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Altars, altars everywhere!

I have, well, a lot of altars. I would probably like more.

My general altar, set up for general use and/or druidic ritual, has a statue to represent the nature spirits, and a book of names to (pretty directly) represent the ancestors; a bell, a candle (for fire), a clay cauldron (for the well) and a picture of the World Tree on the wall (for the tree). I also keep my stuff for my daily prayer to the Celtic and continental Germanic gods (the basket of names, book of prayers, book to record my prayers and a pen). Any other tools are in a drawer underneath. Oh, and my cards for Temple of the Twelve. And whatever else I am currently using. This is as close as I have to a working altar, and I am at it on a daily basis.

My Hellenic altar has statuary of many of the gods (Hestia, Zeus, Hera, Poseidon, Demeter, Hades, Athena, Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, Aphrodite, Eros, Ares, Dionysos, Ariadne, Hekate, Persephone, Pan, Helios, Selene, Gaia, Tyche, Nike, Asklepios, Heracles, Hebe, and a framed picture of Hephaistos), electric candles for lighting, a candle to light during prayer, and a book of prayers and a calendar. Some of the statues have gifts near them, a prayer card and a necklace for Hekate, a necklace for Ariadne, a set of beads for Dionysos, several clay votives for Asklepios. The space is pretty well filled up but I could still squeeze in a thing or two if necessary. It doesn't see a lot of actual use so I suppose I should really call it a shrine. It takes up a lot of room and is always there, kind of like the gods themselves. :)

My Kemetic shrine cabinet has statuary of Wepwawet-Anubis, Hethert-Sekhmet, Bast, Tefnut and Heru-wer; I drew a backdrop including fifteen gods, and there are prayer cards by the statues of Hathor and Bast. The cabinet itself isn't big enough for much else, but I do leave offerings in it occasionally, and on top I keep a candle to light during prayer and an incense burner, and I keep a book of prayers in front of it. (My calendar and other tools I store underneath.) It's used at least a few times a week, depending on the calendar.

My other Kemetic shrine is currently "under construction" because I'm working on a backdrop for the "walls." It contains a blue lotus incense burner, candle, offering cup and plate, and a framed picture I drew of Ma'at. It's curtained off with a turquoise cotton cloth. I don't use it much, due to wanting to keep it in a specific state of purity; that may change after I put up the backdrop and perhaps meditate before the imagery, but I will probably continue to focus on the shrine cabinet.

My Vanic shrine has a statue of Frey, two statues of Freyja, a cat pendant with a bit of amber, a Freyja pendant with a bit of amber (the Borda one), and two shawls I knit for the gods (green with a leaf pattern for Frey, gold with a heart pattern for Freyja). I don't use it much and it is possible that this is a temporary space.

My Sif and Thor shrine has statues of Sif and of Thor. (It's a new shrine, not much there yet.) Again, it may be a temporary space, but I am giving it time.

I don't currently maintain a general heathen shrine or altar--I usually go outdoors for offerings and prayer to the heathen gods. It just seems like a better connection that way.

By the front door, at the base of the stairs, I keep a plaque of Hekate, and every night I say a prayer and kiss my hand to her.

My Aphrodite shrine has four statues of Aphrodite; a dedicated salt lamp I keep lit; four pink electric candles; two necklaces I made for her (including the first piece of jewelry I ever made, with pearls, garnets, rose quartz and gold beads--I made it back when gold beads weren't super-pricey); two shawls I knit for her, one of which is draped over the largest statue; a very simply hand-bound book of prayers to Aphrodite I collected early on and wrote in rose-colored ink (the cover is cream-coloredpaper with rose petals embedded in it while the inside pages have flecks of metallic gold--my first attempt at book-binding of any sort); a set of pink Olympic oracle stones I made, in a marbled pink cloth bag; a silver candle snuffer carved with roses; a shell filled with pieces of tumbled rose quartz; a glass jar of dried rose hips; a small scented candle in a jar; a pretty little Aphrodite shrine cabinet that once belonged to the lovely [profile] awakening1; a wooden tile bracelet with images of Aphrodite; two Aphrodite prayer cards; a pink domino mask with black lace and silk flowers; a reproduction of a Greek pitcher/vase with Aphrodite and Dionysos pictured; a set of cowrie shells to work the "Aphrodite's Eyes" divination; and a ceramic incense burner in the shape of a pink lotus flower. The shrine gets sporadic but active use and is very, very important to have.

You'll notice that one of those paragraphs is a bit longer than the rest. One altar is more crowded than the others. There are more things on it.The Aphrodite shrine has, of course, been in progress for nearly 15 years, and since it's dedicated to a single deity there is more room on it for stuff. There is more of a "hum" about it, at least to me. Every so often I see something and think "ah, I should get that for Aphrodite!" Every so often I think of something to put on the shrine and go get it. If I learn a new crafting skill, I want to make her something. In the sense of change I'd say the Aphrodite shrine is the busiest of my shrines and altars (although in terms of use that would be the Kemetic shrine cabinet because so much of what I do in that context is shrine-focused, while the Indo-European types never really seem to take up residence like that and are happy with outdoor offerings).

I have on occasion considered establishing other single-god shrines but they never "took." (This is probably not a bad thing, a house has only so many surfaces, and other household members tend to object when there's nowhere to put their stuff.) There are other deities I pray to on a daily basis, other gods I feel close to, to the point that I want to do more for them. None of these have become permanent shrines. And that's all right, I think. Sometimes a dedicated space is there for a temporary reason. Sometimes it's all right to set up a shrine and see what happens--maybe an established shrine isn't the best way to connect with a particular deity or deities. You don't know until you try, and if it's not meant to be, you'll know it, and I don't think the gods object to a little trial-and-error when the goal is finding a way to reach them.

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