Learning to Live With Less

I'll be the first person to admit that I've got a pretty good life. I was raised in a middle class family, and while we didn't always have the money for the best and newest things, we always had enough money to eat, have shelter, and get the occasional treat. Our family vacations were never lavish and exotic, but mostly camping in Provincial parks and trips to the family cabins. There, we would venture all over the place, exploring, hiking, swimming in glacier fed lakes and wading in the streams. Catching butterflies, seeing signs of the animals that we shared the forests with, and take-your-breath-away views were our pass times, as well as plenty of books and games of cards when it rained.

I've tried to instill some of the same values in my own kids, but when we were living in a townhouse, it was difficult. The yard was small and surrounded by a beige wooden fence, the nearest park only had 2 trees in it, and most of the kids' play area outside was the paved parking lot and driveways of our townhouse complex. Not exactly a place you can easily connect to nature.... Despite my best efforts to attract local birds, I hardly had any visitors to our yard apart from the neighborhood cats, and we weren't allowed to plant trees either. When mom died nearly two months ago, and we decided to buy her house, I knew that this would be a move for the better.
A statue from the Cernunnos/Greenman/God section of the altar. This piece is staying because it's very, very sacred to me.

Our physical square footage has shrunk, compared to the townhouse, but each child has their own room now, their own bit of space in the universe to call their own. The backyard we have now is much larger, and is surrounded by trees, and we even have a giant weeping willow back there as well. The front yard has a couple of smaller trees, and when I'm done with the garden in the spring, it'll be even more populated with green, living things. There is a huge park across the street from us that is populated by hundreds of trees, and even a couple of small ponds. My bird feeders are attracting goldfinches, sparrows, and the odd chickadee so far, and the jays have been visiting every morning to get their ration of peanuts. I even named one "Shorty" because his beak is broken off at the tip. Going through the house room by room though, it was clear that we needed to clear out some of this extra stuff, and fast. Mom wasn't exactly a hoarder, but she did keep a lot of things that probably weren't necessary either, especially old paperwork and receipts.

Moving has made me pause to examine my own possessions too. When I started packing up my altar in preparation to move, I thought I was going to be without my sacred items for a few weeks. I didn't know we would get to move in as quickly as we did. I was going to put myself on a bit of a journey, limiting the amount of items I had access to, to do an experiment to see if it affected my practice or not. But it didn't quite work out as planned, and I got to unpack and arrange my sacred treasures much sooner than I had thought. And now, as I'm sitting on my bed, typing this, the number of objects out is beginning to catch my attention, even keep me from concentrating.

I have so much. Too much. I've gone through the clothes and toys and possessions of almost every room in the house, paring things down , but I didn't put my altar items under the same scrutiny. Not only is not fair to my husband and kids (you have to part with some things you're not really using much, but I don't), it's unfair to me. I'm a big of a magpie when it comes to altar treasures, like I know many of us witches are, and obviously some items are going to be seasonal and only come out when it's that time of year again, like my pumpkin candle holder in the fall, and evergreen branches decorated with holly and mistletoe in the winter. But there is a significant amount of stuff sitting on this altar right now that just... well.. doesn't really need to be there. It's ceased to have much meaning for me, and it feels like it's time to part with them.
Check out the top of the image for a look at my altar how it is as I'm writing right now, sprawling and crowded.


So today, that's what I'll be doing. I'm learning to live with less stuff. This doesn't equate to less power, less connection to the divine, or less magick, it just means less clutter. Less dust. Less overcrowding of objects and me desperately trying to find a place to put them. I think we're all familiar with the phrase "less is more" and it's not exactly been a practice I've adopted. I've always loved to have lots of thing sitting around, but I think that this is pushing it, even for me... I'll be taking a few days here to slowly go through the objects and decide what to keep, and where they shall be placed. Yes, I do plan to share images with you when it's done. I'm curious what your altar looks like too. Is it cluttered? Almost bare? Traditional? Completely unique to you? Please share images with me if you feel so called, I'd love to take a look!
A mini sacred space I set up by the river two days ago, as I took some time out for myself. Incense, tea, cards, and a blanket to sit on were all it took to make me feel connected. Well, and Mother Nature too, of course. 

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