Special Feature: Altars of Writers & Artists: Aliza Einhorn

IR: How did you begin the practice of creating an altar or spiritual space in your home? 

AE: For me, the entire home is a spiritual space and a space for creativity. It is not limited to one surface, one desk, one table, one room, one wall, one minute. It exists everywhere, all the time. Every room is an altar. Every room has an altar. There is no separation between the spiritual life, creative life, and what we might call daily life – the preparation of food, the need for sleep, and so on. For example, I write at my desk, at the kitchen table, when in bed, in every chair, while walking, in coffee shops. The book I’m currently writing is always in my head. The people in the book talk to me. So there is one space and it is all spaces. Same with prayer. Pray everywhere. Listen to the Divine everywhere. No limit. When did it start? I’m not sure. I grew up in a religious Jewish family (we kept Shabbat and kosher and the holidays) and I was also a creative kid, writing and drawing and singing. Ultimately the altar, the spiritual space, is always inside you. You carry it within you. It’s in your body. It’s in your breath. But if I want to light a candle for a spiritual purpose, any flat surface will do.

IR: How does the spiritual space interact with your creativity?

AE: Hmm I love this question. The altar or spiritual space cleans the air, like my many air purifiers. Also, the spiritual is psychological: it calms me down. And the calmer I feel, the better I can hear, and the better I can hear, the less I will procrastinate and thus run to do my writing. I recently started writing at a cowork place and that desk too is an altar. I’m a triple Cancer (Sun, Mercury, and Mars) so the first thing I did was bring familiar things that reminded me of home: food and tea and a Tarot deck and a postcard picture of Virginia Woolf. On my Instagram, I started posting the pen of the day or the blank book, the journal, of the day. These things absolutely live on my altar(s). The altar, the spiritual space, like your creativity, is a living thing.

IR: What is one valuable thing you have learned from your practice of creating a sacred space?

AE: That it’s easy. That it’s instant, automatic. Very little assembly required. That you can make sacred space anywhere. That no tending is required. I mean, I like to declutter but sometimes there’s no time or energy for that. And I learned that I really love candles, simple tea lights with no smell, whether I’m lighting them for Shabbat or for a spell (candle magick) or because fire is soothing. Creating sacred space is actually a really simple thing to do, no matter why you’re doing it. And anyone can do it. And it’s free. You don’t even need candles. You just need you and maybe (maybe) a reason why.

Aliza Einhorn is a poet and playwright, with an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ workshop. For over a decade, she’s made her living as an astrologer and tarot reader. Her first book The Little Book of Saturn was published in 2018 (Weiser). A Mystical Practical Guide to Magic is her second book. Find her at online at moonplutoastrology.com, @alizaofbrooklyn (Instagram), and @moonplutonyc (Twitter).

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