This time of year I like to build altars (sometimes elaborate, sometimes simple) to remember and honor those who have gone before as well as my contemporaries whose journeys, in this lifetime, came to an end. Honoring the dead is an age-old, universal custom that has real value.
It’s super easy to make an altar, and it can be a very rewarding experience. It can be as simple as lighting a candle, placing pictures, flowers, objects, basically, whatever you’re “called” gather together on a space (that I recommend you set aside, in your own way, as being sacred).
For inspiration, here’s a few examples. The first is a more elaborate altar I put together a few years ago, that I later made into a permanent ancestor altar box, pictured below. The last image is this year’s super simple altar. Let your imagination and intuition guide you to create a thing of beauty and deep meaning. It’s so worth the time investment.
It feels good to remember and pay respects to our loved ones who have left this world through our own thoughtful, creative acts of love. It’s a great healing activity for anyone, (especially children) who has recently suffered loss. Creative acts are known to be highly beneficial for working through grief. In time, building an altar (and perhaps doing some type of ceremony) can become quite a beautiful and joyous event.
I highly recommend you try it for yourself!