kitchen

How To Make A Kitchen Altar

I’m so proud of my gardenias. After just two years in my backyard, under my well-meaning intentions (that are sometimes neglectful, sometimes plain confused), they’ve flowered into the grand finale of a gardenia fireworks show.  My Spring backyard is showing gratitude for the one time I fed it and the eighteen times I half watered it this past year and I am (admittedly) more proud that I should be.  I’m back there, spinning around in circles with my arm open singing about all the plants I haven’t killed yet.  

This feels like the most luxurious part of Spring.  The light turning to gold, pinks and periwinkles so late in the day I almost forget that this moment is too brief to take for granted.  Each night as the sun starts to settle I set my tasks.  First outside for the last day’s inhale of the fading gardenias.  Inside I turn on the lights on my bedside tables.  I turn on a light next to the living room couch. I light an incense. I light a candle. I consider tea or wine. I draw the blinds. I take a deep inhale and listen to the sounds of the neighbors on the porch, or the walkers with their dogs and that’s it… I’m ready to call it night.  

These moments… most moments are part routine and part ceremony.  

The routine part is pretty clear. Things like:  Put the keys in the bowl by the door and don’t you dare thoughtlessly put them somewhere else – you’ll be sorry. Other things like: Close the blinds, draw the curtain, feed the screaming cat.  There’s always: Wash the dishes, don’t sit down, yet… wash the dishes then sit down… wash the dishes then sit down. 

Moments of everyday ceremony are filled with a bit more grace and meditation, however fleeting they may be.  That’s where these little altars, these little offerings, shine their light. I have little altars everywhere.   

I do a lot of worshiping in my kitchen – mostly to the cutting board, to the stand mixer, or over the sink with a sponge in hand.  There’s a lot to worship in this space – it’s function and magic and seemingly bottomless mountain of dirty dishes, amen.  Recently I gathered up a little altar in this space.  It’s a meditation – a visual reminder of current intentions, of past pleasures, and tokens from people who inspire me.  Historically, home altars were often placed in or near the kitchen because the kitchen was the heart center of the home, and where all the heat came from.  It only seems appropriate.

The invitation is for you to create a kitchen altar in your space.  You don’t need much space – a windowsill or small plate next to the stove will do just fine. It’s very personal, but here are a few things you might consider adding: 

Something green – I chose a clipping from my gardenia bush.  Sometimes it’s a green I’ve foraged from one of my walks.  

A picture of someone you love – I’ve got my little sister here.  I can’t wait to see her soon.

Messages that resonate – for me that’s a coaster with the word YES and one from the spirit animal tarot cards in unicorn.  

Tokens from people that inspire you – I’ve got art from lady artists I know, a cross from my mom, and a book of matches from my grandparents wedding. 

Salt – because it’s beautiful and its value is high. 

A candle – for warmth and change. 

An  incense – for clearing the mind. 

Chocolate – a treat for after I do the dishes… because listen, I love a treat. 

Arrange in a way that feels pleasing to you and take a moment with candle, incense, and intention whenever you can.  We’re making sacred space in a sacred space.  It’s a small action but the impact is deep.  

Love to you!

xo Joy