The Pagan Experience – Week 4 – Altars and Shrines

Look, it’s the Feast of the Dressing today, which means it is nearly WEP RONPET, and I spent yesterday cleaning and purifying ALL THE SHRINES and ALL THE THINGS, so I could write a tl;dr post this week, so. Have a long post is long with lotsa pictures and probably more detail than you really care for as I show you exactly how many shrines I have managed to fit into a tiny ~3mx3m bedroom. 😀 😀 😀

Also, I don’t actually have an altar, per se, but – oh. I should’ve taken a photo of my myse board, that’s the closest I get to an altar. Oh well! Next time! XD Anyway, I haven’t done a big shrine round-up post like this for a while now, I don’t think, so it’ll be good to have it all documented in the one spot. For any new readers, who’ve come here via The Pagan Experience, hi, have some new shrine photos. For everyone else, I hope this isn’t dull and repetitive. :D?

Part of why I did all the cleaning yesterday was because it is Australia Day/Invasion Day/Survival Day/January 26th, and I had a Family Gathering with +elebenty new relatives I didn’t know before because who has five branches of our family in this city? I do. And we got them all together in a house, and it was hot, and we got back at, like, 4pm, and all the energy I have right now is for posting this stuff and trying to cool down.

Anyway. There are a lot of photos here, just for anyone who might have issues with lotsa photos, though they won’t be oversized or anything. Also, long post is long, because I have a lot of shrines, and I ramble a lot. :D? Also, I took all these photos this morning using my phone camera, so apologies if they’re not that great. I was in a bit of a hurry to get them all taken before we had to leave this morning. But anyway. Have a long post with lots of words and lots of pretty shrine pictures. ❤

1) The Shedety Shrine

Shedety shrine - full view

Shedety Shrine overview. Storage underneath. Shrine on top. Sobek’s things are to the left, Heru’s to the right. Naos in the middle. Eye of Heru shrine cloth to partially conceal the storage area. There’s a bookshelf far to the right in the corner (out of shot) that contains my books, incense, journals, etc. Which I didn’t take a picture of because I am forgetful.

This is my main shrine, dedicated to Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset. I painted the table myself, and it took for-fucking-ever, and several hundred (not really) coats of wood stain, but I am so glad I did it. It turned out awesome. It’s just a simple table from IKEA, bog standard pine, and it’s solid, and not too wide.

Underneath, I keep my book-making and beading things, along with a box of random Pagan Things, and on top of that, a box for all the things I am currently selling on Etsy if you would like to buy them and maybe make some room for me to make other things plzkthnx. /end self-promotion. The lower box with the runic helm in it contains all manner of Pagan Things like ribbons, candles, random bottles, bits of fabric, oh – that’s where my candle knife is!, and the racks I use for drying runes, amongst other assorted things. There are a few other things tucked up under there as well, like my ADF manual/file/books/etc, but for the most part, it’s a storage area. I did toy with making it a shrine as well, but, well. My knees are fucked and I can’t kneel at shrines for any length of time, so. That was never going to work. (I have hypermobile joints, which means they over-rotate, which means I can’t sit properly, or kneel, or sit cross-legged, or other related things. Like carry a backpack. GDI. So. No ground/floor-sitting level shrines for me!)

Shedety shrine - Sobek and Heru-sa-Aset

Close-up of the Shedety shrine.

As for the shrine itself, Sobek’s side is on the left, and Heru’s on the right. You can see the shiny new naos/shrine box I painted up for Them, which isn’t quite finished. I still have some embellishments to add, once I can be bothered adding them. A few more inscriptions, and some internal decoration, I think. Anyway. I’ve done a lot of stripping back of what’s on there, since the space isn’t very great, and I wanted moar space to do rituals without crowding it too much. The naos also changes the way I work with the shrine, and that required a lot of shifting things around until it all fit together and worked well. The big box they used to sit on has moved to the ancestor shrine, for no other reason than I didn’t have anywhere else for it to go.

Naos open

Naos/shrine box opened after this morning’s ritual. Apologies for the glare; I was in a bit of a rush. But you can see Sobek in there, and the little Heru I’m using, and the drawing I made for the back. I don’t know how clear it’s coming out, but it shows Sobek and Heru embracing, and holding hands.

I wasn’t sure if I would put statues in the naos, actually, because I wasn’t sure if I had any that would fit. The space inside is less than 5 cm/2 inches deep, and my blue Sobek statue *just fits inside*. I spent about an hour trying to source a Heru that would also fit, and that took an awful lot of effort until I finally found somewhere that sold one that would definitely fit. Just need to wait for it to arrive now. Until then, Heru-pa-khered can sit in there quite nicely, since He’s the only Heru statue I have right now that will fit. Woo. There’s also a blue faience scarab in there for Kheper-Ra, for no other reason than IDK I wanted to have something there for Him, and that scarab is all I have, so.

Naos closed

Naos closed. I hang my prayer beads over the doors. Each door has a dedication written on it, in my own weird hieratic (on which, more later). You can also see the offering plate at the base, and the little jugs. The string is attached to a little metal ankh.

The naos does have an offering plate at the base. That was partly a practical addition to stop it topping over, since the box was originally designed to hang on a wall. So that made it stable enough to be free-standing. I couldn’t help painting an offering table on that space, as it seemed the most sensible thing to paint there. The little blue jugs I got at an op shop, and I might paint them a lighter colour so they don’t get lost in the black of the naos.

The white and blue bowls I also got at an op shop, and there is one each for Sobek and Heru. Sobek’s contains more … IDK, random sacred things? Whereas Heru’s contains incense, coins, and sacred stones, like lapis lazuli and carnelian. A lot of lapis, ngl. Lapis is so pretty.

Anyone who’s seen my shrines before will notice that the tree has moved, and that the cauldron and flame have turned up down here. That was part of the epic shuffling around to make room for everything once the naos arrived. It does make a bit of sense, considering I use them mostly for druidic rites for Sobek and Heru at the solstices and equinoxes. Sobek has the cauldron, and Heru has the flame, and the tree is up on the top shelf, which I will just point to, as it has no other practical ritual use.

I have my Children of Nut and Geb sitting on top of the naos. There are reason for this, including the fact that once I moved the cauldron and flame and tree, Isis moved in to that space, and so festival stuff couldn’t go there anymore, so. They’re on top of the naos now, for lack of anywhere else to go. I think I’ll just use the main altar below to do festival rituals for them, like offering water etc. Let’s not complicate things. Also, this is why I have the little Kheper-Ra scarab, since I will need Him for later when we get to the Feast of Zep Tepi.

Anyway. I think the rest is self-explanatory? Oh. The scribe in front of the naos represents me. I got it a long time ago, but now it’s just there representing me, since I’m Sobek and Heru’s scribe now. So there’s that. But yes, I think the rest is self-explanatory, since this bit is long enough as it is.

2) Shrine of the Goddesses – Hekate, Nit, Isis, and Artemis

Goddess shrines - Hekate, Nit, Isis, Artemis

Ugh, the lighting is terrible in this, but anyway. From left to right, Hekate, Nit, Isis, and Artemis shrines. It’s a bit crowded, but it works.

This shelf sits above the Shedety shrine, and houses shrines to the other gods I work with most regularly. These four get rituals based on the moon phase, and mark the passage of my months. I use a fixed festival calendar/Wheel of the Year, for the most part, but my months operate on a purely lunar cycle. Because it’s hard not to do that when Hekate turns up.

If you remember any old pictures I posted of this shrine before, yeah, I changed Hekate and Artemis around. I felt Hekate ought to be closer to the household shrine, since She’s a household god, so. It’s also a lot less cluttered there, too. There’s not a lot of space, so there’s no space for all the random trinkets. Also, I’m not sure I’ll bring the taper candles back. I want to go look for some more of those crystal bowls at op shops, and pick up a red pillar candle instead. They’re less likely to set the shelves on fire, I think, than risking the tapers at that height. And, IDK, I think they make the space less crowded? But IDK.

Hekate's shrine

Hekate’s shrine.

 

Anyway. The shrine for Hekate was a box I picked up at an op shop (this is my Pagan life, ngl, I have stocked up so much stuff from op shops), and I painted it for Her. It gives me somewhere to hang Her prayer beads that is better than trying to hang them from a circular icon, so. I perform ritual for Her at the new moon. I also need to get Her a proper new black candle, since that one was nicked from a spare I had to cut down because bad tunnelling. It’ll work for now, but I do want a new one.

There is a red …Japanese? dragon figure, which I was given as a gift by a friend some time ago. It’s always sat around, and I’ve never been too sure what to do with it, but Hekate doesn’t mind having it on Her shrine. Eastern dragons are more serpentine than Western dragons, so there’s that connection, at any rate.

Nit and Isis shrines

Nit and Isis’ shrine.

Along from Hekate is Nit and Isis. I only have two little figures of Nit, so She looks a bit drowned out by all the Isis statues. But that has no baring on Her importance. Isis gets ritual on the first quarter moon, and Nit on the last quarter moon. Which is another reason they’re together. And yeah, I’ve gone back to calling Her Isis, I know. Also, the box the white Isis statue is sitting on is a petition box/prayer box. I’m going to try to use it more often than I have been, since I have been nagged at for not asking for anything in spite of all the offerings I’ve been giving. I am apparently just as bad at asking gods for help as I am at asking other people for help, so. There’s that.

I don’t have much for Nit at the moment, except the two small statues, and a reel of brown cotton thread with three needles in it. Also two sets of beads. The one around the statue closer to the candle is the one I use during ritual for Her. I think I used blue goldstone, maybe some lapis, and a gold ankh I found at an op shop. (I do a lot of op shopping. I have picked up many, many awesome shrine things. I may have to do a post on that at some point as well. But I digress.)

The large black and gold winged Isis statue, in particular, is looking even moar beat up than it did a while ago. She’s the oldest statue I own. I’ve had Her for about fourteen years, I think, give or take. She was the first statue I ever bought once I decided to explore this Pagan malarky back in 2000 at the suggestion of a friend. She’s had a wing and a hand break off, as well as the tip of one of the horns, but no way would I ever give Her away.

Artemis' shrine

Artemis’ shrine.

Lastly, we have Artemis. I do ritual for Her on the full moon. The statue isn’t particular historical (I don’t think She was ever shown with deer antlers, but anyway) but it was the only one I really liked, since I really wanted one with a prominent bow. That archer aspect was really important for me to have, since that’s what I get from Her, and that was the one I liked the best. Also, the white stag with the bells strung in its antlers was Her idea, so. There is also a small plate with Artemis’ image on it (also an op shop find!), and on that are Her prayer beads, some needles, a thimble, and some silver arrow head charms. There are reasons for the needles and thimbles, but I’m not going to go into them, since it’s sort of private.

But anyway. That’s it, really. It’s a very simple collection of shrines, but it does the job.

3) Dead Authors, and Miscellaneous Gods shrine

Dead Authors + assorted gods shrine

Dead Authors, Jackals, and Gods.

Okay, this isn’t its official name, just the best way to sum up what’s here. This is the top shelf above the previous shrine. The only real reason I wanted this one was so I could put up all the Dead Author books I used to keep on my ancestor shrine. They’re there sort of as inspiration, and as sort of spiritual ancestors. I picked them firstly because they’re all dead, and also because they’re books or authors who have inspired me. So there’s a big collection of Sherlock Holmes, a Faraway Tree book by Enid Blyton, all the Redwall books I own (and shit did I cry when I heard Brian Jacques had died ;_;), Ray Bradbury, Arthur C Clarke, Jules Verne, Oscar Wilde, H.G. Wells, and … oh, Frankenstine, and a few others I’ve forgotten. I hope Terry Pratchett lasts until I have a bigger space, because there’s not enough room for all my Pratchett books there right now. D: Though I could probably find room for my shiny copy of Small Gods, because that is basically my theology right there. ❤

I have my two jackals and my two cat netjeri guarding them, and Djehuty has a bit of a space there as well. Wesir and Ra sit up there, as do my Hermes and Hestia things that are too big for the household shrine. You can see where the tree has moved to, and there’s one last Isis statue there I can’t figure out what else to do with.

4) Household Shrine/Lararium

Household shrine

Lararium, with representations for the Lares, Hestia, Hermes, Hekate, Bast-Mut, and … a jackal. Also, land spirits. Also I forgot to fill up the salt dish. I am terrible.

This wall shelf was another op shop find, as was the little house that I turned into my lararium. I still don’t know what I love so much about the Roman household practices that it became my template, since I use no other trappings or gods of the Roman household cult other than the Lares. I have space on that shrine for Hestia, Bast-Mut, Hermes, Hekate, Anubis, and the land spirits. So.

Also, the big oil lamp on the middle shelf is a recent op shop find. I’m not sure I’ll use it, because it’s too hot to burn candles, let alone oil lamps, but it can still sit there and be Her’s anyway.

I’m still working out how to tend to my lares regularly. I’m considering a small libation every day with a pinch of salt, but IDK yet. Half the reason I built that shrine was so I could figure out how to tend to it regularly, since it’s at a height that’s actually able to be tended to, rather than stuck up high on a shelf I can’t reach, so that’s the next step, now that’s it’s all together. There may be some thoughts on that down the track.

5) Ancestor Shrine

Ancestor shrine

Latest incarnation of the ancestor shrine.

And now we leave the northern wall to go visit the ancestors in the west. In many ways, this is more crowded than I’d like, but space, eh? I don’t have enough. But since all I do there regularly at the moment is offer water libations once a month, it works, for now.

There’s a lot of stuff here, and I’m not sure I’m going to go over it all right now. On the left, there are two pictures of my cats, Lady (the tabby), and Tilly (the white chincilla cat who has vanished under the flash glare), and on the wall, my maternal grandparents. There are also a few personal belongings of a few deceased relatives behind Lady’s photo. I moved Mary over there, because She never did quite fit on the shelf with my Indian and Chinese deities.

On the silver tray to the left of the offering plate are some old pennies I’ve collected over the years. Because I can’t not have pennies On the right is my incense burner, and a small representation for the land spirits.

Offering plate

Offering plate in more detail. Done with metallic textas onto bare wood.

The big slab of wood is an offering plate I did up originally for the Trans* Rite of Ancestor Elevation last November. Once that was over, I turned it over and drew a more general offering plate on the other side, just with metallic textas, and I use that now for my general things, and I have another one specifically for trans* ancestors as well if I turn it over. This is also why I moved Antinous over there, since trans* ancestors is mostly why I want Him there. He’s represented by the cobra, and sits just in front of the book on the right side of the shrine. The black candle beside Him is the one I used during the elevation rite.

Amun’s feather is also there, in the back in the golden/brassy vase, for lack of other places to put it. I think I’m going to have to find a place to put a shrine up for Him again, since He seems to be tugging gently at me for attention again; I found His feather had fallen down on to the main shrine overnight a few days ago, and got the hint. Not sure where at the moment; there’s no real space left, tbh, so that might take a while to sort out. I guess if He’s insistent, it’ll happen one way or another. I mean, in many ways, it’s hard to build a shrine for a god who seems happy to have a goose feather and an empty box, but there you go. That’s Amun for you.

I still want to change it up a bit, though. I want to include some of my other ancestors, and finish listing the names of the trans* dead, and my blood ancestors, and other things like that. But that might be a project for when I have more space. For now, I might just have to make do with lists of names.

6) Anglo-Saxon Shrines

Woden, Thunor, and Kernunnos

Kernunnos at the top; Woden and Thunor at the bottom.

 

I have a many and varied group of gods, oh yes. Here, have some small shrines for Woden and Thunor, and above that, Kernunnos. Because gods, eh? It’s not all bad, though. Woden finally helped me get to grips with runes, and now I prefer to use them over other divination methods, at least for now.

There’s not a lot on these shrines, since the IKEA spice racks are small as fuck. I did enjoy painting them, though. They were only $7 each, and that was the best $14 I ever spent on shrine shelves except for all the other shelves I bought for no more than $15. Tops. The green bag behind the drinking horn contains another set of runes.

Woden and Thunor shrines

Woden’s and Thunor’s shrines.

 

There is a small coin on there with a raven on it that I got from my maternal grandparents. I have a recollection that I found it playing at their house one day when I was a kid, and I must’ve started collecting coins by then since I have half-a-memory of liking it, and asking if I could keep it. It’s a memorial coin from the Tower of London, iirc, and I have no idea how they got it, but it’s dated 1984, and it has a raven on it, and so Woden has it. Ancestral, and bonus raven! The crescent-shaped pendant I also op-shopped, and it has a goldtone Norse-ish raven design on it.

Thunor has a couple of pieces I made for Him from clay, as well as a small clear quartz point that I picked up from IDEK anymore. U guise, I have the most random collection of gemstones, half of which I can’t even remember what they are anymore, and they sit under my pillow in a bag because I can’t think of what else to do with them, since to me, they are just pretty rocks. And I like pretty rocks.

Kernunnos shrine

Kernunnos’ shrine. What a noble beast you are, stag.

The stag for Kernunnos I bought at a Christmas shop a few months ago. His antlers are broken and not easy to fix (I’ve already tried once), but he was going cheap, and I didn’t see any others I liked, and I think he was the last one left, so I bought him. All I’ve added to Him is the pine cone fabric to cover up the ‘Happy Holiday’ message carved into his neck. But yes, he is beautiful, and if his antlers weren’t broken, I’d hang bells from them, too.

There are also some tumbled rocks, and underneath the stag is a small disk I made for Him, with the Cen rune, and on top of that is a skull. The leaf plate on the far right has some gemstones on it.

7) Eastern (mostly) Deities shrine

Eastern deities shrine

In which I fail to capture all seven of Yemaya’s stars. GDI. There is totally a seventh star on the far right past the last Ganesha statue.

I hesitate to call this a shrine, since, for the most part, it’s a shelf with enough space for my statues. That, and Yemaya isn’t exactly ‘eastern’ but African. Still, I guess that counts, yeah?

Anyway, I have Ganesha up here, as well as Saraswati, and Quan Yin. The metal pot is a place to put my spare change, and contains a money spell in the bottom. It’s not there because those gods have any sort of money/prosperity capacity; it’s there because there’s nowhere else to put it. Also, that shelf has all my dictionaries and language reference books, and IDK it seemed to be the best shelf for Them.

The statue of Ganesha on the far right was the first one I bought, I’d suggest over ten years ago, at the Perth Zoo shop. Yeah. I know, hey? I was already Pagan at the time, but Hindu deities weren’t particularly on my radar, tbh. But there were these Ganeshas on the shelf, and ngl, I bought one. He’s lost an arm, and a finger, because yay I am great at breaking my resin statues wooo. But yes that’s how Ganesha came into my life, so. 😀

Quan Yin, like, I can’t quite remember what attracted me to Hir? I almost want to say it was the whole ‘Indian male god to Chinese female god’ thing, but I also suspect that IDK I might have stumbled across Hir myths one night on the Intarwebs, and it sort of went from there, so. But Sie’s cool. Doesn’t mind being a bit queer, but I can deal with Her as feminine as well. I think She’s probably the kindest, gentlest presence I’ve ever felt.

And, yeah, Saraswati. Wasn’t expecting Her, either, tbh, but She turned up in a dream a while ago, and I felt I ought to pick up a statue of Her. I felt a bit humbled to be visited by a Hindu god other than Ganesha, because I’m always a bit careful about dealing with the gods of living traditions. But hey, if that’s what She wanted, I’m all for it. Seems appropriate that She’s by the dictionaries and whatnot.

Also, the seven six stars you see along the edge of the shelf are for Yemaya. Isis introduced me to Her a long time ago in a dream, and I’ve had a soft spot for Her ever since. I don’t really do much with Her, since again, living tradition, and I haven’t been invited into that space, but I keep the stars there for Her anyway. Just trust me that there are seven stars, even though you can’t see the last one. Also, they are funky Glow-In-The-Dark stars, because I am uber-cool.

Also, underneath that particular shelf I have some more of those glowy stars shaped into the constellation of Crux. Because *handwaves*. And not in a Flag-Waving Strayan sort of way. I’m just very fond of the constellation.

Green Man plate

Epic Green Man plate.

OH. And before I forget, lookit the beautiful Green Man plate I bought. It was left over from last year’s Hekate Symposium, iirc, and it’s just amazing. It was one of those pieces that caught my eye, and I decided I’d leave it a week and see if it was still there. I had half a mind to hang it above Kernunnos’ shrine, but IDK, it feels, to me, like the sort of piece that wants to be seen, and it wouldn’t really be seen there. It isn’t seen very well from there, either, but I don’t have anywhere else for it right now. Still, that right there, that’s the Yule Feast centrepiece. And I can tell you the photo doesn’t do it justice. It’s a beautiful piece, and worth every cent I spent on it.

And yes, I have a copy of Dinotopia. It is my favourite. *hugs it* I swear I can always hear the roar of the water when I look at the illustration of Waterfall City. Trufax. ❤

Hephaistos art

Can’t remember what this painting was really meant to be of, but does that not look like a smithy at work forging awesomesauce things? Yeah. Totally.

One final shrine thing is this thing for Hephaistos. It was actually a picture I got out of a Christian calendar from last year; it’s very much not meant to be Hephaistos, but that’s what it said to me. It looked like a guy at a forge, surrounded by fire and stuff. So it’s become a representation of Hephaistos. Because you can never have too many depictions of gods in your bedroom, obvs. 😛

Anyway. This post (apparently) is now over 4.7k, so I might leave this here, and post it, so I can get on with #365albums over at sashataakheru.wordpress.com, if anyone’s read this far, and is at all interested in me listening to 365 different albums this year and blogging about it. :D?

Next posts will be about the upcoming Epagomenal days and then Wep Ronpet, and I’m not sure how substantial those posts will be, but for now, have some shrine pictures. ❤

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2 comments on “The Pagan Experience – Week 4 – Altars and Shrines

  1. jewelofaset says:

    I love your shrines! They are so beautiful!

  2. Emily says:

    Your shrines are beautiful. I love when you post pictures of them.

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