Raise the Shrines
Shrines do not need to just be erected on tables. They can be erected wherever they are needed. The last 3 years I have been a Sacred Fire tender at Michigan Paganfest. During that time I have set up shrines to the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits behind my tent. This year I finally took pictures but only after I moved my various representations in front of the Sacred Fire. Something about being behind the tent made it like an invasion of privacy to take pictures there. The set up, however, is very similar to the pictures, except spread out onto two black t-shirts; they were clean, and used for the weekend for the sole purpose as altar/shrine ‘cloths’. Practicality wins out, sometimes, since all of my altar/shrine cloths were taken up by altars and shrines at my home.
These first two are before the Sacred Fire together. On either side of Odin and Freya are the representations of Ask and Embla. Directly beside Odin the key represents Frigga, as I have no statue of Her yet, and beside Freya the little Green Man is our representation of Freyr. The two little circles, (harder to see in the light, sorry) near to Freyr are a Sun and Moon representing Mani and Sunna. After asking the Fire for Her permission and blessing, I placed my divination tools closest to Her for Her to bless and empower Them. They all were located in the North. The East was completely clear, and the South had Brighid’s Cross and a vial of Her healing waters on a single log, which I forgot to take a picture of.
Anubis wanted to be elevated, facing the Fire in the West with the selenite wand we use at home to purify ourselves before prayer as a way of purifying the wandering Dead who wanted to be near the Fire.
I love altars, shrines, and sacred spaces of all kinds. Tumblr has a pretty cool community called FuckYeahAltars that has some really beautiful expressions of devotions, from the very minimalistic to the very elaborate. It, and communities like it, are powerful reminders that our shrines do not need to be a certain way; they can fit with, complimenting and enhancing our home, fitting into the little niches and spaces. We can erect our shrines outdoors as well, turning a piece of backwoods into a shrine to landvaettir, or to a woodland God or Goddess. A pile of rocks becomes a cairn or a herm. The limits are our Gods’, Ancestors’, and spirits desires’, our traditions and taboos. Barring those things, our own imaginations are the limit.
What I hope to do with this post is encourage people to share their own shrines, should their Gods, Ancestors, spirits and/or traditions approve. To show the multiplicity of forms that altars, shrines, and other sacred spaces can take. I know in exploring FYA’s many examples I have been inspired in my own space creation. In looking at others’ there is no one way of constructing a shrine. They are unique to our relationships with the Gods, Ancestors, and spirits that we worship, our traditions, our individual relationships with each, each Being’s desires, and so many other factors I could not hope to list them all. Suffice it to say, our shrines are part of our relationships, experiences, and points of contact with these Holy Powers that share in our lives.