We are not alone in this world, and the more we look out into our reality the more we will see. If all of these things play a role in our reality; it begs to be asked: how do we build a relationship with all of these things, and more importantly, not mess it up? And let’s not forget the most important question, “WHY” should we build a relationship with these things?
To understand the why I need you to look at a single person abstractly. For this model any one thing, person, or place will be represented by the number “1” This is not to diminish any value or to create a limit, this is only to demonstrate a relationship.
You are “1”, your spouse or best friend are also “1” if you stand together in belief and strength you become “11” this is because each of you remain “1” with your own strengths and weakness but by working together these are complemented by each other creating a greater sum. A family of four becomes “1111” and so on…
Our Ancestors and their Deities – mankind has existed in this form for about 40,000 years, and the average generation is 38 years, so it has taken 1,052 generations to make you. That is 2,104 mothers and fathers who, on average, had 7 siblings or, at a minimum, you have 14,728 ancestors plus their Deities. That is a lot of “1.” What about the people they helped during their life, people they may have called family? Each of us have an impact on hundreds of people in our lifetime, we can only imagine the number that each generation has helped. For this model let’s say each ancestor had a profound impact on only 11 people, that moves your total ancestral pool to around 165,000 people and deities willing to help you.
That is not everything. Those people had a relationship with the land they lived on, the things they used to live their lives as well as the nature that coexisted with them. This relationship is part of Animism. Until the late 1800’s most people understood that the “things” around them had an impact on their lives and had the power to change their experience. Because this included nearly everything our ancestors, as well as ourselves have had around us, I will not even try to quantify that number.
It is this realization of how many “1” are out there that Swamp University encourages you to build an altar. We are not saying to bend a knee or feel that these things that we honor are higher than us, instead recognize that they simply are part of our reality and deserve our respect.
Your altar can be any size, with anything that you want to use. It can be anyplace, to include your own mind. It should have space to honor the following things.
Gods/Ancestors – those that have come before you that hold metaphysical power over your reality both specific, as well as a broad point of view. You might be proud of a specific grandparent, but also proud to come from the people of a place or country, so honor both, in your own way.
All Things – animism – all things in our reality have a place and power in it. Honoring all of them helps us recognize their individual power. If you don’t take care of your car (Honor and respect), how do you expect it to get you to work every day?
One’s Self & Our Personal Power – We should never loose grasp on the fact that we are the first “1” in our human experience and take time to recognize that we are not a passenger in this life, we are the driving force that creates it.
Taking the time to build a relationship with all of these things allows us to get to know and understand them, as well as them to get to know and understand us. It is easier to be sympathetic and empathetic to someone or something you have a closeness to. So take time to build that closeness. In future classes you will learn how to connect to these things at a spiritual level but for now start with a physical connection, your Altar, a sacred space.
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