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Divination theory: Putting the altar on the altar
On surrendering what you think you want
Bringing all my belongings to L.A. meant that I could finally set up an altar. I haven’t had a proper one since I last lived in L.A. in 2019, and moving back here has almost felt like picking up where I left off after a fever dream bouncing from place to place on a wacky, crazy, transformative adventure these past four years.
There’s an oracle card a tarot reader I know has talked about. It’s called “The Returning,” and it essentially speaks to what it means to be a returner: Everything is the same, but you are different.
How strange to pick up where I left off, yet I am different. I think I’m better for it, too.
The bulk of those years I was gone were during the pandemic, so I don’t feel like I missed out on much, plus I fulfilled certain longings—to be on the road, to escape, to go abroad, to achieve major milestones in career and spiritual work, and to experience the type of relationship I thought I wanted.
But for the past four years, no place felt like home, and there was never an altar.
Now I’m returning to my altar. It’s quite different from what it used to be.
I did my daily card pull (which was the Hierophant), but I’m not writing about that today.
Under the deck was the Magician, which is also the card I invoked two days ago during my tarot class with Selah. I had just received some good news after doing a lot of altar work over the days surrounding the full moon.
All this involved was burning candles and oils and simply presencing the altar with objects and offerings—making it something full of life and dynamic, rather than the static altars I’ve had in the past. There are some big things I am trying to get help with.
As I placed the Magician on the altar, I noticed his own altar, the objects strew across his table which are used to create, conjure, manifest.
Some objects are also used to clear or let go, such as the sword.
When I packed my belongings into a storage unit in Berkeley and embarked on my solo travel journey last September, I decided to put my life on the metaphorical altar of the divine—a Jesus-take-the-wheel moment.
In pulling the Magician today, I realized I could put the altar itself on the altar of the divine.
By this, I mean surrendering everything. There has been a certain humbling in the admittance that I do not have control over things and circumstances.
This energetic surrender is merely honoring that; it’s a way to let go of attachments and outcomes.
In surrendering the altar itself, it also means surrendering all that I think I want. Obviously, that doesn’t mean setting aside goals, but it does acknowledge that I do not totally know what I want. This feels more realistic and sobering. How could anyone?
I have gotten what I wanted a lot in life, only to discover it was not what I wanted at all, so setting the altar itself (in all its hopes, dreams, wishes) on the true, non-physical altar of the divine acknowledges this.
It’s strange, but if I could set my entire life on the altar, I can set the altar on the altar, too.