Flashback Friday – Episode 32: Sunfire Recalls Building an Altar
In the summer of 2008, I told John Stasio that I would like to create an altar near the southern edge of the property during Gay Spirit Camp. He agreed to put it on the camp’s schedule. A few days before the start of camp, I collected rocks. This was sacred work, so I prepared myself by smudging with the smoke from burning sage, and I smudged each rock that I gathered. The first rocks had been used in a sweat lodge. Many had cracked into interesting shapes. It wasn’t until I had gathered about half the rocks that I realized how appropriate it was to use these rocks in a south altar – as fire is the element of the south. I also gathered some larger rocks that had been part of a wall. Wherever I took rocks, I left tobacco.
Around noon of the day scheduled to create the altar, we had heavy rain, but by the scheduled time, it stopped and sunlight was breaking through. One man beat a drum as we walked to the place selected for the altar. We offered a prayer that everything would be done in a good way.
We checked the direction with a compass, then placed large flat rocks at the southern part of the space.
Next we used medium-size rocks to create a circle in front of the altar.
Finally we placed small rocks on the altar to form a rough medicine wheel.
That night, I invited those at the camp to visit the altar and gave them suggestions for visiting it.
Underbrush has now covered the circle of rocks. The smaller rocks on the altar have been washed away by a strong rainstorm. Perhaps Gay Freedom Camp or Gay Spirit Camp this summer will be the time to create a new altar. Do you have any ideas? If so, please put them into a comment to this post.