Category Archives: shrines
A New Shrine
One of the things we did in my household this Yule was set up a shrine to Idunna. I’ve never really had any type of devotional relationship with Her before, but this autumn, we all began finding ourselves deeply drawn to Her veneration. I wanted to share a picture of the shrine. I’m very pleased with the way it’s coming along. It is a wall shrine, though I”m not sure that comes through in the photo. We have it hanging at the top of our stairs and every time we pass by, we pray to Her.
Tonight was our last formal Yule ritual. We had Modranacht on the 20th, a proper Yule rite on the 21st, and tonight we did a rather informal rite for the House of Mundilfari. Our next rite will be on the 31st to usher in the New Year. Happy Yule, folks.
Close up of my Sigyn Shrine
I’ve been meaning to post this for a week or so. I bumped into my shrine for Sigyn and Loki and knocked over an offering of red wine. I was pissssed at myself, because it made quite the mess, but then I figured it was a good opportunity to clean and refresh the shrine, which I’d been meaning to do for some time. I have a lot of shrines in my home and I will admit that it’s difficult to keep them all pristine. I make offerings regularly so I usually use that time to dust them and make sure that everything is in order, but at least quarterly, I like to take everything off the shrine, clean it, change the shrine cloth, and rearrange the sacred images and icons. (I have to do this for my ancestor shrine before Yule and I’m dreading it — that sucker is so big it takes me two to three days to do it properly). When I spilled the wine on Sigyn and Loki’s shrine, I took that as a sign that it was time to roll up my sleeves and give it a proper cleaning, which I did. So, I wanted to share a close up of the newly restored shrine:
Day 1: A Week of Honoring the Dead
Tonight was the first night of a rather intense ritual cycle. Each October, we hold rituals nightly from October 25 through November 3. We’ve done shorter rites and preparations earlier throughout the week, but tonight was the first big ancestor ritual. It really did feel good to return to this practice. Even though we all honor our ancestors regularly, this type of formal ritual seems long overdue.
Tonight, we specifically honored our male ancestors, naming those we wished to name, honoring groups of our male dead, telling stories, praying with and for them. (Tomorrow we honor our Disir, our female ancestors, Friday is Hela’s feast day, though as tonight, Veles will get his due as well. With so many Slavic dead around in our household, this, I think, was inevitable. Saturday and Sunday are for all our dead, and form the primary focus of our Winternights rite, and then the next few days are for more personal veneration and cemetery work.). I honor the dead as I was taught years and years ago, and this is the form that has become customary in our House.
We kept our ritual very simple, consecrating space with fire, praying to the ancestors as a whole, praying to Hela, pouring out offerings, offering an unexpected prayer to Veles because He was suddenly so very present and the Slavic ancestors really wanted Him honored, pouring out offerings, then prostrating to the dead, telling their stories, saying their names. This year we incorporated a simple symbel (a ritual where the horn is passed around three times and ancestors and Gods hailed). I have a novice training to become a gythia (priest), so taking this ritual slowly and simply allowed me to really delve into each of the constituent parts with her. It was a surprisingly powerful rite.
Tomorrow, we repeat the whole thing again for our female ancestors. What a motley crew we are in this House, ancestors from every corner of the world, and it is wonderful. May they all ever be hailed. For those of you who celebrate at this time, what do you have planned?
May Hermes Be Hailed Now and Always!
What a beautiful thing! Someone did a bit of guerilla art: this person put up a shrine to Hermes in the Brooklyn subway. My friend M. sent me the link yesterday and you can check it out here. I think this is just wonderful (and I particularly like that it looks like some offerings have been made). We need more of this! May Hermes and all our Gods ever and always be loved.
Here are some pictures from the link above of the shrine. May Hermes smile upon whoever did this. Bravo/a.
Close Up Shrine Photo
I meant to post this yesterday but the day got away from me. It’s a close up of one of my smaller Odin shrines (I have several in my home). This one is in my office, so I see it whenever I am working. The beautiful statue is by S. Ravenswing.
Wednesday Shrine pic
Each week, I’m going to try to post a close up of one of my shrines. Today, it’s a close up of part of my shrine to Sigyn and Loki. The shrine, of course, is much much larger than this, but I wanted to capture just a moment, a mood, the essence of what this space, holy space for holy Powers evokes for me. Happy Wednesday, folks.
New Shrines – Call for Material
Raven Kaldera contacted me yesterday to let me know that he’s going to be creating several new virtual shrines and to find out if I or anyone I know would like to participate.
The new shrines will be to Hades (in honor of all the new dead), the hero Cuchulain, and the Goddess Brigid. He said there is no deadline; they’ll put material up on the shrines as it comes in, once the shrines themselves are created. They’re looking for poems, prayers rituals, personal essays, anything people would like to write. Folks should send it to this email – firstname.lastname@example.org attn: Raven, virtual shrines.
I (Galina) have submitted a prayer to Hades but am otherwise unaffiliated with these shrines. I love the idea of virtual shrines though. I was dubious about them at first, but we spend so much of our time online in modern society that they’re really the digital equivalent of little roadside shrine nooks where you can light a candle, offer a quick prayer, and be on your way. I think they serve a valuable purpose in granting even this, our digital world, the potential for holiness.
Some Shrine Images
I clean and redo my shrines several times a year and almost always on Dec 30 and 31. Here are a few shrine pics from three of my non-Norse shrines. I’ll post a couple of my most well loved Norse shrines (Odin, Sigyn and Loki, Mani) probably tomorrow. I can’t get a good shot with how they’re positioned now. I want the daylight.
Hermes, right by my door, with a small section given to Cardea, Whom I’ll be honoring this new year’s eve. (yes, there’s a huge Loki and Sif image there, but mostly because that’s the closest i can get to Loki’s shrine. I actually did div to figure out if it was ok to hang there).
Apollo, Asklepios, and Hygeia — it’s much larger than what you can see here, but I couldn’t get back far enough to get a full shot of it.
Finally, my shrine to the Archangels. (I began my work as a ceremonalist thirty years ago and have maintained the devotional relationships. I totally moved this shrine tonight and it is now also by the door, right across from Hermes).
Close up of my Hermes shrine
My friend Carlton was visiting recently (we go to school together) and, not being a polytheist, he was fascinated by my various shrines. Since he’s teaching a theology class this semester, he asked if he could take photos to use in his class (and i’m ok with that). This is the photo he took of my Hermes shrine. I love the angle of the close up, and the drama of the black and white, so I got his ok to share it here.
(Photo by C. Chase. Used with permission).