Nancy Cunningham begins this gorgeous book by noting that, “When a woman creates an altar, she re-collects the scattered parts of herself, reconnects with her inner beauty, and reflects on the Essential Feminine within her psyche. Her altar represents her essential self and becomes a visual metaphor for her woman-spirit…It is a place of her own where she can take time to make sense of the insane pace of life, where she can find the space to simplify, where she can just sit and stare.”  Within the pages she answers such questions as what is an altar; why make an altar; how does one create an altar, and what can one do at an altar. In the latter part, Cunningham also looks at seasonal and special intention altars – ones that are by their nature specifically focused and designed to be impermanent or changing. Richly illustrated with Denise Geddes's evocative black and white photographs, some depicting altars, others providing surprising visuals of nature and our relationship to nature, this book has a simple yet elegant layout, with some excellent placement of Cunningham’s poems, short meditations, words of advice and suggestion. Also included are ideas for special ceremonies, personal rituals and those aimed at larger gatherings and celebrations. Ms. Cunningham encourages our creativity and the breaking of preconceived notions about altar ‘rules.’ Her ideas are presented gently, as an encouragement to us all to to find peace as we rejoice with our own unique expressions of self.  We are clearly shown, in prose and pictures, that altars are sacred spaces, corners of our universe where we may rest and connect with our spiritual center.  ~ review by Lisa Mc Sherryby Nancy Brady Cunningham and Denise GeddesRed Wheel, 2002

pp. 144, $19.95