Well, things have settled down a bit, and I'm back in my apartment, for a few days at least. My grandfather is finally up and about after his knee replacement, doing very well.
While at my grandparents' I was not only helping out with the household needs, but I was also swamped in work, and I came down with a head cold, so not too much time for other activities. But, I did manage to get the altar built!
I only finished assembling it last night, despite the stones sitting around for what, a week? But with it being the sixth of the lunar month, Artemis' day, and the Thargelia festival, I figured I must get it done.
Thargelia is a festival dedicated to Artemis and Apollon. In antiquity is was a festival to celebrate the new shoots of the spouting harvest, and a time to drive away all bad things, purify, and welcome in good things. The agricultural aspect of the festival doesn't fit in very well with life in New Hampshire, as farming wise, there's not going to be any planting for another week or two. But foraging, there are thing starting to come up, like fiddle-heads.
The purification aspect worked well with finally getting the altar built. I went out a bit after sunset, with the moon already high in the sky, and washed the altar down with blessed water. Next I took barley, and sprinkled it on the altar and the space around it. Finally, I burned a mixture of patchouli, mugwort, and rosemary and carried it around the ritual space, and fanned the smoke to the altar.
I dedicated the spot generally to all the Gods who bring good things, and then more specifically to Artemis, Hekate, and Selene, who will be seeing the majority of worship here. In fact, as I mentioned earlier, I'm only in my apartment for a short while, as I plan to go back to my grandparents' next weekend for the full moon, which brings the Rite of Her Sacred Fires for Hekate. (http://hekatecovenant.com/rite-of-her-sacred-fires/) I am not a member of the covenant, and have not done this rite in years past, but this year it seemed appropriate. There's just something about many people, from many traditions, coming together at the same time, to do the same ritual in honor of a deity they all feel called to.