Starting Your Spiritual Journey
Building an Altar
Going on Pilgrimage

The Guest House

This human being is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected vision.

Welcome and entertain them all.
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.

He may be cleaning out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame.
the malice meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent,
                                                       as a guide from beyond

                                                       -  Jelaluddin Rumi


Starting Your Spiritual Journey
Inside all of us is a hunger for a sense of greater purpose, a longing for a higher power or perhaps a way to understand life’s mysteries and questions. Starting off, or starting again,

on a spiritual journey is remarkably simple and yet it can also seem quite complex. 

Our early religious training may not match or even speak to our experience.  It may seem completely irrelevant or even oppressive.  Searching for a new tradition or spiritual community may seem scary or daunting.  Still the longing persists.  And the journey begins with that single step. 

Images of Divinity provides another way to begin for many who have simply not found images to feed their spiritual longing.  Welcome to the journey! 

Building an Altar
Many religious traditions construct holy places, sanctuaries and shrines to help spiritual seekers focus and bring their attention to the sacred. We can do the same in our own dwellings by building altars.

There is no wrong or right way to build an altar, so have no fear and just begin.  Gather together objects that open your heart – photos of an inspirational person or teacher, loved ones, items that belonged to your ancestors or other significant persons, rocks, shells, branches from favorite places in nature, candles, incense, prayer cards or sacred books or sayings, whatever speaks to your heart and soul.

Images or icons of the Divine are best placed at the center.  If you do not have any images or symbols that speak to you, visit a religious supply store.  There are many statues of various Buddhas, icons of Christian saints, Madonnas, paintings and statuary of Goddesses from many traditions.  Look with your heart and choose an image that speaks to you and inspires you.  Perhaps the particular image in connected to a story that moves you.  Maybe you will just be drawn by the image.  Hopefully some of the images on this website will also inspire your search for images of the Divine.

Clear a table or other spot and use the items to create an arrangement that speaks to your longing.  Perhaps you will want to consult a book on Feng Shui to pick the right spot.  Or just listen to your intuition and choose. 

When passing by during the day, your altar will remind you of your spiritual journey and will hopefully call you to pray or meditate in a way that is comfortable for you.

Going on Pilgrimage
Much of China Galland’s writing and research stems directly from pilgrimages she made around the world to discover images of divinity that spoke to her spiritual longing.  The ancient practice of pilgrimage is common to most religious traditions and is an intensified time of engaging the spiritual journey in a concrete way.

Pilgrimage may simply be an intentional trip to a sacred site or an extended journey to a shrine or sanctuary.  Many find walking a labyrinth or another form of walking meditation serves as a pilgrimage in microcosm.  Many members of the Images of Divinity Advisory Circle has participated in pilgrimages and the organization looks forward to developing a program to offer guidance and actual pilgrimage trips to those interested in deepening their spiritual journey in this way.