placement for our altar

The NYC Gay Men’s Shamanic Circle generally organizes our altar using symbols and totems from Great Basin tribes and Peruvian Shamanic practices, the joining of the Eagle and Condor.  The cardinal directions and the secondary directions often overlap, holding physical symbols in both positions.

While we set our altar in a circle, a medicine wheel (many cultures do so) it is in actuality a spiral.  Each time we complete a turn of the wheel, we arrive at a new level.  The altar, like a mandala, is the physical representation of our spiritual experiences.

All altars are valid when set with intent.  There is no one way or “right’ way. This is simply our way.

East– red- the place of birth- place of origins –
element:  sun,fire     symbol: a candle     totem animal: Eagle, Jaguar

Southeast– adolescence, living plants, flowers, pictures of living people.

South– yellow- the place of growth, young adults,  symbols of life,  symbols of unity.
element: earth     symbol: a rock     totem animal: Coyote, Mouse, Turkey, Snake

Southwest- maturity, harvested products of the earth: sage, corn meal, etc.  The talking stick – speaking with/from experience, symbols of learning and experience.

West – -black/deep blue – old age, death, place of endings, place of insights, place of going within, ancestors, photos of departed ones/ cover any living people who may be in a photo.
element: Water     symbol : sea shell/water     totem animal: Owl, Bear, Wolf, Dolphin, Whale

Northwest – place of transformation – going from this world to the next. – inspired wisdom – photos of ancestors

North – white – ‘Spirit’– place of wisdom, also ancestors, place of sweeping away the old to clear the way for new growth.
element: air/wind     symbol: feather     totem animal:  Buffalo, Condor

Northeast –  spiritual growth,  spiritual insights applied to new beginnings,  musical instruments

Center- purple – is our hawk/falcon talisman