These Reflecting Globes are so beautiful! They’ve always intrigued me and I put a couple in my garden long before I knew their history. Finally I had time to read a little about them and thought I’d share what I learned.
History & General Information
Gazing Globes were first introduced in 13th century Venice by artisan glass blowers.
Soon after they were made popular in Germany. King Ludwig of Bavaria so loved gazing balls that he had them made to be hung in trees and this is said to have led to the use of glass baubles as Christmas tree ornaments.
Today it is rarer to find those made of glass due to its fragile nature. Stainless steel and other metals are used more frequently but still have the reflecting surface that is so inherent to their charm.
These intriguing pieces are known by many names:
Globes of Happiness
They come in all sizes from mini (2 inches in diameter) to Gigantic (118’ feet in diameter), the latter namely in the Parc Villette, Paris.
There is also a very fun globe in Millennium Park, Chicago called ‘The Bean’. This one is 33 by 66 by 42 feet. So cool.
Millennium Park, Chicago
In addition to making your garden/yard look pretty these globes have had several other uses. I’ve highlighted my favorites.
Ward off evil
Bring good luck
Announce affluence in a home
Discreetly chaperone young couples during courtship. (Courtship?! Victorian Era no doubt.)
Alert the servant when guests might need attention such as a drink refill (Butler Ball). The reflective globe would be placed strategically on a dining room sideboard so servants could remain outside the room and still see when service was required.
Add color to your garden or lawn
Attract birds and butterflies
Provide a quiet spot for meditation. Some believed that staring into the ball made the gazer become one with the universe.
Protect the property owner from witches. The witch would see her reflection in the globe and be frightened away before casting spell.
Ward off Ghosts, Disease and Evil Spirits
Attract friendly spirits and faeries and bringing good fortune to the home
And finally they (only the steel ones) fertilize your garden naturally! Amazing. The steel in the ball attracts magnetic charges and hence has a high degree of nitrogen in the air there. This is how we fertilize. This process is called Electroculture! So go buy some Globes and get rid of your pesticides.
These Gazing Balls are different from CrystalBalls in several ways (hollow vs. solid, any color vs. clear, etc.) but they remind me of them and I think that accounts for some of my affinity toward them. There is something mystical about them for sure. I think they would be a nice addition to a sacred space or altar too. Check them out for yourself! Let me know what you think.
What is the one rule you must satisfy when creating your altar?
Your altar MUST PLEASE YOU!
Done, done, done. That is it. Your altar can look like anything and be placed anywhere as long as it makes you happy and encourages your peace of mind. It does no good to follow Feng Shui rules of placing the altar facing the front of the house or the front door, or any other rules you’ve read about if the end result does not touch your soul.
You will hear advice about not placing sacred statues or items on or near the floor because it is considered disrespectful. What? The floor is closer to the ground, the ground is Mother Earth, Mother Earth is Sacred to the Max to me so I’ve got lots of my altar items on the floor. Plus I prefer sitting on the floor over a chair so placing items low in space is the perfect height for me. Go with your own intuitions. If it feels right for you then do it. If it feels uncomfortable then change it up.
I have lots of fun setting up altars. Get creative! You might look at some of my altars and not classify them as such but to me they create a sacred space and serve to remind me when I walk by that there is more to this world than what we see. These mini-spaces remind me to go to my full fledged altar and/or to right now, as I walk by, get in touch with my spirit. Altars are places where the divine and human worlds interact, a place to get back in touch with your authentic self as a representative of divine energy.
You do not need to believe in a God or gods to have an altar. You can have an altar to communicate and get in touch with your own higher knowledge, or a cosmic energy. If you do believe in spirits, saints, angels, deities, etc. this is the place to begin calling on them. The more you spend time at your altar space, the more peaceful energy will be infused there and soon it will be calling to you daily to come and spend some time basking in the peace.
A common definition of an altar is ‘Structure on which offerings are made to a deity’. This can be so but it can be so much more than that. In biblical times the offerings made usually involved slaughter. Well that ain’t happenin’ in my house. I do make offerings however. Offer whatever you have to give like the Little Drummer Boy. He played his drum for Jesus. So if you are musical you can share that gift at your altar. I do sing there sometimes. I offer flowers and herbs from my garden, beautiful stones or feathers that have come across my path. You can write/read a poem, share some art, etc. The options are limitless.
Some things to consider when creating your home altar
Remember the following are all just suggestions from my years of working with these spaces. In the end there are no rules other than the first one I gave you at the top of the page.
Choosing Your Space(s)
Ideally this place will offer some modicum of quiet at least during some part of the day.
It can be outdoors or in.
Ideally a place that you will have easy access to.
That you can have some privacy in (ability to close a door, block it off or put up a screen).
That is comfortable (not too hot or cold, etc.).
Consider making a comfortable seat there either on a chair or a pillow, blanket, meditation cushion.
Consider ‘Clearing’ the Space
It is helpful to clear the space both energetically and physically so tidy up the area trying to remove any ‘junk’, extra stuff that is really not needed there. De-clutter.
To clear energetically you can burn incense and/or sage/herbs, burn a candle (soy or beeswax scented only with essential oils), chant, ring bells or chimes.
Do this cleansing ritual each time before you spend time in the space or when you feel the air there needs to be lightened.
Choosing Items For Your Altar
This is such a fun part of having an altar!
Choose items that speak to you, that you feel connected to in some way, that inspire you, make you feel happy, peaceful, etc.
Here are some common items I see used on altars:
Pictures of Saints, Angels, Deities
Pictures of family or pets either deceased or living
Items of Nature: shells, rocks, crystals, feathers, plants, flowers
Pictures of Totem Animals
The list can go on and on. Do you enjoy sports? Perhaps you want a picture of an inspirational player or sports memorabilia on your altar. In love with a certain color? Lather it on your altar and enjoy. Really, it’s all about you. The more unique to you the better!
Arrange Your Altar Items
any damn way you please! We have enough rules we have to follow in this world. Feel free here. It is your space – just for you.
You can read a lot about altar themes but unless you have several altars you might just consider having a general purpose altar. That way you can use it for whatever you need at the time.
Here are some themes/needs people work with at their altars:
Connection to Divine/Higher Powers
Below is my general purpose altar. It’s easy to get to (in my bedroom) so usually when I wake up I just crash down there and say hello to any spirits who might be there, set some intentions for the day and do a bit of breathing/meditation. It is my main altar partly because it is indoors and I can use it all year round.
Here to the left is an altar I use strictly for gratitude. Each day I say ‘thank you’ for something in my life and put a small offering on the rock in front of this angel. I sit there and breathe for a minute (or longer) letting the gratitude fill my body, mind and spirit. I must confess to ignoring this beautiful angel in the middle of winter but I still say a thank you daily just using another method.
You may enjoy working with altars so much that you create a Travel altar! I have one. Simply gather meaningful (but small) items, place them in a box with a lid and you’re all set to go.
Maybe you’ll feel unsure of what to do once you build your altar! I understand that. Again, do what ever feels right for you. Here are some of the things I do at my altar space:
Sometimes I just sit there and cry!
Ask a question and LISTEN for the answer (the answers for me do not always come in words so try to have all senses open. Also the answers may come upon you later in the day after you’ve closed your prayer session.)
Just start by sitting (or lying down if that is more comfy for you) and tune into your breathing. It does not have to be a long period of time. Start with 5 minutes. Soon things will begin to come to you and you will begin to trust listening to your gut here at your altar space and later in the world at large.
So in closing, Have Fun & Create and little by little get back in touch with spirit and intuition. This will go a long, long way in guiding your life, making you happy and healthy and allowing you to become the person you were put here on earth to be. So be it. Namaste.