When did you build your first altar? Did you think of it as an ‘altar’ at that time?
I started creating altars when I was a young girl (probably 9 years old or so). I had a big bookshelf that I decorated with my most prized possessions. Among many other things, I put gifts that my loved ones had given me, animal bones that I found in nature, birthday cards that meant a lot to me and pictures of memories that I loved.
I did not think of it as an ‘altar’ at the time; however, that bookshelf gave me the same joy and sense of connection to Self as the altars that I create today.
Do you share your practice with others or do this as a solitary practice?
I love to do both! I do what feels the best in my body and what is alive in my heart. Sometimes I am most excited about having ceremony with a friend, and other times I am more content being by myself during ritual.
I have been a part of women’s groups where we had ritual together around an altar, which was very juicy and nourishing to my soul.
What has been an unexpected delight in altar building?
Witnessing the shift in dimension when I cast a circle and drop into the altar creation space.
It feels like I am in between worlds when I am in that space. I feel connected to God/ Goddess and I can feel the vortex of my intention and prayer as I create an altar.
How frequently do you build altars?
I build altars whenever I feel called to. A lot of the time I build altars on the full moon and new moon. Sometimes I build altars before I begin an exciting project or go on a big trip.
What beliefs or ideas influence your altar building?
An aspect of my practice is the idea that there are no “rules” when it comes to ritual and altar creation. I intuitively flow with my practice; I do what feels the most peaceful and joyful to me at all times.
I also consider ideas like current astrology transits and the wheel of the year from Pagan and Wiccan traditions.
Can you share an outcome or two from using Altars in your life?
I love to create altars because it is a fun way for me to connect to my divine nature as a co-creator of Life. I would say the best outcome that I have received from creating altars is a feeling of groundedness and inspiration.
Every time I create an altar I set the intention that the altar be a prayer for peace and fulfillment for all beings. I believe that my intention coupled with the physical portal of the altar affects all worlds for the highest good.
What items tend to show up repeatedly when selecting what you will place on your altar?
Oracle cards, crystals, singing bowls, written new moon intentions, Goddess statues, seashells, flowers, and incense are all common things that I use to create my altars.
What types of items do you use? Do you have a reason or guided approach for your selection process?
I use a lot of items found in nature. I try to represent all five elements in my altars. I don’t have much of a guided approach, although I do find that my altars often appear to have some sort of geometric pattern in the placement of the items.
Do you follow the seasons or another system/set of holidays/moon cycles that impacts when and the type of altars you build?
No. I loosely follow the wheel of the year as in Wiccan and Pagan traditions.
What is your favorite part of building or using altars in your life – personal/work both?
My favorite part about building and using altars is the act of creation itself. I also love how my altar is a physical prayer portal that can be felt in all dimensions.
How or does your culture show up in your altar building?
My culture does not yet show up in my altar building. I draw inspiration from many different cultures. I am excited to see how this evolves over time as I educate myself more on Celtic tradition and magick.
What difference do you notice on your physical body when you treat it as an altar with sacred adornment? Do you experience an emotional shift when you put on certain clothing for ceremony?
Personally, it’s less about what I am wearing for a ceremony and more about how my body feels. For instance I like to do a face mask and be really clean and moisturized before I start ceremony because that feels best to me.
I also like to have done some yoga and eaten a healthy meal beforehand. A lot of times I will wear very little clothing because my bare skin is what feels the most sacred to me.
What has been the biggest shift for you since building or using altars in your life?
One of the biggest shifts for me has been realizing that my creative process is a really fun way to connect to myself. Since consciously creating altars, I have been inspired to pursue crafting more which has improved my life in many ways.
Right now I like to create art using epoxy resin and paint. I also like to put herbs and oils onto sheets of beeswax and roll them up to create candlesticks. Using altars has made me realize the value of play and creativity. I feel that creation for the sake of fun, play, and expression is an act of self care and highly potent magick that benefits all beings.
I am grateful for this shift in my life because prioritizing creative time has allowed me to tap into the child within me and hear her needs and desires.
Two things I wanted to note as we jump into your personal offerings – You’ve put your professional services on hold currently and second, you are my niece. The latter simply because I am so incredibly proud at what you’ve accomplished and at such a tender age still. You turned 21 this year and have still found ways to contribute while you are in transition.
You began practicing Yoga at an early age – how does it play a foundational role in your life today? Do you feel your early exposure to yoga was a positive thing or didn’t make a difference?
Yes, I was introduced to yoga around age 7. I started practicing
regularly about 3 years ago.
Yoga plays a foundational role in my life today because it is part of my daily spiritual practice. Yoga allows me to be in the present moment and let go of the mental noise. I feel my early exposure to yoga was a very positive thing because it made yoga more accessible to me as I got older.
You’ve travelled extensively as a young woman – Have any of these countries inspired your faith/path?
I am inspired by the diversity of Earth and her inhabitants. Every time I travel I feel energized to keep learning and exploring in all areas of life.
Out of all the places I have been I have felt the most inspired by Athens, Greece. The history and the energy of Athens fascinates me and reminds me of the evolution of humanity and what we are capable of as a race.
You’ve relocated to the Sedona region from where you grew up in other parts of Arizona – you find yourself in a transitional phase and a time of personal exploration – can you talk a bit about what you are doing to help yourself in this area?
Yes, since moving outside Sedona about a year ago I have been in an inward phase of my life. I have been getting reacquainted with myself as I shed all of the masks and beliefs that were never me to begin with.
I have been spending time alone in nature and meditating in order to come back to the Truth of who I am. Mostly I practice following the breadcrumbs of what triggers me to the unintegrated aspects of myself that I subconsciously judge or condemn.
This practice of emotional intelligence and getting curious about what triggers me and why has been an immeasurable tool for me on this journey. Above all, I let myself feel exactly how I feel every moment. This radical self acceptance and loyalty to myself has been the greatest shift of awareness.
I have a dear mentor who is a professional ‘kitchen healer’ – utilizing food to reach her clients. I think you are doing something similar with your current job. How do you nurture and support them with your juice/smoothie creations.
I work at an organic juice and smoothie place in Sedona. We have a lot of regulars who come in every day as well as tourists.
I take great pride and joy in connecting with the people who walk in. I go out of my way to be affirming and genuine with the guests. Because I am at an inward stage in my journey where I am not involved so much in the community, I feel like my job at the juicery is my way of contributing to people’s lives.
I love what I do because I get to have nourishing conversations with strangers while also nourishing them with organic juice and smoothies. My job is an outlet for me to express the love that I have in my heart through connection and food.
When you look at other women your age – what are you noticing – getting excited about in terms of your collective goals and dreams? Do you hope to reach more women to share what you are learning and experiencing with your studies as a mystic, hypnotherapist, world traveler?
When I look at women my age I get excited about how honest we are. It seems to me that young women right now are more empowered than they ever have been to speak honestly about women’s issues and dare to be seen as “imperfect.”
I think that as a collective we are leaning in to ‘strength in vulnerability’ by expressing our true desires and feelings. I love that I see more and more young women standing up to the objectification of women’s bodies by embracing the divinity of their natural form.
Overall, I feel we are stepping into our power and letting go of old paradigms of competition and cattiness between women. Amazing!!
You’ve lived in Sedona and attended a few Envision Festivals in Costa Rica. Do you find a mentality shift when you live in a place that is considered by many to have sacred energy or at a festival where so many other likeminded people gather together! If so, how does that shift show up for you? Emotionally? Physically? Paint the picture for us.
I have been blessed to spend time with amazing, likeminded people in both Sedona and Costa Rica. However, I contribute most of the shift I feel by connecting to the land itself.
When I connect to the land in Sedona I am reminded of the peace and stillness that is always available to me. Sedona is truly magical and she always whispers to my heart exactly what I need in each moment.
Costa Rica makes me feel pure blissed out joy between the warm ocean water, to the tropical fruit and wildlife. I am amazed and humbled by all of the ways that Gaia provides for me and inspires wonder in my heart. I am so grateful to be able to experience such potent, mystical places.
Vivian you graduated from the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts as a licensed Clinical Hypnotherapist, Trauma Informed Yoga Teacher, and Mind Body Wellness Practitioner. If you offer services in those areas again or in new directions, how can women connect with you?
Bonus if you dare question #1
Favorite curse word?
I am neutral about cursing, I don’t prefer any curse word over another. But I love to say silly things that sound like curse words like “Frick!” and “Poop!” lol!!
Bonus if you dare question #2
What is a favorite sacred tattoo you rock on your bodies altar or favorite piece of jewelry you wear to help create your feeling of sacredness?
My favorite sacred tattoo I rock on my body is a big rainbow Phoenix that I have on my left thigh. I love how the tattoo aesthetically looks and it is a symbol of the death and rebirth process.
Bonus if you dare question #3
What would you take your younger self by the shoulders and looking straight in the eyes say to her?
I would say, “It’s ok to feel angry.”