I read once, toward the beginning of my pagan journey, that most pagans/wiccans have many little altars in their homes. And I thought-- I've only got 600 square feet, there is no way I'll ever have more than ONE altar!...
But today I was looking around... well, more specifically, I started rearranging my apartment to better suit the way I live and the things I need spaces for-- and in the midst of this process, I was looking around my apartment. I've got several small altars going on. There's the one by the window, where I have my medicinal aloe plant growing, a cheerful Buddha stretching his arms up and smiling, and a great pillar candle that I light most evenings for a few hours. Then there's the "ALTAR" that I set up intentionally as such, with specific items to represent the four directions etc etc-- and I only light it when I need a spirit-boost or when I'm honoring something. And those two are just the more formal and recognizable altars in my home today.
I've got a great picture of Bast on the inside of my front door, so I bring my true self into the world, and the Goddess comes with me on my travels. Near the entry I've also hung a sun/moon carving and a string of seed beads from across the ocean to remind me of my connection to the whole world and everything in it. To remind me that the wheel turns, and there are always fresh seeds of hope to plant. There is a small wreath of grape leaves/vines that I hang over my fairly useless thermostat to make it pretty and remind me to live with Joy. I realized that my shelf of photographs are all of people who have left me in some way-- an altar of ancestors and of loss. And I moved that shelf so it isn't my primary visual focus when I meditate in my circle anymore. It's important, but I want my primary meditations to be about joy and about the life I lead today.
Next, there's a Venus figurine hanging from the rainbow cord over the doorway to my bedroom, to remind me that sex is a sacred and loving act-- and to protect me from my night fears while I sleep. I've got sacred willow branches that I put in a big vase of water, and now some of them have fresh green leaves growing-- it used to preside over my Aloe and Buddha Altar, but when I rearranged I made it more centrally located. There is a picture of the understory of a forest in Fall behind the gnarled, quirky branches that reminds me of the Wheel of the Year. I've found a few more altars of one kind or another hiding here and there, too. I love them. I smile when I see them, and their presence makes my apartment more of my spiritual home. Plus the cat, of course. She makes everything better. (even when she thinks she knows what time I need to get up better than I do, and wakes me accordingly)
It just blows me away that I've got so much beauty and symbolism and Goddess Energy in such a small space. One of my goals has been to integrate my connection with the Great Spirit Mother with the living of my life-- and when I look around my apartment now, I feel her presence. Maybe these little things are all a part of that integration process. Maybe I'm doing better than I thought. You know, when you live your life fully as yourself, everything you choose to keep in your life has a deeper meaning, or it goes away. There is no room for unappreciated belongings in the authentic life.