Filling our world with Gods: Make God-Bombing a Thing
So I live in a very artistic town. It’s a step away from being an artists’ colony and if you randomly kicked someone on main street, chances are you’d be kicking an artist (why you’d want to randomly kick some poor dude on main street, I don’t know lol. Better to buy his art).
Because of this, there’s some really interesting graffiti throughout the town. One is a huge mural of a Native American spirit, the guardian spirit, perhaps one of the Goddesses of the Wappingers who once had sovereignty in this part of the land, and it shows the river, and markers in the town, and modern residents all flowing out of her benevolence.
One is a faceless man with an awesome hat, funky fish and snakes twined into patterns marking a local distillery.
Those are licit, done with permission of the owners and/or town, but there are others; a little dog in white paint behind the pharmacy, a dancing ghost-girl on the bricks of an alley way, an entire mural of children playing and ghosts and trees and fire on the side of our health food store that just appeared almost overnight when the lot next door was rendered empty. We like these things in my town and personally I think they’re very cool.
There are also more contested expressions of art: yarn bombing, which I think is a hoot in hell and love to see but which likewise gets some old-timers up in arms both online and off (the level of pissed off I’ve seen over yarn bombing is truly amazing); and occasionally odd art installations cropping up in the nooks and crannies of the town’s architecture. I love it all. My favorite is probably a bit of graffiti on a rock by one of the hiking trails on the way to the next town. It says “I love you to the Moon and back” with a picture of the full moon. That just screams Mani to me.
So where am I going with all of this and what the fuck is ‘God-bombing?’ Well, nothing nefarious. Y’all have heard of “glamour bombing?” It’s the same thing but with images for our Gods. It’s land art and public art installations (you can apply for permits locally and make this all above board) and temporary graffiti I absolutely am not encouraging anyone to break the law. There are a lot of ways we can bring our Gods out of hiding without doing that.
- chalk graffiti – it washes off.
- Pinning up posters and images (instead of graffiti)
- Public shrines – I’m already running the public shrine project—start making this a real thing in the woods, in parks, on empty lots, everywhere you can. Understand that they will probably eventually be taken down or yield to the elements. A certain non-attachment is necessary here, but the synergy of doing this type of temporary shrine as an act of devotion is powerful.
- Ask permission of storeowners to paint outside. If you’re an artist, some will permit you to do a piece on the side of their buildings (at least in my town).
- For the Gods of harvest, flowers, bounty, and land: seed bomb.
- Public re-enactments and skald-on-the-street style telling of stories
- Hit the local poetry slams with prayer-poems for the Gods
- Do you have any statues of Gods in your town? (We have one of Hebe randomly set up in a local cul-de-sac. It was part of a watering trough for horses and after the world transformed over to cars instead, the trough part went away and locals set up just the statue). Start tending it and leaving offerings. Reclaim it as sacred.
- Join your local cemetery committee (usually split equally between Protestants and Catholics) and do good work, all the while being completely open about being a polytheist. Talk openly about honoring the dead.
- Write an article for your most local paper on one of our holidays.
- Run for local school board or other local office
- Get a permit and hold a local procession and celebration on a festival day
Make it as establishment and anti-establishment as the Gods, ancestors, and land spirits call.
Sarenth Odinsson offered some interesting ideas when I talked to him about this recently:
“Something I did when I lived on campus and attended Eastern Michigan University: was there were statues all over the place. There was a tradition of leaving pennies for the statue of a ballet dancer, and I made regular visits with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statue, occasionally leaving him offerings. Leaving flowers in local graveyards, tending local statues, cleaning up parks and leaving offerings are other ways of doing things too.
Maybe make creches, or start something akin to what we have here: local fairy doors. Literally made for the faeries sold out of local shops and placed near the entrance but not in walkways. Folks leave offerings, often money, that even the local homeless know better than to pick up. We could do something similar, like Hermes, Odin, and similar charms which would fit in alongside other art installations and not be out of place alongside charms against the evil eye.”
I’m sure there are a ton of things that we could do that I haven’t thought of here. I’d love to hear your suggestions. Everywhere I look in almost every American town Christian churches dominate the visual landscape of the town. That’s fine – they’re entitled to their sacred spaces but so are we so let’s get out there and make some. Let’s put the radical in radical polytheist. 🙂
(Photo credit: Susan Dilger / TaosEdge It was taken in a very old cemetery in Taos. Used with permission.)
Posted on March 19, 2016, in Art, devotional work, Lived Polytheism, Public Shrine Project, Uncategorized and tagged Art, Community, Devotional Work, Gods, Lived Polytheism, Public Shrine Project, shrines. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.