State of the Shrines, March 2017

It’s not quite a 3mx3m square room, so you can see how little space I have to work in. But I do make it work hard, so. That’s something, I guess.

So, it’s the Equinox, and this feels like the right time to post about this, given where I am with my #domagick work. I haven’t done any formal rituals for the Equinox just yet, but I’m saving that for Thursday, I think, when I have more brain to sort them out. I also have some videos I need to upload to youtubes, but they are too big, and my internet too slow, to get that done tonight, so. That is another job for Thursday.

If you haven’t been keeping up with my #domagick posts, you can read all about my fire magic experiments over at the Grimoire. I’ve been doing some self-transformation work, and a helluva lot of decluttering, and a lot of that work is starting to come to a close as we enter the week before the Deipnon. I plan to post more about that over here when it’s done, sort of like a summary post, but for now, go read the Grimoire for your day-by-day #domagick posts.

So, since I didn’t get around to this at Wep Ronpet, here’s a belated Equinatorial State of the Shrines for another year.

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Well, that happened fast

Well, I didn’t think the new naos would get done until the weekend, but dad finished it off for me while I was at work today, which is really sweet of him. We’d started gluing some of the bits together last night, but there wasn’t time, nor clamps, to finish it then. But I’m glad dad understood what I was trying to make, because this is exactly what I had in mind. All we added once I got home was a plywood base to stabilise it. It’s certainly not perfect, and it’s a bit rough in places, but to be honest, I don’t care. It’s exactly what I saw in my mind when I considered a wooden naos like this, and it suits the shrine perfectly. Having the sides open like that makes it feel smaller than it really is. An enclosed cabinet would feel too big for that space, not if it was big enough for those statues. I may paint it later on down the line, but right now, I’m happy for it to be as it is.

But then I’ve always liked my naos boxes to be semi-open, rather than fully enclosed. It makes the connections work better for me if I can see Them and touch Them, even if They sit in a naos. It’s the introvert coming out in me, I think. I have my space, the gods have Their space, but we can still see each other, and spend time with each other, if we want to.

I also love the symbolism of blue starry material being lifted up to make the roof, and to sit as a veil in front of the shrine. I have loved this material ever since I picked it up at an op shop for $5, and while I gave away some of it because there was more than I could ever use, I have enough for this. And it’s beautiful. Plus, I can do the ka embrace a lot easier with this naos than with the bodged up cardboard one. But, to be honest, if I have the roof, and some way to veil it, that’s really all I need for a naos. The rest is naos-dressing. I’m sure someone else would find this too open for them to use as a naos, but that’s fine. Others may prefer the totally enclosed cabinets, and that’s also fine. But for me, this is the way to go, and I couldn’t be happier with how it’s turned out.

Apparently we are naos-ing again

A very bodged-together naos

This is a terrible angle because it’s from where I’m sitting down, and when I’m standing, I can’t see the underside of the top. Just pretend it’s white all over.

IDEK. I was sitting down this afternoon to rewrite my daily rites since the ones in my ritual book are just for Sobek and Heru, and now I have Isis and Wesir to add to those and it was getting annoying having to flick through mid-ritual to the right spot, rather than have it all written out in the one place. But as I’m working on that, and reworking it, I’m pondering a different set of rites entirely, and then I get the urge to make a naos out of a box that’s lying around, and suddenly, there it is.

If space and money weren’t an object, I’d just buy a cabinet and be done with it, but it’s a tricky spot and there isn’t much space, so this is what it is now. Apparently I need to be able to open/close the shrine more than I need anything aesthetically pretty at the moment, but I might bodge together a wooden version later on if I feel that’s a necessary next step. I may still switch things up as I work with it, and I may decide this is a terrible idea and make a wooden one sooner rather than later, but we’ll see.

It’s felt like a very busy week, and it probably has been. Today has been the only day of rest, I guess, that I’ve had, with the exception that I was out tonight with my bff for her birthday, and now I don’t have the energy or preparation for deipnon, so that’ll have to be done tomorrow. All I can brain about now is tonight’s feast for Wesir, that’s all I have the energy for at the moment. But that’s okay.

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A blessed High Day to you all!

In which I am terrible at taking photos. /not my natural talent.

In which I am terrible at taking photos. /not my natural talent. /lookit that blurrrrr. 

Whether you’re gearing up for Beltaine or Samhain, or for no festival at all, I hope May brings you good tidings and blessings and not!terrible things. I admit I did rather pull this High Day ritual out of my arse in terms of preparations, but it turned out well enough, I think. I did a simple one in honour of Hekate and the ancestors, and that seemed to work well. I wanted to get the rite done before May began because that’s when the Mysteries of Wesir begins for me, and I didn’t want them crashing into each other.

I offered grains, water, and honey rum. I mean, ‘grains’ is something of a misnomer, because it’s a mixture of garlic granules, sea salt crystals, barley, sesame seeds, and rosemary, but hey, grains! It’s easier to say idk.

Also, you might notice two boxes on the main shrine between the statues/behind the taper candles. They’re painted up cigar boxes. The one on the left is for tools, and contains my knife, bells, prayer beads, oils, and salt. The one on the right contains the incense I use for my daily rites: sandalwood (Heru), lotus (Isis), daphne (Sobek),  and a white sandalwood, ginkgo, and agarwood blend (Wesir). It’s internally divided with cardboard, and the glyphs are bodged together from dictionaries and drawn with not a great amount of skill. But there you go.

Anyway. I wanted to post here about the High Day tonight, and I’ll post the proper write-up over at the DP blog later. Not sure how much Mysteries of Wesir I’ll post over here, but we’ll see. I hope your festivals go well, if you are having any. Otherwise, have a great weekend.

Easter Memories and the Mysteries of Wesir

Mysteries of Wesir preparation

The Holy Family, and Wesir shrouded. I may switch all the (not-black) candles out for black ones closer to May.

I realise decorating for the Mysteries so soon after the Equinox is probably a bit fast for some, but for me, it’s an important marker for the beginning of the dark time of the year, and the descent into winter. It’s a reminder of what’s to come, and that Wesir’s gone from us. I’ve shrouded my other seated Wesir statue, and hidden the small 3in one away. It’s part of the ritual preparation for this time of year, to hide Wesir’s images away, and know what’s coming. The shrine feels slightly more precarious now, and while there will be things added closer to the beginning of the Mysteries, for now, Wesir is gone.

Arguably, it’s probably just a coincidence that I have felt the need to do this on Maundy Thursday, in the lead-up to Easter. But it does feel like eerie timing. It is the season of dying gods, at least down here in the southern hemisphere. It isn’t quite the season of the land dying back, though; summer is the season of dying, and drying, and cutting back. Autumn is almost a breath of relief, that things are cooling down, and that what has survived the heat will keep going.

The full moon rite for Isis last night was also good, and deserves its own write-up, though I do feel like I need to make a specific full moon rite for Her, rather than keep using the general libation rite like I am now. It works okay, but it doesn’t have the right feel, like it’s about the full moon. So I’ll take some time to think about that. Meditations were good. We had a long chat about things, like heka, and bodies, and shapeshifting, though that makes it sound far more interesting than it really was. Which, it was interesting, but long chats about magic with gods are quite different than you might imagine. But I might make a post on all that later, if I remember, because that’s not what this post is about.

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The new Shedety Shrine

Shedety Shrine March 2016

The new shrine, photographed after this morning’s devotions.

So I think I’m just about settled on this particular layout for the time being, so I thought I’d give you all a proper look at it. The first obvious thing is that the naos is gone. It just wasn’t going to work on a shrine for four gods, so it’s been put away for now. It’s a bit sad, not having the naos, but I like this setup, too. The shrine feels focused now, and I’ve cleared out some of the excess stuff that was making it feel like there was too much going on.

The shrine gets used as an altar table for the druidic shrine above, so there has to be enough space to work as well as be a shrine, and it’s a constant give and take on how much space is available for each. This made it tricky to settle on a layout that worked, because it had to work for my own daily devotions. Everything had to be in the right place so it’s easy to reach, and I don’t burn myself, and there’s room for the ritual book, and everything else.

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The first Deipnon

Deipnon March 2016

Shrine set up for Hekate’s deipnon. Sans offerings and such as this was taken after I’d disposed of everything because I forgot to photograph it before then. Black bowl on the left was for libations, the orange/gold bowl was for the deipnon itself.

So I finally got over that mental thing in my head that was all, ‘how can you do deipnon without a crossroad wtf’, and have again tried to follow the advice of both Isis and Hekate, and that is to just turn up at shrine and do ritual and be there with them, and stop worrying about the details. So that is what I did.

I decided to dispose of my deipnon into the compost bin outside, because recycling bad stuff into compost to feed the garden seems appropriate for deipnon. So I did that instead of leaving it at a crossroad. Which solves my ‘I don’t want to leave food out in a public place’ issues that had stopped me doing deipnon before.

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My shrine updates should not be this frequent gdi

Wesir close-up

Hi Wesir! Also, sorry about the shadow. The lighting in my room is terrible most of the time. I was using the flash and everything, gdi.

I swear I only did this a week ago. Why am I rearranging my shrines again why. Wesir was not meant to go there. He was going to go on my windowsill, where there was a nice spot just the right size. I was going to gaze at His serene face as I worked to finish the Contendings retelling, and it was going to be grand. I mean, I’ve been looking for a mummiform statue like that for a while now, for easier Mysteries of Wesir shrouding amongst other things, but never found one I liked enough at a time when I had actual money to buy one. So when I looked a few weeks back, I saw this one, and bookmarked it for future purchasing. And then they went and cut 30% off the price, and since he was coming from the other side of the country, I calculated that the price I paid for him was about the equivalent of a similar 6in Wesir from the US. So. I now have a big Wesir. And he is beautiful. He has a very calm energy about him.

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How I Learned To Build Shrines

So I was asked to do a post on shrine-building, and talk about how I put my shrines together. The short answer, in many cases, is simply symmetry, but that wouldn’t make much of a blog post. Instead, I thought I’d go back through my old shrine photos, and perhaps talk about how I learned to build shrines, and how they’ve changed over the years. I don’t think I’ve ever done a post like that before, and I was curious to see how things had changed, and how much had stayed the same.

This will be a bit long, and image-heavy, so you’ve been warned. But other than that, I hope it’s somewhat interesting to you. Also, I apologise if some of these are not great quality. I did the best I could.

ETA: ffs I guess this is what I get for posting right before bed, sorry for the formatting errors. They are fixed now. Flickr embed code is the worst, I swear to the gods. 😡

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A thousand of every good thing

Surrounded by immortals. Represented: Hekate, Nit/Neith, Set, Masrai, Artemis, Anubis, Dionysis, Antinous Kernunnos, Bast, and Hermes.

Bowie surrounded by immortals. Represented (beginning left and circling right): Hekate, Nit/Neith, Masrai and Bast, Set, Anubis, Antinous, Kernunnos, Artemis, Dionysis, and Hermes. The plate at the front with the bi pride band has pennies for the dead. Because I am that sort of traditional when it comes to ancestor shrines. There must be pennies for the dead.

It hardly feels enough. Sometimes, I worry about my shrine-building propensity. But once I thought about adding one queer and/or liminal god, gods of margins and boundaries, to a theoretical shrine, They all wanted to get involved. Set thinks this is more important than Wep Ronpet, hence He is here, and not on top of the naos with His siblings. Wep Ronpet happens every year; this happens only once. Or so He says.

I guess this is staying up for the next 68 days. At least my heart is a little calmer. I’ve done something, even if it feels inadequate. It feels like the sort of thing only gods can handle. But perhaps even a little something is better than nothing.

A black candle in a starry cradle to light the way, a blue bird to rise to the heavens, and a bed of sweet incense that you may be surrounded by the sweet perfume of the gods. May cool water aid your flight. May you never thirst.