Polytheist Public Shrine Project – Reboot!
Roughly a decade ago, maybe longer, my friend Krei S. started the “public altar project.” With this project she encouraged Pagans, Heathens, and Polytheists of all stripes to create shrines – temporary, ephemeral, often with found objects – in public places for the Gods. This project ran for a few years and then, due to a number of circumstances, fell by the way side. I had participated in it three times, first with a shrine to Holda erected in Berlin, then one that I did with my adopted mom to Ran, Aegir, and Their Nine Daughters erected on the beach at Big Sur, and finally a shrine to Eir at the base of a tree in a NYC park. I hadn’t thought about the project in years, until last week while on my artist’s residency.
During the residency, each artist had to give a brief presentation on his or her background, interests, and art. One woman, in addition to her painting, textile art, and mail art (she’s the one who introduced me to this art form too!) also occasionally creates create “land art.” I’m fascinated by the idea of creating this type of art. As she described her work, and showed us photos, I realized that the public altar project was, in fact, a type of land art. My interest in it was immediately rekindled.
I am intrigued by the idea of combining devotion and art, and of honoring the Gods through the creation of art. I also think that creating this type of artwork, of dropping this type of creative devotion into the world, to be absorbed and dispersed is an act of magic. I like the idea of seeding the mundane world both with elements of devotion but also with art. We need the medicine of more beauty in our world. I immediately contacted Krei and got her permission to reboot the altar project.
So, this is going to be one of my ongoing projects and I encourage anyone reading this to participate. (I’m going to start a separate page for it, and if you send me a brief account and photos, I’ll post your public shrine here). Here are the guidelines:
- The shrine must be created outdoors.
- It is impermanent. One creates it, prays and makes offerings, and leaves, knowing the shrine will be disbursed into nature, or that people will take the objects there (I always look at it this way: those that need the objects, will get them. They go where they must).
- If you are making your shrine on the beach, or in nature, please use bio-degradable materials. Part of the process of crafting one of these shrines is doing so in a way that does not harm the environment in which it is crafted.
- If you can, try to use found objects and materials as part of your shrine.
- Take photos and submit a brief write up detailing Who the shrine is for, the materials out of which it is constructed, and your experience of the process of constructing it.
I’ve always found this type of work to have several different levels of engagement: there is the devotee and the Gods, the artist with the materials and the environment, but also the artist and devotee with passers by as well. I also found it a very potent type of offering. There was a unique synergy in the whole process and it was completely unlike any other shrine work that I’ve done.
So, I encourage folks to take part. Let’s get this project off the ground and pepper our world with devotion. If you do create a public shrine, images and accounts may be sent to Krasskova at gmail.com. I’ll get that page, and also one for my devotional mail art challenge up over the next couple of weeks (thanks to those who’ve already sent me mail art, btw. I’m working on your return pieces). May our Gods ever be hailed. Let’s make some art for Them!