A Boveda table is a spiritual altar setup in your home for the purpose of developing the ability to connect to Spirit and your Spirit Guides and to develop your intuition. This particular style is from European spiritism of the early 1900s. This practice is very common in the Lucumi-Orisha and the Palo-Congo traditions as part of the spiritual development component for the devotees. There are many, many, many versions. Boveda means "vault." It is a sacred container (vault) for your Guardian spirits and a specific area to develop mediumship.
Once setup, it is a sacred space for those who wish to strengthen their connection and communication with their Spirit Guides by regular meditations at the altar. Once a strong connection to spirit guides has been established, insights will come about what to add or change on the altar. It is a creative process that develops and changes with time.
Having guidance from an elder in the traditions that utilize this spiritual development technique is always best. There can be signs and symbols of how the water reacts or what can develop in the water and in what glass has meaning. It will bring attention to either certain spirits that need attention or specific energies that are present and should be dealt within in a particular manner. However if an elder is not available, then the Boveda can be used with its most central purpose in mind --to strengthen your connection to your Guides and develop your mediumship. You can pray to your Guides to help you find the right Elder to support your spiritual walk.
Traditionally, there are 3, 7 or 9 glasses of water. Seven, being a very spiritual number and nine being the number associated with ancestors/egun. One of the glasses is much larger than the rest. It represents you. The remaining smaller glasses are placed in a circle with the largest glass in the center of the circle. The table should be covered with a white cloth, the center glass should have a crucifix or other spiritual representation (i.e. Ankh) large enough to sit on top of the glass in the center. Also, have a white candle, flowers and any other objects that represent your spirituality on the table.
There are several other configurations that can be done with the glasses, but they are very specific to activate a spiritual vortex with a specific purpose. They are known as "horseshoe." "summoning," "sending," "cross defense," and "Congo," to name a few. These other configurations are best learned from an Elder and supported by a spiritual community.
Water is a powerful spiritual conduit that acts as a connecting element between the spirit realm and the physical realm. It also ask to refresh and cool the spirits. Always use cool or cold water. Ensure the glasses are filled to the top. Each of the smaller glasses is dedicated to a group of spirits that have been confirmed as part of your spirit lineage. This altar space becomes supercharged with energy. It creates a portal, a sacred place to meditate, contemplate and pray and to connect with your spirit guides and elevated ancestors. It is a creative and intuitive process. In time, you will receive flashes of insight on what your Guides would like added to your Boveda and what implements and/ or articles of clothing (shawl, scarf, jewelry, etc.) they would like for you to have with you when you sit there.
The above picture depicts a Boveda setup with a total of 9 glasses. Other setups include 1, 3, or 7 glasses total. The 9 represents the ancestors, those who have crossed over that are our guardians / spirit guides. Seven is is known as a deeply spiritual number so it is also used in the Boveda setup. Using a setup of 3 or 1 is also acceptable but not as widely used. Refresh the water every 7-10 days or when the water gets cloudy. Try not to allow the water to evaporate completely. Maintenance and are essential to your Boveda. Also, keeping the Boveda refreshed with good smelling fragrances helps to attract benevolent spirits along with a fresh flower bouquet.
HOW TO WORK YOUR BOVEDA
Dedicate a time daily, weekly or every few days to sit at your Boveda to meditate and connect with your Guides. Use an opening prayer to setup up the energy. If your Spirit Guides like particular things such as a stone, shawl, skirt, drink, smoke have it available so that if you get a strong inclination during your session, you have it right there with you. Having things that they like to do when they come to be near you is important to do to create a strong connection with them. Have a journal or a pad ready to write down messages. Set the mood with cleansing incense, putting on a spiritual cologne or essential oil, lighting a candle, etc. If there is music that sets the right mood, play some of it during your session. Once seated, get calm, breath deep and relax. Once relaxed begin to call out the groups of spirits that you have dedicated the glasses to and welcome them. Always state "I call on the elevated Spirit Guides of my _____ people. You only want the elevated spirits who come to help and uplift. Also, be prepared to close out your session with "thanks to your Spirit Guides" and a closing prayer.
When sitting at your Boveda, it's a good idea to have a series of prayers to recite. They can be any that put you into a state of meditation and sacredness. Whatever prayers make you feel strongly connected to God and your Spirit Guides is good enough for this practice. Praying from your heart is also just as good.
After you've finished your opening prayer(s), sit quietly and let the images and messages flow. If nothing happens, be patient. It takes time to create the sensitivity and awareness of the energies from your Spirit Guides. Often times, they begin to communicate right away, but it is you who are not yet skilled at recognizing the messages when they come. Building confidence is part of this process. Confidence is needed to further develop your psychic connection with your Spirit Guides. It comes with practice, repetition and time. You have to learn the way they communicate with you and they have to learn the way you receive the messages best. It's a two way conversation. You can also sit and just speak your desires for a strong connection to them also. Let them know you are ready to work with them for evolution and development. Also speak to them from your heart too. Then be still and listen and/or see what they are trying to tell/show you.
The diagram below depicts a Boveda altar setup. The glasses are dedicated to groups of spirits. However, the glasses can be dedicated to all of your guides and not in groups.
Being consistent is key. It takes time to develop the way you work with your Guides. Patience and commitment to the process are very important. After awhile you will start to intuit things. See, say, dream, have visuals of things that happened or will happen or perceive an answer seemingly out of nowhere on what is needed in a situation will start to take place more and more frequently. Your sensing of what is underneath a situation or going on with someone may also start to happen. Everyone's gift is different and manifests differently. For many it is a subtle progress like slowly waking up from sleep and your senses become aware little by little.
Give it time and stick with the process. Establishing a strong connection to your Spirit Guides is very satisfying and a great experience.
With divine blessings,