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Lions Roar : July 2019
Whenever our grandchildren visit us, they look forward to lighting the candles and incense, and filling the water bowls, holding each one in silence as they think of who to pray for—a group of refugees, a sick friend, or a pet. They choose whether or not to share the prayer. At the end of the day, the water goes to a house plant as a blessing. Over the years, the children have added things to the altar, including a wooden dolphin, a figurine of Jesus holding the lost sheep, and a little Yoda figure (representing sentient beings who may exist on other planets). In 2018, the mother of two of these grandchildren, our daughter, died of ovarian cancer. We used the altar as a point of focus at the memorial for the many children in attendance. Our daughter, Ursula, was a Montessori teacher. The children received a lesson on how to pray at the altar, and many of the adults also asked to learn. On the altar, there’s a small painting I made of Ursula, because we all believe that she’s somewhere doing important things. —Susan Mayclin Stephenson, Trinidad, California I set up this altar to remind me of my intentions: gratitude, recovery, balance, wild woman/priestess power, living the dharma, and doing my part to ease suffering. Nearly all the things on my altar were given to me as gifts—another reason to be grateful for those beings who journey alongside me on the path. —Jennifer Miller, La Mesa, California SHARE YOUR WISDOM What does your home altar look like and why is it meaningful to you? This was our October altar. We always have sweets, flowers, the Dalai Lama, and female bodhisattvas represented. We add throughout the month. You can see an early voting sticker, apples picked from our tree, a handmade coaster, feathers from a flicker, and Halloween items. Our altar sits atop a fireplace in the center of our home. — Paula and Darsho, Reno On my altar, all is peaceful. An eclectic place of love and wisdom from several traditions, it includes a photo of my grandmothers who added goodness to my life and who I believe are always with me. My altar helps me connect to what I feel supports me, yet cannot see. My altar also calls to me to stillness. —Mónica Coughlin, Annandale, New Jersey LION’S ROAR | JULY 2019 18