Much to the surprise of my parents, on my once-a-year summer visit to my grandparents, I chose a glass figurine of Mother Mary from a large cardboard box with some unwanted treasures. I was eight years old and I remember feeling special, because I had chosen something special. I knew that that specific Mother Mary belonged to me and indeed she has been close to me since that day. She has seen different houses, lovers and husbands and she has been present during the home-births of my three children. Now, 48 years later, she has found a place on my kitchen altar.

The kitchen altar, a windowsill in my kitchen just behind the kitchen sink, holds my spiritual symbols for life, love and work. They are almost all gifts from people important in my life, and some symbols I have bought my self. I see an Earth Mother there, a golden angel, a few exceptional pebbles I found, a small stone hare and some more. I know most of the altar items have been bought by people who loved to give them away again.

I just love it when I visit a shop where one can buy the head of The Buddha as a book stand, a lamp base, or as a lovely ornament on a garden table with some potted roses next to it. As I said in an earlier post, angels are everywhere and they have indeed permeated our ‘common’ daily-life shops. We do not have to go to a museum of early medieval art anymore to see the angels announcing important messages to young women. They shout to us from appointment book covers and decorative wall hangings. Mary statues and figurines are often well represented in many a bric-a-brac or antique shop and there is no trouble in finding a jeweler who sells your beloved Ohm sign in gold or silver.

Some folks are struggling to cope with the idea of buying spiritual symbols or effigies just for the sake of decoration. I struggle not; I think this potential spiritual penetration of commercialism comes timely. There are different ways I or my fellow humans are being nudged to look a tad deeper and further, and this is just one. I am reminded every now and then that there is more in life happening, even if that bang on the head comes from a Bhudda statue standing decoratively on a wintry balcony table, waiting for spring to come. I say Hello Mary, to her plastic statue when I walk by the window of my local charity shop, and I think I can count on it that someone in China designed and manufactured it. I wish no plastic was involved here.

These spiritual symbols all seem to say “hello” to us too, audible for when we are ready to open our ears and hear their voices, when we feel a stirring in our hearts because we are touched and when we are ready to see who we, through our purchases, have invited into our homes.

– Karin Schluter Lonegren